Dog rescued from Chinese meat trade is the first to arrive in the UK since the pandemic

A dog rescued from the Chinese meat trade is enjoying her new life in the UK after being saved by a charity.

Debbie Hairy, a three-year-old spitz-type pup, was facing death at the hands of butchers at the notorious Yulin Dog Meat Festival before workers with NoToDogMeat saved her.

Now, she is the first of the festival rescues to arrive in the UK since the pandemic, and is living in Wendover with Peter and Hayley Finch, who are planning to take her out and about to spread awareness for the charity.

Hayley, 38, works as press officer for NoToDogMeat, and adopted Debbie after working on the story of the dog's arrival on the first leg of her journey from Beijing to Paris.

She said: 'We are so excited to give Debbie a new home, and by sharing her story, Debbie will help raise money for other dogs to come over from China too.

'NoToDogMeat currently has 750 dogs in its Chinese shelters, and all of them need loving homes which are not always possible in China because of size restrictions and an unwillingness to adopt.'

Hayley added that Debbie 'absolutely loves Wendover', and that the lucky pooch 'can't believe that she now has a garden to laze around in'.

'She also loves a little piece of cheese and having her tummy tickled, a far cry from the Yulin Dog Meat Festival where she was almost slaughtered to become soup,' Hayley said.

Debbie started her new life in the UK by appearing on TV news to promote the charity's work. And she has enjoyed being the centre of attention at events including last weekend's Aylesbury Vegan Fair, where she wore her NoToDogMeat bandana with pride.

But according to her new human companions Hayley and Peter, the dog has 'seen some terrible things' on her journey to safety, and 'struggled at first with trusting men, after being brutalised by meat trade butchers in China'.

Charity worker Peter, 53, said: 'It was hard at first as Debbie did not like me at all, and as a dog lover it felt sad when she didn't want to interact with me. But over time we have built a trusting bond, which makes it all the more special.'

Last week, Debbie also took a big step, when she attended the newly opened Clips grooming parlour at Dobbies Garden Centre in Wendover, where caring stylist Courtney Hearsum provided some much needed coat care, a first experience for the brave canine.

Hayley added: 'We have been completely blown away by Debbie's strength and resilience.

'She has been so willing to try new things, and it's wonderful to see her interact with her safe and happy life in such a wholehearted way.

'Courtney at Clips was fantastic and understood that Debbie needed patience and kindness, and now she looks a million dollars.'

London lawyer Julia de Cadenet founded NoToDogMeat in 2009, after witnessing for herself the horrors of the meat trade.

According to the charity, it empowers people in countries with a meat trade who want to make a difference, and provides safe shelter for dogs who have been saved from an unspeakable fate.

NoToDogMeat also holds United Nations Special Consultative Status, providing regular reports on its findings to help outlaw the inhumane and unsanitary slaughter of dogs and cats around the world.

When the pandemic struck in 2020 the charity was forced to put its rehoming scheme on hold, but now hopes are high that more westerners will look to adopt a meat trade rescue like Debbie.

Julia said: 'We are so happy that Debbie has found her safe and loving forever home, and her progress is simply amazing. This dog has been through so much, but like all our rescues the strength they show puts humanity to shame.