Rural Dog Rescue Saves Thai Dogs from Meat Trade

Cher, a Thai dog coming in to Rural Dog Rescue. (Photo: Rural Dog Rescue)

Thai meat plant survivor dogs Cher, Asha and Crystal arrive in DC on March 22 with the help Rural Dog Rescue, but the team still needs funds and fosters to give the three animals a new home in the US.

Kim Hawkins, director and founder of Rural Dog, runs the rescue out of her store Howl to the Chief at 733 Eighth Street SE. She said she and the rescue team agreed to for the first time partner with the Soi Dog Foundation in Thailand to save roughly 11,000 dogs from meat farms.

Rural Dog started an online fundraiser for $1,000 to help pay for veterinary, travel and other needs for the three dogs. As of March 7, about 17 people already contributed $815 with 23 days to go. Donate here at

But in order to help the three dogs acclimate to their American surroundings, Hawkins said they need to find foster families willing to rehabilitate the damaged animals. 

“We only took three this time because we want to see how it will work with fosters,” Hawkins said. “They are going to require special fosters, extra time for patience.”

Cher, Asha and Crystal will receive vaccinations, be spayed or neutered, get micro chipped and spend about 30 days in temperament training — these dogs typically come from roaming the streets and don’t know domestic life.

Although Rural Dog works with foster families that can handle intense rehab situations, Hawkins said these may bring new challenges. They previously lived in a pack with thousands of other dogs, are not acclimated to every day noises in DC and will not come with any house training.

Hawkins added that people can’t apply to adopt the three for at least a few weeks. They need time. She said it’s important to remember that while the US deals with its own animal shelter populations, there are still more that need help.

“It’s for awareness, this new partnership, for what’s going on in the illegal dog [meat] trade,” Hawkins said of why they chose this new venture. “It’s like saying you only adopt a child from the United States. Other children outside the US need help, too.”

But Rural Dog won’t step away from their primary work with the local shelters, she clarified. They will remain dedicated to the underdogs in and around DC.

Crystal, a Thai dog coming in to Rural Dog Rescue. (Photo: Rural Dog Rescue)
Asha, a Thai dog coming in to Rural Dog Rescue. (Photo: Rural Dog Rescue)

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