A couple have shared their holiday heartbreak after meeting a starving puppy and falling in love with it abroad.
Cassie Fialho, 27, from Lancashire, travelled to Antalya in Turkey with her fiancé on June 23 for a break away.
But after just a few days, the loved-up couple saw a stray dog begging customers at the RedRujj bar on Konyaalti beach for scraps of food.
The black Labrador was underweight, in poor health and suffering from an infected ear – but holiday goers still shooed it away from their plates.
Cassie took the young pup under her wing and named her Nala, inspired by The Lion King, then played, fed and napped with her in the shade.
Cassie told Liverpool ECHO : “It literally ruined our holiday because I was just crying for three days solid as I didn’t want to leave her.”
The 27-year-old “couldn’t sleep at night” thinking about the puppy, and returned early the next morning to find her in the exact same spot.
After talking to staff at the beach bar, Cassie discovered Nala was homeless and had been coming to the beach every day for months to beg for scraps.
She said: “The thing that really bothered me is thinking about what would happen when all the beach bars closed, because that’s where she’d go every day for her food.
“The animals in Turkey often go around in packs but she was completely on her own with no mum or siblings.
“I was worried that she was going to have something bad happen to her and that she wouldn’t survive winter.”
Determined to save her life, Cassie reached out to numerous animal rescue centres in the region to see if they could help find Nala a home.
On the last day of the holiday, Hunters House, a Turkish organisation that fosters and rehomes dogs in the UK, offered to come and get Nala from the beach, if Cassie could restrain her.
Despite only having an hour before they needed to travel to the airport, Cassie and her fiancé decided to head to the beach to try and find Nala.
Cassie explained: “It was me who was more emotional about the dog but she clearly stole my fiance’s heart as well because he said: ‘Let’s just go to the beach and see what happens. If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.”
“We managed to get her and put a harness and lead on her and the bar staff at RedRujj agreed to keep her there overnight.
“We literally got back to our hotel with 15 minutes to spare before the taxi came to pick us up for the airport. It was like a proper little love story.”
The couple have started the process of bringing Nala back to the UK, where she will one day live with their current pet dog.
She is currently living with a temporary foster family in Turkey, where she’s being socialised with other animals and receiving all of her necessary bloods tests and injections.
Vets have since revealed that she is between three and four months old.
“We’ve got to wait for her to get a health certificate and a pet passport but we’re hoping that she can come over by October,” Cassie says.
They have already forked out more than £400 in vet fees and have set up a GoFundMe to cover the cost of bringing Nala to the UK.
Cassie added: “She’s honestly so sweet. The minute you call her or play with her, her little tail is wagging.
“If I hadn’t got her, I’d have always been wondering what if.”