Rescue dogs looking for new life in Alaska

Published: Aug. 16, 2018 at 8:58 AM AKDT
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They're known as man's best friend, your furry companion, and are often considered members of the family. For many, dogs are more than just pets, and many Alaskans agree that the goal of having a dog is to give it the best life possible.

It's difficult, and can even be impossible for dog lovers to hear about harming animals. But the reality is that in some parts of the world, it's common practice.

The specific event happening in China features graphic abuse to the lengths of burning dogs alive, and this mistreatment of thousands of animals is the "selling point" of the Yulin Dog Meat Festival.

Zoe Hickel was living overseas, playing professional hockey in China, when she witnessed the festival.

Hickel says outside her apartment, "the dogs in the area were getting picked up to be sold to restaurants."

After months of veterinarian appointments, and traveling through four countries, Hickel was able to save a dog and bring it home to Alaska.

While many would like to be able to do the same, the heroic effort is not easily achieved. That's where Yulin activist Kelly Walker hopes to change things.

Walker has already secured 10 dogs to come from China to Alaska, thanks to the work being done overseas by the Vanderpump Dog Foundation. Kelly tells us these dogs need homes, but they also need additional help to care for the pups when they arrive.

"Bringing the dogs from China to here in Alaska for Vanderpump Dogs was a relief, because the L.A. shelters are just so full," Walker said. "We have a lot of space here, and we have people who are outdoorsy that love dogs."

To contact Walker about adoption or to donate, you can