Dog Destined For Meat Market Becomes A Service Animal
WARNING: CONTAINS GRAPHIC AND UPSETTING CONTENT
A dog that was destined for the Chinese meat industry has not only been saved from her grim fate, she's also found an amazing new life in California as a service animal - much to the surprise of her rescuers, who know just how badly humans had treated her before.
Freya 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 told LADbible: "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).
With no cure for CDV, fighting the virus is down to the dog's body - meaning many lost the battle, as they had already been 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'.
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"In China there is a common 'begging' dog trick, where the dog stands on their hind legs and uses both front paws to 'beg'.
"Everyday we'd walk past her playpen and she'd gesture it to us with this big smile on her face. But if you moved too closely near her, she'd drop to the floor and wet herself.
"It breaks your heart to think about what she had endured even before ending up on a meat truck. No living soul deserves that treatment."
Eventually, Ariel was well enough to be rehomed, and was flown over to one of Slaughterhouse Survivors' partner organisations in California called Jelly's Place.
But Emily and the other Harbin SHS workers have only just found out what became of the pooch, who is now called Freya, after her adopter reached out to them to tell her she's now a fully-trained service dog - who's already helped save her new owner's life twice in the last month.
An update on the Harbin SHS Facebook page explained: "Last week her adopter reached out to us to let us know how Ariel, now called Freya, was getting on. Not only was she thriving physically and mentally, but she has saved her human's life TWICE in 2 months.
"Freya is now a registered Cardiac Alert and PTSD Alert trained dog, able to detect heart attacks and extreme stress, which she did twice last month enabling her adopter to get the urgent medical attention she needed.
"Humans failed Ariel/Freya in the worst possible way. And in return she just wants to help us."
Emily added: "Seeing Ariel now so loved, so cared for, with a human by her side 24/7 who will never lay a finger on her, makes the journey so worthwhile.
"The tears, the pain, the heartache. It's all we ever want for any of our rescues, a chance to live the life they deserve, to feel love, compassion, and above all - safe.
"To think that now Ariel saves human lives, after all humans did to her, is proof the human race has so much to learn."
Featured Image Credit: Harbin SHS