My husband Mark and I started the journey of looking for a dog in November. We knew we wanted to adopt a dog and we looked at many dog rescues before we stumbled onto FreeKoreanDogs. When I saw Tokki on the website, I absolutely fell in love. I looked through all the posted pictures and videos probably a dozen times.
We filled out an application right away and heard back from EK the founder of the rescue in a couple of days. Within a week, we had a house visit and a plan for Tokki to arrive in Canada. Unfortunately, due to weather conditions and flight cancellations, Tokki didn’t arrive until December 29th. I spent my days waiting for Tokki, buying puppy supplies and looking at his videos. The night before Tokki’s arrival, we couldn’t sleep. We were so nervous and excited to see him. We drove to the airport, met with EK, and headed to international arrivals. We waited for a couple of hours sitting, anxiously clutching our coffee cups. Then after what seemed like forever, we saw an airport employee bring in two large cages through the gate followed by the wonderful flight volunteer who agreed to help bring Tokki and another puppy with her. My heart stopped. Mark and I ran towards the flight volunteer and the cages; we couldn’t wait to see Tokki. He looked so tiny in the large crate, it broke my heart.
I wanted to get him home right away, so after saying thanks and getting a cart, we brought Tokki to our car. He was whining, he was freezing and uncomfortable. His pee pads were soaked, and he was laying uncomfortably in a wet crate. I was fighting the urge to get him out, as EK’s warning echoed in my head; don’t let him out until you get home. I sat close and comforted him as best as I could. When we got home, I got him out of the crate right away and he proceeded to pee and poop right there on the carpet. We didn’t care, we just wanted him out of the crate and wanted to get him comfortable in his room upstairs. I cleaned him up as best as I could and talked to him while Mark cleaned up. I offered him some kibble and water and he ate right away. I fed him a little bit at a time from my hand because I didn’t want him to get sick. He was so happy to be out of his crate, he was wagging his tail and licking our hands constantly. I spent the entire afternoon with him in his room, laying on the floor with him cuddling. I couldn’t believe he was finally here.
Tokki went through a lot as a puppy; a car hit him when he was 2 months old and soon after he lost an eye to a bigger dog. His tragic past comes through in his day-to-day behavior. After the initial day of excitement, Tokki started showing signs of fear. Fear of men, fear of people holding things, fear of doors, stairs, elevators, busses,
cars, bicycles, and other dogs. Luckily Tokki wasn’t afraid of our three kitties and from day one has been gentle and curious with them.
Mark and I started the process of reassuring Tokki every day about his daily outdoor routine. After about two weeks of being terrified of everything, Tokki started being able to go up and down the stairs in our condominium without any issues, come out in the hallway of our building and get in the elevator without much fuss, and he started walking with more confidence and started exploring the environment outside. In the first couple of weeks Mark and I had to pick him up often and carry him outside or back inside because he wouldn’t budge, sometimes he would freeze in a middle of a walk and wouldn’t move.
When we introduced toys to him in the first couple of days, he completely ignored them, he didn’t know what to do with them and didn’t engage in play. After a few days, he started chewing on one slightly and a couple of days after that, he was playing tug of war with Mark happily. The progress he made in just two weeks is incredible. He is such a smart and resilient puppy. By week three we decided it was time to teach him some basic obedience. He didn’t seem to have had any training or if he did, it was in Korean, so he didn’t understand English commands. We wanted him to understand the basics; sit, come, stay, drop and to stop pulling on his leash when walking. He is very reactive when outside and barks, growls, and lunges at other dogs and even people, so we needed to make sure he learns to associate others with happy things. We started with my brother-in- law coming to visit. In the beginning Tokki was terrified, growling and barking. By the end of day four he was playing, cuddling, and hanging out with Adam without much fear. This week, we hired a personal dog trainer to come to the house and work with us and Tokki on some of his behaviours. We are learning so much together!
From Tatiana and Mark