China Dog Rescue

YGRR Goes To China – by Devon Spirka and Lucille Brooks

The planning stages of all this started about 6 months before we flew to Beijing, China and brought back our first three Goldens. When taking on a rescue effort like this, there are lots of legalities and logistics to figure out before-hand in order to make any transport as smooth as possible. Well, complication after complication, and months of two steps forward and one step back, we decided it would be easiest for the two of us to just go to China for the first transport of Goldens!

The experience was certainly one-of-a-kind, and to both of us, China was uncharted territory. Not being huge travelers ourselves, we got on a plane in December, flew 13 hours straight, and landed in Beijing. We were exhausted, excited, nervous, and hesitant. Not many people spoke any English, we couldn’t understand any of the signs, but we were lucky to be meeting up with our friends from Golden Bond Rescue of Oregon. Golden Bond had been taking Goldens from China for about a year already. This was part of our reason for focusing our efforts on helping these Goldens; there were so many Goldens and there was only one rescue group helping them!

While in China, we were able to meet with the Rescuers that do such a wonderful job in the midst of such a different culture to save and help these Goldens. We met with the two veterinarians that our dogs see while in China to receive the medical care, vaccines, quarantine, and clearances to leave the country. We also got to meet a few of our dogs that are awaiting flights to come to the US! We were able to iron out all the details of transport to get these first 3 dogs to the US with us when we left and to make it easier for future flight volunteers to do the same.

We know that most people probably wonder where most of these Goldens are coming from in China, and why are there so many Goldens? Most of the Goldens that are rescued in China are coming directly from slaughterhouses, off of meat-trucks, and being pulled out of municipal shelters. So needless to say, these dogs have no chance at a forever home, at a warm bed and lots of toys, or even decent food without these rescue efforts on all ends. The need is dire and there are more Goldens than you can count that are stuck in this situation just waiting for a miracle. Goldens, in particular, are a very popular breed for these purposes in China because of their size and their temperament.

We successfully transported back three dogs with us when we left China, almost missing our flight because of a hiccup at the airport with preparing the dogs to fly! Since then, we transported two more dogs from China that were ready to fly after a wonderful flight volunteer from our Yankee volunteer family willingly paid his way to go pick them up and bring them back to the US! There are more that are ready and waiting!

We at Yankee are so lucky to have so many volunteers that want to help out with this cause by making trips to the airport to pick dogs up when they arrive, and we even have a very dedicated group willing to fly over there and bring back dogs with them (which we are always looking for more!) However, it is a large financial commitment to fund their care in China, fund their transport to get here, and then continue with the regular or special surgical care they receive once they arrive.

We send a HUGE THANK YOU to our donors so far that have contributed financially to help us make this a possibility! It is because of donations like this that we are able to embark on a rescue mission as big and as important as this one. Any amount helps us get these dogs out of their bad situations, get them the medical care they need and get them to Yankee to find their forever homes!


We ask anyone that is interested in directly helping the China Goldens in need to please donate to our International Rescue Efforts on our website at and scroll to the bottom of the Home Page for options OR click the blue ‘DONATE NOW’ tab at the top of the Home Page, and scroll down to ‘UNIQUE DONATION OPTIONS – INTERNATIONAL RESCUE’.



Q: What was the hardest part about going to China?

A: The cultural differences and the language barrier! To speak with most of the rescuers that we met, you actually had to type something into a translator App. (which would still translate a little weird) and then they would have to type back.


Q: How much does is cost, approximately, per dog?

A: The total is about $1500 per dog from beginning to end. From funding their medical care they need while in China, vaccines, spay or neuter, boarding/quarantine costs before flying, their transport costs, etc. Then the medical care they receive once here and regular dog care. We already had a pretty major dental surgery done for a young puppy we transported that had some teeth in his nasal cavity.


Q: How do the dogs adjust after such a long flight and such a sad beginning to their lives?

A: So far, the dogs have adjusted wonderfully! They basically got out of the crates when we arrived at Yankee and said “Hi. I love you!” They were very happy to be getting tons of attention and good food! They are learning what things are, like toys and leashes, but they learn pretty quickly! All 5 of the dogs that we have from China now already know how to sit!


Q: What are the names of the first 5 dogs you brought over?

A: We give them all names for their paperwork as soon as they are rescued and we claim them as Yankee dogs. We try to name them by letter, but depending on which dogs are ready to fly, they get all mixed together. The first 5 dogs are named Magee, Martin, Mabel, Matt and Russell.


Q: How can I help with this rescue effort?

A: There are lots of ways. We know that writing a check can be a boring way to help, but it is a very impactful way to help in this case since the dogs are not here with us until we can pay for all of their costs for transport and getting them ready. We also are always looking for flight volunteers that may be flying to China (preferably Beijing) and then back to an East Coast airport to be able to be an ‘escort’ for a couple of dogs. A flight volunteer, or ‘flight escort’, is basically is in charge of carrying the dog’s paperwork through customs. The Chinese rescuers meet you at the airport with the dogs; they get the dogs onto the plane and give you the paperwork. Then, when you land, you pick the dogs up (in their crates) at the baggage claim and show their paperwork to customs. Then you are done and Yankee folks are waiting for you on the other end to bring the dogs back to Yankee!


Golden being examined by vet in China

A Golden at a shelter in China

At the airport with the Goldens in China



Devon and Lucille back with the Goldens from China


Arriving at Riverview!