Amanda Villeneuve and her husband Don often visit Isla Mujeres in Mexico from their home in Calgary, Alberta. When they're there on vacation, they volunteer at Isla Animals, a rescue group on the island.
They had always talked about the possibility of one day adopting a dog from the island, but never really decided ... until their trip in December when they met a tiny puppy that was blind in one eye.
"The day we went to volunteer at the Isla Animals clinic, we saw him and we just fell in love," Amanda tells MNN. "We knew right away that we would be taking him home."
She noticed her husband staring at the quiet little pup in the back corner of a large kennel filled with puppies, so they took him outside to play in the grass.
"He was just the sweetest little thing. So gentle and loving. He just melted our hearts from the moment we met him."
By the time they saw the puppy, he was in much better shape than he was when the rescue first picked him up. He and his littermates were found in the jungle of Rancho Viejo. The dogs had nearly no hair and their skin was thick and rough due to a fungus. This particular pup was blind in one eye.
They decided to name him Odin after the Norse god with one eye (or Thor and Loki's dad, if you're more into Marvel and "The Avengers").
"Isla Animals fed them like kings, vaccinated them, and lathered them all with oils and vitamins. The pups all survived and they grew back their beautiful coats," Amanda says.
The nonprofit animal rescue, which provides free spay/neuter, vaccinations and other animal services, took care of all the vetting for the pups, even removing Odin's blind eye to avoid any possible complications later on.
"He recovered beautifully and having one eye does not slow him down at all," Amanda says.
The rescue helped them get Odin home, providing them with a "puppy passport" that had the dates of all his vaccinations. He had to take a ferry, then a cab, then sit through a long wait at the airport. Then he slept through the five-plus hour flight in his carrier bag under the seat.
He was a champ through the whole process except for when he arrived in Canada, leaving the balmy weather in Mexico for a brisk minus 4 degrees F (minus 20 Celsius).
"Odin has adapted great. The very cold weather was a bit hard for him at first, so we bought him a little knitted sweater. He loves his yard and all his new toys. He is not happy unless he has every toy surrounding him so he can alternate between chewing each one."
His physical recovery has been very good and his eye has healed beautifully, according to Amanda's vet.
And, best of all, Odin has a big sister, a 7-year-old black lab named Jada. Odin is completely smitten with her and wants to be glued to her side.
"Jada is definitely learning what it is like to have an annoying little brother! She is very gentle with him and she shares all of her toys," Amanda says. "Sometimes we have to give her a break so she gets to go on secret walks without Odin."
Odin's sister, Sol, was adopted by Amanda's sister and brother-in-law, who also live in Calgary, so the two lucky pups will get to grow up together.
But so far, it's not going to his adorable little head, Amanda says.
"He is such a little sweetheart. He loves cuddles and giving kisses. He had definitely come out of his shell and he is full of beans all the time. He loves to play and he especially loves to eat. We had to buy him a special dog dish that slows his eating since he is just crazy about food and scarfs anything put in front of his face."