We are sometimes asked why we focus on helping dogs in Korea when there are so many dogs in Canada and the US that need our help. The answer is simple: compassion knows no borders.
A month ago, David from Kunsan Paws contacted us and asked if there is anything they can do to help Korean dogs. Kunsan Paws is a wonderful animal welfare community inside the US Air Force Base in Kusan, Korea. Last year they helped us a lot: they donated dog food and also helped us shut down the Jeonju dog meat farm. We connected them with Hannah Shelter, located in north of Daegu.
Hannah Shelter is run by two ladies: the shelter owner and her mother, who is in her seventies and is full of compassion. The two ladies take care of over 200 rescue dogs; most of them were dumped, rescued from the dog meat trade or from high-kill shelters. It is a private shelter so they get no support from the city or government. It relies solely on volunteer help and public donations. Even though it is called a “shelter” there is no proper building for the dogs; they use tents to block sunlight, rain or snow and the owner and any sick dogs live in a tiny construction container.
On July 8th – a very hot, humid and rainy day – about 20 volunteers gathered to take the three hour road trip to Daegu to visit Hannah Shelter. When they arrived and finally saw the dogs, they were so happy. The garbage was piled and there was so much work to be done. The dogs were so happy to have new friends, especially foreign visitors who don’t mind holding and petting them despite the mud and dirt.
There were large dogs chained up outside, many covered with long tangled hair and suffering severe skin problems. It’s not that the shelter neglects the dogs, but rather that there are simply too many dogs to help. They are completely overrun.
The Kunsan Paws volunteers did a great job that day, cleaning up the shelter and walking the dogs. But the hardest part, as always, is the last: leaving the dogs behind and saying goodbye, knowing that there’s still so much more to do.
Free Korean Dogs has been helping the dogs at Hannah Shelter through our international adoption program since 2016, when I first visited the shelter. The ultimate goal of our rescue work is to find forever loving homes for the poor dogs.
We really appreciate Kunsan Paws for truly showing that compassion has no borders.
Photos by Kunsan Paws.
The following live video was taken last summer by EK Park, the founder of Free Korean Dogs, when she visited Hannah shelter in Daegu Korea.