There’s no doubting that for the most part, dogs are well loved in this area. From all the dog parks, hiking trails, lakes, sprawling back yards and most importantly, a loving family, our dogs are living the life! Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case in every part of the world, and there are many places where dogs are treated as agricultural animals and raised only for their meat. Luckily though, there are passionate people everywhere who are willing to save these dogs from a horrible fate, and perhaps nobody is more passionate about it than Patti Kim, President and Co-Founder of Jindo Love Rescue. “I was online one day and found myself looking at photos of dogs on Facebook, until I landed on an image of a Golden Retriever in a slaughterhouse,” she said. “I reached out and ask if I could help, and she said the dog died two weeks ago. I was devastated, so I asked if I could rescue another one. I rescued my first dog in January of 2015, I sponsored and adopted her out.”
Patti wasn’t satisfied, though, as she knew there were still so many dogs that needed help desperately. She reached out to Su Jeong Kim who was rescuing dogs in Korea and offered her help, and in June of 2015, Jindo Love Rescue was born. Together, they began the hard work of saving as many dogs as they could.
“When we rescue dogs, there are no set rules,” she says. “First, we try to beg and plea, we try to bribe them, or we try to find any way that they are breaking the law. If it’s the fastest way, we will pay, but we really try not to do that. At the end of the day, it’s all about saving the dog. It’s more difficult at the slaughterhouse, because people are very violent, and they are protective of something that is making them money. They usually will not give up the dogs unless they are doing something illegal.”
While Korea has certain laws protecting animals sold as pets, there’s a fine line between agricultural law and animal abuse laws. The dog meat farmers treat dogs like agriculture so they are able to get away with more than they would if they were treating them as pets. Patti explains that there is absolutely no difference and emphasizes that there are a lot of people from the younger generation who are passionately working on educating the public about this issue and protest against it.
Making a Difference
Since they began, they have done incredible work and pulled off some impressive rescue operations, including the liberation of all dogs from a truck on the way to the slaughterhouse, and a puppy mill. “The puppy mill was huge, it was 134 dogs, and all of them were sick,” Patti says. “Female dogs got in-house C-sections. Many of them had 5 or 6 C-sections, which completely destroys them. They also give them fertility medicine that makes them conceive 3 times a year instead of 2 times a year, and this medicine also melts their teeth.”
All of this is even more impressive when considering the size of their team, which averages a group of only a few core members. In the last six and a half years, Jindo Love Rescue has saved more than one thousand dogs. In addition to Patti and Su Jeong, the team includes other passionate members such as Vice President Jackie Alcayaha, Treasurer Jeanne Mann, Secretary and Special Projects Coordinator Claire Clarke, Director of Adoptions Mandy Culbertson, Adoption and Social Media Coordinator Lauren Alcayaga, and Foster Mom Min Jeong Song. Even with this all-star team, though, there are still plenty of challenges to overcome.
“In the last 3 years, our rescue has gotten much busier,” said Patti. “We now have 120 dogs, so finances cause the most stress. One year, Su Jeong Kim paid $60,000 of her own money to keep it going. We often have emergency situations, and we have to take on the burden ourselves. Between all of us, we are a 24-hour operation which means I stay up until five in the morning sometimes to communicate with our team in Korea.”
How to Help: Adoptions
Despite the challenges, the joys of running a highly successful adoption program (out of 1,000 adopted dogs, only 15 needed to be rehomed) has been more than rewarding. After the dogs are rescued, they go to a foster home in Korea, which is a large building where they receive any care and socialization they need. When they are adopted, they fly to the United States to meet their new owner. To adopt a dog yourself, though, be prepared for a thorough process. Jindo Love Rescue truly cares about their dogs and wants to make sure they go to a wonderful home.
“We don’t take digital applications up front. We want to feel the positive energy of someone, because the dog will be able to feel that as well. We start the process with a conversation, because that’s the best way to get a feel for the applicants’ personality,” Patti says. “If you aren’t a good fit, we will make sure to tell you so you can work on it if you are really dedicated to adopting. We worry about your kids, our dogs are not cat-tested and certain breeds have a high prey drive, so we try to educate everyone and let them know that our denial is not personal, it’s just that the dogs may not be a good fit for someone’s home situation.”
To start the interview process for adoption, simply send a message to Jindo Love Rescue on Facebook where you will begin the pre-interview. If you meet the requirements for the dog you’re interested in, the detailed interview will take place. The organization takes care of all the flight arrangements, and only gives US brand vaccines and food to their dogs. There is an adoption fee, but 100% of it goes toward covering the costs of the dog’s care; none of it goes to profit. Once adopted, the dog comes from Korea, straight to the new owner’s house.
“The dog is flying across the ocean, and you are its world,” Patti says. When I told her that must be a special moment, she replied with a laugh; “you being a man, it’s the closest thing you can experience to giving birth. Once you open the crate, you’re the first person that dog will see. It’s very heart melting.”
If you don’t meet the criteria that would allow you to adopt one of these dogs, there are still many ways you can help through donations to the cause. Exercise caution if you decide to donate to other organizations, as many dog rescues in Korea are for profit, or profit directly from donations.
For adoption and contribution information, visit jindoloverescue.com or reach out on Facebook Messenger. •