Even Without Paws, South Korean Dog Runs To Phoenix Family

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.

Traditionally, dogs destined for meat in the Korean market are beaten over long periods of time, with the belief that this tenderizes their meat. Certain parts of a dog are considered a powerful aphrodisiac. Shannon Keith, founder of ARME, told Fox News that Chi Chi had certainly suffered great pain and trauma for extended periods before she had been left for dead.
"She was tortured for we don't know how long, legs bound, probably hung upside down."
Chi Chi was likely thrown out due to the fact that her legs had begun to rot, so her meat was considered unusable. She was found by rescuers and taken to Seoul for treatment, where all four of her legs were amputated.

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 is a 501c3 whose mission is "to eliminate the suffering of all animals." The group was founded in 2004 by Keith, an animal rights attorney, activist, and documentary filmmaker.

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."
Megan is looking forward to the new family member.
"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."
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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."
ARME joins other groups, such as Humane Society International, in an effort to shut down the South Korean dog meat trade. The Dodo reported yesterday of a dog meat farm being shut down about two hours from Seoul. About 250 dogs were rescued, including one puppy that the HSI consultant Miyun Park personally brought back to the States. Park told the Dodo that the conditions were shocking. There were dogs of a variety of sizes and breeds, including huskies and Labrador retrievers.
"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."
Park said that HSI is working with South Korean activists to end the dog meat trade. "This trip to a South Korean dog meat farm was my first, but it certainly won't be my last. We will continue fighting to end the eating of dogs until the practice is a thing of the past."

[Photo by Parmna/Shutterstock]