It's hard to believe she almost died in a trash bag.

In South Korea, where dog meat is a delicacy known as gaegogi (although the practice of eating it is less common these days), Chi Chi was one of many born to be consumed.

According to her Facebook page, the 2-year-old yellow Labrador's feet were bound and she was hung upside down - it was believed her meat would become more tender this way. She was stuffed with food to make her gain weight quickly. "She was hung from her legs for so long that her bindings started eating through her flesh," Monique Hanson, foster and adoptions coordinator at Animal Rescue, Media & Education (ARME), told The Dodo. "At some point, it was literally bone she was hanging upside down from."

ARME found out about Chi Chi through Nabiya Irion Hope Project, an animal welfare group based in South Korea. ARME worked with the group previously on ARME's Beagle Freedom Project, a sister organization dedicated to rescuing beagles from lab testing. Deemed no longer fit for consumption because of her injuries, Chi Chi was thrown away - but thankfully, her story didn't end there.

"It was literally just by chance [members of Nabiya Irion Hope Project] found her in a trashcan," Hanson said. "She was found in a very well-known slaughter region in South Korea for dogs and cats. It was really by luck they saw her in there and that she was still alive."

Despite all that Chi Chi had gone through, she still had an incredible will to live. It was that very spirit that prompted her rescuers to give her a fighting chance. She was taken to a hospital where all four of her paws had to be amputated in order to save her life.

Chi Chi currently remains under the of the Nabiya Irion Hope Project. ARME is collaborating with the South Korean rescue group for her care. Tomorrow, she'll be set up with prosthetics - custom-made for each leg.

Once she goes through rehabilitation and gets comfortable walking on her new feet, Hanson said Chi Chi will make a brief stop at ARME in California before going home to her new forever family in Arizona. Her new family, the Howells, own several rescue dogs - including two beagles from the Beagle Freedom Project. Chi Chi is all set to land in the U.S. around the second week of March and start her new life as a beloved pet shortly after.

"She's going to have a great home," Hanson said. She also said that Chi Chi, despite her past, has never stopped giving affection to all who come into contact with her. Watch Chi Chi's heartwarming story below. 

And then the follow up news article about Chi Chi...

"Don't ever question who can defy the odds," Shannon Keith, president of Animal Rescue, Media & Education (ARME), told The Dodo. Keith is referring to Chi Chi, whom The Dodo first covered in late February, several weeks after she had lost all her paws and was undergoing rehabilitation in preparation for moving into a forever home.

After two months of hard work, Chi Chi is finally ready to start her new life.

0162 Dog Who Lost Her Paws Runs To Meet Her New Family 01

Nobody expected this storybook ending for Chi Chi, named after the Korean word for "loving." She was rescued from a trash can outside a dog meat farm in South Korea, where she was hung upside down by her paws and stuffed with food to make her gain weight quickly. "[Dog meat farmers] like [the dogs] to be scared before they die, because they think that makes the meat taste better," said Keith. "The more torture the more tender the meat."

Unfortunately, it's a world that too many dogs endure, Keith explained. "People are very surprised that dog meat is still eaten in many parts of the world, even the United States." Keith, who also happens to be an attorney, is working with lawmakers to create legislation to ban dog meat farms in the United States. If successful, she will keep more dogs from receiving the same the cruel treatment as Chi Chi once did.

"We weren't even sure she was going to live," said Keith.

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"The infection in her legs was so horrific it had eaten away her legs and it [had spread] throughout her whole body." The first hurdle for Chi Chi was simply staying alive after her quadruple amputation. "She survived and the day after surgery she was trying to walk. She was smiling and wagging her tail," Keith continued. "Then, a couple days later, she even started walking on her little stumps."

All her hard work paid off, because last week Chi Chi was finally ready to come to her new home in the United States.

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After months of video chatting with the pup across seas, Keith greeted Chi Chi when she arrived at the Los Angeles International Airport in California. From there, Keith drove Chi Chi to her new home in Arizona. When they got out of the car, Chi Chi felt and sniffed grass for the first time in her life. She also had another big first: meeting her new family, Richard, Elizabeth and Megan Howell.

The Howells have two other dogs who were happy to meet Chi Chi - Kipper and Harry, who were both rescued from laboratory research facilities through a subset of ARME called The Beagle Freedom Project. ARME set up an Amazon Wish List for Chi Chi to help her settle into her new home, and people who heard her story have been eager to show their support.

"One of the great things somebody got for us was a dog stroller," said Keith. "She's just in heaven. She loves it." Not having any legs doesn't stop Chi Chi from getting around on her own.

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"She can walk. She can run," Megan Howell told the Associated Press. She can do anything a dog with four legs a can do, "except go up the stairs." But Chi Chi has a fiery energy and she surprises everyone around her with her eagerness to move. "Yesterday morning, we were sitting there in [the Howells'] backyard," Keith recalled. "I was sitting on a ledge, and she jumped up on it," said Keith. "I was like, 'What?! This dog is amazing!'"

A veterinarian who specializes in prosthetics will be visiting the Howells this week.

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Her new footwear may take some getting used to, but if her eagerness is any indication, Chi Chi will face this new chapter with just as much energy and excitement as she has shown throughout the last two months. Thanks to ARME, Chi Chi's best days are still ahead of her as she grows closer with her new family and discovers how it feels to be part of a family that loves her as much as she loves them. To learn more about other success stories from ARME and to support its efforts, visit its website.

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162 Dog Who Lost Her Paws Runs To Meet Her New Family 06
162 Dog Who Lost Her Paws Runs To Meet Her New Family 06
162 Dog Who Lost Her Paws Runs To Meet Her New Family 06
162 Dog Who Lost Her Paws Runs To Meet Her New Family 06
162 Dog Who Lost Her Paws Runs To Meet Her New Family 06

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