A Vietnamese couple whose dogs were killed last year while they were in COVID-19 quarantine, hopes to get over their grief and heartbreak by adopting sick and unwanted puppies.
Last October, during a coronavirus outbreak in Ho Chi Minh City, Pham Minh Hung and his wife, Nguyen Thi Chi Em, decided to leave and go to another province with their fifteen dogs.
But while they were on the road, the couple tested positive for coronavirus and were taken to a quarantine facility. A few hours later, authorities put down the dogs, because they thought the animals could create unsanitary conditions.
Local media reported the killings took place without authorities discussing or informing the owners, which sparked anger across the country.
“On that day, when we were taken away, I found out from the internet at around 2 p.m. that they (authorities) had killed them,” Nguyen said. She was so sad and missed her dogs immensely: “My husband comforted me and told me we would raise other puppies.”
In Vietnam, some people eat dogs, and the couple spent most of their earnings saving dogs from slaughterhouses. They also adopted sick dogs abandoned by their owners.
The couple returned home and now have seven dogs, mostly unwanted dogs from around their neighbourhood. “This pack cheers me up and helps with the pain of losing the previous dogs,” Pham said. “I still miss them a lot but not as much as when I first learned that they were killed. Time has passed, and that has helped.”
The new pack hang around him day and night. “They are our joy and comfort. It used to be just me and my wife,” he said.
Nguyen is scared authorities might kill her new dogs: “I won’t let that happen again. If they try to do it again, I will take these babies and run away.”
“We would go into hiding in the jungle if that would save them. I will see it through. I won’t let them be killed again because I cannot go through such heartbreak a second time,” she added.
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