A Hong Kong native who hatched a plan to get all of her 13 pet rescue dogs to Ireland intends to be buried with them at home in west Cork.
Lynda Wong fell in love with Ireland after moving to west Cork with her then-boyfriend, in 2010. However, the absence of her 13 rescue dogs had left a gaping hole in her life.
The now 57-year-old vowed that they would all be together again.
Nine years and €32,000 later, Lynda insists she will never leave her “babies” again.
Her house has since been specially adapted for the dogs, with an extension and special washroom for them to bathe.
Love brought her to Bantry, but when the relationship broke down, three years ago, Lynda was faced with a difficult predicament.
“I decided that this will be my last destination,” she said.
“I couldn’t abandon my dogs. I will live and die in west Cork. My dogs will have a better life here. People don’t love their animals in Hong Kong the way they do here. I love this country. There are good people in west Cork.”
Four dogs have died since 2014, leaving just nine.
“The dogs are super-intelligent. It’s like they understand my language. If you lose one, it’s like losing a human.”
She recalled first being reunited with her dogs. “The only way to get them over was in separate shipments.
“It took four separate shipments to get them all over and cost €32,000 in total. The first shipment arrived in 2014.
“There was a lot of preparation to do. The bigger dogs came with greater difficulties. For example, the Great Dane had to be taken in a crate designed to carry Harley-Davidsons. The first time they saw me, they all began wagging their tails. They had no jet lag at all.”
She had dedicated much of her life in Hong Kong to saving dogs, many of whom had suffered unspeakable abuse.
“There are some very ugly stories,” Lynda said.
“I have rescued dogs from building sites, who had been abused by humans. Some had owners who travelled long distances in their Mercedes and BMWs just to leave them starve. There are some bad people out there. That’s why there’s so much war in the world.”
Lynda had never intended to be left with so many rescue dogs. “Some of the dogs were too old to be rehoused and I didn’t want to put them in kennels.”
Lynda attributes her love of animals to her Irish ex-partner.
“My ex-partner was very much into nature. Before meeting him, I was a career woman. I come from a conservative family, who always encouraged me to stay away from animals, in case they had germs.”
The 57-year-old has never looked back.
“I had never been that into animals before, but it was my first rescue dog who broke my secret code. I knew I wanted to do something in the community, as there are so many people in need of help. Then, I thought about how much the animal world needed help, too.”
She admitted there were many objections around bringing the dogs to Cork.
“Nobody said yes,” she said. “Even my medical doctor told me you can’t handle this, but I believe what I believe.”
Lynda said her dogs are more than just pets.
“They are not just friends. They are soul mates.”
She dished out some valuable advice for anyone considering buying a pet.
“Having a dog is a life commitment. I would also advise people to go for adoption.”