ELMHURST – On the Magnificent Mutts and Meow Rescue's Facebook page, there's a short video pinned at the top featuring a pug named Frankie. In one scene, she's laying comfortably on the floor in the middle of a room and enjoying being petted. Her tail is wagging, tongue sticking out.
As the video plays, her story starts to unfold. Frankie is one of over 60 dogs rescued from a puppy mill and dog meat farm in South Korea by the Humane Society International (HSI) and brought to the Elmhurst Animal Care Center Feb. 19.
Nearly 200 dogs were rescued during HSI's recent mission and initially brought to the a humane society in Toronto, said Linda Latelle, president of Magnificent Mutts and Meows Rescue and Midwest HSI representative. While half of them stayed in Canada, the other half traveled to the United States and later placed in animal shelters across the Midwest.
Frankie is now one of 13 dogs who has found a home at the Elmhurst shelter and receiving appropriate medical attention.
"Turns out she is blind," Latelle said, noting Frankie's right eye is malformed and her left has corneal pigmentation.
Although Frankie needs to be spayed and requires some dental care, she was also diagnosed with grade 4 luxating patella (dislocated kneecaps) on her back legs, which will also require surgery. An online fundraiser is currently being held via Facebook to help pay for the costs of Frankie's surgery.
"She's so sweet," Latelle of Frankie, whose life was at risk had she stayed there in South Korea.
For the last few years, Latelle has worked closely with HSI, where her role is to partner with animal shelters and organizations across the Midwest. While a majority of the dogs rescued from the South Korean farm were taken to the Elmhurst shelter Feb. 19, Latelle picked up 15 dogs from that same farm last week at Chicago O'Hare International Airport.
"It's difficult to actually know for a fact how a lot of these animals are being mistreated, tortured, and not only in South Korea, but even here in the United States and all over the world," Latelle said of her job's greatest challenge. "That's very difficult for me. I can't change it all. I can't make it better."
That's why Latelle is putting out a call to her community.
Magnificent Mutts and Meow Rescue in Hillside is built on education, and she needs people to get involved. She encourages people to become committed foster parents of adoptable pets or to donate their time, money or volunteer services. Beyond that, she wants everyone to know that these types of effort are not done by one person.
"It takes a village," Latelle said.