This dog was destined for the Chinese meat industry … She’s not only been saved from her awful fate, but she’s also found an amazing new life in California as a service animal.
Her name is Freya and she was rescued back in 2018, when a truck of more than 300 animals was stopped in a city called ChangZhi by local activists as it was transporting them to Yulin, where there is an annual dog meat festival each June.
Like many of the dogs on board, poor Freya was in a bad way when she was found, and was taken in by a charity based in Harbin called Slaughter House Survivors, which cares for mistreated animals and those bound for the meat industry before rehoming them.
Emily, one of the co-founders of Harbin SHS, recalled the day they first met the dog – who they decided to call Ariel before she was rehomed – and how she was sporting a huge head wound, having clearly been beaten badly in her previous life.
Emily said : “We met Ariel (now Freya) the first day we arrived in ChangZhi at the dog meat truck stop.
“There were over 300 dogs – sick, dying and so many with life threatening injuries. Most were very wary of human contact, understandably so given all the abuse they had been subjected to.
“But along came Ariel, straight up to us, with her tail wagging away, a big grin, and a great big sore wound on the top of her head.
“Despite how excruciatingly painful it must have been, she never ever lashed out. She let us clean and treat it each day, and just gave us love in return.“
Eventually, they managed to get many of the dogs up to Harbin for treatment, with 85 percent of them testing positive for CDV (a disease caused by a virus known as distemper). Without a cure for CDV, fighting the virus is down to the dog’s body – meaning many lost that battle, as they were already so unwell by the time the meat truck had been stopped.
Emily continued: “But, through the odds, some did make it, and Ariel was one of them. No matter how bad times got, we could count on Ariel to be smiling away in our ‘Sickhouse‘ facility, always there for hugs and kisses.
“As the dogs become stronger and healthier, their personalities start to show. It quickly became very clear that Ariel had come from a home, a home who had beaten her horribly, and had trained her to do ‘tricks’.
“In China there is a common ‘begging’ dog trick, where the dog stands on their hind legs and uses both front paws to ‘beg’.