A dog named Sok shares a similar story to thousands of other animals in Cambodia. Fortunately for Sok, his has a very happy ending.
In 2020 his owner, a French expat living in Phnom Penh, decided to move, leaving Cambodia, and Sok, behind. Abandoned and without an owner, the 2–3-year-old Sok was left to fend for himself on the streets. Some caring locals left food out periodically so he wouldn’t starve. Other people in the neighborhood however weren’t too happy about another free-roaming stray dog. Sok often got into people’s trash looking for food and howled at night keeping people awake. The neighborhood eventually got fed up and demanded that the security guards remove him.
It was soon after this that one of our local rescue partners was notified about a scuffle. Our FOUR PAWS Saving Pagoda Animal’s program employs a dedicated outreach manager, Monich, who always keeps an eye out for animals in need. By the time she arrived, Sok was running around the neighborhood with blood coming from his ear, dripping down onto his paws. The neighborhood security guards were trying to chase and catch poor Sok. Apparently, they were going to sell him to a dog meat restaurant. Rather than let him be captured to end up on a dinner plate, Monich knew what she had to do.
Sok was so terrified from being chased that it was very hard to secure him. Although Monich called for additional assistance to help, Sok was scared and fearful. Finally, after about an hour of patiently trying to earn Sok’s trust, he was put into a cage and taken to our partner rescue center at Animal Rescue Cambodia. There Sok’s injuries were tended to after a thorough veterinary exam and he was given a comfortable place to recover. Feeling safe, Sok began to relax and his friendly demeanor began to shine through.
Sok’s calm and friendly behavior made him a great candidate for FOUR PAWS’ Escape the Trade initiative, which provides “Freedom Flights” to move dogs out of the shelter in Cambodia to be flown to the U.S. for rehoming. Sok joined a group with ten other dogs and started his journey in December 2020.
Together with the FOUR PAWS’ US office in Boston, our team in Southeast Asia and FOUR PAWS’s Asia partnerships have been flying dogs to the U.S. since October 2019. Due to COVID travel bans, the journey of these dogs looked a little different. Unable to fly out of Cambodia, the dogs were driven to Thailand, where they were boarded for two weeks until they were approved by US Customs to fly from Bangkok to Los Angeles. Once in California, the dogs were warmly greeted by our U.S. rescue partner, The Barking Lot (TBL), based out of San Diego. Thanks to our partnership with TBL, Sok is now adopted and living happily with his new family in California.
Unfortunately, what happened to Sok happens to a lot of dogs, as abandonment is seen as one of the only options when people no longer want their dog. Another “kneejerk reaction” to unwanted dogs is to sell them into the dog meat trade to make extra cash.
Sok was minutes away from ending up on a dinner plate. This lucky boy now has been given a second chance at life. His rescue is part of our ongoing stray animal care program in Phnom Penh, Cambodia with our partner Animal Rescue Cambodia.