No, you can’t save all the dogs, but you can save one. And one dog is all you need to save. But which dog is the right one to save?

You’re scrolling through your Facebook feed and come across a post about dogs in China or Beijing that are being sold in the meat trade. Your heart is breaking as you read and see how these dogs are being treated, horrible conditions, slaughtered like pigs.

international dog that is sick with a skin problem

How could anyone be so cruel to kill and eat a dog?! Your stomach turns and you feel sick! Then you see a rescue group that is traveling to save these meat market dogs.

You immediately think: I need to save one of those dogs. It’s my duty as a human to adopt one and give it the home and family it deserves.

You fill out an adoption application. It doesn’t seem too bad, some forms to fill out, the adoption fee isn’t unreasonable, the dogs are guaranteed to be healthy, and you realize you can do this.

NOTE: Animals imported from China and other countries need to meet CDC and USDA requirements for entering the United States. 

Months pass because this Chinese meat market dog needs to be in quarantine for months before coming to the United States. But the day has come, you drive to the airport, pick up your new dog and live happily ever after.

Happily ever after adoption story?

Woah, hold on a minute! Happily ever after? Are you sure? Have you stopped to think about what this dog has been through? Treated like garbage, living in horrific conditions – either on the street or in a cage with hundreds of other dogs. No experience living in a loving home with people that love dogs.

Can you expect a dog like this to walk into your home and be “normal”? Do you expect this meat market dog to be healed with your love?

I hate to burst your bubble, but these dogs have a lot of emotional baggage that is not going to be cured by your love alone. This dog may even be so afraid he won’t allow you to touch him. He most certainly won’t be potty trained. How will you take care of a dog that is so scared of life?

You may be thinking, I can do this. I will love this dog, be patient and give this dog everything he needs. But what does he need? A $3,000 behaviorist dog trainer? Oh and when that training didn’t work out, you try another. Spend thousands more at the vet for tests to see if it’s a health issue.

Are you willing to sacrifice your time, money and life for this dog over the next 10-15 years? Are you okay with not having guests come over to your house because the dog is so afraid he barks the entire time your friends are in the house?

Sad dog laying on a dirt floor with stray, may be sick.

Meanwhile a dog 10 miles from you…

A dog 10 miles from you has been euthanized because no one would adopt him and the shelter needed the space for another dog.

This dog may not have had the terrible start in life that the meat market dog has, or maybe he did. Maybe someone threw him out in the trash or dropped him off at a shelter because his owners just had a baby.

What about the dog at your local rescue or shelter? Doesn’t he deserve the same opportunity as the dogs in China or Beijing?

Instead of an international dog rescue adoption, why not adopt at your local shelter? Take the Adopt Your Perfect Dog 101 course to find the right dog for you and your family.

Meat market dogs

Asian countries eat dog, we eat cow. Not saying this doesn’t disgust me, because it does. But have you thought about what the difference is?

Other countries eat meat that we would never consider. We eat pigs, yet certain religions believe that is wrong.

These meat markets should be shut down, they should pay for how they are treating these animals. But adopting their dogs isn’t going to solve the problem. You don’t think they are breeding more dogs after a few hundred dogs get taken away?

There are other ways to get involved. Laws need to be changed in these countries. Sign a petition, become involved in the politics if you want to make a difference.

Read more about the Dog Meat Trade by the Humane Society International.

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In conclusion

The dog population is overwhelming all around the world. Shouldn’t we focus on the issue that is close to home? There are millions of homeless dogs in the U.S. alone. Thousands are euthanized because they can’t find a forever home.

What makes it right to save a dog thousands of miles away from you, when the shelter down the street is overloaded with dogs? Is it because you want a certain type of dog? Or because you just feel a strong need to save them all?

Honestly, I learned very early on in my journey in the rescue dog world, we can NOT save every dog. It’s heartbreaking, to say the least, but it’s the truth.

I’m certain my opinion will ruffle some feathers, but I’m okay with that. Let’s keep the conversation going, please leave a comment below and tell me why you agree or disagree with international dog rescue adoptions.

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About the Author

Debi McKee

Debi McKee is the expert behind Rescue Dogs 101 where she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. She is a mom of 3 human kids and 4 dogs and volunteers for a local dog rescue and Humane Society. Click here for more about Debi and her passion for helping you and your dog.

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  1. I rescued a “meet market” dog from China. He is one of the best golden retrievers I have ever had. I have met many of the “meet market” dogs from China and Korea and I totally disagree with your assessment of them. I wonder how many of these wonderful dogs you have actually had contact with? (I also have two other rescue Goldens from the US. Yes, a lot of local dogs need homes as well, but we also need to call attention to the in-humaine animal atrocities going on around the world. I am proud of my ability

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