By Sam Sommers
One day, a restaurant full of patrons in South Korea were surprised when a Jindo with no collar or tags trotted inside and circled around the tables just looking for some love (and some snacks). The pup was sweet, but most Koreans are not used to seeing such a large stray dog wandering around, and some people were a little alarmed.
The restaurant owner came out to see what the buzz was all about and immediately recognized the stray as one of the dogs from a nearby dog farm–where dogs are raised like livestock for their meat and fur. This beautiful dog that wandered into the restaurant must have been clever enough to escape from that scary place! Thankfully, the restaurant owner does not believe in serving “gaegogi” (dog meat) and decided to contact a local animal rescue for help.
The volunteers at Last Chance for Korean Dogs gladly stepped up and took the dog in. They named her Rain-Kae or just Rain for short. Rain was spayed, microchipped, vaccinated, and she passed her temperament test with flying colors. Unfortunately, large dogs like Rain cannot be placed in local animal shelters for adoption as they risk being euthanized for space or risk being “adopted” by unsavory people who will turn around and sell them for their meat or their fur.
Thankfully, Ruff Start Rescue was able to help.
With this rescue commitment, a wonderful, anonymous sponsor paid for Rain’s flight from Seoul to Chicago, where Rain stayed with a temporary foster before making the final trek to Minnesota (thanks to a volunteer driver) and officially into Ruff Start Rescue’s care.
Rain is now in a loving foster home in Minnesota, enjoying daily walks, ear scratches, belly rubs, all the chew toys she could ever want, and romping around in the snow in a large, fully fenced yard.
Over the last 10 years, in partnership with Last Chance for Korean Dogs and other rescue partners such as Save Korean Dogs, Band for Animals, and K9 Global Rescue, Ruff Start Rescue has saved close to 100 dogs from South Korea. Stories like Rain’s are a testament to how it truly takes a village to save these animals, and we are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to offer these dogs the chance of a lifetime—to have a loving forever home here in Minnesota.
A few notes about the dog meat trade:
Yes, eating dogs does happen in certain countries. According to Humane Society International, about 2.5 million dogs are raised in South Korean dog farms each year. About 1 million dogs are killed for their meat or fur, and the rest are used for breeding, or the dogs simply don’t survive due to the farms’ high mortality rate. The numbers are significantly higher in China. In some cases, the conditions of these farms are horrific.
Let’s be clear, though… most people in China and Korea do NOT eat dogs, but there are certain times of the year when this becomes more common, such as hot summer days or even certain festivals in more rural parts of these countries. Animal rights activists and rescue groups are doing a fantastic job at spreading the word about these issues, and the numbers of cases are going down.
You can help meat trade dogs by adopting, fostering, volunteering, or donating. To learn more, visit ruffstartrescue.org.