Freddy, Great story about adopting strays. I have known many people who adopted strays and a couple who brought Mexican street dogs home to the US. ALL of the adopted strays were, just as you say, very grateful and ended up being great dogs.
My friend and I once picked up a stray from a food
court near a park in Mexico
City. It was a very nice dog who went on a day hike with us and returned to the food
court at the end of the day. We asked the waitress whose dog he was and she replied, "Perro de calle" (street dog). We took him home and kept him. Turned out to be a wonderful dog, but my friend lived in an apartment, so she took him to her grandmother's ranch in the country where he became a welcome working dog.
Dogs from shelters are also grateful and turn out being wonderful family
members. Found dogs are often much better than kennel raised dogs who are often so inbred for appearance that they have severe health
problems and raised in poor conditions that lead to mental problems.
As for hoisting a dog - Aleutia has gone through some Urban Search & Rescue
training where hoisting was taught so he could load on a Helicopter if necessary. The hoisting harness we used wraps UNDER the dog's body and clasps from the TOP with metal clasps, not those plastic things almost always used on K9 PFD's. Plastic clips wear out and can break, dropping your dog, particularly heavy ones. Yes, everybody uses them and no one has dropped their dog (that you know of), but why take the chance if you have to hoist him far enough that a fall could cause injury.
"Underdog" PFD's clasp over the dog's back, but still with little plastic clasps. Easy modification. I have not seen one other than on the net or catalogs, but another element to a safe lifting harness (such as used by SAR units and firefighters) is that the lifting rings that you attach to the hoist are two sets of rings on each side of the vest, fore and aft of center. That provides dead secure attachment and keeps the dog balanced.
To hoist the dog, having a ladder right next to the hoist will allow you to go with him on the way up, giving him confidence at least until he learns it is safe. This is the set up I plan on using for Aleutia when we pull out in a month or so.
Chocolate can kill a dog, just like overdose of any drug can a person. It builds up in the dog's system, so don't think your dog can handle it just because you have not yet seen symptoms.