Ben Fogle offers to help ‘real life Cast Away’ reunite with dog as sailor is forced to rehome him after months lost at sea
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Broadcaster Ben Fogle is hoping to come to the rescue in the incredible story of Tim Shaddock after he was forced to rehome the dog he'd spent months with at sea.
Shaddock and Bella met in Mexico, where Bella kept following Shaddock in spite of his efforts to find her a home on dry land. Her persistence prompted Shaddock to welcome her aboard his catamaran, and in April they set off from Mexico with the plan of travelling to French Polynesia.
Just one month into the journey, Shaddock's catamaran was badly damaged by a storm, and the pair were forced to survive for weeks on raw fish and rainwater while living under a small canopy on the battered vessel.
They were finally rescued after being spotted by a helicopter, but Shaddock, who is originally from Australia, had to say goodbye to Bella when they were back on dry land.
His home country has tough laws and big fees for importing animals, with only animals from countries on an approved list allowed to enter. Unfortunately for Shaddock, that list doesn't include Mexico.
The Aussie asked Genaro Rosales, one of the fisherman on board the boat which rescued him and Bella, to care for the dog, and Rosales promised to take good care of her.
However, there could be hope for Bella and Shaddock yet, as after hearing their story, Fogle shared a picture of the two survivors on Instagram and said he was 'so moved and inspired' by what they had been through.
"I want to help them to be reunited again," Fogle said.
The broadcaster continued: "I would like to offer to pay for the quarantine and travel of Bella to Australia to join Tim Shaddock."
Fogle has been praised by followers for his offer, though it's unclear whether it will be possible for Bella to enter Australia - having come from Mexico.
While cats and dogs from non-approved countries could previously travel to Australia by first moving to an approved country, this pathway became unavailable as of 1 March, 2023.
If Bella is somehow approved, she'll need a valid import permit and will have to spend a minimum of 10 days at a post-entry quarantine facility.
She must also undergo checks by a government-approved veterinarian or official government veterinarian.
After being rescued, Shaddock described Bell as 'amazing'.
“I tried to find a home for her maybe three times and she just kept following me out into the water. She’s a beautiful animal and I’m just grateful she’s alive," he said, adding: "She’s a lot more braver than I am, that’s for sure.”