(This blog was originally written in September 2015 following Marc Ching’s first visit to China; as of this publication date, Marc is on his seventh rescue mission to Asia. As our newest Planet Expert, Marc has allowed us to reprint his recollection of that experience here. To learn more about Marc and his organization, visit the Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation.)
I saved 57 dogs. A duck. And a little sheep today from getting all her fur ripped out.
More than that, I was able to set into stone a system that would perpetuate my belief. That would perpetuate and sustain a single effort to save dogs in China, into a more unified movement.
I had a lot of opposition coming here. People believing that to risk my life for a single action, that it did not warrant the sacrifice. But I came anyways. I came because, to me, it was about a moment. It was about saving as many dogs as I could. Not about changing the system. Or creating something that would last past this effort.
In the end, it is truly amazing how the world works. How if our intentions are pure and our heart just – how it just all comes together.
I left America without a plan. I left America without knowing anyone here. Without making hotel reservations. Without anything but a bag and a ticket.
People keep asking me what I came for. I tell them to save dogs. I tell them to make whatever change I can with these hands. I speak about a movement, of a belief, and of a culture that imbues humanism and compassion. Almost everyone I met believed in this same belief. Almost everyone I met selflessly extended their hand to me.
In Guangzhou, a lady from Cameroon Africa who could speak English, accompanied me in the taxi for my hour long trek so I could find the slaughterhouse. When I fled into the streets and got lost, I met Frank, a Chinese national who guided me back towards the city. Back towards the airport.
And today, after saving even more dogs and heading to see a Chinese puppy mill – I found myself surrounded by orphaned Chinese babies and abandoned children. It is here that I found the greatest gift of my journey, a way to make this movement lasting.
I will be teaming up with the Little Flower Orphanage to create a more sustained system. They have a farm that I will use to create the first dog sanctuary in Beijing, so that we can save as many dogs as we can from a life of abuse and torture in China. In return I will pay the orphans there to take care of the dogs. To train them and nurture them so they are healthy enough to be adopted out locally, with the more horrific cases being flown back home to Los Angeles to the Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation.
My hope is that the sanctuary will grow, and this one starting point will blossom and become many. A way to teach and show the Chinese people how great and amazing dogs are. How they have souls, how they feel pain, how they cry, but most importantly how they love us no matter what. How they never pass judgement. And that regardless of how hard the world seems, when I come home after a long day, how my dog Ginkgo always sleeps under the covers with me. Always continues just to love me.
You cannot tell a country who does not have the same value system as we to love dogs. The only way is to plant a seed. And to let dogs themselves soften their hearts. In time I am certain you will no longer have a society that eats them. That no longer bashes in their skulls. Because their lives will now hold meaning.
I saved 57 dogs, a duck, a little lamb – and maybe in the long run – changed a nation.