Chi Chi may well be the poster pup of everything that is wrong with the dog meat industry.
Two months ago, the 2-year-old golden labrador mix was dumped behind a South Korean meat market, her legs tied so tightly with wire her bones were exposed and infections had taken hold. Indeed, the pictures of her injuries are gruesome.
“She was no longer of use as ‘meat,’ because her ‘meat’ had been rotting, and therefore she was thrown away in a trash bag and left to die,” explained Animal Rescue, Media & Education, or ARME, which is based in Los Angeles.
Some locals with Dogs In the Dark Korea found her, scooped her up and brought her to a veterinarian. Her legs were so badly damaged they couldn’t be saved. Despite amputation of all four limbs, Chi Chi, which means “loving” in Korean, has made a full recovery and has been fitted with some prosthetics.
With the help of ARME, she arrived in the United States over the weekend.
Now, she is living with Richard and Elizabeth Howell and their 12-year-old daughter Megan in Phoenix. The animal-lovers heard about Chi Chi’s plight on social media. They were going to donate money to help Chi Chi, but then realized they could do something more.
“When it came down to it, the biggest need was that she needed a place to live,” Richard Howell told the Associated Press. “I think ultimately as we progressed with her story, we just felt a connection with her.”
And the family hopes Chi Chi’s story, helps change the world – and put an end to the dog meat trade.
“Raising awareness is a critical component to stopping this horrible practice,” Elizabeth Howell wrote on Facebook. “Chi Chi will play a role in the awareness campaigns. We just want to love her and give her the best life possible. I look forward to seeing how her story and spirit positively impact others facing challenging circumstances.”
ARME is documenting Chi Chi’s story on Facebook and with YouTube videos. This video, posted last month, has more than 70,00 views. (Some of the other videos on the link above show the truly appalling conditions the animals are forced to endure before they are butchered.)
And, here she is being welcomed to the U.S.
Chi Chi still has a long way to go with rehabilitation and further fittings for prosthetics, but based on all the ball catching, tail wagging and cuddles, she’s settling in just fine.
For ARME’s founder and president, Shannon Keith, Chi Chi’s story means even more.
“When we can love through the darkest of dark places, we have truly transcended humanity and become omnipotent. Chi Chi is teaching me this every day,” Keith wrote.