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Victor’s victories

South Korean dog meat farm rescue finds new life in New England

From Animal Sheltering magazine Winter 2018

After being rescued from a South Korean dog meat farm, Victor had to learn how to be a dog again.Now Victor enjoys boat rides and camping trips with his new family.

In May 2016, we received five dogs from a South Korean dog meat farm closure conducted by Humane Society International.

Understandably, all the dogs arrived incredibly undersocialized because of the conditions they were kept in. They were not used to human touch, love or companionship. They were nervous in their new, safe and comfortable quarters. And they were unsure of their new high-quality diet, plush toys and yummy treats—all things they had never known. Working with a professional trainer and our skilled staff, we developed a training and enrichment plan to get them accustomed to their new lives as future family members.

Out of all five dogs, Victor’s journey took the longest. He spent nearly 20 months in our care. We helped Victor overcome many hurdles, from wearing a collar and walking on a leash to receiving belly rubs and playing with toys. It was an incredibly rewarding process for our team, who celebrated each milestone Victor met. He made such an impact on every volunteer and staff member, impressing us all with his resilience.

During the months he lived on our adoption floor, Victor also acquired quite the fan club. Families would visit regularly just to say “hi” to him and pass treats through his kennel door. They’d also watch him romp and dance through the play yards, always with a huge smile on his face and a stuffed toy in his mouth.

One of those fans became his family. After lots of visits, belly rubs and treats, Victor was finally ready to venture off to his next adventure: home! In January 2018, he was officially adopted, and he’s now living the life of a four-legged best friend with his human parents and canine sister. His family updates us regularly, letting us know all of the new “firsts” he experiences. He’s gone on his first family camping trip, his first boat ride on the lake and his first overnight at grandma’s.

Victor didn’t just make an impact on our shelter family; he made an impact on our community. We’re proud of the dog Victor has become, and our hearts are full knowing he’s happy and healthy in a loving home.

- Jeana Roth, director of community engagement, Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland, Westbrook, Maine

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About the Author

Animal Sheltering is for everyone who cares about the animals in their community—from shelter directors and animal care and control officers to kennel staff, volunteers, and private individuals working as activists, breed rescuers, wildlife rehabbers, veterinarians and more.