Yuna's Rescue - How She Got Her Name, And How Rescuing A Dog Changes Two Lives

I fell for my dog initially for her cute Labrador ways. But the more I learned about her story, the more I fell.

November 11th, 2018

When someone says they want a dog in their life, they have absolutely no idea what they’re in for.

And yet, after the dog enters the picture, they forget how the world even spun prior.

A special thing happens when you get a dog—something indescribable that changes your life forever.

But something even more special happens when you rescue a dog. You change a dog’s life forever too.

The Korean Meat Market

Warning: the following section may contain strong and disturbing text—feel free to skip this section. I’ve linked a few references, but follow them at your own risk. TL;DR: The Korean Meat Markets are still very much active, and Yuna was almost sold to one.

Dogs. They coexist in Korea as household pets, and as Saturday’s dinner.

It has been ingrained in Korean culture for centuries. In the past decade, dog consumption has declined greatly, and legal actions have been made, but the practice remains.

Dog meat markets in Korea are still operating, purchasing abandoned dogs and raising them to ultimately be slaughtered for food.

I had never wanted to get into the ethics of this. I’ve always thought that If Southeast Asian countries consume dogs and have been doing so as part of their cultures for centuries, as much as I despise this, I’m going to respect those cultures. I lack their cultural context (2). We grew up in different backgrounds (although the younger generations in Korea have mostly stopped this practice).

But while I think the consumption of dogs can be hand-wavily defended by culture, I am not so forgiving on other related controversial topics.

I’ve connected with a few other owners who have rescued dogs from the Korea, and have read multiple articles on the horrors of the Korean meat markets. Some of the things that I discovered will make you livid.

The method in which these dogs are killed is absolutely nonsensical. Lured with food and fattened up then thrown into cages. Many times the cages already contain dead dogs inside. They get tied up then beaten. Electrocution. Exsanguination. Boiled alive. Blowtorched. Even if the dogs survive and get rescued, they could sustain multiple physical injuries and a lifetime of trauma.

None of this is in any way cultural. It’s pure cruelty, and baffling why this kind of practice even still exists in the world.

Now enter Yuna. Young, gullible Lab, unwanted by her previous owner in Korea then nearly sold to the meat market before being rescued and sent to Seattle. Don’t know what would’ve happened if a price was not met for her rescue.

An Eager and Clueless Dog-Owner Wannabe

Halfway around the world, and completely oblivious to any of this Korean meat market business was me, sitting in front of my computer basking in my dumb happiness picturing my life with a dog.

I had initially started by looking for Golden Retriever breeders near the Seattle area. But they were too popular—waitlists were long, and I couldn’t have taken care of an 8 month old puppy at this time in my life anyway.

That’s when I found Yuna on Ginger’s Pet Rescue. I’ve talked about it in a few other posts, as well as how rare it was that she ended up with me.

I found her on the very first search. And looking back, it was so impulsive. I didn’t know if I was ready, and I wasn’t.

But someone else WAS ready—ready for a better life. And that was Yuna!

Here's a reason to smile.

Why Is Yuna Named Yuna?

No matter what dog I got, I would’ve given that dog my all.

But learning about Yuna’s background and what she was so close to suffering, it only makes that even more important.

I cannot speculate about what her life was like before. I definitely think she had a good life before being abandoned. She is super well-behaved, and has many of the traits of a well house-broken and trained dog.

I also cannot criticize the decision to abandon her because I lack context. What I can criticize is the decision to sell her to a meat market, when it’s known that they use shady and illegal practices.

So essentially her previous owner intended for her to die rather than be adopted and given a second chance?

Are you looking at this? How could anyone abandon this?

Yuna really is a wonderful dog. She deserves so much more.

I randomly Googled Korean dog names before adopting her, knowing that she was almost the victim of a Korean meat market.

I came across this article simply because it showed up first in Google’s rankings. I scrolled along the names for female dogs and very last one really caught my attention.

“Yu-Na. It means ‘to endure’; a nice naming option for someone as enduring and courageous as a dog. You pronounce it ‘yoo-na.’ A beautiful name, isn’t it?”

Yes, it is an extremely beautiful name. And whether or not it really means to endure in Korean, I didn’t even bother checking; I was already sold on it. I stuck with it then and there, before I even adopted her—she would be Yuna.


Today, we choose not to think about the things that make us angry and sad.

We are lucky to be in Seattle, a city so dog-friendly it spoils them.

Yuna and the Seattle Space Needle.

We enjoy life in each other’s company. I spend as much time exploring with her as possible. I bring her to and from work. I learn her quirks and I think she’s learning mine. We’re building a bond.

I fell for my dog initially for her cute Labrador ways. But the more I learned about her story, the more I fell.

Like I said, I could’ve done this with any dog. My life would’ve changed with ANY DOG.

But Yuna’s life would not have changed without a second chance.

This post was inspired by the #FallForYourDog contest on Instagram.


We share all the highlights of her new life on Yuna’s Instagram—go check it out!

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Valentina

    I have pet chickens, dogs, rabbits, you name it. The way you describe the torture and demise of these meat dogs is very similar to that of mass-produced chickens who don’t deserve to die that way. Chickens have wonderful personalities, and sadly people don’t give them the same respect as dogs.

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