Wendy Harley / Carter

“They say life can change in a moment and one day last May it did for me!

Watching the final of Britain’s Got Talent, Simon Cowell mentioned some awful pictures he had seen of dogs in cages and the organisation K9 Angels that was trying to help them. Of course curiosity got the better of me and I just had to see what it was all about so I Googled K9 Angels. On their website I discovered this was just three girls from different backgrounds who had come together to fight for something they believed in, their motto is Every Life Counts and they work tirelessly with rescue organisations in Europe and Asia to help save dogs whose lives are in desperate danger.

Then I found exactly what Simon Cowell had been talking about, it wasn’t easy viewing, it was the evil and cruel illegal dog meat trade in Asia. There in front of me were harrowing pictures of dogs in Thailand crammed into chicken cages stacked onto lorries being taken to Vietnam to be killed in the most barbaric and inhumane way possible to be eaten by humans. I was shaken to the core, I couldn’t bear it, but to look away and ignore it would have been much worse so I continued to look. I saw picture after picture of dogs in a desperate situation in overcrowded government shelters. They had actually been rescued from the dog meat trade but only to be put in inadequate shelters where they were either killing each other, or dying of disease or starvation, it was a harrowing sight.

Amongst all these heart wrenching pictures one in particular caught my eye. It was of a little dog, staring at the photographer with sad pleading eyes, something about him touched me, like all the dogs in the pictures he was just a number, he was K-61… I decided to message K9 Angels asking about the little dog, not really expecting to hear anything back to be honest, but later that day I got a reply. A lady called Anneka told me the dog looked like a young puppy and if I was interested in adopting then they would organise a homecheck for me. Anneka also told me if I decided to go ahead I would be asked to pay an adoption fee that would cover his travel costs, this equated to be about what you would pay for a pedigree dog, but in this case you are definitely saving a life. I was staggered to be honest, we discussed it at home but the decision had already been made, ‘just get him home’ I was told… so that’s what I did!!!!

Within a week I had been home checked, a vital part of adopting any rescue dog, these dogs have been to hell and back and it’s important as far as humanly possible to get the right home for them! With my home check done and passed K9 Angels contacted their co-rescuers in Thailand and asked for K-61 to be taken out of the government shelter to a ‘safe haven’ where he would be fostered and prepared for travel to the UK.

I then received the news I was dreading, Anneka contacted me to tell me my little K-61 was very ill, he had contracted the canine disease distemper and could not be transported out by road in the usual way and worst still he could die. I cried for a week.. I couldn’t lose him now… I decided I had to keep fighting, for him, he had come this far, I wasn’t giving up on him now, he had to make it. Then another miracle happened and K-9 Angels using some of their wonderful animal rescue friends arranged for K-61 to be flown out of the shelter into foster care where he would receive veterinary treatment and some vital loving care, and that’s just what happened. Over the next few weeks he surprised us all and against all odds he responded to the treatment, he got stronger and stronger
until a wonderful day when I got the message that he had beaten the disease and was distemper free, I was beyond elated and to celebrate we gave K-61 a proper name, we called him Carter!!!

Carter, along with a large number of other dogs, was fostered by a wonderful charity in Thailand called Soi Dog. Through the long four months I had to wait for him he completed the requirements of his pet passport, to allow him to travel to the UK. He was vaccinated, rabies checked, neutered and microchipped and, along with many other adopters I received regular updates from Soi Dog including photos and videos of his progress, and formed important support and friendship networks through online forums that still continue today. Anneka and the K9 Angels girls were with me all the way through these difficult weeks and months and I knew this little dog meant as much to them as he did to me. The last step was to wait for a flight volunteer to bring my dog home, this I was told was the most economical option and I feel it is the kindest way to transport a dog who has already suffered unmentionable horrors thousands more miles. So in September last year Carter, along with his wonderful flight volunteers and five other doggie travel companions, started out on the final chapter of his epic journey home to me. He took two planes, a ferry and two train rides to reach the UK and then at about 1pm on 14th Sept 2012 my little warrior walked through a train station into my arms… he had made it, against all odds, we had made it…

It’s not always been easy, it’s had its challenges and it was certainly an emotional rollercoaster but it’s the best thing I have ever ever done and I don’t regret it for a moment. You can’t change the world by adopting one dog but you can certainly change the world for that one dog and if we all just do a little bit then we can and we will make a difference…

Carter was one of the first two dogs K9 Angels had rescued from the dog meat trade in Asia, without them this story wouldn’t have been possible and our happy ending would never have happened! K9 Angels has since become a registered charity and they go from strength to strength and have rescued hundreds of dogs who without their help would have had little hope!”

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