On September 1st, 2018 Free Korean Dogs stepped in to liberate 69 canine residents (later to become 83 after the birth of a few litters from pregnant rescues) from a dog meat farm in Dangjin, S. Korea who were destined for slaughter. This is one of their stories:
Like the majority of the dogs on the farm, Jumbak was found in a small, rusted metal cage with only a metal bowl filled with contents that looked more like waste than food. She had no proper floor to stand on, and the wire mesh beneath her put painful pressure on her paws when she did. Regardless, she didn’t seem to think there was anything wrong with her circumstances. She happily greeted her rescuers with an optimism of what was to come next.
After she had cleared her initial medical assessments, Jumbak was sent to a training school. Shortly after her arrival she was rushed to the vet after experiencing a violent seizure. FKD founder and executive director EK Park received the call in Toronto in the early hours of dawn when the vet, trainer, and shelter manager delivered the news through tears – Jumbak had been diagnosed with parvo: a viral infection in dogs that is often lethal if not treated promptly or properly. Given the extensive cost and duration of treatments, euthanasia was the recommended course of action.
While we knew she must have been in pain, she had so much life left in her eyes. It was then we decided that if she wasn’t ready to give up, neither were we. We would fight this virus right alongside her, together, for as long as she was willing to fight. And so began Jumbak’s battle to beat parvo.
Once medically stable, she was finally discharged from the vet and ready to move into rehabilitative care. However, this presented another hurdle as, due to the highly contagious nature of parvo, she could not return to the training center or shelter for fear of infecting other dogs. With no fosters or shelters able to take her in, our only solution was to build an isolation unit using a commercial shipping container. With a window and some blankets, we sought to make her as comfortable as possible.
Like all rescue dogs in Korea, Jumbak spent the winter outdoors due to the lack of funds and resources available to overrun shelters stretched thin. Unfortunately, while the rest of the dogs had each other to lean on, Jumbak endured the winter alone with only frequent visits from our volunteers and trainers. It was a long, lonely, and painful journey for the poor girl. There were many late night calls advising us to prepare for the worst, and a few occasions we didn’t think she would make it, but come spring, Jumbak made it through.
Parvo has left some lasting neurological and cardiac conditions for Jumbak. She experiences involuntary tremors and has limited access to medical treatment options due to the dangers of putting her under anesthesia with a weakened heart. When EK visited her in Spring 2019 during her annual trip to Korea, Jumbak was regaining her strength. Standing alone proved difficult, but ever determined, she persisted in trying to walk on her own and was able to take a few small steps. Currently, she has gained some much needed weight and is walking better than we could have ever hoped.
Jumbak is now the loving and affectionate girl we always knew she was. She loves the company of people, including her foster’s young children. She lives in an empty house with 2 of her canine roommates, Mido and Baekdo, where they spend their days playing and waiting for their foster to drop by, which she does several times a day. Her former roommate, a puppy named Tui, made her journey to Canada in February 2020 to join her forever family. Her current roommates will make the trip soon too, as soon as the COVID pandemic has subsided. It is our greatest hope that she does not need to say “goodbye” to her roommates, but rather, “see you later”.
2020 & Beyond:
Our dream is to find Jumbak’s forever home in Canada where she can live out the rest of her life knowing love. Whether that life will be 2 years or 12, we want her to know there is a better world outside of what she knew, such as what love and kindness feels like, and that warm beds, toys, and treats exist. Jumbak still has a lot of life left to live. Her journey is far from the end.