Dogs are God’s gifts to us so we need to protect and love them! One Canadian figure skater is taking on a mission to save dogs in the most amazing way. Skater Meagan Duhamel is hoping to win a gold medal at the Olympic games in South Korea this month, but it seems as though no prize could be more life-changing than her most recent souvenir. Last year the two-time world champion skater brought home Moo-tae, an adorable miniature dachshund mix with big ears, bowed legs and the bad luck of being born into the Korean dog meat trade. Duhamel, who is a vegan and an avid animal lover, helped rescue precious little Moo-tae by accompanying him on his flight from South Korea to Canada last February. Sice his rescue, the 2-year-old dog has been living with her and husband/coach Bruno Marcotte in Montreal. Now, the lucky dog gets to spend his days doing yoga with Duhamel and making new friends at the local dog park. “He’s like a saint,” Duhamel said.
It has been a different and scary life for Moo-tae. He was one of the roughly 2 million dogs that were supposed to be raised on a Korean dog meat farm. The conditions on these farms are often very bad and Moo-tae may have been locked in a cage, beaten or left without food or water. Eventually, the adorable dog would have been sold and slaughtered. But, luckily for him, he was rescued! Right now, groups like Humane Society International are begging South Korea to ban the slaughter of dogs entirely, and some smaller groups have established volunteer systems to rescue dogs and close these horrific farms. Moo-tae was able to be adopted because of rescue group called Free Korean Dogs. The group’s founder, EK Park, was born in South Korea and now lives in Toronto. She oversees adoptions that bring dogs to Canada and the United States. Park was the one worked on Moo-tae’s adoption personally. “Most of the time, he just wants to sit in everybody’s arms,” Duhamel said. “He doesn’t even care to play, he just walks up to everybody and wants to be held.”
Now, Duhamel and Park both hope that other athletes might serve as flight volunteers as they are coming back from the Olympics, but Air Canada was too tight on space for that many dogs. Free Korean Dogs handles most everything related to adoptions, including paperwork, vaccinations, and crates for transportation, but the organization can’t put up the thousands of dollars that are necessary to ship each dog without those travelers. “We have to really rely on flight volunteers flying from Korea to Canada,” Park said. “That’s like 90 percent of what we do.”
And, luckily people like Duhamel step up to help these dogs. “Moo-tae was so strong and calm,” Duhamel said. “That’s a funny way to describe a dog, but that’s exactly how I’d describe him. He’s so content. We have a lady that walks our dogs every day while we’re training, and she says Moo-tae is the most popular dog in the dog park.”
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