Pupdate: We adopted a dog!
I never had a dog growing up. My mom said it was because of my dad's allergies, but it turns out it was also partly due to some emotional baggage my dad had from my grandma giving away dogs he raised and loved when he was younger. So I became that annoying girl who oohs and ahhs and "omg so cute!"s every dog and puppy I see on the street and my friends' Instagram stories (sorry I'm not sorry).
Bryan had dogs growing up and knew how much work it is to raise and take care of a dog. He always said to me that I'd have to fix my habit of sleeping in and start getting up early if I wanted to raise a dog. Well, thanks to my job and commute here, getting up between 5:30-6am is a regular habit (omg am I becoming a morning person...?).
A month or so ago, we decided to get a dog here. Bryan figured that since he has time, if we found a puppy he could train it and take care of it during the day. We got the OK from our landlord and I started scouring the government animal adoption site (they list found dogs and the owners have 10 days to claim them before they're available for adoption), different Korea-based animal shelters, and Facebook groups dedicated to helping abandoned animals find a home.
We had a few false starts — every time we thought we found the perfect dog (mostly little poodle puppies), the pup was either already adopted/reserved or found its owner. One week, I noticed a new post on the Animal Rescue Korea Facebook page looking for a new home for a handsome little dog named Bruiser, and I tagged Bryan. We didn't discuss him seriously though; we needed a dog who didn't shed and this one definitely looked like he would. But after a few more dead-end calls to inquire about abandoned poodles, I messaged the poster to see if we could at least meet the dog to see if we got along. It turned out she lives about 10 minutes via cab from my office, so Bryan met me there after work on Friday and we went to meet the little guy.
Bruiser was so skittish. The foster family also had another dog, a fluffy white Pomeranian who wouldn't stop barking. So Bruiser himself was also a little growl-y, and wasn't too keen about us strangers. He played a little bit and let us pet him, but would quickly retreat to a corner of the bed, out of reach.
His foster mom told us how she found him and his sister in a box about two years ago, abandoned in a park so she rescued them and took them to the vet for shots, heartworm treatment, etc. His sister was adopted and eventually moved to the States, whereas he was raised by another family who moved back to New Zealand a few weeks ago and couldn't take him. Instead of letting them drop him off at a shelter, she took him in until she could find him a suitable family. Given that backstory, I can totally understand why he's skittish with strangers.
Despite his standoffishness, the foster mom said we should come back the next day if we were free to take him for a walk and see if he would warm up to us. So we took another hour-long train ride down to visit the pup. He was so nervous when he saw us, he peed in the hallway but he didn't growl! Once Bryan took his leash though, he was like a new dog — so excited to go out and explore. We spent a very long (and freaking hot) hour out in the sun walking around Gwanggyo.
That night on our way home, we decided Bruiser was the dog for us and that we could be the right family for him. So, Sunday early afternoon, we went down to get supplies and to pick him up. We took another walk with the foster family and their dog, had some lunch outside, then packed him up and took him home in a cab. For a dog who was so nervous to meet us the first couple of times, he was so well-behaved and calm in the cab — no growls, no barks, no pees.
Also, we renamed him Kunu, which apparently means 'country' or 'native born' (but it's really a reference to Paul Rudd's character in Forgetting Sarah Marshall).
If you come visit us, hope you're okay with dogs... because Kunu will probably try to sleep on you.