November 30, 2012

Making A Difference

My intention when I first set fingers to keyboard an hour ago was to talk about how the future I live in now isn’t quite the future I imagined when I was seven. To be fair, I still have bones to pick with the lack of flying cars, but some nagging feeling in me just won’t let me write anything on the topic worth two damns until I give the shelter animals one last round of internet support.

I have started to volunteer at the Asan animal shelter known as Jane World and run by a man named Mr. Park. Its location is not announced to the general public because odds are once people know of a place to dump an animal they no longer care for, the shelter would be overrun and overpopulated, and without the volunteers that give of themselves to help out, I highly doubt the animals would be in stable health at all. As it were, the shelter is home to some sixty or so dogs (I am as bad with numbers as I am good with words, bear with me) as well as some forty cats. For a shelter run privately by an animal lover hoping to find the animals good homes, this is a lot of furry friends to care for. I imagine it’s hard enough to feed them all daily without taking into consideration exercise and socialization.

Recently, the shelter’s owner and volunteers have caught a lot of lip from one of the government funded shelters. Harsh words were released, and Jane World was caught in the crossfire of a lot of animosity. Because I generally don’t care for bullies, I am keen on defending Jane World and Mr. Park, even though neither requires it. The volunteers, foster parents, and adoptive parents that work with the animals there know the truth and to me, that is all that matters. There just is no way to be perfect when it comes to shelters and shelter care – but having the heart to open one’s home and at least try to do right by these abandoned animals is better than what a lot of others are doing with their time.

The little guy in the picture above is named Koala Bear. He is a Pomeranian mix looking for his forever home – this weekend, he’ll be coming home with me. He is eight years old (maybe older), and has spent the greater part of his life in an enclosure at the Asan shelter. He’s adorable, and in good health. The problem lays in his temperament – you see, Koala Bear seems to have been abused before coming to the shelter. He will accept treats from your hand but nips and becomes skittish when you try to pet him. Unfortunately, his is not the only case like this. Some animals have become progressively more anti-social in the shelter, making adoption harder, and some are totally unknown because they simply do not trust human contact enough to take the step forward into a new life.

But there is always a happy side to every story – in recent days, a Poodle named Pook has found an adoptive home … all the way in Canada! Another small dog has found a new home in the Philippines, and rumor has it that one of the larger dogs (almost impossible to find homes for in Korea, as most people are frightened of them) may even be flying out to Texas to his new home. It’s encouraging that there aren’t any boundaries for giving an animal a place to call their own.

In the end, I want to leave off with this: you may walk by a pet store today and see all those adorable puppies playing, sprawled out and full of energy. You may be tempted to walk in and make baby noises at it. You may even consider pulling out that Platinum card and taking the little pipsqueak home. But before you support puppy mills and other quack job sources, consider, once again, taking home an animal that truly needs to be shown love in their life. Consider a rescue animal – not only will you be saving their life, but perhaps they might even save yours.

Interested in making a difference? Check out animals available for adoption online at www.animalrescuekorea.org, or visit your local shelters and humane societies.

Image Credit: J. Schultz

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