Nica, born in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, was just two months old when she was run over by a car, breaking her femur and her ribs. The driver opened the door, looked at her and then just drove off. A kind resident later heard her crying and rushed her to a veterinary clinic and a local group, Rescatamepuntacana, found a foster home for her.

Chantal Briere and her husband, Bob Thompson, operate a boutique cycling adventure company called Far and Away. They take small groups of avid cyclists to exotic destinations ranging from Cambodia and Albania to European favorites like France, Italy and Spain. On a trip to Thailand, they encountered the horrors of the Asian dog meat trade—where our furry friends are considered a gourmet delicacy—and spent several weeks volunteering with the Soi Dog Foundation, a non-profit group dedicated to rescuing and facilitating adoptions for as many of these dogs as possible.

They returned to the states as dedicated animal activists. Chantal is the Executive Director of Compassion Sans Borders. The non-profit raises money for rescue groups throughout the world—especially in developing countries where animal abuse and overpopulation is a problem—supporting spay/neuter clinics, as well as recruiting travelers to accompany dogs traveling from these countries to the U.S. and Canada for adoption.

She was on one such trip in 2019, accompanying five dogs to Canada. Nica, only five months old at the time, was allowed to travel in the cabin with Chantal, but the rescue group in Canada could only arrange fostering for the other four dogs, so Chantal and her husband became pet parents. Her leg had never healed properly from the accident and after months of physical therapy, water therapy and other treatments, it had to be amputated.

That hasn’t slowed Nica down one bit…she loves to travel with her parents, play with other dogs, swim and frolic on the beach. She is pictured here in Bavon in Matthews County.

If you would like to share a favorite place in Virginia that you and your dog have discovered, visit our Tips & Tales page!