LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - It's been quite an experience for one dog that currently calls Kentucky home.
The 4-year-old named Cam was rescued from China. His rescuers say he's been through a lot on his journey of more than 8,000 miles, and is loving his new life.
Before coming to the Bluegrass state, Cam was living on the streets of China.
"Many of the street dogs are picked up by the meat traders there and are eaten," said Jean Gibowski, who runs the non-profit dog rescue organization Camp Jean.
Cam was taken from the streets and placed into a Chinese animal shelter.
"Because of his size, he could not be adopted in Beijing. Anything over 14 pounds cannot be adopted there. So his only chance of being rescued was to actually leave the country," Gibowski explained.
Video of a defeated Cam inside the shelter was posted online, and captured the heart of a woman named Judy in California.
"She fell deeply in love and raised sponsorship money to bring him to the U.S," Gibowski said.
Around $2,000 was raised in about six months. Thanks to the fundraiser, complex plans were made to bring Cam to America.
"[Cam's handlers] got him to the check point at the Hong Kong airport," Gibowski said.
But for some reason, Cam bolted from his handlers into a militarized zone between Hong Kong and China.
"They could see him, but they could not actually go in to get him; the guards were threatening to shoot [the handlers]," said Gibowski.
Cam was lost at the border for several days.
"The story actually got picked up by the news stations and news papers in Hong Kong," according to Gibowski.
His rescuers in America refused to give up.
"Following sightings of him, trying to make sure he didn't run away again, trying to make sure the meat traders did not come get him, trying to make sure government officials did not come and get him ... all while trying to coordinate with the local people," explained Gibowski.
The relentless efforts of those back in the United States, as well as compete strangers in Hong Kong, paid off.
"A gentleman saw him laying on steps of a house in Hong Kong. He sent a message to Judy in California and said, 'Is this your dog?'"
Sure enough, it was Cam, who had become known as the dog with a red collar.
Gibowski said laughingly, "It was quite an endeavor." She added, "They were able to apprehend the runaway and get him onto a plan to Chicago."
Gibowski then drove from Lawrenceburg to Chicago to pick up the now-rescued dog.
"He has quite the story of going from street dog to house dog," Gibowski said.
Gibowski is using that story to spread a message of strangers coming together for the greater good.
"He has his own Facebook and still has a following in Hong Kong. He has kind of become a celebrity. Also, to help show the Chinese that these are pets they are not just meat. He has kind of become a poster child for the meat dog to house dog," said Gibowski.
Cam is now working on learning to be a good house dog at Camp Jean before moving on to a permanent home.
"We are now raising funds to bring some of Cam's friends over. Camp Jean will still primarily rescue from Kentucky. But I do want to start bring in some more from China because they do not stand a chance over there," said Gibowski.
For more information on Camp Jean, you can visit their Facebook page.
If you want to stay updated on Cam's story, you can visit the "Bring Cam Home" Facebook page.