Four harnesses, seven pairs of shoes, 3,360 miles walked: these are just a few of the numbers that reflect the first year we’ve spent together since Louie (formerly Jungyi) landed in Seattle last April 2017.
It’s hard to believe it’s already been a year, and yet, when considering everything we have experienced, learned, and discovered together, it seems like he’s always lived in our cozy corner of the Pacific Northwest.
Louie arrived in Seattle with a few years of South Korean street and foster life under his metaphorical belt, and it quickly became clear that the customs, expectations, and common assumptions he had grown used to as a puppy on the other side of the world would no longer apply here.
3,360 miles sounds like a lot when you consider the math—that’s further than the distance of Seattle to New York, or Havana, or the North Pole. But walks with Louie helped kickstart our life together, and continue to cement our bond with every mile, every pair of shoes, and every pair of ripped pants or rained-out mornings we spend traversing our small corner of the world.
Walking created an immediate crash course in the incomparable coordination and high prey instincts of the Jindo. Whether it was a squirrel across the street, a cat up on a neighbors’ porch, a duck swimming in a darkened pond, or a baby bunny hiding in a nearby bush—Louie’s ability to transition from a calm, friendly walking dog to an animated, relentless hunter constantly kept me on my toes (and still does today, even as a former D1 track athlete!).
Walking is also what helped us find Louie in the dark, on the first night he jumped a fence and ran away into the vast Montana wilderness when some unexpected firecrackers went off. It’s what’s emphasized his transition from an independent street dog to a loyal homebody. The more we walk together, the more he listens to what I say, what I do, and when he needs to wait. He may not have full recall yet, but he knows when to look both ways before crossing the street, and he checks behind him every few seconds to make sure I’m still in tow.
In our first year together, we’ve had ups and downs, triumphs and terrors. Lou still shakes whenever he hears a whistle, a man’s voice yelling, or a loud, unexpected sound. But every time I walk in the door, his tail is up, a Cheshire cat-style grin across his face. He loves cheese, all things chicken, and obviously, walking. He sleeps with his stuffed salmon every night.
In our first year together, Louie has taught me more than I ever could have imagined. In a sense, I thought I would be helping him when I filled out that form. But maybe it’s the other way around. Here’s to the next 3,360 miles.
Written by Sara Blakely
To follow Louie and Sara on their day adventures, check out their Instagram @justjindoit.