I was visiting the Forsyth Humane Society yesterday when word came back to the administrative offices that “Magdalene was back for a visit.”
Everyone rushed out to the lobby to see the dog who, before she was adopted about four months ago, had become a staff favorite (at least among those who admit to having a favorite).
The name rang a bell, and when I saw her I remembered that I was among those she had impressed — to the point where I was considering adopting her.
About the time I became the humane society’s volunteer archivist, Magdalene had entered the shelter. And I — who took the position partly so I could visit dogs — must have gone back to see her four or five times, each time leaning a little closer to taking the big step.
Big and gangly, she’s a classic mutt, who, while playful, seems to have the peaceful temperament that often goes along with a mix.
Alas, I (as I’ve done once or twice before in life) spent too much time thinking about it.
My dog, Ace, died last spring, and by the time fall came around, I was just about there, but apparently not quite.
One day, Magdalene wasn’t around anymore.
I adopted my new dog, Jinjja, about a month later from the Watauga Humane Society.
Magdalene went home with Amber Fuller, of Mocksville, who renamed her Dixie and, judging from her Facebook posts, couldn’t be happier about the dog she ended up with.
She was visiting Winston-Salem with Dixie yesterday and stopped by the shelter, where the staff seemed thrilled for a chance to see her again. And vice versa.
Fuller reports Dixie is doing great. If the video below is any indication– the humane society posted it on its Facebook page — Dixie is pretty relaxed in her new setting.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 24th, 2017 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adopt, adopted, adopting, adoption, amber fuller, animal shelters, animals, dixie, dogs, forsyth humane society, magdalene, mocksville, north carolina, pets, rescues, shelter, winston-salem
A New Mexico animal shelter has produced a pretty brilliant two-minute parody of “The Bachelor” with women vying for the attention of a handsome cur named Stewart.
“… With Valentine’s Day it just seemed like the perfect time to do that,” said Jamie Merideth, a former TV news videographer who went to work last year as a videographer for the Santa Fe Humane Society.
“We’re trying to find these animal forever homes and it just seemed like a good platform to do that,” she added.
The video’s message, of course, is that the love of your life may be waiting for adoption in an animal shelter.
But the video’s beauty also lies in its highly professional, and highly hilarious, execution.
Most of the “actresses” work at the humane society.
They play the roles of a hair stylist, an art therapist, a professional dog walker and an attorney — all oozing drama and reflecting the kind of cattiness the program is known for as they compete for Stewart’s affections.
Stewart, the ever so hunky bachelor, was a shelter dog in real life. His owner (who’s also in the video) adopted him from the Washington Humane Society before moving from Maryland to Santa Fe.
He represents the 100 or so dogs available for adoption at the Santa Fe shelter on any given day.
“He’s an amazing bachelor. He has the look, just very handsome,” Merideth told KRQE.
The video was posted Friday on the humane society’s Facebook page.
The Santa Fe Animal Shelter and Humane Society, located on a four-building campus on a 100-acre lot, has long been regarded as one of the most progressive in the country.
Now we know it’s packed with some pretty talented humans, too.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 13th, 2017 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adopt, adopting, adoption, affections, animal shelter, animals, bachelor, date, dates, dogs, facebook, new mexico, parody, pets, rose, santa fe humane society, shelter, television, the bachelor, valentine, valentines day, video, women
The 200 dogs freed in the latest closure of a Korean dog farm continue to arrive in the U.S. — and for one of them, it has meant learning a new way of sleeping.
Harriet is one of more than a dozen dogs brought to the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, where the staff quickly noticed she never laid down — not even to sleep.
Apparently, having spent her life in a cage too small to lay down in, she’d learned and grown accustomed to sleeping in a sitting position.
“Harriet had no idea what a bed was,” Sherry Silk, CEO of the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, told WFLA.
Harriet was one of about two dozen dogs to arrive in Florida from Korea recently. In the weeks and months ahead, more will be arriving in other cities in the U.S., Canada and the U.K.
They’re coming from the sixth farm that Humane Society International has closed by cutting deals with their operators to release the dogs and find other occupations.
The dogs — raised, like livestock, to be slaughtered for their meat — are being relocated to other countries for adoption in part because there is little interest in them in Korea, where many prefer small dogs and have the misconception that “meat dogs” don’t make good pets.
Additionally, HSI hopes the program will raise awareness about the dog meat trade and increase pressure on Korea to ban it.
The dogs most recently shipped will likely be up for adoption in the next few weeks.
About a week ago, after 14 of them arrived in Orlando, the Humane Society of Tampa Bay posted a video on its Facebook page of Harriet falling asleep while in the sitting position, which they theorized was because she’d never had the space to lay down.
They’ve also learned that one of the Korean arrivals is pregnant.
Staff worked to show Harriet how to get in a laying down position, and she now regularly curls up on her bed.
To see all our stories on Jinjja, my Korean rescue dog, and the dog meat trade, click here.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 31st, 2017 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adopt, adoption, animals, behavior, dog, dog farms, dog meat, dog meat trade, dogs, florida, hsi, humane society international, humane society of tampa bay, jindo, korea, korean, korean dogs, meat, orland, pets, rescue, sitting, sleep, sleeps, socialization, south korea, standing, tampa bay
Another massive rescue of Korean farm dogs is underway.
Activists on Tuesday freed 10 more dogs from a 200-dog farm in Wonju, 55 miles outside of Seoul, Reuters reported.
Dogs on such farms are raised to be slaughtered for their meat.
The farm, once it closes, will become the sixth shut down by local advocates and activists from HSI, who negotiate with dog farmers and assist them in getting started in different occupations.
HSI estimates there are 17,000 dog-meat farms in the country.
The removal of the dogs follows six months of negotiations, medical examinations and vaccinations. Because airline flights can only carry a limited number of dogs a day, it will take a couple of weeks for HSI to rescue all 200 of the dogs at the farm.
You can see a Reuters slideshow of the operation here.
HSI officials expected the dogs will be quickly adopted once they arrive at shelters in the U.S.
“As soon as they’re ready for adoption, we find that there are line-ups of people – literally people would line up at shelters – in the U.S. to adopt these dogs because people are so engaged by their sad and compelling stories,” said Andrew Plumbly, another campaign manager for the HSI.
Plumbly said hygiene at the dog farm was “non-existent,” and that dogs spent most of their lives outside in rusty cages.
A minority of Koreans consume dog, and the consumption of dog meat is declining.
Humane Society International hopes bringing more attention to the issue will lead the government ban the breeding of meat dogs in South Korea, where the 2018 Winter Olympics are being held.
(You can read more about Korean farm dogs, including mine, here.)
(Photos: Kim Hong-Ji / REUTERS)
Posted by John Woestendiek January 11th, 2017 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adoption, animals, closed, closing, dog farms, dog meat, dog meat trade, dogs, eating dog, farm, farms, hsi, humane society international, jinjja, korea, korean, korean farm dogs, pets, slaughter, south korea, u.s., united state
(Second of two parts)
Their eyes said yes, their feet said no.
All four of the dogs at the Watauga Humane Society — each being held in individual quarantined kennels after their trip from Korea — initially reacted the same when I stepped inside.
They’d take one step forward, their bright eyes shining with what seemed to be excitement, anticipation or maybe curiosity; then they’d take three steps back.
It was understandable. They’d come from a farm in South Korea — one of more than 1,000 such farms there where dogs are raised as livestock and sold as meat, where they’re often mistreated and neglected and have little human contact.
In the weeks since they were rescued from a farm in Jongju, quarantined and, along with 27 others, shipped to the U.S., the four dogs have grown a little more sociable by the day.
Yet clearly, they were still torn between the fear they had learned from experience and that innate something — call it resilience, goodness of spirit, or that seemingly limitless and often unexplainable love for our species — that all dogs are born with.
With dogs, that innate something, given a chance, almost always wins out.
That has been the case with rescued fighting dogs, puppy mill dogs, and those raised as meat. They’re willing, despite whatever mistreatment they endured at our hands, to give our species a second chance.
We sometimes return the favor.
Since the beginning of 2015, Humane Society International has worked with Korean animal activists to remove 525 dogs from Korean dog farms and ship them to the U.S. and Canada to find new homes as pets.
The organization works to persuade dog farmers to forfeit their canine livestock and move on to new careers, often providing financial incentives for them to do so.
The latest shipment was a smaller one — 31 dogs from Jonju, and they’ve been distributed among five different North Carolina humane societies and shelters that serve as emergency placement partners for HSI and HSUS.
All four of the dogs who came to Watauga Humane Society were Jindos, a breed known for their loyalty that originated on the island of Jindo, off the southern coast of South Korea.
The breed has been designated by the Korean government as a national treasure.
Yet they — especially the white and yellow ones — are commonly seen in cages at outdoor meat markets, waiting to be sold, slaughtered and butchered.
At the farms, the dogs spend most of their lives in cages, treated like livestock, at best — and sometimes worse than that.
How does a dog raised in those conditions go on to be a family pet?
In small and hesitant steps, not overnight, and not without some work and patience.
But the proven fact is, they do.
That has been the case with the the four previous batches of farm dogs who have been rescued from Korea and gone on to find adoptive homes in the U.S. and Canada.
“I can give you hundreds of stories of wonderful adoptions that have taken place with them,” said Kelly O’Meara, director of companion animals and engagement for HSI.
The four Korean dogs that came to the Watauga Humane Society had been there three days when I visited. In the quarantine area, I walked into each of their kennels and took a seat on the floor.
One sat in the outside section of his kennel and — no matter how much I gently coaxed — would take more than a step or two inside.
Another trembled in the corner, venturing a little closer after 10 minutes passed, but only close enough for a quick sniff.
One came within a few feet of me and retreated, before lingering long enough to allow herself to be petted.
The fourth would come close, then fall back, finally coming close enough to sniff my hand, and allow it to pet him. He decided he liked it.
“Every day gets a little better,” said the HSI’s O’Meara. “You’ll hear from the shelters, ‘He gets closer, he sniffed me today.’ It’s a big deal for a dog that wouldn’t come within five feet, and now its coming up and licking your hands.
“Some take months but they do get there and when they do, they’re wonderful companion dogs,” she added.
The four are expected to get out of quarantine next week. Then they’ll be taken to Asheville to be spayed and neutered. Depending on how the dogs react to that, the Watauga Humane Society could start taking applications from people interested in adopting them the last week in October.
Details will be announced on their Facebook page.
At the Cashiers Highlands Humane Society, applications are already being taken for the 11 Korean dogs they took in, though the dogs won’t be able to be taken home until after Nov. 7 when they are spayed or neutered.
Other dogs that were rescued from the farm in Jonju — an illegal one because the farmer didn’t own the land he was using — are at Paws of Bryson City, Moore Humane Society in Carthage, and Outer Banks SPCA in Manteo
Laurie Vierheller, executive director of the Watauga Humane Society, said helping the dogs find a home is rewarding in itself, but the benefits to a shelter go beyond that.
Taking in the dogs strikes a chord with the dog-loving community members whose contributions keep local humane societies afloat. It brings traffic to a shelter, and often those who come to see the dogs rescued in a high-profile case end up going home with one, or adopting another resident of the shelter.
The HSI’s O’Meara says some shelters and humane societies avoid getting involved as emergency placement partners because they want to focus on finding homes for local dogs in need.
But those who do take part, she said, have noted “a spike in adoptions, for all dogs, when they receive these dogs…One shelter, within two weeks of the dogs arriving, every dog in facility was adopted out.”
“It highlights the work they do in their communities. These homeless animals come with an incredible story. That brings in traffic, and brings in people who would provide wonderful homes.”
(Part one of this series can be found here)
(Photos: Jindol, at top, and the other Korean farm dogs soon to be available for adoption at the Watauga Humane Society; by John Woestendiek)
Posted by John Woestendiek October 13th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adoption, animals, boone, dog, dog farms, dog meat trade, dogs, emergency placement partners, farm, farm dogs, free korea dogs, hsi, hsus, humane societies, humane society international, jindo, jindos, korea, korean, north carolina, pets, rehabilitation, rescue, rescued, resilience, shelters, socialization, watauga county, watauga humane society
The four new arrivals at the Watauga Humane Society, a no-kill shelter nestled in the hills outside Boone, N.C., started adapting to their new lives not long after they were removed from a farm south of Seoul, Korea.
They continued to grow a little less timid and fearful of humans while they were quarantined in a sanctuary there, flown to the U.S., driven hundreds of miles to five different shelters and quarantined again.
Soon, they’ll be making the final step on the way to becoming pets, instead of meat.
And those 31 are among 525 who have come to the U.S. and Canada since the beginning of last year, when Humane Society International added a new strategy to its campaign to bring an end to dog farms in Korea — closing them down one farm at a time.
Representatives of HSI, working with local animal activists in South Korea, have succeeded in shutting down five farms since then — usually by negotiating deals with the farmers and persuading them to pursue new, less brutal livelihoods.
One dog farm became a blueberry farm. Another switched from raising dogs to growing chili peppers. One dog farmer agreed to stop dog farming and, with help from HSI, started a water delivery business.
It’s only a small dent, given there are thousands of dog farms in South Korea, some with 1,000 dogs or more, all being raised to be sold for their meat.
They are commonly abused and neglected and spend their lives in crates before being sold to markets, where things get even crueler.
Farm dogs are sometimes boiled alive, sometimes beaten before slaughter under the belief that it makes their meat more flavorful. Their meat is sold to individuals and restaurants at open air markets, where you can pick a live one for butchering.
It’s all a perfectly legal tradition under laws in Korea, where a minority of the population still eats dogs, and many believe the meat offers health benefits, particularly in the summer months.
That minority is shrinking more as younger Koreans turn away from the practice, a fledgling animal welfare movement grows and the perception of dogs as family members becomes more widespread.
Perhaps, South Korea will, in time, outgrow the practice. Perhaps the Olympics coming to Seoul in 2018 — as it did in 1988 — will lead government officials, who did their best to hide it then, to take more meaningful steps.
Until then, animal activists — locally and globally — do what they can.
My first exposure to dog farms was seven years ago, when I went to South Korea to research a book I was writing on dog cloning. On the road to achieving that “feat,” researchers regularly bought and borrowed meat dogs from farms, using them for experiments, to help clone the first canine and to clone the dogs of pet-owning customers once the practice hit the marketplace.
I ended up at Moran Market — and quickly wished I hadn’t.
Images of what I saw then still pop up in my head, unasked. I’ll spare you the graphic details.
It is estimated that more than 2 million dogs are slaughtered for human consumption in South Korea each year.
Add in those consumed in China, Vietnam and other Asian countries, and as many as 30 million dogs a year are killed for their meat.
South Korea is the only country where the practice has been industrialized. The New York Times reported in May that government data show there are more than 17,000 dog farms.
The Humane Society program is an attempt to shine a light on the issue, while also giving at least a few of the dogs a chance. On top of that, it strives to show that farm dogs, stigmatized in Korea and often perceived as different from pet dogs, are one and the same.
In one of the largest agreements brokered so far, this past May, a dog farmer in Wonju turned over all 260 of the dogs he was raising — mostly on discarded scraps he collected from restaurants — in exchange for certain considerations.
The particulars of the deal weren’t announced, but HSI offers incentives to farmers — $2,000 to $60,000 depending on the number of dogs involved — who agree to forfeit their dogs and get out of the business.
That farmer, Gong In-young, told the New York Times that many of the dogs were just weeks away from being sent to the slaughterhouse.
Gong, in addition to his farm dogs, had a pet dog, too. Asked about the difference in the lives of his farm dogs and his own dog, a spitz named Snow White, he described it as “the difference between heaven and hell.”
The most recent batch of dogs transported to the U.S. by HSI was small by comparison.
The dogs lived on a small farm in Jeonju, about 120 miles south of Seoul. A Canadian organization, Free Korean Dogs, was tipped off about it by local activists and, upon further investigation, learned it was an illegal operation.
While dog farms are legal, this farmer and his dogs were squatters, occupying land that didn’t belong to him. Law enforcement authorities were contacted and ordered the farmer and the dogs off the land.
That left the farmer willing to negotiate, and he eventually agreed to turn all 30-plus dogs over to a sanctuary at the end of July.
HSI, working with Free Korean Dogs, then took steps to have them shipped to the U.S., making arrangements for them to be taken in and adopted out by no-kill shelters who participate in the Humane Society’s Emergency Placement Partners program.
Those who participate in the program accept dogs the Humane Society has rescued — from everything from puppy mills to natural disasters.
All 31 farm dogs, after their flight and a few days in Maryland, were brought to shelters in North Carolina.
In the parking lot of a shopping center in Cary, the dogs were turned over to volunteers from local humane societies and shelters in the state, the News & Observer reported.
Those shelters included Cashiers Highlands Humane Society, Paws of Bryson City, Moore Humane Society in Carthage, Outer Banks SPCA in Manteo, and the Watauga Humane Society in Boone.
I visited the four who went to Boone last week.
I wanted to take some photos. I wanted to see how anti-social and fearful of humans they might be, or if that resilience dogs are famous for was already becoming apparent.
I wanted to understand how hard it might be for them to shake the past. Many who have adopted them say they’ve gone on to make greats pets — as has been the case with many of Michael Vick’s fighting dogs, puppy mill dogs and other dogs who have seen and suffered from the worst in humans.
And in the back of my head, which is also where those images of meat market dogs linger, I was thinking I might like to have one.
(For part two of this story, click here.)
(Photos: From top to bottom, Jindol, one of the four Korean dogs now at the Watauga Humane Society, by John Woestendiek; caged dogs at a South Korean dog farm, by Jean Chung for The New York Times; dogs awaiting butchering at Moran Market in Seoul, by John Woestendiek)
Posted by John Woestendiek October 12th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adopt, adopted, adoption, animals, cloning, dog meat, dog meat trade, dogs, eaten, emergency placement partners, farm, food, free korea dogs, free korean dogs, humane society international, humane society of the united states, jeonju, korea, meat dogs, Moore Humane Society, moran meat market, north carolina, olympics, Outer Banks SPCA, pets, rescue, rescued, restaurants, seoul, shelters, south korea, united states, watauga humane society
Moscow’s stray dogs, as we’ve previously reported, make good use of the city subway system — and authorities and residents generally tolerate it.
But this week when a stray, apparently seeking a warm place to deliver her litter, boarded a train to give birth during rush hour, they were even more cooperative.
Passengers got off the train and put up with hour-long delays so the train the dog was on could be sent to a depot for a more private birthing experience.
As you can see in the video above, a number of people volunteered to help.
At the depot, under the supervision of metro workers and a vet they called in to supervise, she gave birth to nine pups — and the metro administration has started a campaign to find homes for all of them, Sputnik News reported.
After the births, they were all taken to a shelter.
Dogs boarding trains and taking seats is a fairly common sight in Moscow, where strays are plentiful and steps to shelter and find them homes are not.
In fact, the stray dogs of Moscow are a true social phenomenon. Some of them commute from the suburbs by train because it is easier to get handouts from humans in the city.
Foraging dogs have long been part of Moscow’s landscape, but they stayed mostly in the city’s industrial zones and lived a semi-feral existence. They mainly relied on discarded food and kept their distance from humans. But with old factories being transformed into shopping centers and apartments, strays have learned humans have the food and the inner city is the place to beg.
It’s sort of a small scale reenactment, with a twist, of the whole domestication of the species — dogs turned feral returning once again for a human handout and, in the process, learning big city ways.
The strays have learned to cross the street with pedestrians. Some believe that, even though the color difference is not noticeable to dogs, they’ve learned to understand the walking man signal.
As a country, though it has made strides, Russia doesn’t exactly have a shining reputation when it comes to an animal welfare. Remember Sochi?
But, as a people — even though they are often depicted as cold and hard-hearted — they have some compassion for dogs.
Maybe that’s genetic, maybe it comes from knowing how cold cold can get, maybe, in the case of Moscow, it intensifies when you’re sharing an urban area — the streets, the sidewalks, the train, your lunch — with them.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 5th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adopt, adoption, animals, birth, delivers, dog, dogs, feral, metro, moscow, nine, pets, pregnant, puppies, pups, russia, shelter, strays, subway, subway dogs, train, train dogs