Lucky Puppy of the Week: Henry the Tibetan Spaniel

Humane Society International saved Henry from a horrific fate, and now he lives the good life.

When Chris and Pam Glenn decided it was time to bring another dog into their family, little did they suspect that their new fur baby would come to them from the other side of the earth. Rescued from a near-death experience in a country not exactly known for being the best place to be born a dog, Henry was desperate for a safe, secure, and loving home that would help him forget his terrifying past. Read Chris’s rescue story and you’ll agree that little Henry is one very lucky puppy!

“My wife Pam and I lost two of our dogs, Gracie and Lucky, to cancer in 2015. As the year was coming to an end, my wife’s co-workers knew that now that we were down to one lonely Poodle, we’d had enough of subtraction and were ready to add to our family again.

One of Pam’s co-workers works with Peter Li, China policy specialist for Humane Society International. He travels regularly to China, as HSI maintains an extensive, ongoing effort to rescue dogs in China and other parts of Asia from the dog meat trade. Whenever there’s someone Peter knows well who is interested in adopting and seems like a good match, he’ll arrange to bring a dog back to the U.S. with him.

So by early December of last year, Peter said he had a candidate for us, which was the only detail we knew. He wrote, ‘(The dog) was rescued from a cage in the back of a (dog meat) restaurant. When he was rescued, he was not trusting and feared he was to be killed. He might have witnessed a killing in front of him.’ A local rescue group had saved him and brought him to an HSI shelter, where he was neutered, cleaned up, and cared for while Peter awaited approval to bring him to the U.S.

Not knowing our future dog’s name, history, or how he wound up in such straits, the shelter took to calling him Heilian, which means ‘black face’ in Chinese. Over the weeks, Peter told us, ‘The lady who took him in told me that black-faced boy is now a spoiled, naughty boy who has forgotten his horrifying past, and he is very playful.’

We had only seen a few pictures of Helian, but one of them was especially poignant: As one of the workers at the shelter hugged him, our black-faced boy stared warily into the camera. On looking into his eyes, Pam decided that our late dog Lucky would want us to bring this boy home.

So on Dec. 30, Pam traveled from our home near Philadelphia to Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C., where Peter was flying in with our new puppy. Since his arrival, our vet has given him a clean bill of health and ventured what seems to be a pretty reliable guess, that he is a Tibetan Spaniel between 1 to 2 years old. Since it’s not a breed we have seen much of, we got our information about them from the Internet. The websites seem to agree on one characteristic of the breed: They were bred as watchdogs to sit on the walls and towers of their Tibetan monasteries, and they love to be in high places where they can oversee the landscape. It’s amazing to see this instinct in action, as any time our black-faced boy gets the opportunity to sit up high and observe, it keeps him happy for hours.

We’ve settled on Henry as his new name. He is adapting wonderfully to his new surroundings, his Poodle brother, and our four cats. We couldn’t be luckier to have him with us.”

Those of us who have rescued dogs can all agree that these intelligent, sentient creatures “know” when they’ve been saved, especially when they’ve come from neglectful, abusive, or even life-threatening circumstances. Thankfully, it appears that Henry has put his traumatic past behind him and is simply looking forward to a long, happy life with a family that loves him — the kind of life all dogs throughout the world deserve to live!

Lisa Plummer Savas

A devoted dog mom, journalist, and animal activist, Lisa uses her writing to spread awareness about animal welfare and cruelty issues. She lives in Atlanta with two spoiled German Shepherds, one entitled Pug, and a very understanding husband. Read more of her work at her blog and website, and follow her on Twitter.


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