It’s official! With the adoption of our beautiful Great Pyrenees named Great, Free Korean Dogs has now successfully found forever homes for 1000 Korean rescue dogs (and counting!) in Canada and the US.
Great is a very special girl to many of us at FKD, so it came as no surprise she would be the one to take the hallmark position of being the 1000th adopted dog. All one had to do was hear about Great’s sweet and goofy personality to fall in love with her; seeing her photos would deepen it, and meeting her would cement it. But as exceptional of a dog Great is, there is sadly nothing unique about her story.
Great was rescued from a high kill shelter and ended up living in our partner boarding house for over 3 years without any prospects of adoption before she flew to Canada. As a large breed dog, she faced travel restrictions and had to undergo a stringent diet in order to meet the travel criteria to board her flight. Had she not, she would have spent the rest of her life as a shelter dog, which is not much of a life at all. Every year, millions of dogs in Korea are thoughtlessly abandoned, needlessly euthanized, and callously murdered. Those who are saved spend the remainder of their days institutionalized in overwhelmed, humble shelters without the intervention of international adoption programs.
Looking Back to the Beginning:
Free Korean Dog’s very first adopted rescue dog was from a chicken farm where the owner was raising dogs on the side in order to sell to the dog meat market. They were tied up outdoors on short chains and fed rotten scraps of chicken meat and provided little water.
Looking back, EK would probably describe the experience as ‘chaotic’. Being a one-person organization at the time, she was fastidiously advocating to secure the safety needs of the rescue dogs during the day while frantically googling topics such as “how to transport a dog to Canada” in the late hours of the night. She didn’t yet have the right connections or the knowledge and experience, but determination propelled her forward. She was never afraid to stand up for what she believed in, even when she was standing alone.
We didn’t fully “get it” on day 1 and we still can’t claim to have a perfect system even now, but failure became the best teacher and inadvertent stepping stone to the successes and milestones we have since achieved. In fact, we might have learned more from our failures than triumphs, of which the former has pushed us to constantly learn and evolve. Today, we since have collaborated with hundreds of talented individuals, each and every one who brought something unique to the table.
Looking Forward to the Future:
In the grand scheme of things, it would be impossible to save every dog. But thanks to a community of compassionate people we were able to change the lives of 1000 dogs. It’s been a rollercoaster of a ride, but we’re not ready for it to end. Whether this ride takes us up, down, sideways, or in circles, we’re hanging on and looking towards the next 1000 rescues!
Written by Sara Liao, Board of Director & Adoption Manager