In this video interview, Jinoak shares her personal story about how she got involved in dog rescue in Korea.
What was your motivation to get involved in animal rescue?
I had a dog once but it got killed in car accident in front of my eyes. I was so terrified and didn’t know what to do. One day the thought came to me that my pain might be healed if I help other dogs. That’s how I got interested in animal rescue.
So in 2003 I visited a city pound for the first time in my life. But I got so shocked by the fact that so many dogs were living in such horrible circumstances. I adopted four dogs from the city pound. Since then my rescue work and helping adoptions have been non-stop.
How could you rescue the twenty chicken farm dogs as just an individual?
But the case of the chicken farm dogs was different. I felt overwhelmed. Rescuing 20 dogs at once seemed beyond my capability. I thought that If I don’t rescue these dogs then no one else will do it. I was horrified by the idea that the suffering of these dogs will continue through the generations as these dogs get pregnant and have pups. These poor dogs have already endured too much suffering: eating dead chickens to survive, living with no water in a place completely exposed to rain and snow. That means their babies will go through the same suffering.
If I don’t rescue these dogs, I would have to live with the memory of me ignoring the poor dogs who desperately need help. I finally made my mind that it would be easier for me to rescue them than walking away and living with the horrible memory and guilty feeling all my life.
While looking after these poor dogs, I’ve faced many emotional and financial challenges. Sometimes people criticized and ridiculed me. But the idea of giving up never crosses my mind. When I see the condition of these poor dogs, I realize that my suffering is temporary. But the help I provide makes a permanent change in their lives. I couldn’t turn away from their lifetime suffering. Although my life is inconvenient in many ways, I am happy to carry on my suffering for the happiness of the poor dogs.
Jinoak works at daycare centre in Ilsan in Korea. Although she likes being around children it is pretty tough for her to maintain the full time job while looking after thirty rescue dogs plus stray cats and dogs in the village. Since the rescue of the chicken farm dog, she’s been sleeping only for a couple of hours a day. She gets up at 10 AM and feeds her 10 dogs and gives them medication. Many of them were actually once adopted by other families. But when the dogs got old and sick, people returned the dogs back to Jinoak. After feeding her own dogs, she goes out to feed street cats near her house and then drives a car to go to the shelter to feed the dogs rescued from the chicken farm. She comes home and gets ready to go to work. She finishes work at 10 PM and then goes to the shelter and feeds the dogs and gives them medication and then cleans the shelter. On her way home she also feeds stray dogs and cats. By the time she gets home it is usually around 2 AM. She feeds her own dogs and cleans the house and goes to bed around 7 AM. Jinoak has been doing this for months.
I met Jinoak last May in Korea since then we’ve been having a conversation on a regular basis. I know that she is not exaggerating her daily schedule here. Indeed she is always so tired and lack of sleep. Sometimes she falls a sleep during a conversation. When people see animals rescued they get excited and want to help, but as time goes by people forget about the ones rescued. Let’s help Jinoak and the chicken farm dogs so they know they are not alone.