A British woman flew all the way to South Korea to save a dog from being eaten, whose legs had already been chopped off by a butcher.
Rafi Sahin, from London, was looking for a rescue dog in the UK back in June 2017. After contacting various charities, Rafi was continually told the dogs had been rehomed.
One day, the 33-year-old mental health worker and university student was reading an article about the Yulin Dog Meat Festival in China, which kickstarted a chain of events that led her to her cute pup.
Check out this video of Rafi and Jindol below:
The article lead her onto CARE’s website – a Korean organisation that rescues dogs who survive the dog meat trade. There, she fell in love with Jindol: a Korean Jindo who had his back legs chopped off, and was found on the street ‘starving and terrified of people’.
She called it up and began the adoption process – the charity was surprised at first, thinking his disability would be a deterrent. However, after six months of vaccinations, health checks and inspections, Rafi took him home.
It’s not known exactly how his legs were lost but I’ve had several Koreans contact me to tell me that it’s common for meat traders to cut the limbs off dogs to prevent them from escaping and even to torture them before slaughter due to a belief that this tenderises the meat.
He was lovingly rehabilitated by the charity and was kept in their reception area instead of a kennel to get him used to people again and give him the extra care he needed with his legs. He’s now been part of the family since January 2018. He was very nervous at first and we had to slowly gain his trust.
When he was first rescued, he was ‘filthy, thin and needed to be nursed back to health’. Rafi has since took him to various amputation specialists and is now fundraising for him to undergo a bionic leg procedure so that he can live a pain-free life.
When I arrived at the small shelter it was full of camera crews filming and people he didn’t know. Jindol was really stressed and barking but when I bent down to say hello, he rolled straight over to get his belly rubbed and I knew we were best friends.
The rescue team in Korea had shown me how Jindol’s leg stumps had been bandaged but I was sure I could improve on this to make him more comfortable. I’ve now been through about four iterations of bandaging techniques and taken advice from tissue viability nurses, amputation specialists and a lot of YouTube videos.
He still has ups and downs, sores and infections to contend with and he has regular hydrotherapy to manage the impact his condition has but he’s generally a very happy boy.
Rafi has two other dogs, a Husky/Samoyed crossbreed named Loki and a French Bulldog called Lyra, who get along with Jindol very well.
Jindol has integrated brilliantly with her other dogs, who at first were submissive, but they all ended up great friends and are now very protective of him.
Jindol was very timid and nervous when he first arrived; he’d sit alone on his bed at home and flinch when he saw a hand being raised like he assumed he was about to be struck.
He’s totally transformed since then; he’s one of the family now – he demands his own spot on the sofa and jumps up himself.
He follows you around the house, especially where there may be food. He’s a bit nervous still when he’s out somewhere new but he knows his mum and he’ll come to me for reassurance, to feel comforted and he’s soon wagging his tail again.
It’s proof that dogs are too pure for this world: Rafi says he still has ‘so much love and trust in people’. When she took him to the beach for the first time, ‘he was so happy it made me cry’, she said.
Ten years ago, Rafi’s life was turned upside-down when she developed epilepsy. She’s since been diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, as well as suffering from painful joints and chronic fatigue.
Luckily, she has her dogs, who motivate and inspire her every day. ‘They get me out the house, excercising and socialising when I’m not feeling great,’ Rafi said.
Commenting on what people can do to help dogs like Jindol, Rafi said:
I wanted Jindol to be able to get the most out of his life and not have his disability hold him back or let his past trauma steal a happy future from him.
People often ask me what they can do to help dogs like Jindol. There are lots of organisations that support animals in countries with poor animal welfare standards. If you can’t adopt from them yourself you can help in other ways; make a donation, sign a petition to lobby for better protective laws.
Adding to your animal family with a rescue is so rewarding and rehabilitating; a dog that’s never known love creates a truly unique bond.
What a good boy.
You can donate to transform Jindol’s life with prosthetic limbs on Rafi’s Justgiving page.
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After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He’s now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.