It is a beautiful scene that never gets old no matter how many times we watch it: a dog who has endured a life of extraordinary suffering meeting her new parent at her new home for the first time and bonding instantly. But Korean-American actor Daniel Henney fell in love with Juliette, a young golden retriever, well before he actually met her. “I saw videos of her on [Humane Society International’s] Instagram page,” he says. “It was a no-brainer. I saw her and I said, that’s my girl, that’s her.”
Juliette, as you can see in the video below, is now happily ensconced in her new home with her famous dad and her nine-year-old golden retriever brother, a rescue named Roscoe. “She is an angel; an absolutely wonderful dog and she’s fit into the family like a Lego,” says Daniel, a passionate dog advocate and an international film and television star best known in the United States for his role in the series “Criminal Minds.”
Juliette’s journey to her new family and a life filled with love—a life every companion animal deserves—has been a long and grueling one. Our HSI staff found her earlier this year, among 70 other dogs, living in squalor and chained to an outdoor kennel, on a dog meat farm in South Korea.
Animals in these situations typically endure some of the worst possible hardships. Like Juliette, many are chained outdoors or housed in rows of raised metal cages with wire flooring. Food is scarce. Their waste accumulates under the crates, they have no protection from the extreme weather, including freezing winters, and they never know a kind human touch or any sort of enrichment.
All they can do is wait to die when the time comes.
That’s why, since 2015, HSI has been at work to rescue as many dogs as we can from this life of misery and, more importantly, raise awareness about the dog meat trade within South Korea and around the world. Our goal is to end the dog meat trade wherever it exists, forever.
To date we have closed down 16 dog meat farms and rescued more than 2,000 dogs who have been flown into the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and the Netherlands. We do this by working with the farmers who wish to exit this sad industry and by helping them transition to more humane livelihoods, like growing vegetables. While we cannot by ourselves close all of the thousands of such farms that now exist in the country, we are trying, through our work, to offer the government of South Korea a model to end this industry that causes so much animal suffering.
More Koreans than ever now keep dogs as pets, including one in every five households in the capital city of Seoul. But many people still buy pet store puppies sourced from puppy mills where they are intensively bred in deprived conditions. We want to show dog lovers in South Korea that animals rescued from dog meat farms make wonderful pets in their own right, and we are now proud and happy to have Juliette and Daniel join us as ambassadors in this cause. Several Korean media outlets are already covering their adoption story.
“Once [Juliette is] fully settled, I want her to be an example for how great these dogs are, and I want her to help encourage people to adopt these wonderful dogs from these dog meat farms,” Daniel says. “There are thousands of other dogs just like Juliette living in cages on dog meat farms who need our help and that’s why I’m supporting HSI’s mission to end the suffering.”