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MIAMI, Fla. (CNN) – Twenty golden retrievers were rescued from China and met their forever families in South Florida Sunday.

The dogs were saved from a meat market thanks to Golden Rescue South Florida. Rescuing the pups was a lengthy process, and for many, an emotional time.

“Thank God,” Patrick McGrath, who was one of the people bringing a dog home. “We got her. She will have a life.”

Rescue coordinator Kristine Minerva said that dogs are used as meat consumption in China.

“They eat the dogs for meat, so this has been a rescue six months in the making,” she said.

Minerva said it required medical testing, examinations fore the dogs, and getting them through customs. Because of the pandemic, the couldn’t do their usual fundraiser, but still managed to raise the $60,000 it took to get the dogs to Florida.

“These dogs have been through traumatic experiences, so some of them really don’t know how to act like a dog,” Minerva said. “So it’s going to take a lot of patience, a lot of training. and a lot of determination to get the dog to that golden breed and that golden demeanor, which we know that they all can be.”

Katie Brown and John Knitter said they were up for the challenge.

“This is what rescue is all about,” Brown said. “Taking the time to give the unconditional love to animals that they give to us.”

Once the dogs got a check-up, a quick bath and some snacks, they were ready to go home. As Brown said, it was well worth the wait.

“This is the happiest day in 2020 for me,” Brown said. “ We’ve been on such a long journey and to have her here is incredible. It makes our year.”

Local businesses donated bags of food and other supplies. All 20 families who brought home a dog had previously gone through home inspections from Golden Rescue South Florida and were required to fill out a questionnaire.

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