Elderly Dog Orchestrates Transatlantic Matchmaking Journey

by Lisa

In a heartwarming tale of love, loss, and serendipity, an elderly dog named Nelly, despite battling epilepsy and a mild heart murmur, became the unwitting matchmaker for her owner in a poignant twist of fate that led to a transatlantic journey.

Adri Pendleton, a 29-year-old California native, found herself facing a daunting relocation from Amsterdam to the United States following the end of her six-year relationship with her Dutch partner. Accompanying her were her beloved dogs, Nelly and Loki.


However, Nelly, a border collie who had been a cherished member of Pendleton’s family since her teenage years, posed a logistical challenge. Unlike Loki, Nelly was too large to travel in the cabin on an international flight, and Pendleton couldn’t bear the thought of consigning her to cargo.


After much soul-searching, Pendleton realized that the only feasible option to ensure Nelly’s safe journey back home was to secure a private charter flight.


Taking matters into her own hands, Pendleton launched a GoFundMe campaign and enlisted the support of Loki’s 25,000 followers on social media to make her plea for help heard.


“The videos went semi-viral,” Pendleton recounted to PEOPLE magazine.

Her heartfelt appeal caught the attention of Niklas Stoeterau, a 26-year-old German pilot residing in Hamburg at the time. Touched by Pendleton’s story, Stoeterau reached out, offering to assist in transporting Nelly to New Jersey at a discounted rate through his professional connections.

Initially cautious of Stoeterau’s intentions, Pendleton engaged in extensive communication with him over the course of nearly two months to finalize the travel arrangements. Their interactions culminated in a predawn meeting at a Milan airport, where Pendleton and Stoeterau embarked on a 15-hour journey, forging a bond during the flight’s layovers and exchanges.

“There was just something about her. We could talk about the most random stuff, and it just felt easy,” Stoeterau revealed.

To Pendleton’s delight, Nelly also warmed up to Stoeterau, displaying an unexpected affinity for the kind-hearted pilot.

Despite their initial encounter being centered around Nelly’s journey, Pendleton and Stoeterau found themselves unable to shake thoughts of each other after parting ways in Newark, New Jersey, in January.

“A couple of days after the flight, I said, ‘You’re very impressive. If you keep this up, I’m going to invite you to California and take you on a date,'” Pendleton recalled.

Stoeterau welcomed Pendleton’s bold gesture, acknowledging their mutual interest.

“It was clear that we were both interested in each other,” he affirmed.

By March, Stoeterau found himself meeting Pendleton’s family, and the couple’s relationship blossomed despite the geographical distance.

Tragically, Nelly did not live to witness Pendleton and Stoeterau’s burgeoning romance, passing away just over a month after their arrival in California.

Pendleton fondly remembers Nelly as her “ultimate wingman,” forever grateful for the unexpected love story that unfolded during their transatlantic journey.


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