When Chinese millionaire Wang Yan's beloved dog was kidnapped, he had to face the horrifying likelihood that his pet had been killed in his country's underground canine meat market. Deciding to harness his sorrow for good, he sunk his fortune into establishing a sanctuary for thousands of pooches where they could live in safety.
Wang resides in Gelong of the Jilin province, China. When his loyal dog of several years disappeared, Wang searched all over Gelong to find his companion. Eventually, a friend told him that it was likely that his beloved dog did not run away but had been kidnapped for slaughter, Shareably reports.
The desperate dog owner had to reconcile with the prospect that his dear friend had been killed for China's underground meat market.
"I went looking everywhere, but all to no avail," Wang told the Shanghaiist. "Finally someone let me go into the slaughterhouse to try my luck there."
The millionaire spent a week at the slaughterhouse in the hopes that his furry companion would pass through. During his search, he was horrified by the appalling conditions the dogs were kept in the and cruelty they were subjected to.
The Humane Society estimates that roughly 10 million dogs are slaughtered a year in China and served in restaurants that violate the government's food safety laws. The majority of that supply comes from impoverished thieves stealing others' dogs, according to The Christian Science Monitor.
Jill Robinson, founder of Animals Asia Foundation, notes that her organization's studies indicate that the underground dog meat industry is sustained by pilfering beloved pets.
"Our investigations strongly point to what everybody familiar with the industry has long suspected -- that the vast majority of China dog meat comes from stolen companion animals," Robinson said.
Wang eventually realized that his dog was gone and that his time waiting at the slaughterhouse was fruitless. Instead of falling into despondency, he decided to invest his entire fortune into buying an abandoned steel factory and transforming it into a dog sanctuary.
The generous millionaire used his new property to host hundreds of stray dogs, taking them off the streets and away from the clutches of the underground meat industry. He cared for the dogs and found new homes for them.
Here he is standing at the center of the sanctuary, encircled by some of the dogs he had saved.
"Right now, we only have 215 dogs," Yan explained. "The most we've had at one time is 1,000, many of them have been adopted."
The rescued pooches are said to be relieved and grateful to be taken off the streets and given a secure place to play among each other and receive pats on the head.
The venture proved to be expensive, draining Yan's fortune. Sheltering and feeding hundreds of dogs eventually put him into a large amount of debt. Despite the reversal in his financial fortunes, he is not looking for anyone to spring open their checkbook.
"I do not accept monetary donations," Wang said. "I only hope that kind-hearted people will be able to donate a few supplies to help build a home for these 200 dogs."
After suffering heartbreaking tragedy, the former millionaire resolved to make a difference in the world. He lost his money but in the process found purpose and peace in providing aide to creatures that needed sanctuary.