July 27, 2008
Ladies and gentlemen, thereâ€™s someone new in our lives that weâ€™d like to introduce to you. His name is Spudgy, and he is pictured here, above. He is our Pekingnese dog that we just adopted from a shelter. He doesnâ€™t look Pekingese, we know, because his hair is so short, but it turns out that shaving your Pekingese dog is the Korean way. It’s very hot in Summer, and Pekingese dogs grow absurdly long hair, so to prevent them from passing out from heat stroke, it’s best to shave them down to cool them off. Unfortunately, Pekingese dogs aren’t very cute when they’re shaved. Anyhow, we made a couple of videos on him so far: the one in the left image below is on our getting Spudgy from the adoption shelter. The second on the right is on an intro to spudgy.
We arrived at Samsong station at around 12:20 this Sunday and met Ryan there. Ryan is a volunteer for the Korean shelters, and heâ€™s the one who we spoke with on the phone and in email and who guided us to the shelter. Heâ€™s an American who has been living in Korea for around two years now, and he has done extensive work to help find homes for many, many animals. Bless his soul.
He told the taxi where to take us while he rode his motorcycle alongside us. In a few minutes we were at the shelter, which was in a very rural area. Ryan is also raising money to relocate the shelter into a better area, where the dogs will have more room and the neighbours will not be so pissy (after all, youâ€™d be grumpy too if you had 220 dogs barking all the time). At the shelter we met the lady who was running it, and for the life of us we canâ€™t remember her name. She takes really good care of the dogs, especially considering the huge amount of them she has, and also considering how severely understaffed she was. It was a surprise that the dogs were in any presentable condition whatsoever. She must never get a drop of rest.
The shelter was divided into two parts: most of the small dogs were in the house, while the big dogs were in the tented area. We first walked into the house to see the smaller dogs. We came to this shelter specifically because Martina saw a picture of a pug that we wanted. Unfortunately, by the time we got there he was gone; he was at the hospital that day because he was sick and very old. We were sad when we heard the news, but continued to walk around and look for a dog because there were so many sweet dogs there. Granted, it might not look that way when you see the video, as youâ€™ll hear deafening dog barks, but that was just because the dogs are not used to having visitors. As well, the problem with having so many dogs together is that as soon as one starts barking the others follow suit, even if they donâ€™t know what theyâ€™re barking at.
Martina saw one that especially caught her attention amid the many barking dogs. This was a sweet little shaved Pekingese dog who wasnâ€™t barking at all. He just waddled up to Martina and stood up for her. Martina picked him up and he snuggled up to her. He was very still and quiet and sweet, and Martina instantly fell in love with him. When we asked about him we heard a couple of sad things; one – heâ€™s blind in his left eye. Itâ€™s clouded over, and he canâ€™t see objects but he can feel light. Secondly, he had hip surgery (you can see the scars from the incisions on his hip), and he doesnâ€™t walk all too solidly. When Martina heard this she started to cry, and fell in love with him even more.
We walked around the tented part of the shelter afterwards to see the other dogs. There was one spunky dog that Simon happened to like, who climbed up his fence for you to pet him. We considered him or Spudgy, but after taking the spunky dog for a walk we realized that he might be too demanding for us, and Spudgy was so frail and sweet that we had to take him: the spunky dog could easily be adopted by someone else, while some people might be turned off by Spudgy’s eye and hips. So we adopted Spudgy, who was nothing but affectionate with us. We were waiting for a ride to the vet, and so we were sitting outside and eating watermelon. Spudgy sat on our legs the whole time.
We took him to the vet in Sinshon, and – from what Ryan told us – he’s the best vet in Korea. He gave Spudgy a quick look over to see if he was alright (and this was all while Spudgy was shaking and quivering in fear. So sad!). It turns out Spudgy needs some dental work, which isn’t surprising for a dog in a shelter. The woman running the shelter had 220 animals to take care of; she couldn’t be thorough in brushing everyone’s teeth. Anyhow, we’re going back to the vet next week to get Spudgy’s teeth cleaned, and to get some blood work and X-Rays to make sure everythingâ€™s alright. By then Spudgy should be more comfortable around us and not so scared that heâ€™s shivering.
If youâ€™re in Korea and reading this, please consider helping out with the shelter. If you canâ€™t adopt a dog or take it into foster care, you could still volunteer to help. Dogs arenâ€™t treated all too kindly around here, as many are run through the puppy mills to be genetically engineered like Paris Hiltonsâ€™ teacup dogs, or they’re abused otherwise. You always wanted a puppy when you were a kid. Now youâ€™re old enough to get one.