Wednesday, February 8, 2023
February 8, 2023

Karia the Korean street dog adapts to island life

By JANET CLIFFE

SPECIAL TO THE DRIFTWOOD

In our world, dogs experience a more or less pampered life of grooming, shampoo, cut, blow dry and nail clips.

They live in the luxury of fenced yards, regular walks and are lavished with treats. There are visits to their vets if needed and some even get dressed up in hoodies, raincoats or life jackets.

One day a little dog from Korea was flown into the Vancouver airport and transported by ferry to Salt Spring Island and placed in a home here. Coming from the streets in Korea she had to fend for her life in all aspects. It was estimated she had done that for 10 years. She had to know how to survive, skirting dangers and any threats to her survival.

Shortly after arriving at her new home, she found an opportunity to escape out the door and ran. Attempts were made to locate her. She travelled completely across the island and within five to six hours was spotted. This is where the blizzard experience is still amazing. She travelled from one sister to the other; the other being myself. I was unaware of the adoption and the whole event was unknown to me. But here was the little dog at my driveway. She travelled through forests and all sorts of terrains to get here.

The neighbour across the street put food out twice a day, and tried to encourage her to come close. To no avail, though. She stayed in the neighbourhood, but many concerns were expressed about her being loose on the roads. Even if her dish or anything was moved she would stay away for awhile. She didn’t trust people but we could see she loved other dogs, which was how she was eventually able to be leashed. Four months had passed and our neighbour took her in and did her best to lovingly give her a comfortable place to be. But it was trying and conditions ware difficult for all. The little dog always had an eye on that open door and used the opportunity whenever she couId, and then the cycle would start again.

One prevalent thing I noticed was she was really very interested In my two dogs. Especially at our regular daily ball throwing routine. She would run along the fence with them wanting to be part of the game. So . . . what if we changed the rules of the whole game? We’ll make this her choice.

So one night I left the gate open. Low and behold, the next morning she was in the yard, all happy and excited to finally greet my dogs in person. She was extremely cautious of us, though, and wouldn’t let us near her. Acting on her choices, we honoured this and even left the gate open at night for her If she wanted to leave. But she never left, so now her choice is to stay.

That was almost four months ago. Since then, It’s been a seemingly long journey, at times wondering if she will ever rehab to a typical pet, as there was a lot of ingrained fear of captivity. But hope being what it is, she dld enter the house, allowed us to touch her, and to eventually put a collar on her. I can now sit with her, patting and rubbing her ears, and she even sleeps on the bed. She allows her harness and leash and loves to go for long walks daily. She guides me on the walk back to ”her” home. Her choice.

It was an eight-month journey. She has dog friends, a fenced yard she protects, two meals a day and has decided the pampered life isn’t so bad. This is Karia!

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