Customer Spotlight - Free Korean Dogs

Free Korean Dogs is an organization that grew out of passion - a passion for rescuing dogs not only from abandonment but also from the Korean dog meat market. Korea is the only country in the world that commercially farms dogs for food - every year, millions of Korean dogs are slaughtered for meat consumption. When EK Park, Founder and Executive Director, visited her native South Korea seven years ago, she witnessed firsthand the brutality that so many dogs are subjected to as a result of this trade. Determined to do something about it, EK Park began rescuing a couple of dogs and bringing them to Canada. What started with the small-scale rescue of a few animals has now evolved into an international rescue and adoption program that saves hundreds of dogs in Korea each year.

For William Yang, who volunteers his time as Treasurer and Corporate Secretary, his role within the organization began as a way to meet people in a new city. When he moved to Toronto six years ago, he volunteered his time for Free Korean Dogs, helping with the clean-up and care of the dogs at adoption events. At that time, the company had only been around for a couple of years, but as the organization grew, with more and more dogs being rescued and adopted, the need for better funding led them to apply to CRA for a formal charity designation. William, who has worked in the banking industry for the past 25 years, became the coordinator of that piece.

It is the passion for building a community that drives William’s ongoing commitment. “We don’t just stop at adoption,” he explains. “We are really trying to build a community as well.” The close knit adoption network is a huge part of the organization. “As I say, it takes a village to rescue one dog.” Once a dog is adopted, a volunteer will follow-up with the new family 30, 60 and 90 days after the adoption, to make sure that the dog is adjusting well to their new environment. A large part of that adjustment is the food that they are fed. Most of the rescue centres in Korea don’t necessarily have the financial resources to feed the dogs very well, and the dogs are often eating simply for survival - “if you don’t eat, there are other dogs going for the same food,” William explains. “The cost of bringing one dog here is actually quite high, so when the dog gets here we really want them to have a good life, we want them to have good nutrition.” This is where Smack Pet Foods comes in. William knows first-hand the value of high-quality dog food, having switched his own two dogs to Smack on the recommendation of a friend. “After switching, I could see that their teeth were cleaner, their breath was better, their fur and temperament were better.” Based on his personal experience, he spoke to EK Park about integrating Smack as one of their recommended brands for adopting families. Each family is provided with a set of protocols and adoption materials, outlining a range of highly-rated, ethical dog food companies. As a partner of Free Korean Dogs, Smack is the premium brand that the organization recommends new owners feed to their dogs. “We definitely want the dog to live a really good life and be healthy,” William says. “The value of good dog food is really important.”

Based in Toronto, Free Korean Dogs has helped more than a thousand dogs find new homes in Canada and the US since it began, but their mission goes beyond rescue and rehoming: they also seek to promote public awareness and improve welfare standards through local education, campaigns and events. Since 2015, the organization has successfully shut down several dog meat farm operations, including restaurants and slaughterhouses. Doing the groundwork in Korea is part of what drives the company in its mission to rescue and rehome dogs. Now registered as a formal charity, Free Korean Dogs prides itself on the high standards of their rescue and adoption process, as well as their aim to create a cultural shift and improve living standards, to give all dogs the lives that they deserve. Read more at https://www.freekoreandogs.org/


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