With the decision to say in Korea for at least a year and a half more, we decided it was time to start looking for a dog. Getting a dog was one of those things that we kept saying would happen one day… later… when we’re going to be somewhere longer or have a yard or a house or a nearby network of free and willing parents… ahem… pet-sitters. But after deciding to stay in Korea somewhat more permanently, and after extensively researching the boarding, pet-sitting, and travel options available to us with a dog in Korea, we decided to go for it.
We checked with our boss and our school next year to make sure that we could have a dog in our apartment and began perusing a website here in Korea that organizes pets needing adoption, Animal Rescue Korea. This organization isn’t a shelter itself, but provides a central place for pets in multiple shelters and fostered pets looking for good homes. In Korea, any dog in a shelter can legally be killed after 10 days, the theoretical time period it would take for someone to claim their lost dog, if they were looking. So when we found Roxie’s profile, we learned that she had been saved from puppy “death row”, found in a questionably abusive vet’s office/shelter, where she had been for 9 days.
After seeing Roxie’s profile on Friday, we got to go meet her on Sunday. Within one week with her foster family, she had been mostly housetrained and was becoming more and more outgoing and friendly. She crawled into our laps and played with her stuffed donut toy as we talked to an adoption coordinator and her foster mom.
We decided Roxie was awesome and that we would like adopt her. After reading an article our adoption coordinator referred us to about solving potential issues with landlords in Korea, I emailed our boss to get written confirmation that we could have a dog in our apartment. The next day, she emailed back that she checked with our landlord and we actually couldn’t have a dog because someone in the building is sensitive to the noise and the smell.
Very bummed out, we told our adoption coordinator the news and decided we would wait to ad0pt a dog until August when we would be moving to our new school and new apartment. But our coordinator suggested that we talk with our landlord about ways we could resolve any potential issues. In the meantime, Roxie had to move from her first foster family to her second, making this her third move in as many weeks. We asked our boss if we could communicate directly with the owner of our building, but she didn’t want us to talk to her directly. Instead, she suggested that we adopt the dog and it could be our “secret”, and that she would help address any issues that might arise.
Hesitant of this arrangement, we let our adoption coordinator know and expected to be turned down. But because our boss was willing to help address concerns, they decided to go ahead and let us take her home. Ryan jokingly referred to Roxie as the Anne Frank of dogs, and I was indeed worried that having Roxie in our apartment might feel like smuggling her anytime she had to go outside or might bark at a noise. If we hadn’t already met Roxie we would have waited until a better living situation, but since we knew we could offer her a good home, we agreed to a trial adoption.
We were scheduled to take a snowboarding trip the weekend we could pick up Roxie, so Ryan went on the trip while I went to pick her up. We had a vet appointment where she was pronounced very healthy, having gained 2.5 kg in a two week period, albeit still quite scared of the vet. I took a taxi home with her in a crate, and hung out with her all weekend until Ryan returned on Sunday.
I was a bit of an anxious mess, truth be told. She hardly barked, but once or twice would bark at the door when she heard a noise in the hallway. After 6 months passing where we saw just ONE of what we think should be 4 neighbors, we saw three different people in our building, with us walking out of our apartment with Roxie on a leash. When we left the house Roxie would cry and scratch at the door, and she has a tendency to bark when she hears a noise in the hallway. I was convinced we were going to be forced to give her back, and her with nowhere else to go.
As the week has gone on, with no complaints from our neighbors yet, we’re feeling better. Roxie is already completely housetrained, likes to play tug, always has a little bit of tongue sticking out (which makes her look like a dweeb), and is quite lovable.