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Editorial: Let’s bring Reeves the dog home to the Harbor

If you fell in love with an injured dog, nurtured him back to health and he became your best pal, would you leave him behind?

Ian Carter is facing that exact same dilemma and he is determined to bring his dog Reeves home. The only problem? He’s in China. And that’s where his dog is. It’s going to cost $5,500 to ship Reeves home to the Harbor — paying for the proper permits, vet visits, boarding, airfare and to get the dog to clear customs.

Ian, a Hoquiam High School graduate and the son to former county commissioner Al Carter, has spent the past year teaching English with his wife Casey Whitlatch-Carter at a school in Jinan, China.

While visiting an animal shelter in China, Ian came across a dog that could not use its hind legs. He and his wife decided to foster the dog and named him Reeves in honor of Chrisopher Reeve, the Superman actor who became quadriplegic and died in 2004.

“The vet found rope burns on the dog’s body,” Al Carter explained. “And he has injuries as thought he fell from a truck. Given these two incidents, the vet thought the dog had struggled out of the rope and jumped away to safety.” Safety, says Carter, because the vet thought the dog was bound for the so-called China meat markets. That’s right, this dog Reeves might have ended up as food for someone had it not escaped and found Ian.

“From what we have pieced together from his scars, the veternarian’s diagnoses in broken English and our knowledge of dog culture in China, it seems that Reeves was a farm dog that got snatched up by meat marketers,” Ian adds. “It is a semi-common occurrence in rural areas of China, where a large dog will be bound and loaded into a flat bed truck and hauled to a market where they are sold for meat. … Reeves was most likely held on a large truck in a cage and at some point during his journey his cage fell off the truck. From the fall he sustained a severe spinal injury, damaged pelvis, crushed hip, broken front leg, along with a host of lacerations, muscle damage and tendon injuries. He lived on the streets like this for anywhere from one to four months with no medical attention. When he was found, he was half starved and only able to drag himself with the use of one uninjured leg. A good samaritan found him and brought him to a veterinarian, who fed him, performed surgery and tended to his physical and phychological wounds as best he could.”

Carter said he went to China to see his son for three weeks recently and got to meet Reeves.

“He has a disability because he walks a bit funny, but he’s the happiest dog you’ve ever seen,” Carter said.

Ian said they had just intended to foster the dog. But no one wants a “broken dog.”

It doesn’t matter that Ian and wife Casey have spent weeks teaching the dog how to walk again.

“Nobody seemed to want a small half-broken dog,” Ian says. “The harder we worked to find him a home, the harder he worked to walk. He has gone from not being able to support his own weight to being able to climb stairs, run(ish), jump/hop/bounce, and walk for nearly a mile. We weren’t able to find him a forever home, so we decided that we would be it. He’s been through too much suffering already and the least we could do was commit to giving he the best we can.”

Last week, Ian thought he had solved all of his shipping troubles. He figured it would cost about $3,500 to bring Reeves home. He launched an online campaign and raised all of the money in four days. Then, the real quote came in for how much it will all cost — $5,500 to bring the dog home. The fundraising effort is continuing.

Casey says it somebody purchased Reeves as a puppy for a pet. The vet and animal shelter officials figure this is the case because the dog is house trained and is good around people. Somehow, he became a stray or was stolen while unsupervised. At some point, he was picked up by dog meat suppliers and “packaged” for sale. He escaped from a truck, injured himself and was taken to a vet by a good samaritan, who called the shelter and got the Carters involved to foster the dog.

“Reeves’ story isn’t unusual, except in its end,” Casey says. “Dogs in China and South Korea often face violent, untimely ends at the hands of the dog meat industry. Even if you put forward the argument that eating dog is no different than eating a cow or pig, it’s important to note that dogs don’t legally fall under the ‘livestock’ category (in China) and, therefore, dog butchers have few to no legislature to obey. In many cases, dogs are electrocuted before death or even skinned alive. These practices stem from the belief that adrenaline makes the meat taste better and makes it healthier for you.”

Before putting a blanket hatred on the Chinese for these obvious inhumane practices of man’s best friend, Casey wants to remind folks that the person who brought gravely injured Reeves to a vet was Chinese. And that Guo Peng, the founder of the Jinan Yellow River Shelter and owner of at least one disabled dog, is also a Chinese national.

To help bring Reeves home, go online to

Funds can also be sent to Ian Carter or Casey Whitlatch-Carter, 315 Lawrence Dr. Hoquiam, WA, 98550.

Steven Friederich is editor of The Vidette. Contact him at