Puppy rescued from Chinese dog meat market steals the show at Humane Society benefit gala
by Katerina Lorenzatos Makris
It’s true that influential congress members, film and television stars, and other powerful patrons mingled among the 500 revelers at The Humane Society of the United States’s (HSUS) benefit gala in Washington, D.C. on Saturday night. It’s also a fact that the event, part of the weekend’s Taking Action for Animals conference, raised more than $100,000 in pledges for Humane Society International (HSI) to open an office in Vietnam that will work against the custom of eating dogs, according to HSUS Chief Program and Policy Officer Mike Markarian.
But nothing attracted more attention—or accomplished more for the cause—than the smallest, youngest, and cutest attendee, a fuzzy, friendly, and frolicksome foreigner who doesn’t even have a name yet.
He arrived in the U.S. just two nights ago, made his stage debut at the posh party, and immediately stole hundreds of hearts.
Then he promptly worked his way into one particular heart, where he won a permanent spot.
One of 200 dogs rescued by Chinese animal protection activists from a dog meat market in Yulin, China, the little immigrant easily might have ended up on somebody’s plate last week. Instead he landed playful paws-first this weekend in the lap of luxury and love.
His adopter seemed barely able to contain her joy. Nor was she able to hold him for very long, because dozens of his fans kept sidling up to beg for “puppy time.”
“I would really like to make sure he’s an ambassador to the community,” said his new “mom” Leslie Barcus, HSI board member and executive director of VegFund. “We could use his help for educational purposes about the plight of street dogs and of dogs used as food—for human consumption—across Asia and other parts of the world. He’ll be in the community a lot, and he’ll be a friend of everybody.”
For the job of being publicly adored, this youngster appears to be a natural. Remarkably unfazed by the bright lights, roaring applause, and streams of admirers in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center ballroom, the 12-week-old chow chow mix performed flawlessly, dispensing hundreds of kisses, endless tail wags, and even putting on a sporty show of toy-chasing.
Trans-Pacific jet lag? Not a problem, apparently.
“We don’t have a name for him yet because I’d like to draw from everyone’s ideas,” said Barcus. “It will probably be a Chinese name, something that will be appropriate to his journey here, and his journey among people, and his salvation from what would have been a very horrible ending.”
In what looks to be one of the happiest of endings, the diminutive diplomat is destined for Facebook, Twitter, and other media to continue making his U.S. splash.
Please visit Animal Issues Reporter again soon for more news on this small but spirited rising star.
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Katerina Lorenzatos Makris is a career journalist, author, and editor. Credits include hundreds of articles for regional wire services and for outlets such as National Geographic Traveler, The San Francisco Chronicle, Travelers’ Tales, NBC’s Petside.com, and Examiner.com (Animal Policy Examiner), a teleplay for CBS-TV, a short story for The Bark magazine, and 17 novels for Avon, E.P. Dutton, Simon and Schuster, and other major publishers.
Together with coauthor Shelley Frost, Katerina wrote a step-by-step guide for hands-on, in-the-trenches dog rescue, Your Adopted Dog: Everything You Need to Know About Rescuing and Caring for a Best Friend in Need (The Lyons Press).
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