The little Maltese mix, Camo, used to be very skittish and scared when her mom, Sally Markley, and his dad brought him home for the first time.
“He was afraid of almost everything,” Markley said. “We have a big fenced-in yard. He would play and run until he heard anything loud or strange — then he would head for the house.”
Camo had a horrible past, so his behaviour was acceptable. His previous owner had dumped him at a dog farm in Seoul, South Korea, to be slaughtered for meat. Camo lived in a filthy cage with near to no food and water. His fur started being covered with matt and faeces.
Finally, in June 2017, Camo and 54 other dogs at the meat farm were rescued. The owner had asked for help with Humane Society International (HIS) to shut his business down.
“The elderly farmer, who had been farming dogs for 20 years, had had a change of heart and couldn’t bring himself to send his dogs to slaughter any more,” Wendy Higgins, director of international media for HSI, said in a statement last year. “He couldn’t bring himself to eat dog meat anymore either.”
Camo didn’t trust his rescuers immediately. When they removed him from the cage, he kept growling. However, he also seemed in need of connecting with people.
“He kept looking at me like he wanted to trust me,” Adam Parascandola, senior director for animal protection and crisis response at HSI, said last year. “He didn’t seem so much unsocialized — just confused as to why he was there.”
Camo was then taken to the U.S. and put under the care of Roff Rescue, Pennsylvania. Then, a woman who also worked as a dog groomer took him in as a foster.
“She was able to groom him and send me the photos,” Parascandola said. “I knew he’d been underweight, but I couldn’t really see it until she’d shaved him — he was completely emaciated underneath all of that fur.”
Camo’s fur was still not fully grown when Markley and her husband adopted him. And, of course, his fear issues were also there. However, Markley and her husband never ceased to give him all the love and care before he finally put his walls down.
“As the days passed, Camo became quite a loveable lapdog,” Markley said.
Then, the Markleys adopted another dog from Roff Rescue, a Shih Tzu named Kasey. Then, Como became friends with Kasey, which helped him calm down.
But Markley says that Como still struggles.
“I think Camo still has some recurring memories of his past,” Markley said. “He will only go where he has a clear view. For example, he would not go to the water bowl in the kitchen after we put in an island — he couldn’t be sure there wasn’t something out there that might get him. So the water bowl is now in the dining room. The same goes if I rearrange furniture — if it turns out to be a problem for him, I rearrange again.”
However, Markley is dedicated to doing anything for him. “I would and do anything to make living here comfortable for him,” she said.
Markley cannot imagine her life without Como. She keeps encouraging everyone she can to adopts rescue pets.
“Camo is a big cuddle bug,” Markley said. “He and Kasey sleep in our bed. His spot is on his back with his head lying against my cheek. Various times during the night, I will feel a little kiss on my cheek from him. I love him so much.”
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