The Aussie couple who cancelled their honeymoon to save a sick and dying puppy.

An Aussie couple desperately want to bring their puppy home but they need your help. In October last year, Nicole Marchment and Darren Budini were in Thailand for their dream wedding and honeymoon. Later while sightseeing and exploring the island of Koh Chang, they came across a little puppy who changed everything.

The homeless dogs in the area where cared for by a local woman named Duen. Nicole and Darren bought some dog food for her companions and one day, accompanied her to meet them. A little black puppy with a high temperature, a distended stomach and a broken leg limped towards them. He was very fragile, urinating and vomiting with fear.

“We asked a local woman what happened and she told us he has been like this for over a week,” Nicole told us. He had been hit by a scooter. “She said ‘you take’ and that was exactly what we did.”

The pair named the dog Ozzie. Nicole said, “he had warmed to us in less than an hour of collecting him from the roadside. He had never been cuddled or held before, but we were family from the very first hug.”

So they took Ozzie back to their accommodation and got to work, taking him swimming to cool his fever and showering him with love. Nicole and Darren made it their mission to bring him back to health.

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It didn’t take long for Darren and Nicole to fall in love with Ozzie (Image: Supplied.)

“I gave him his first shower, which he hated, but he just lay on a towel sleeping as we pulled almost 30 ticks from his tiny body,” Nicole said. “He was just so sick. He slept in our bed every night on and became a complete mumma’s boy.”


It soon became apparent that Ozzie was in need of some more serious care, so the couple cancelled the honeymoon they had been saving for and sought to look after their new pet instead. They caught a ferry to the Pattaya Animal Hospital where Ozzie’s leg was operated on. But he still had a long way to go, and finding a suitable home for Ozzie in Thailand was proving extremely difficult.

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“He slept in our bed every night on and became a complete mumma’s boy.” (Image: Supplied.)

Darren and Nicole only saw one option. They needed to bring Ozzie home. Unfortunately, Australian quarantine laws stipulate that dogs like Ozzie must stay a minimum on 180 days in an “approved country” such as the United States before entering Australia.

Nicole and Darren then met Geoff Masanet, an American who had heard of Ozzie’s story and agreed to be his travel buddy, escorting him from Thailand to Chicago on Christmas day 2015.

But it wasn’t smooth sailing. Ozzie had developed a severe case of mange, along with a secondary skin infection due to being kept in a small cage during his two month stay in the veterinary clinic. And worse still, Ozzie’s blood tests showed he had contracted an anti-biotic resistant form of staph infection called Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus.

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Geoff with Ozzie. (Image: Supplied.)

Illness aside, Geoff and Ozzie flew out on Christmas night, making the 40 hour journey from Thailand to USA. Ozzie is now living with the couple’s friend Debbie Chase in Wisconsin while he awaits the okay to travel to Australia.

“We speak with Geoff and Debbie almost every day through chat and photos,” Nicole told us. “I have been on a conference call with almost every vet appointment and specialist appointment while in Thailand and the USA. We never miss a milestone and his fosters are incredible!”

Nicole and Darren have set up a Go Fund Me page to raise money for Ozzie’s ongoing care. He has since under gone another surgery on his leg to remove the plate and screws. It went well, but his leg is somewhat deformed and doctors said his bones are soft and damaged. That day alone set Nicole and Darren back $3,301.49 AUD.

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Ozzie had developed a severe case of mange… among other things. (Image: Supplied.)

Cancelling their honeymoon and organising Ozzie’s care hasn’t been logistically or financially easy for the couple. But they don’t regret it for a second. “My friends kept reminding me of what really mattered – I married the man of my dreams and was in the right place and at the right time to try and save Ozzie.”

“They reminded me the honeymoon adventure wasn’t about the destination, it was solely about the journey and the memories.”

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“I married the man of my dreams and was in the right place and at the right time to try and save Ozzie.” (Image: Supplied.)

When we asked Nicole what she wanted people to know about her experience with Ozzie, here is what she had to say:

“There are thousands of other dogs out there, just like Ozzie. There are places with no vets, no medical equipment and no shelters. On the island we promised to save Ozzie and we promised to help build a shelter, we intend to keep both of those promises.

“It was our honeymoon and we could have walked away, but we didn’t and we would ask all travellers to do the same when abroad… please help if and when you can, it’s always worth it!”

If you would like to donate to Ozzie’s cause please visit Nicole and Darren’s GoFundMe page Asking for an Aussie Miracle.