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  • Dan Marich

Tallahassee Gets Rescued


This is Tallahassee. She is a four year old Golden Retriever. On March 8, 2021 she began her new life with a family that loves her dearly, and can't wait to help her get better. She is one of the lucky ones. This is her story, but it also a story about the unselfishness of a family that wanted to help her learn to love people, again, and have the kind of life she deserves.


I will warn you upfront that this story will both depress you, and exhilarate you, at the same time. There will be things that you will find so awful that it will make you sick to your stomach. Not everywhere in the world are people so consumed with love of dogs and cats. You will be shocked at some of the things you will read about, just as I was shocked at finding out about them myself.


I found out about this because the wonderful family that volunteered to help save her, was my cousin George and his wife Vickie.

Amanda and Kyle, pictured above, founded a rescue organization and called it Bunny's Buddies. They had heard that in Asia, in general, and Korea and China in particular, over 30 million cats and dogs die each year because of human consumption. In many cultures it is believed that the more you torture the animals, and the more they suffer, the more tender the meat becomes. Many of these animals are stolen from, or sold by, their owners for profit. Once they enter the slaughter houses, many of them still wearing their collars, the torture begins and doesn't end until they are killed.


Amanda and Kyle started this non profit because they both have a love for animals, and were outraged at the things they found out were going on around the world regarding the torture of these animals. Their website is https://bunnysbuddies.org and you can find out much more information about them and how to adopt an animal yourself. I will tell you that they generally only approve about 7% of the people that request an adoption so be ready for some serious vetting.


Back to Tallahassee's story.


She was found at a high kill shelter and was to be euthanized within a few days. She was used for breeding, over and over again, and was dumped off like trash. When she was found it was clear she had been starved. She was emaciated and living in filthy conditions. Sadly, in Korea, and some other countries in the region, they don't humanely euthanize dogs, instead they just burn them alive in ovens. This was to be her fate as well.


Many of these shelters are located way out in the countryside, far from any towns or large groups of people. The rescue groups in Asia have volunteers who are willing to drive long distances to pick up these dogs and save them. Tallie had three people who drove different legs of the trip to save her.

Once she was rescued, she was taken to the Bunny's Buddies shelter, and then sent to a foster family for three months of rehabilitation, rest, and to put on some weight. She tested positive for heartworm, not uncommon for these animals, and she will need to have surgery to repair her uterus because they bred her far too many times. Additionally, she has some atrophy in her hind legs from being kept in a filthy crate her whole life with no exercise.


Vickie and George had applied over a year ago, but the process was delayed because of the Covid crises. The US was not allowing animals to be brought into the country, and as you will recall, they had halted flights from Asia for many months. So they waited. Suddenly, they received a call and were told that their dog was being flown into Seattle and she would be there on Monday.

They flew up to Seattle the night before, rented a minivan to bring her home, and met the rescue team at the airport the next morning. There to greet them was Tallahassee with her stuffed Winnie-the-Pooh bear for support. Vickie said, "It was an amazing experience. My heart literally exploded when we saw her."


She was locked in a crate and the crate was wrapped in a mesh wrap to keep her safe. According to Vickie she was so calm and patient as they cut the zip ties and mesh away from the crate. When she came out she was wagging her tail and lapped up all the hugs and kisses tossed her way. She was taken over to the dog walk area at the airport where she could get rid of 11+ hours of water.


After spending the night in a Seattle area hotel, to let her decompress and get used to Vickie and George, along with their daughter Alexandra, who had joined them for the trip home, they left bright and early the next morning for the three day drive back to Southern California.


The rescue group vetted them extensively. Ultimately they want to put the best dog with the best family for the dog. My cousin is retired, and Vickie works from home, and as she says, "We basically have no life so we were a perfect fit for Tallie and her health issues." She continued, "They wouldn't match us with a one year old, hyperactive dog, they would place that dog with a family that is also very active." "Tallie is the perfect dog for us to love and help get better."


Tallie does not understand any English, and George and Vickie speak zero Korean, so they are training her with English commands. It will take some time for her to learn, but she does understand hugs and kisses already, so that helps. Also helping everyone is the fact that Vickie and George have had three Goldens over the years, so they understand the breed and how to work with them.


Many of us talk about doing something to make a difference in the world, but life usually gets in the way and we are lucky if we can just plow through life, and its challenges. To hear about a couple, actually putting their lives on hold to help rescue a beautiful dog that was destined for the incinerator, fills my heart with hope, love, and joy. I am so proud to call them family.


Tallahassee seems pretty happy as well.


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