Rescue Dog Tori Becomes South Korea’s First Dog

South Korea’s President Jae In Moon and Tori

On July 26th, 2017, Tori was adopted by South Korea’s President Jae In Moon, becoming the nation’s First Dog.

Tori is a four-year-old black mixed breed—a mutt—and is the first dog adopted from a shelter to become First Dog. President Moon has two other companion animals, a 10-year-old Korean Pungsan dog called Maru and a former stray cat called Jjing-jing.

Before his rescue, Tori was kept on a short leash in a deserted farmhouse and fed scraps. The old man who was keeping him abused him severely. We rescued Tori only days before being sold to a dog meat butcher.

President Moon, AJ Garcia, Tori, and So Youn park, president of CARE

Unfortunately, Tori languished for 2 years in the adoption center while the other lighter-furred pure-bred residents were adopted before him. In South Korea there is a preference for white or cream colored pure-bred dogs, coupled with a superstition surrounding dark-colored and mixed-breed dogs.

During the presidential campaign, President Moon promised to adopt Tori from CARE should he win. We are happy to see that he has kept this promise, and hope that his leading by example will help to remove the stigma surrounding—and promote the adoption of—dark colored and mixed-breed dogs.

President Moon also promised to make South Korea a better place for animals; increase the number of playgrounds for pets, feeding facilities for stray cats, and expand Trap, Neuter & Release programs.

We’re cautiously optimistic about these further promises.

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