It’s 4 a.m. in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and Marc Ching has put his cash and passport in his hotel safe — in case things go south on this morning’s mission. It’s typical for him to clock only a few hours of sleep over the course of a week on one of these trips. “Every day I’m saturated with blood,” he says.
Ching heads out of the hotel, carrying a backpack that contains a change of “dump-and-go” clothes. The 37-year-old Hawaii native has short, black hair, a compact and muscular build, and a brow that’s permanently furrowed. He joins his driver and translator in a cargo van, puts in his earbuds and starts listening to a playlist of melancholy songs, from Aquilo’s “You There” to Erik Jonasson’s “Like a Funeral.” It helps him connect and empathize with the dogs he’s going to try to save.[…]