GOOD NEWS
03/15/2016 05:46 pm ET Updated Mar 22, 2016

Dog Rescued From Meat Market Lost All 4 Paws, But Not Her Spirit

The miraculous recovery of an underground meat market survivor.
Chi Chi
ARME
Chi Chi

Despite hard times, this dog never stopped wagging her tail.

After two months in a veterinary clinic in Seoul, South Korea, a 2-year-old golden retriever mix named Chi Chi, who lost all four of her paws to severe abuse, has learned to walk with the aid of prosthetics.

She also has a new family, the Howells, who live in Phoenix, Arizona.

“She can run. She can walk,” 12-year-old Megan Howell, the family's daughter, told the Associated Press. “She can pretty much do anything a real dog can do except go up the stairs.”

Chi Chi with her new family.
ARME
Chi Chi with her new family.

According to Animal Rescue, Media & Education, an animal welfare group that aided in Chi Chi’s recovery, the dog had a terrible start in life.

When Chi Chi was found by members of Nabiya Irion Hope Project, a South Korean animal welfare group, her tendons and bones were visible.

"It was literally just by chance [members of Nabiya Irion Hope Project] found her in a trashcan," Monique Hanson, foster and adoptions coordinator at ARME, told The Dodo. "She was found in a very well-known slaughter region in South Korea for dogs and cats. It was really by luck they saw her in there and that she was still alive."

In 2014, the AP reported that the dog meat trade still exists in South Korea, but consumption of the meat is on the decline due to younger generations’ distaste for it.

ARME says her feet were bound, she was hung upside down and tortured daily, under the belief that it made her meat more tender. When her keepers noticed her legs were rotting due to an infection from being hung, her meat was deemed useless. Chi Chi was tossed into a trash bag and thrown into a dumpster to die.

How ARME found Chi Chi.
ARME
How ARME found Chi Chi.

When Chi Chi was found by ARME her tendons and bones were visible.

"We weren't even sure she was going to live," Shannon Keith, president ARME told The Dodo. "The infection in her legs was so horrific it had eaten away her legs and it [had spread] throughout her whole body."

Despite a quadruple amputation, Chi Chi, which means “loving” in Korean, pulled through with high spirits.

Chi Chi post surgery.
ARME
Chi Chi post surgery.

"She survived and the day after surgery she was trying to walk. She was smiling and wagging her tail," Keith told The Dodo. "Then, a couple days later, she even started walking on her little stumps."

During Chi Chi’s recovery, ARME posted her story online, which caught the Howell family’s attention.

"We saw a post about her on social media and started following her story really closely after that," Elizabeth Howell, Megan’s mother, told CBS. "And we expressed an interest in adopting her." 

Chi Chi happily learns to be a dog.
ARME
Chi Chi happily learns to be a dog.

After two months in Seoul, Chi Chi was transported to Los Angeles, where she was picked up by Keith and then driven to her new home in Arizona where she is now thriving.

Chi Chi with her new family, Richard, Elizabeth and Megan Howell.
ARME
Chi Chi with her new family, Richard, Elizabeth and Megan Howell.

"She has a will to live," Megan told CBS. "She just loves people and she's so happy despite what happened to her in the past."

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story claimed that ARME rescued Chi Chi. In fact, members of Nabiya Irion Hope Project, a South Korean animal welfare group, rescued the dog.

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