It's no secret that Greater Sudbury has a soft spot when it comes to animals in distress.
That compassion isn't restricted to the boundaries of the city, either. In fact, Sudbury is now home to at least one dog rescued from a “dire” situation in Thailand.
Lynn Regimbal, of Furever Furbaby Rescue, said each year in Asia, millions of dogs are snatched from the streets or stolen from their homes to be tortured and slaughtered for their meat. In South Korea, she said dogs are bred for consumption in shocking conditions on so-called “dog meat farms”. These dogs spend their entire lives in cages before being slaughtered in ways she described as inhumane.
“The methods employed to kill these innocent dogs are unspeakably vicious,” she said.
Dogs are routinely blow-torched or flung into vats of boiling water while still alive. They are clubbed or stabbed to death in front of other dogs, as it is believed the sheer terror the dog endures releases adrenaline making the meat taste better.
Furever Furbaby Rescue is a no-kill and no-cage adoption service that has been located in Greater Sudbury for the last five years. Volunteers work with the veterinarians and staff at Lockerby Animal Hospital to take in owner-surrendered homeless and abandoned dogs/puppies, pregnant cats/kittens locally.
More recently, Furever Furbaby Rescue has partnered with Soi Dog in Thailand. Soi Dog oversees local, national and international adoptions, rehoming dogs rescued from dire situations across the country, from government shelters and the dog meat trade.
It also operates a successful International Partner Rescue Programme (IPRP), which sees dogs fly to the United States and Canada to fellow organizations like Furever Furbaby Rescue, who then promote them for local adoption.
The animals are subject to strict, ongoing health checks by the team of 14 onsite vets in Phuket, Thailand, and all the necessary checks are carried out for confirmation that the animals are free of any obvious or underlying diseases prior to traveling to their onward destinations with the most advanced shelter hospital in South East Asia, Regimbal said.
“I always thought how great it would be to help these dogs, and now we can,” Regimbal said. “A dog in need of help is a dog in need of help, no matter where they come from.”
This endeavor is extremely rewarding and requires dedicated fosters who have a passion to help dogs that have experienced the worst things possible and help them in their journey to love and happiness, Regimbal said.
“The more fosters we have, the more dogs we can help,” she said.
Furever Furbaby Rescue will be welcoming pups from Soi Dog on a monthly basis, and with the help of Enterprise on The Kingsway they’re able to pick up the dogs in Toronto. At times, some will be flown into Sudbury with Air Canada.
Regimbal and her crew have taken in seven dogs from Soi Dog so far. Honey is the latest canine to travel to Greater Sudbury to find a new home. Honey arrived in Greater Sudbury on Nov. 10 after leaving the Bangkok airport, and she has now settled into her new home here in Sudbury, said Regimbal.
“Honey's doing great and is fascinated by the TV — she loves to watch it,” said Regimbal. “Honey's in a foster home, which was set up before her arrival. She may get adopted by her foster family, which often happens cause of course they fall in love with these pups.”
The dogs that have come to Greater Sudbury are timid, but “super sweet,” she said.
"They simply need loving and patient foster people that are understanding of their past and gives them time to settle in.”
Rescuing these dogs isn't a cheap endeavour, she said. Furever Furbaby is always in need of donations for unexpected vet bills and dog food, but when it comes to Soi Dogs, the organization needs donations towards their travel expenses to and from Toronto, as well.
“The more donations we get, and the more foster homes we get, the more we can take in and save,” she said.
Anyone interested in helping Furever Furbaby Rescue by fostering or adopting one of the pups from Thailand can contact them through their Facebook group.
Donations can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about Soi Dog by visiting their website.