A Thai dog that was saved from being turned into meat is getting a new lease on life at Kent Animal Shelter, which is trying to find the pup a home.
Dixie, a 7-year-old Shiba Inu mix, arrived at the Calverton shelter last month as the first of three dogs from the Soi Dog Foundation, which rescues animals from the illegal dog meat trade in East Asian countries and finds adoptive owners for them.
“The animals are taken off the streets. Then they’re caged up and hidden away somewhere until they can be shipped away to places like Vietnam and Cambodia,” said Pamela Green, executive director of Kent Animal Shelter. “It’s supposed to be a companion animal. It’s a very sad thing.”
According to Soi Dog, thousands of stray dogs from Thailand are often victims of the illegal trade. Ms. Green said politicians in the country are trying to eliminate the underground market.
“But things take a long time [to change], especially when they’re illegal,” she said.
Dixie was animals rescued by the organization and taken to one of its locations, where Ms. Green said she was socialized and received medical care. From there, the tan-colored dog was taken to another location in Phuket, Thailand, and ultimately shipped to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport with about nine other pups.
Ms. Green said someone who works with Soi Dog Foundation helped put the two rescue groups in touch early this spring. Kent Animal Shelter often works with other shelters locally and across the country to bring in dogs from shelters that euthanize unwanted animals, Ms. Green said. But this is the first time the shelter has taken in a dog from the other side of the world.
Dixie, who was already spayed and microchipped, has never had a home, Ms. Green said. Despite having lived exclusively on the streets, however, she seems to be fairly well-adjusted.
Ricky Appling, kennel manager at Kent Animal Shelter, said Dixie was skittish at first due to her new surroundings but is warming up to life in New York.
“She’s a good girl,” he said.
“She seems to trust people,” Ms. Green added. “She’s bonded to the people at the kennel. She seems to be like any other dog.”
Although Dixie is still adjusting to her new life, Ms. Green said she’ll be available for adoption to the right owner.
“It has to be someone who’s really an animal lover that wants to love an animal that’s had a really rough go of it,” she said.
Two additional Soi Dog Foundation animals will soon be coming to Kent Animal Shelter. Joy and Lou are expected to arrive Sept. 29, about a month after Dixie first arrived.
Ms. Green said Kent’s employees and volunteers can get attached to the dogs’ personal stories, but they’re always happy when they find new homes with loving owners.
“We take pictures of them when they go home,” she said. “There’s a lot of joy and satisfaction seeing them go home, coming from sometimes terrible circumstances.”
Photo caption: Dixie, a 7-year-old shiba inu mix, goes for a trot around Kent Animal Shelter days after she arrived in New York. Dixie was rescued from the illegal dog-meat trade in Thailand and is now available for adoption. (Credit: Paul Squire)