MIAMI (WFLA) — A rescue mission seven months in the making finally came to fruition Sunday when 20 golden retrievers arrived in Florida after being saved from Chinese streets and meat markets.
After a five-day odyssey from China to Miami, Florida, the dogs were finally released from their crates and into the loving arms of their new adopters Sunday around 8 a.m.
Kristine Minerva spearheaded the mission with Golden Rescue South Florida. The dream was to rescue the loving group of canines from their eventual starvation or slaughter in China. The dream became a reality when the dogs touched down in Miami on Sunday, just in time for Christmas.
“I had a dream and it became a reality yesterday,” Minerva said. “It was like, ‘somebody pinch me.'”
Minerva said she saw a ‘plea’ for help by an Oregon animal rescue organization on Instagram about many golden retrievers needing rescue in China. The post said they needed other rescues to step in and assist.
Minerva brought the idea to Golden Rescue South Florida who tasked her with spearheading the tireless, sleepless rescue mission.
After hundreds of pages of paperwork and hours of planning, Minerva said she finally got the OK to fly the animals into Miami International Airport. The animals were to fly from Beijing to Taiwan, and from there to Miami.
Unfortunately the plan was derailed when a mechanical issue delayed the flight for 50 hours in Taiwan. Because that was too long for the dogs to go unsupervised and without food or water, the Taiwan SPCA and PETA got involved.
“I did not sleep at all that night,” Minerva said.
The dogs were eventually approved to be monitored and given food and water during the wait. They still could not be released from their crates, however.
Because of a delay, the golden retrievers were stuck in their crates for almost 5 straight days, and arrived in Florida covered in their own waste.
The dogs were met by their new adopted parents and taken to their ‘forever homes’ Sunday after a good cleaning and health evaluation. According to the organization, most of the dogs arrived in great shape.
Minerva said she and Golden Rescue were inspired to do another mission and save even more Chinese golden retrievers and is open to help in any form.
“It comes down to donations and adopters,” Minerva said.
She said the adoption prices (starting at $1,000) covered about half of the cost of the mission. The other half was supplemented through local fundraising and donations.
The other obstacle is finding homes for the dogs, as they don’t come from your ordinary adoption facility or breeder.
“I don’t really think a lot of people know what goes on when a dog is rescued from China,” Minerva said. “It’s not a typical owner surrender. These dogs come from very traumatic experiences. They’ve never been in a home, they’re out on the street, never shown love […] It’s going to take a little bit for them to evolve and get out of their quiet zone. Some are timid and frightened.”
If you are interested in rescuing a golden retriever rescued from China, you can reach out to Minerva at her email address: Kristinegoldenrescue@outlook.com or her phone: (561) 662-4736.