It’s an amazing trajectory: Leilu the dog went from being abandoned in a box outside a dog meat farm in South Korea to the loving arms of 11-year-old Izabella Cantu from Ashland, Oregon.
It happened because Cantu heard about the Korean dog meat trade and wanted to help, according to KOBI 5 News, who reported the story.
The youngster raised around $500 for Guardian’s International, a New York-based nonprofit that works with rescues on the ground in South Korea to save pups in dog meat farms. Instead of birthday gifts, Cantu asked friends and family to donate to the charity. After hitting her goal, her mother let her pick a dog from the organization to adopt.
“I don’t want other animals to suffer so then my mom let me pick one of them to keep so that one less animal didn’t have to suffer,” Cantu told KOBI 5.
Five months ago, Cantu’s stepfather, Brent Hirunpugdi, made the trip from Oregon to San Francisco International Airport, where Leilu arrived in the United States.
“We were pretty concerned of how she would be on arrival but once I was able to pick her up it was pretty exciting that she was in good health and good spirits,” he said.
Though it’s only been a few months, it’s clear Leilu and Cantu were destined to be together.
“She’s basically my soul mate,” Cantu told KOBI 5, “we’ve had a lot of time to bond and stuff, and without her, I don’t know what I’d do.”