Heartbreaking moment dog about to be butchered at meat market holds out paw to passer-by

A video of a fluffy dog nervously holding out is paw to a stranger saved it from being butchered for its meat in China.

The lovable American Eskimo Dog, which experts suggest is a stolen pet, was rescued at the last minute when it caught the attention of a passing dog-lover and offered its paw.

In the clip, which has gone viral in China, a man sits on the ground next to the frightened-looking white dog.

He then holds out his hand and the dog places its paw in his palm, before looking away.

The man uploaded the clip on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, with the caption: “See how scared it was while waiting to be butchered at the dog meat store, and how hopeful it looked.”

Dog offers paw
Yuan Yuan offers a paw to the kind person who notices the animal’s plight

Luckily, he decided to adopt the animal, renamed “Yuan Yuan”, and it is back to living as a beloved family pet instead of meat on the butcher’s slab, Mail Online reports.

Yuan Yuan was saved on October 26 and since then has developed an adorable habit of “smiling” at people, according to the pooch’s new owner.

Wendy Higgins, an expert from Humane Society International, says that judging from Yuan Yuan’s behaviour in the video, the dog was previously a family pet.

She told MailOnline: “The dog in the video responded to human kindness by offering a paw, a sure sign that this dog was almost certainly a former pet, likely stolen for the meat trade.”

This comes after dog meat was banned in Nagaland, India when a heartbreaking picture of dogs tied-up in sacks went viral.

Dog meat was viewed as a delicacy but, after the public outcry, the state government banned the trading of live and butchered dogs.