Dog stranded in Haiti reunited with Niles owner

Published 8:30 am Friday, November 19, 2021

NILES — A local teacher and her dog are together again after being separated due to international affairs.

Brittney Gmeiner reunited with her dog, Lucy, in Miami, Florida Thursday morning, roughly one month after being forced to leave her teaching position in Haiti — where she had spent the past three years teaching — due to political upheaval taking place in the country and was not able to take Lucy with her.

“I was just so grateful,” she said. “Even on the drive down, knowing she made it through customs, the relief of knowing she was here and that we would make it made everything worth it. She loves family and people. Everyone is excited to meet her.”

After spending four weeks living safely with friends of Gmeiner during the process, Lucy was flown over as cargo from Port-Au-Prince, Haiti to Miami. According to Gmeiner, the lack of gas available in the country due to unrest made transporting Lucy to the airport difficult.

“I was able to find a driver and my friends let him borrow their vehicle to transport her to the airport,” Gmeiner said. “He arrived at the airport late in the morning but the flight schedule got pushed back and the owners of the car needed the vehicle back. The driver was able to find a gallon of gas to use to take Lucy back to the airport.”

Flying Lucy from Haiti to Florida was an expensive process but Gmeiner was able to raise more than $3,000 via GoFundMe for Lucy’s travel expenses. 

“That has been the biggest blessing,” Gmeiner said. “It was way more stressful than I ever would have thought but through the support and encouragement from friends and family we were able to reunite.”

According to Gmeiner, Lucy will enjoy the Michigan winter and the snow that comes with it.

“She will be happy to spend time in the backyard,” she said. “She loves grassy yards. If there is snow on the ground she will be delighted to run through it. … We have quite a few people to visit. There are lots of friends and family excited to welcome her back.”

With her beloved pet in tow, Gmeiner thanked friends, family and the Niles community for supporting her throughout the ordeal.

“My friends in Haiti who housed her checked in to make sure she was okay,” Gmeiner said. “God truly put all the pieces together. I know it happened because everyone was praying. God is amazing and so is everyone who prayed and helped.”