When they weren’t on the slopes or at the rink, U.S. Olympic athletes spent their time in South Korea somewhere a lot less dazzling. Long before it was the stage for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, South Korea was the site of thousands of dog meat farms. Humane Society International estimates there are around 17,000 farms where dogs are crammed into filthy cages while they await their devastating fate. One of these farms is less than an hour away from where the Olympic games were taking place, and several athletes took the opportunity to make a positive change for animal welfare.
One of those athletes is Maddie Mastro. The 18-year-old Olympic snowboarder took time out from competing in the halfpipe final to help save the life of a dog named Jadu. An organization called Save Korean Dogs works continuously to shut down dog meat farms and send dogs to loving homes, but they can’t always do it alone. In Jadu’s case, Save Korean Dogs needed someone to escort the rescued dog to a better life. Mastro decided to step up and help make it happen.
After her work in South Korea was finished, Mastro took on the responsibility to be Jadu’s flight buddy for the long trip to the United States. Mastro used her personal funds to change her ticket to a dog-friendly flight to Los Angeles. The teenaged Olympian said she instantly fell in love with the rescue dog, but she doesn’t have the means to take Jadu home forever. She already has three rescues of her own, but she’s determined to help the meat farm survivor find the perfect new family.
Now that Jadu’s paws are safely on American soil, she’s ready to be adopted. She was transferred to The Barking Lot, an animal rescue organization in San Diego County. Veterinarians made sure Jadu is healthy, and everyone at the rescue has already fallen in love. Despite being raised at the dog meat farm and having basically zero interaction with humans, Jadu is described as being “outgoing” and a “wonderful dog” by Barking Lot Rescue founder, Stacy Parmer.
Including Jadu, Barking Lot has saved over 200 dogs from the dog meat trade. They’re prepared to find homes for each and every one. Mastro’s Olympic spotlight and large fan base are expected to help both Barking Lot and Save Korean Dogs bring much-needed attention to the situation in South Korea.
If you’re interested in showing Jadu what a good life is all about, visit The Barking Lot website for information about animal adoptions.
Featured image via Facebook/The Barking Lot