Woman Flies To South Korea To Adopt A Dog Rescued From Being Eaten

The dog's legs had already been chopped off.

Rafi Sahin is a 33-year-old mental health worker and university student from London. She had been looking for a rescue dog in the United Kingdom, since June 2017, but without luck. One day she came across an article about the Yulin Dog Meat Festival in China, which lead her onto CARE's website, a Korean organization that rescues dogs who survive the dog meat trade. This is how she fell in love with Jindol, a Korean Jindo whose back legs had been chopped off. He was found on the street, starving and terrified of people.

She called and started the adoption process, and after six months of vaccinations and health inspections, Rafi managed to take the dog home.

"It's not known exactly how his legs were lost but I've had several Koreans contact me to tell me that it's common for meat traders to cut the limbs off dogs to prevent them from escaping and even to torture them before slaughter due to a belief that this tenderizes the meat.

He was lovingly rehabilitated by the charity and was kept in their reception area instead of a kennel to get him used to people again and give him the extra care he needed with his legs. He's now been part of the family since January 2018. He was very nervous at first and we had to slowly gain his trust," Rafi said.

When he was found on the streets, the dog was 'filthy, thin, and needed to be nursed back to health'. His new Mom took him to several amputation specialists and is now raising money so he can undergo a bionic leg procedure.

"When I arrived at the small shelter it was full of camera crews filming and people he didn't know. Jindol was really stressed and barking but when I bent down to say hello, he rolled straight over to get his belly rubbed and I knew we were best friends.

The rescue team in Korea had shown me how Jindol's leg stumps had been bandaged but I was sure I could improve on this to make him more comfortable. I've now been through about four iterations of bandaging techniques and taken advice from tissue viability nurses, amputation specialists and a lot of YouTube videos.

He still has ups and downs, sores and infections to contend with and he has regular hydrotherapy to manage the impact his condition has but he's generally a very happy boy."

Jindol now has 2 brothers, a Husky/Samoyed crossbreed named Loki and a French Bulldog called Lyra. He gets along great with his siblings, and he has integrated perfectly into his new family.

"Jindol was very timid and nervous when he first arrived; he'd sit alone on his bed at home and flinch when he saw a hand being raised like he assumed he was about to be struck.

He's totally transformed since then; he's one of the family now - he demands his own spot on the sofa and jumps up himself.

He follows you around the house, especially where there may be food. He's a bit nervous still when he's out somewhere new but he knows his mum and he'll come to me for reassurance, to feel comforted and he's soon wagging his tail again."

Even though he's had a rough life, Rafi says Jindol still has 'so much love and trust in people'.

Life hasn't been easy on Rafi, either. Ten years ago, she developed epilepsy, and since then, she's been diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, as well as suffering from painful joints and chronic fatigue. Her dogs help a lot, as they motivate and inspire her every day. 'They get me out the house, exercising and socializing when I'm not feeling great,' Rafi said.

"I wanted Jindol to be able to get the most out of his life and not have his disability hold him back or let his past trauma steal a happy future from him.

People often ask me what they can do to help dogs like Jindol. There are lots of organizations that support animals in countries with poor animal welfare standards. If you can't adopt from them yourself you can help in other ways; make a donation, sign a petition to lobby for better protective laws.

Adding to your animal family with a rescue is so rewarding and rehabilitating; a dog that's never known love creates a truly unique bond."

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