By Robert Firth
A sausage dog puppy that was destined for the dinner table is preparing for a new life after being rescued from a meat market in China.
One-year-old dachshund Wally was bought for £26 by rescuers from animal charity Plush Bears Rescue after they spotted him for sale next to a collection of dog furs in the town of Taonan, northern China.
The lovable pooch was shivering in –10°C temperatures when he was found in the meat market by a team of volunteers from the animal shelter in December, as heartbreaking video footage reveals.
But after a month spent recovering at the rescue centre, Wally is now getting ready to fly out to the USA and begin a new life with a family of dachshund lovers in Florida.
Shelter volunteer Callum Zhenyi, 36, who initially spotted Wally, said: “I first saw Wally tied up to a motorbike next to his owner who was selling big dog furs displayed like rugs on the floor.
“One of the other volunteers had seen a dachshund on their last trip and not saved it and they regretted that deeply.
“With that in mind I thought it would be perfect to save this dachshund and for him to have a home if he survived.
“He would have been sold for meat at the end of the day if nobody came.
“The sellers don’t care about why we’re buying the dogs; they just care about somebody giving them money.”
Callum paid ¥242 for Wally before driving him four and a half hours away to a vets for a check-up in the city of Changchun.
However, en route to the vets, Wally started having coughing fits and was diagnosed with a nasty case of pneumonia upon arrival at the surgery.
Callum said: “It was quite touch and go at first. He had been outside for hours in freezing temperatures.
“The vets said he had a viral respiratory infection. He had to have an IV, as pneumonia can be very serious.
“Sometimes dogs won’t eat or drink.”
Wally spent two weeks on an IV drip and undergoing a course of injections, eventually making a full recovery.
The £1,000 bill for his vets and travel costs is being footed by his new owner in the states.
Wally is now scheduled to take a flight to Florida on 4th February, along with seven other dogs saved from the slaughterhouse by the shelter.
And Wally has the best chance of smoothly settling into his new life stateside as he is joining 11 other rescued dachshunds that his soon-to-be owner already cares for.
Callum said: “His new family are dachshund owners and animal lovers. I’m sure he’ll be happy there.
“27,000 dogs end up on the dinner table every day in China, but we’ve rescued over a 1,000 in just two and a half years and we hope to rescue many more.”
For more information: go to www.plushbearsshelter.org/