When our responders rescue dogs from Korea’s dog meat farms, they invariably find the animals living in terrible conditions, in barren outdoor cages with no protection from the heat or the intense winters. Food is inadequate and the animals never feel the grass under their feet or a kind human touch.
That’s the kind of situation in which our rescuers found Patou, a sweet little Bichon mix, at a dog meat farm we closed in January 2019. Today, I want to share with you a heartwarming before/after video of Patou that chronicles his long journey from a dog meat farm to a pet in a loving home.
The first part of the video, Kelly Donithan, HSI’s director of global animal disaster response, tells me, was shot during a trip to the farm to vaccinate the dogs—one of the first things we do when we close a farm because these dogs have never received any medical care. Patou was extremely thin, matted and dirty, and shivering in the cold. Adam Parascandola, HSI’s vice president of global animal rescue and response, had to climb into the cage to get him from the back, where he was cowering.
What followed was heartstopping. Kelly recalls: “Adam held him for his vaccines and when he put him back in the cage, he collapsed. Adam scooped him back up and the veterinarian on the scene made a quick assessment.
“Patou was breathing but very weak. Adam transferred him to me, and I went to sit with him by the fire to try and warm him up. He just sank into my arms. This was my first time on a dog meat farm, and I honestly didn’t know if he was going to make it. I remember I just kept looking down at his eyes and telling him to hold on. We arranged for one of the vans to take him to the vet.”
Patou (then called Oliver) did make it. Thanks to Adam, Kelly and our other responders who brave some of the worst sort of animal cruelty to get animals out of harm’s way, he is now a happy, healthy dog with plenty of spunk, as you will see in the video. His days are filled with love, naps, playtime and cheer.
This work is not possible without the support we get from you and the love you give to these animals. So many of you have adopted dogs, pitched in with donations and signed petitions over the years to end the dog meat trade. This is a well-entrenched enterprise in the nations where it exists, and the road ahead is long and hard, but thanks to you, we have made tremendous progress and we continue to forge ahead every day. Patou’s story, and his happy, wagging tail, are gratifying reminders of why we are all in this fight, so the suffering of all dogs in this trade comes to an end.