Harper the Golden Retriever came from a dog meat farm in South Korea that was shut down last December.
It all started when the Redditer wanted a dog after graduation and was sent this initial picture. She was part of a group of dogs that was freed from a dog meat farm by the Humane Society and brought to the U.S. for adoption.
"'This is my dog. This is the one.' That's all I could think to myself. This photo was taken 7,000 miles away yet I finally had that instant connection I was waiting for."
The farm Harper was on was the fourth dog meat farm in South Korea that the Humane Society and Change for Animals Foundation shut down last year.
Harper was then kenneled with 50 other dogs to be brought back to the U.S.
Reddit user thepursuitofharperness then tracked down which shelter the Golden Retriever was housed at. Because adoptions were on a first-come-first-serve basis, Harper's future owner monitored the website and was at the shelter's door as soon as the Golden was ready to be adopted.
Harper was extremely skittish and timid upon the initial meeting. The Reditter explained her fears as:
1) Loud noises - She flattened to the ground when the garbage bin in the driveway was moved. Any other sudden, loud noises made her skittish. 2) The Outdoors - She'd do her business and try to scamper back inside immediately. She couldn't walk down the street without turning back constantly to make sure she could still see the house, eventually she would turn around and drag you back. 2) People - People approaching her on walks, esp. at night, made her bolt in the other direction 3) Cars - Getting her into the car for vet visits was a near impossible task. She'd crawl underneath my car to avoid getting in and I'd have to leave a trail of treats to coax her out. Once inside, she would stare out the rear window anxiously, like she was trying to memorize the way back home. 4) Water - Rain made her whimper. Eventually, I would find that showers/baths made her back into the corner. Large puddles were to be avoided at all costs. This surprised me since retrievers are inherently water-lovers... Then I remembered she hadn't had a roof over her head to protect her from the elements while on the farm. 5) Vacuums/Swiffers - Ah, the horror of household cleaning appliances (this one's common)
But the next six months were positive for both Harper and her owner as they worked tirelessly to acclimate her to life as a pet.
This is a journey that has been transformative for Harper and her owner, and everyone who has shared their story.
"Harper has been an indescribable joy in my life. She is a spunky little thing that has so much personality and love-- it's hard to imagine that she was ever destined to end up on a dinner plate. I love waking up in the morning to her licking my hand. Regular walks keep me active. It's hard to get upset over little things when this little furball is rolling on the ground or chasing her tail like a derp. Having her has resulted in countless physical, mental and emotional benefits for me. Sometimes I really do wonder who rescued whom."
You can learn more about the Asian dog meat trade here.
All images via Imgur/apursuitofharperness