Why did you decide to rescue?
My family and I have always been animal lovers and as vegans, we couldn't ignore the horrific lack of animal welfare in China anymore. Year after year we saw the horrendous pictures from the Yulin dog meat festival and wanted to do something. When a friend of ours posted a picture of her new rescue dog, we looked into the charity she got him from and found Rushton Dog Rescue had just launched their 'darkness to light' project in China, rescuing dogs from the meat trade. We immediately contacted Cindi, the owner and founder of the charity and told her about us and our lives, and how we'd always had golden retrievers. She told us she had recently taken on a golden retriever who one of her activists in China had rescued from a slaughterhouse in Changchun, she sent us pictures of him, and that was that! He stole our hearts and we never looked back.
Please tell us your story with rescuing.
Clover was rescued from a slaughterhouse in Changchun by Buddhist monks who often go and rescue dogs from the horrific scenes there. Once he'd been taken from the slaughterhouse where he'd seen other dogs be killed in front of him, he was put in one of the shelters where the dogs have been saved but conditions aren't good, they are still very ill, often fight, and need to be taken on by charities. Rushton Dog Rescue took Clover along with a Samoyed and a Husky, and had him treated by vets for his pneumonia, distemper and infected mange. He was also so starved and dehydrated the vet was surprised he was alive. A wonderful Chinese lady and activist who rescued him, Doe Doe, looked after him in China until he was healthy enough to fly. Cindi worked her magic and got him on a flight from Shanghai to Paris, he stayed in a foster home in Paris for 5 days, then got the euro tunnel to England where we collected him! He is cuddly, loving, funny and silly, and just absolutely adores life and finding and exploring new things everyday with his brothers by his side.
What was your biggest fear with rescuing and how did this fear play out once all was said and done?
We had no idea what we were taking on, he could have been aggressive or severely traumatized. We were quite worried about how he would react to yet another place and more people he didn't know. Luckily, thanks to Doe Doe and largely due to his breed, he was the most loving, adoring and happy dog we'd ever met. We were also a bit fearful of how our 2 dogs would respond to him coming into the house, but they are very docile retrievers and welcomed him completely. Finn, our 14 year old, has got grumpy with him a few times but usually just ignores him now!
Would you rescue again?
Absolutely, we will only rescue from now on. We would never ever buy from a breeder. We want to rescue another dog meat trade survivor from the same charity soon.
What would you say the most positive part of rescuing is?
How rewarding it is. Seeing Clover completely change before our eyes and come out of his shell has been absolutely beautiful. When he first arrived he was quite shy and quiet, and had no idea how to play or what to do with toys. 7 months later he makes us laugh every single day, he is clumsy and funny and plays all day everyday. Looking at the before photos of him when he was rescued and how appalling he looked, and now, he is happy and healthy and gorgeous, it's like no other feeling in the world.
What would you like everyone to know about this topic?
We want to raise as much awareness of the barbaric dog meat trade as possible. It is truly horrific how the dogs are kept, tortured and killed in the most painful and vile ways imaginable. Yet somehow Clover's bright, happy and adoring personality just shines and you would have no idea of the suffering and cruelty he's endured. Adopting a meat trade survivor is the best, most rewarding thing you could ever do, it has truly changed our lives.
Follow sweet Clover on his Instagram page - @goldenrescueclover