There are always surprises in the world of dog rescue, especially when it comes to dog meat farm survivors. You always expect them, but you never truly know the surprise entails. Some are unfortunate – will they have significant health issues? Irreversible trauma? Others are lovely surprises – personalities that willingly trust or a clean bill of health. But when a rescue dog is pregnant, it’s a mix of emotions.
Rescues exist for the sole reason there are simply too many homeless dogs in the world and not enough loving homes to take them in. Their fates as homeless dogs can involve any circumstance from being strayed (where in some countries, the risk of being shot or poisoned as a means to control the “pest” population is considerably higher), becoming institutionalized as ‘shelter dogs’ (living out their lives within the constraints of a kennel with limited opportunity for exposure or socialization, if any, further marginalizing them as desirable adoption candidates), or captured and used into despairing or illicit situations (chained up as guard dogs, used in dog fighting rings, backyard breeding, or sold to be slaughtered for meat in the dog meat trade). As rescues, we are strong advocates for spaying, neutering, and other efforts to control the pet population.
While we strongly oppose breeding for any reason, pregnancy is usually inevitable when a group of unsterilized dogs are kept in the same cage and nowhere to escape. Afterall, the dog meat trade relies on the supply of dogs, and what better way to source them than self-sufficiently? It is sometimes possible to terminate a pregnancy, provided the dog is healthy and the pregnancy is not too far along, but the former can also sometimes make this impossible and due to the risks involved.
Last month, we proudly announced the arrival of Rosie’s 3 surviving puppies after a difficult and dramatic labor. This week, we welcomed 5 new puppies from Suzie, another dog who was rescued alongside Rosie while also heavily pregnant, bringing our total number of puppies to 8. While Rosie adjusted to motherhood seamlessly, Suzie is still learning the ropes. We suspect she could even be Rosie’s daughter as the latter appears to be an experienced mother. It is not unusual that a dog meat seller would breed their dogs to maintain their supply chain. Thankfully, Suzie’s labor did not encounter any complications and both mother and puppies are doing well.
When puppies arrive, it’s a relief to know they are safe and will never know the life their parents lived. On the other hand, it takes away from the resources that would have otherwise been used for other rescues had their births been prevented. Resources are always limited, and “the slice of the pie” grows smaller and smaller with every dog being brought into the world. Regardless, we know we’ve made the right decision by protecting both mother and babies and celebrate the fact they, like their parents, have been spared an otherwise grim fate.
It is with great sadness that we announce one of Suzie’s babies (rescued from the Yongin dog meat restaurant) earned her wings shortly after her birth. The baby came into the world at half the size of her siblings, notably weaker and fragile. While small but mighty from the beginning, her feeble body eventually grew too tired to carry on, and she crossed the rainbow bridge with her mom and siblings by her side.
Written by Sara Liao, Board of Directors & Adoption Manager