Sorry for the lack of new posts over the last month by the little bunny! I had 3 weeks of vacation, which will be talked about in more detail in a future blog post, I’m sure. After being home for a week, we also started fostering a Luna, a 6-year old Weimaraner. Since then, I’ve been pretty busy between going back to work and taking care of Luna.
So, why are we fostering? My boyfriend and I are dog lovers, having both grown up with a dog in the house. I think dog-lovers breed dog-lovers, because our sisters both have [had] dogs and we certainly both intend to own our own dogs one day. But since now is not an ideal time in our lives to own a dog–living only temporarily in Korea, traveling internationally at least twice a year, and being unsure of where we’ll go or how long we’ll stay there post-Korea–we decided to foster. This way we can still kind of have a dog, and also help dogs that have no family or home, without the long-term commitment and responsibility.
Many foreign teachers in Korea actually do seem to adopt cats and dogs, without accepting it as a long-term commitment and responsibility. Having been raised in a family where our dog was considered as a part of the family, and as an animal-lover, it has been really frustrating to see people take responsibility of a pet for a year or two and then leave their pet behind when they move back home. Especially when their method of finding new homes for their pets is via advertising on a facebook page.
Pets (most pets) also just don’t have the same status in Korea (or most other countries) as they do in America, especially for big dogs. There’s a miniature schnauzer that lives across the street from us, and in the year that I’ve been here, I’ve never seen him get taken on a walk–or even let inside from the 2nd floor balcony he lives on. Similarly, most big dogs are treated as guard dogs. They all live outside in the yard, often chained. For the most part, you don’t know they’re there until you’re walking your own dog. I can actually only recall seing two large dogs being walked while in Korea–one was a Jindo with a foreigner and the other a Collie with a Korean.
Luna is actually an American dog, with American owners. They moved her around the same time as we did (about a year ago), and brought her with to Korea. They had adopted her after she had been abandoned, at around 3 years old. She’s clearly been well-cared for; she dotes on attention, has been well-exercised, eats high-quality food, follows commands, and only likes to lie down on beds and blankets. They recently had a baby, and Luna growled at it once, and also attacked a small dog. Now they feel that Luna is becoming unpredictable, and are uncomfortable keeping her around their baby.
This is the second time this year that I’ve met a couple whose dog has had a negative reaction to their newborn and resulted in the couple considering giving up the dog. Personally, I think people need to give their pets more time to adjust to their babies. The reading I’ve done all says that pets need to be prepared for a new baby, and that it’s an incredibly stressful time for a pet, as the attention they get is drastically decreased and they feel a sense of competition with the baby. According to Luna’s adoption page, she was actually brought to the vet to be euthanized, which seems incredibly drastic for having only growled.
We’ve only had her for 2 weeks now, but I’m totally smitten. Already, I’ve wondered how hard it would really be to bring her back to America on a plane with us. Then I have to remind myself that we don’t know where our next jobs will be and if overseas, what the protocol will be for bringing in pets. She’s a wonderful, well-behaved dog (apart from pulling on the leash outside…especially if there’s a river or lake nearby), and I’m very excited to have her in the family for a little while….and a little jealous of whoever gets to adopt her!
Having a dog around has also made me realize how much pets almost force you, in a way, to be more present to the moment. I had resolved previously to take 15-30 minutes after work each day to do nothing, as a sort of meditation that would force me to just live for a little while, rather than work or waste time (or do something else that take me away from just living). Well, having a dog puts you in that situation constantly, throughout the day; when you’re petting them or walking them or training them, you’re only really focused on the dog and that moment, which is a nice way to live a simpler, more relaxed lifestyle. I find myself coming home for lunch more and more often, just for a small break from the work environment, where I can spend half an hour petting or walking or training with Luna. Or just living.
And now I’m off to take her on a walk!
~the little bunny