Even Without Paws, South Korean Dog Runs To Phoenix Family

Nancy Bailey

A South Korean dog named Chi Chi has become Arizona's newest canine refugee. The 2-year-old golden retriever mix was found inside a trash bag near a dog meat market. When the bag moved, her rescuers looked inside. They discovered a bruised and battered yellow dog with four bound legs that were rotting and smelled of diseased flesh, but her tail still wagged.

South Korean dog meat is considered a delicacy, and according to Yahoo News, dogs there have only recently begun to be regarded as pets. Chi Chi's legs had been bound with wire, and she had apparently been hung and beaten for some time; perhaps as long as a year.

"She was tortured for we don't know how long, legs bound, probably hung upside down."

With such a horrific life story, and such a drastic loss of limbs, Chi Chi's recovery seemed touch-and-go for a while. But the dog had a desire to live.

She was taken under the wing of Los Angeles-based Animal Rescue, Media & Education, or ARME. She was given the name Chi Chi, which is the Korean word for "loving."

— ARME (@ARMETEAM) February 24, 2016

As soon as Chi Chi was able to travel, she was flown to L.A. and prepared for adoption. During that time, she became something of a media sensation. She appeared on a number of news channels, and on YouTube videos. She has her own Facebook page.

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The plucky Chi Chi was adopted by a family in Phoenix, Richard and Elizabeth Howell, who learned about her through social media. The Howells have a ten-year-old daughter Megan, and three other dogs. Richard Howell said the family had been following Chi Chi's story.

"When it came down to it, the biggest need was that she needed a place to live. I think ultimately as we progressed with her story, we just felt a connection with her. Chi Chi is different. She might actually change the world."
"She's going to sleep in my room with me at night and I'm going to get to play with her because our other dogs pretty much sleep all day."

The Howells understand that Chi Chi is going to require some rehabilitation, as well as prosthetics for her legs. When she is rehabilitated, they intend to give Chi Chi a career as a therapy dog.

"Maybe she can encourage people who have to have amputations themselves like soldiers and kids. We want to use her story to make the lives of humans better. I think if we do that, we're doing something positive in the world."

"Some huddled in far corners of their cages with their eyes averted. Others clamored for attention. And a handful seemed to exhibit stereotypic behavior [such as continuously pacing in their cage] after months in intensive confinement."

[Photo by Parmna/Shutterstock]