Why rescue dogs internationally?



Compassion knows no borders

The cycle never ends because there are always more starving dogs in the streets in Mexico than she can possibly help. As much as we as Americans, complain that animal control departments are euthanizing too many animals, at least they are getting them off the streets where they would otherwise be starving to death and or being killed by cars and procreating to create an ever larger homeless animal population.

Changing a culture requires changing the minds of people who are set in their ways

From time to time, Camp Cocker Rescue will take in dogs from other countries.

There is a woman in Ensenada, Mexico that is struggling all alone, to help feed street dogs and cats. When she can, she saves them off the streets, gets them much needed vetting and spay/neuter, vaccines, then she tries to find American rescue groups to take some of the dogs so that she can make room to save more street animals.


In early 2017, we began to take in dogs from South Korea. We had been aware of the dog meat industry in Asia and we also knew that the younger generation was trying to change the culture and lobby to have the laws changed. Like any country that needs to become more progressive with their attitudes and their culture, the most resistance to change comes from the older generations of people. They’ve eaten dog meat their entire lives and there is a deep seated belief system that is hard for them to let go of, in how they view dog meat and how they believe dogs must be tortured to death to make the meat tastier.


The puppy mill industry in South Korea is so profitable that much like the rural communities here in the midwestern and southern states, breeding puppies is a highly lucrative way to bring in cash for people that live in rural areas. Often these puppy mills go undetected until someone reports them for health code violations.


As Americans, we cannot believe that anyone would view animals this way. However we have plenty of our own citizens here that believe that a “dog is just a dog” and don’t deserve compassion. Evidence of this is clear if you walk in to any one of our municipal animal shelters and see the condition of some of the animals, after they’ve been neglected and used up by the humans that once owned them.

Rescue is rescue . . . is rescue . . . is rescue

We learned that in South Korea, there is a thriving puppy mill industry and that pet stores in all of the malls there sell puppy mill dogs. The most popular pet store dogs are the smaller breeds, like poodles, french bulldogs, maltese, cocker spaniels, etc.



The South Korean animal rescue volunteers must wait until a puppy mill is getting shut down before they can offer to take the dogs. When a puppy mill is shut down, it requires rescues to absorb a large volume of dogs all at once. These are dogs that are in rough shape, malnourished, most have never lived outside of the filthy cages they were born in.

Camp Cocker Rescue rarely gets the chance to get younger cocker spaniels from the California shelters.

We began agreeing to take in cocker spaniels from South Korea in early 2017. Some have been middle aged but for the most part, most of them have been young dogs (five years and under). Camp Cocker Rescue rarely gets a chance to save a young cocker spaniel from our local California shelters, unless the dog has been hit by a car or has some sort of major medical issue. (check out this sweet video of the first four international refugees as they arrived to America!)

Young cockers in our California shelters are rarely in need of rescuing, unless of course, they have some sort of major medical issue.

Here in California, many other rescue groups are grabbing the young ones quickly, often the morning that the dog’s stray hold is up. (most of these young cocker spaniels in our shelters are not even in danger) What the other rescue groups are doing is smart, as they are taking shelter dogs that will require very little in terms of vetting and expenses and they can adopt them out rapidly - boasting of large numbers of “rescued” animals. (even though they are cherry picking the most highly adoptable dogs and leaving the ones that are most in danger of being euthanized behind)

Unfortunately, not by design but by default, that leaves Camp Cocker Rescue with the major medical cocker spaniels or the seniors or the blind cocker spaniels that are truly in danger in the shelters. We have a finite number of dogs that we can take in that are senior or blind, simply because so few adopters are willing to consider a senior dog or a blind dog.

So we are grateful to be able to take in these cocker spaniels from South Korea as many of them are young and will be able to find forever homes here in the states.

Saving the world . . . just one dog at a time

In our minds, when we take one dog from South Korea, that opens up another spot for the rescuers there to take in a new dog that otherwise might not be given a chance to get out of a life of misery.


Serving a need in the community here, for potential adopters looking to ADOPT hard to find breeds!

We also began to test the waters of taking in other breeds of dogs from South Korea. We cannot believe the overwhelming response we’ve received every time we’ve taken in a Boston Terrier or a French Bulldog (or what seems to be a hybrid of these two breeds). There are SO many applications that come in when we get one of these breeds, that we are amazed at how many people who love these breeds really want to rescue instead of going to a breeder. There are rarely any Frenchie or Boston Terriers in our shelters here so in our minds, we are filling a need to the rescue supporting community whom is wanting to adopt this particular breed.

We took in an Italian Greyhound once and she too, had SO many quality applications that came in on her, all from people that knew the breed and couldn’t find one to rescue since they are so rarely in our shelters.

We’ve taken in a couple of poodles and are now taking in a couple of Maltese, which we hope will attract adoption applications.

Not everyone supports the rescue of international dogs

It’s true, there are a LOT of people that are disgruntled with our international rescue efforts. Here are some of their complaints and our responses:

“aren’t there enough dogs in America that need rescuing?”

That is absolutely true. There are TOO many dogs in America that need rescuing. Primarily the large breed dogs and the kiss-a-pitties are the ones that are in most need of rescue. Camp Cocker has from time to time, rescued a few pit bulls and although this breed of dog is probably one of THE nicest breeds of all time (much better with small children than the cocker breed is known for) - it is also really challenging to get a pit bull an appropriate adopter. Check out this must watch video of the original Just One Dog, Stanley the pit bull, that Camp Cocker had saved.

If someone is worried that there are cocker spaniels in need of rescuing in the states, we urge them to please go to a municipal animal shelter and save either a senior cocker spaniel or a blind cocker spaniel. Those are the ones losing their lives right now and most in need of being rescued. Unfortunately, it’s easy for many people to say “Camp Cocker, save all the senior and blind cocker spaniels” but those same people are not willing to go and adopt them for their own personal pets.


For anyone that criticizes us for not saving more American dogs, we challenge them to go into their local communities and make a difference for the most vulnerable of shelter dogs. Lobby their friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, acquaintances, to all go to a local shelter to adopt a pit bull or to adopt a senior dog or a blind dog. That is where it starts, on a grass roots level, in every community, at every local shelter. It’s super easy to be critical of a rescue organization that is run by volunteers, that they are not doing enough to save enough animals. But it’s a lot harder to walk the talk and put into action what you want to see done.

“international dogs are bringing diseases into our country”

Again, this is absolutely true. Guess where the diseases are primarily coming from? “Designer dogs” that are illegal to be bred here in the United States, that consumers are purchasing online from other countries.

On the very first flight of dogs we took in from South Korea, there was a hold up as the dogs were coming through customs. We were waiting and waiting and worrying that something was wrong with our dogs being allowed into the country. Waiting along with us, were some other people that had purchased “specially bred” micro-puppies on the internet. These people explained to us that they HAD to buy these puppies from another country because they wanted a micro sized puppy.

How do you breed a “micro-puppy”? You take the smallest puppy you can find, a preemie, then you breed them with another small puppy. Then you give the pregnant puppy a c-section to bring her puppies out preemie, before they are done growing and before they are healthy enough to be born. Then you ship them off to your customers whom have paid thousands of dollars for these “micro-puppies”. Many of these puppies don’t survive the trip and if they do, they arrive sickly. These preemie puppies often don’t live beyond a year of age because they have so many problems with their organs from being taken out of their mommy before they were finished growing.

So that day we were at LAX waiting for our first group of South Korean dogs, animal control showed up, the Center for Disease Control showed up and a veterinarian from the county showed up. Then there were many discussions between them and the various people that had been waiting for their micro-puppies. It turns out the puppies were all so sick, some of them could not even open their own eyes. Only one of the people were allowed to leave with their sick puppy and it was only under the condition that she was going directly to a veterinarian for immediate medical care. The other puppies were not allowed into the country and were sent back (it is unlikely they survived the trip back and if they did, the breeder would have euthanized them).

We finally, after waiting for more than four hours that day, we finally were able to get our dogs. It turns out that our dogs were not the problem with being sick or bringing in diseases. They were all healthy, had all been vaccinated well in advance of their trip to the states and luckily they did not pick up any of the disease that those micro-puppies were carrying.

“the canine dog flu is in the states as a result of asian dogs”


Again, this is true, but it is not necessarily because of rescued dogs from Asia. It depends on how long the dogs have been in quarantine in the other country before they are shipped here.

If Camp Cocker Rescue is agreeing to take in an international dog, we follow very strict quarantine protocol. If the dog has been rescued from a dog meat farm or a puppy mill in less than thirty days from the time he/she flies to California, then we put the dog into quarantine at one of our vets.

If the dog has been rescued longer than thirty days and they have had all of their vaccines (including the canine flu vaccine) longer than thirty days prior to travel to the states, then that is a really good quarantine period already and we don’t have to worry. (note: not all rescue groups have this same type of careful protocol)

If your dog goes to dog parks regularly or to doggie daycare or other places where it mingles with dogs of unknown health, then it is smart for you to get your dog the canine influenza vaccine. The canine dog flu is now here in the states and that is a reality no matter where it started, with the people purchasing micro-breed puppies or from rescue dogs.

“funds are being taken away from American dogs!”

This is untrue.

NO FUNDS are taken away from local dogs that are in need of rescue. Camp Cocker continues to rescue local dogs from shelters, and taking in international dogs does not take away from that.

We totally and completely understand why some donors do not want to see their donations going to rescue international dogs. For this reason, we always have a separate donation link that is specifically only for people that want to donate to these international dogs.

For anyone that would like to specifically donate to our international rescue efforts, you can DONATE HERE and your donations will only be applied to those dogs.

For anyone else that donates to Camp Cocker in general, your donations will NOT be used for any international rescue efforts unless you tell us specifically that you want your donations to go towards these dogs.

“why aren’t you doing MORE to help the dogs in the U.S.?”

Yes, believe it or not, here is a common criticism. We urge and challenge anyone that feels that Camp Cocker Rescue is not doing enough and should be doing more, to please rescue JUST ONE DOG that is in need. Not adopting a young healthy dog, but go to a municipal animal shelter and adopt a senior dog or a blind dog or a major medical dog or a pit bull.

It is so easy with social media, for people to point out what others should be doing more of. Camp Cocker Rescue is run by volunteers. Most of us have full time jobs, have families that need us, have other responsibilities in our lives. To donate the hundreds upon hundreds of hours each month to our volunteer work with Camp Cocker, we are personally sacrificing things that most people take for granted. Things like going out to the movies or going out to dinner or taking a vacation. We are also personally spending out of pocket for things like gas and pet supplies and sometimes vet bills when there are not enough donations to pay for everything.

Camp Cocker Rescue is not some large organization with lots of volunteers. We are much smaller than most people think. That is why we urge anyone that criticizes us for not doing more, to personally do something in their own community to make a difference.

Start by rescuing one dog from a municipal shelter that no one else wants. Seriously, walk in, ask the shelter what dog has been there the longest or what dog is the most senior dog they have and adopt it. Fix it up, get the vetting that it needs, rehab it emotionally, then find that one dog an appropriate, well screened adopter that is prepared to make a forever commitment to that dog. Once you’ve re-homed that one dog, go back to the shelter and do it all over again.

This is exactly how Camp Cocker Rescue got started in 2006. It was just ONE PERSON, going to a shelter to save JUST ONE DOG and then going through all of the hard work of the vetting, raising funds to pay for the vetting, screening adopters, finding the best match of a home for that one dog. Then repeating it all over again with another dog.

THANK YOU to everyone that supports our rescue!

There are those of you that support Camp Cocker Rescue and only want to donate towards American dogs and we appreciate you for what you do!

And there are those that support our international rescue efforts and donate to those dogs and we appreciate you!

We are trying our best to make a difference in the world, saving Just One Dog at a time.

No matter how you support us, it takes a village to rescue these dogs and we thank YOU for being a part of the Rescue Village that these dogs need to get their fresh start in life.

Camp Cocker Rescue supporters are the BEST in the whole wide world!

Let’s keep doing this and change the world, just one dog a a time!

p.s. stay tuned for a new Facebook page we are working on right now, where we will be posting more of the dogs from South Korea that need help at Freedom Flight Rescue. We are still setting up how to take donations as this will be under the umbrella of Camp Cocker Rescue, but will only be going to support the international dogs in need. You can LIKE that page for now while we are still putting it all together.

Please help us fund-raise for flight costs, vet care, or share our mission to bring awareness to this industry and hopefully change this perspective that dogs are our loyal friends - not food!


below are the dogs who have benefited directly from Camp Cocker Rescue's  frequent flyer program since January 2017



Doogie bold legs 5_06_17.jpg
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Maya on the beach 4_30_17.jpeg
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Minnie the poodle so cute 11:12:17.jpg