DAY 279: TWO PUPPIES SAVED FROM DOG MEAT TRADE – CAN YOU HELP ME NAME THEM?
I have rescued these two puppies, but it was a long and painful story that left me feeling awful about some other dogs left behind. But these now have new lives.
Will you help me name them?
The first people to donate $50 can name one of these dogs – if you aren’t first then the money goes to feeding them for two whole years!!!!
I just heard that two of the pangolins that were seized on the Chinese border are left alive. They are now in Hanoi, 4 hours away, and I have been told I may go but have to wait a day – paperwork, routine, corruption probably, it’s all so frustrating when the poor creatures might have a chance of being saved here in the rescue centre..
To regain a sense of control I started asking about dogs and whether I could help any. Dogs…my fall back position.
‘Oh,’ said the wildlife guide here, ‘it very easy to eat dog. Everyone does it! I take you to a dog meat market’
‘No, no, I want to save some dogs not eat them’…then I started thinking. Could I face it? Could I help?
‘OK, we go to dog market’
Unlike the Philippines it is legal to kill and eat dogs over here. The pooches aren’t farmed like in Korea, but this isn’t necessarily that much better. People breed their dogs, keep one or two for utility and sell the rest at 3+ months to restaurants. They may also sell the first one or two dogs if they get sick or dont’ behave or they need the cash. So a relatively free pet finds itself couped up in a concrete cell behind a restaurant waiting to have its throat slit. No stunning first.
Dog meat – not my idea of fun
The idea of dog meat is as far from my comfort zone as London is from Hanoi. But I feel I need to see where the dogs go to be kept before they are slaughtered. As a recent meat eater attempting to heal the divisions in my soul I ought to look at some painful contradictions: if I ate pig then shouldn’t I see what goes into dog meat? They are both smart animals, they both have a right to life.
But what to do then? Do I rescue a dog? Will that not make the whole thing worse? Where do I put it?
I asked frantically if there was anyone that would care for a dog if I rescued it.
It turned out that the pangolin keeper, Mr Thang, a 60 year old or so with a kind face, had two dogs at home and another had recently died – at 22 years. I asked if we could go to the market via his house so I could see what conditions he kept them in and when we did I saw a simple but comfortable home where the dogs were well-looked after. It was worth a chance. I promised to provide enough money to pay for 4 years food – $200.
Dog meat restaurant visit
After a short while on our motorbikes, my guide and Mr Thang found a local restaurant that sold dog meat. In the back was a small concrete cell where they kept their dogs – the owner happily showed us three small animals. They sat in the dark, heads bowed, eyes unwilling to make contact with us. A small bowl of water on rough concrete. The owner took out a stick with a sharp metal hook and prodded the dogs on the necks and they howled. I got furious and stopped him. He laughed at my apparently inappropriate reaction.
One dog, the smallest, then looked up and stared into my eyes with a hang dog expression and that was too much. I had to get him out. Call me a softy.
Buying a dog from the dog meat trade is a highly suspect thing to do. Short term-ism. You buy one and the owner then buys two more to replace it. And yet…. what is this year about it not following my heart before my head? Rescuing a dog would not solve the dog meat trade but it would solve an entire life for that individual dog. What would I do if that dog was moose or bug?
But the haggling was a disaster. The man wouldn’t drop below $70 and both my guide and Mr Thank demanded I leave. That was way too much money and he would simply buy another 3 or 4 dogs. I pleaded but they urged me to go, My Thang saying that he thought the dog would be sick and too aggressive. It was his call and reluctanly I got on the motorbike, a bag of invisible guilt hanging off the back of my seat, dragging through the dust as we bumped back towards the rescue centre.
DO YOU WANT TO NAME A DOG?
I pleaded to go back. Finally they had a better idea.
They knew someone that had recently had a litter. The dogs would be bound for the meat market in a few months and we could buy a few who were not sick for very little money. We stopped off at a small farm and Mr Thang’s eyes lit up as we found two perfect dogs for about $10 each. We took them back to his house, introduced them to his other dogs and fed them and watered them. Mr Thang is not a vet but he is a nurse, able to offer injections and elementary care. This is better for the pups than having their throats slit, lets put it that way.
I gave Mr Thang $100, promised to give him $100 more when he reported back in 3 months on their welfare and left.
The first two people to donate $50 can name these dogs (if you donate but are not first the money will go to their on going care, food, and medical bills).
Still feel awful
BUt I tell you – I still feel awful about the dogs in the cell.
What can I do? I’m here to help – I have to get them out…