Jan 21, 2014 12:22 AM by Rebecca Taylor
TUCSON - Here in the United States man's best friend can be spoiled and treated like a member of the family. But in other parts of the world, dogs are captured and sold for slaughter, their meat considered a delicacy.
A Tucson family is so disturbed by the illegal meat trade they've rescued a five year old mixed breed from Thailand.
News 4 Tucson's Rebecca Taylor was there as Woody's plane touched down.
Woody's travels began Sunday in Bangkok. She was loaded in a crate, first making a stop in Seattle then Tucson.
"Who's interested in a surprise," asks Allison Wexler? Her girls have no idea why they're at the airport. They thought Woody was arriving in March.
"You may need what's in this bag for the surprise," she says.
As the surprise, a pink collar and harness is let out of the bag, so is the fact that Woody isn't a boy dog. Wexler learned of this only a couple days ago.
"Woody is a girl, we never checked in Thailand," says Wexler smiling.
Anticipation building, Wexler learns Woody's crate isn't arriving at baggage claim but across the way at Alaska Airline's cargo area. Finally they moment they've waited for.
"Her tail's wagging she's so happy," the family says with joy.
Woody is one of 5,000 dogs rescued over the summer from smugglers on their way to Vietnam.
Through GreaterGood.org Wexler raised $40,000 to vaccinate, feed and house the dogs.
In November, Wexler flew to Thailand to visit the shelter and fell in love with Woody.
"And then when I looked in her eyes, she just touched my soul," says Wexler, "When we got home, we thought about it. We realized we couldn't live without her."
The adoption was made possible by Soi Dog, an animal welfare group in Thailand. They found a flight volunteer who traveled with Woody to the states, as accompanied baggage keeping costs low.
Why not just adopt locally?
"I've actually been asked that question a lot, and I think the answer is just that we live in a global community now," says Wexler. "We really want to end the illegal dog meat trade and get the dogs we have rescued into good homes all over the world."
If you're moved by this story and want to get involved there are multiple ways: adoption, making a donation, sponsoring a dog or becoming a flight volunteer.
For more information head to GreaterGood.org and SoiDog.org
Digging deeper dog meat is consumed in China, Korea, Vietnam and Switzerland. In Nigeria dog meat is believed to have medicinal powers.
In Canada it's illegal to sell, and serve dog meat unless the dog is killed in front of federal inspectors.