Taken off the streets as strays or stolen as pets from their homes: around 10 million dogs and cats in Southeast Asia face this fate every year. After they are captured, the dogs are kept in alarming conditions until slaughtered.
Fortunately, some of the dogs were lucky and escaped a shortened life full of terrible misery. Five dogs rescued from a minivan now wait for new homes in Switzerland. Their stories of survival shed light on the many remaining victims of this cruel trade, which still need our help. They also symbolise hope for an end to the brutal dog and cat meat trade once and for all.
In cooperation with our partners and the Swiss animal shelter Paradiesli, these five dogs symbolise hope to end the brutal dog and cat meat trade for good.
Read more about why they came to Switzerland here.
Akio's new owners are overjoyed and share their first moments with him:
"Soon it will be two months that our Mister Brinkman, now Akio, will be living with us. The first days he only slept and remained a very calm dog.
Since day 1 there have been no problems with our other dog Kaya. The two of them get along really well and Kaya helps him settle in. In the meantime he has new dog friends that make him more confident to be around humans – to get some cuddles and treats. He is a little gourmet and does not eat everything.
Day by day he is getting more and more comfortable with us and is warming up to us. He can be very funny and makes you smile with his special looks, habits and yoga positions while sleeping. Typical for his young age, he naturally tests the one or other limit and can also be really stubborn sometimes. At the same time, we are getting to know his limits better and better, such as environments with too many stimuli, which can sometimes cause him to panic.
With our trainer, Akio is learning "how to learn" and his curiosity is helping him to overcome his fear and insecurity in certain unfamiliar everyday situations or with other dogs. Everyone likes him immediately!
We will certainly have a lot more to come, because Akio has his very own character and learns quickly – of course this also includes nonsense, which he learns from Kaya. He has shown a good hunting instinct from the very beginning, but he has a good recall.
He immediately accepted our tomcat (Kaya had told him to do so).
Apart from that, Akio loves to cuddle, eats cat poop and cat toys and thinks wet grass and rain are totally stupid – all in all, he's just a dream dog.
We very much hope that Akio's/Brinkman's companions will find a home soon, too. FOUR PAWS and Paradiesli have taken them in so well after their difficult start in this world and prepared them for their future life that they will surely bring as much joy to all future forever homes as Akio did to us."
Elli's new family tells us about their decision-making and getting-to-know-you phase:
"Since 7th of November, Elli has been living with us, a family with two boys, 12 and 15 years old, and our old lady, cat Luna. We are long-time cat owners, respect and appreciate animals of all kinds, but are still beginners as dog owners.
Our younger son has always wanted a dog. That's why we have looked into the subject of dogs intensively, visited breeders and also read a lot. We weighed up the pros and cons and discussed them together. When the opportunity arose to apply for a dog from the animal rescue programme of FOUR PAWS, we saw the chance to put our idea into practice and at the same time to take a dog into our family that was looking for a home.
On our first visit we were immediately drawn to Elli. Every other meeting ensured us that we could offer Elli the home she needed and she felt comfortable with us.
As I said, we are novice dog owners, but not naive, so we had some reservations about taking direct responsibility for a dog with an unknown, possibly traumatic past. We wanted to be sure that we would not ask too much of either Elli or our cat.
The companionship from the Paradiesli animal shelter and of course Elli's wonderful, reserved and kind nature helped us to quickly overcome our concerns.
In the meantime, Elli has built up a lot of trust, especially with her owner. She is relaxed at home and seems to fully enjoy her new surroundings, the lively housemates, cat Luna and the extended walks. Elli has quickly found her place in our "pack" and knows/follows the rules at home very well. Outside on our walks Elli shows a strong sense of hunting and is a master in sniffing out various scent traces. We still have a lot to practise, to learn and to steer her in a different direction. She still gets scared in certain situations, but she is now able to go for a walk in more lively surroundings and driving in the car is getting better and better. We were even able to have Christmas dinner in the bistro of Nonno's centre for the elderly and Elli showed her most charming side. We get support and valuable tips from a dog trainer. At the moment it's still one-to-one, but as soon as possible it will be in the dog school.
Yes, we can say with certainty that it was the right decision. We are happy to have Elli with us and look forward to many more adventures with her."
- Born: approx. November 2021
- Rhodey is a friendly female dog with a brown coat in light and dark shades.
- She has a happy, balanced character and she enjoys the company of people as well as puppies, with whom she loves to play.
- Rhodey is a fast runner but also likes to just sit and watch.
- Born: approx. March 2020
- Shark is a healthy, medium-sized female dog with a light brown coat and a cute brown and black snout.
- She is a friendly dog and also quite comfortable with small children or other dogs: She would never start a scuffle.
- The only time she gets a little nervous is when she meets new people for the first time. But with a little time and patience, she has developed into a trusting dog.
- Born: approx. October 2020
- Wanda is a rather small young dog with brown fur, a black muzzle and short eyebrows.
- She is a bit shy with new people at first, but quickly gains trust and likes to be around people – cuddling is one of her favourite things to do.
- She has a happy, uncomplicated character and is neither fussy about food nor towards other dogs. When she is particularly happy, she likes to jump up and down – a real bundle of energy.
Saved from slaughter, 5 heroes await new homes
In September, the five chosen dogs will arrive in Switzerland. After the long journey they will temporarily move to the species-appropriate surroundings of the animal shelter Paradiesli before finding a forever home.
After they have settled in, the adoption of the dogs will be organised and carried out by the animal shelter Paradiesli and not FOUR PAWS.
The reason behind Switzerland
In general, FOUR PAWS always tries to find homes for rescued dogs in the local countries.
For this particular situation, FOUR PAWS decided to take an individual case because of the situation on the ground:
- In July 2020, the Ministry of Agriculture of Siem Reap Province took action to enforce an official ban on the dog meat trade.
- In February 2021, government officials intercepted a minivan with 61 live dogs destined for slaughter. They arrested the trader and called FOUR PAWS for help.
For dogs and cats rescued from the dog and cat meat trade, there is little to no local capacity for long-term care and rehoming.
Animal placements do not have a long tradition in Southeast Asia and are only slowly establishing themselves. In the case of the 61 dogs, only 30 have found a new home.
To help the animals find a loving home quickly after their traumatic experiences, FOUR PAWS has decided to place these animals in Europe as an exception.