Are you thinking about adopting a dog rescued from the Korean dog meat trade?
For those adopting Korean rescue dogs, it is one of the most compassionate and satisfying experiences of a lifetime. Before you jump in and submit an adoption application, however, here are a few considerations to help you make an informed choice.
Advice for Adopters
When adopting Korean rescue dogs, there are several differences to adopting from a local shelter. Dogs from the Korean dog meat trade often suffer incredible abuse and neglect before they are rescued. As a result, there may be significant mental and physical trauma to overcome.
We often get questions like, “What is this dog like with young children?” or “Is this dog good around cats?” In many cases, we’re talking about a dog who’s been caged since it was a puppy. Most have never seen a baby, a cat or much of anything else. The shelters in Korea do their best to provide a better life, but they are inundated with dogs. There are simply too many dogs to provide the love and attention they deserve.
With that in mind, here are five questions to consider before adopting Korean rescue dogs:
1. How long will the dog be alone?
Separation anxiety and other behavioral issues are common among Korean rescue dogs. As a result, you can expect barking, chewing, peeing and pooing if left alone for long periods. This is why we prefer adoptive families who are able to spend lots of time with the dog.
If everyone in your home works 9 to 5, your adopted dog will be alone for long periods. We prefer applicants who work from home, are retired or can take their dog to work.
At minimum you’ll need to hire a dog walker if your dog will be alone for more than 5 hours per day. In this case, we ask the adopter to provide the dog walker’s contact info.
Takeaway: Rescue dogs need continuous love and affection to overcome past trauma. If you must leave the dog alone for long periods, now might not be a good time to adopt.
2. Are you fussy about the state of your house?
Everyone likes a clean house. If this is really important to you, or if you are very sensitive to odors, then adopting Korean rescue dogs might not be such a good idea.
As if to reinforce the point, someone literally just dropped a fresh pile of poop right beside my desk. Jeez!
Most Korean rescue dogs were raised outside or in cages. The shelters are so overrun that there are simply too many dogs to take all of them for frequent walks. As a result, it will take some time, patience and persistence for your adopted dog to become fully house trained.
Takeaway: If you are sensitive to odors or fussy about keeping a clean house, adopting Korean rescue dogs might not be for you.
3. Do you have sufficient financial resources?
Beyond the initial adoption fee, you’ll need to be ready for some continuous ongoing expenses. Are you able to budget for healthy dog food, regular veterinary and grooming costs. How about the odd unexpected expense (think chewed TV remote)? Can you cover boarding fees if you need to travel without your adopted dog?
In the excitement and motivation to adopt a rescue dog, it’s easy to overlook the total lifetime cost. We sometimes get questions like, “Is it possible to reduce the adoption fee? I’m a little short at the moment.” This raises a big red flag. If an applicant can’t cover the adoption fee, it’s likely they won’t be able to cope with ongoing costs.
Takeaway: If you’re not financially able to provide adequate care, now might not be the time to adopt.
4. Do you have pets or young children?
As mentioned earlier, we are often asked what a specific dog is like around children or other pets. The short answer: in most cases we simply don’t know. Many Korean rescue dogs have never seen children, cats or other pets. In some cases, they also have little experience around other dogs.
If you have pets or young children, it is critically important that you are able to monitor your adopted dog. Those adopting Korean rescue dogs should never leave them unattended around children or other pets. You should have adequate space in your house to isolate the dog without it being significantly confined.
For example, we do not recommend crating adopted dogs on a regular basis. They’ve spent enough time in small cages, so we prefer homes where dogs can run free.
It’s critically important to train your children on how to behave safely around dogs. Aggressive or invasive behavior will most likely result in injury.
Takeaway: If you have young children, be sure everyone can live safe before you adopt.
5. Is your living space appropriate for a rescue dog?
If you live in a small apartment or condo, will a big dog really have enough space? Are pets welcome in your home (think condo board, landlord and neighbors)? Are there any laws or bylaws that may prevent your adoption?
Even if you’re legally allowed to have pets in your home, don’t cause grief for others. Take the time to talk with those around you about your plans to adopt a Korean rescue dog.
I recently had a client phone in advance of a meeting to ask if it would be possible to make sure the “big scary dog” wasn’t around. It turns out she had a negative experience in the past that left her a bit nervous around large dogs. I’m so used to living with dogs that I forget that not everyone wants to be surrounded by canines.
We want to ensure that the dogs we rescue are truly welcome in their adoptive homes by everyone affected.
Takeaway: Be sure that your living environment is appropriate and those affected are open to you adopting Korean rescue dogs.
The hard facts about adopting Korean rescue dogs
There are, of course, many other factors that we take into consideration when reviewing adoption applications. The purpose of this article, however, is to provide some food for though about adopting Korean rescue dogs.
In many cases, the applicant’s heart is in the right place, but the circumstances are simply not right. Our primary objective is to find the best possible home for the dogs we rescue. They deserve nothing less.
If after reading this you feel that you’re able to provide a great home for one of our dogs, then maybe it’s time to head over to our adoption page and find your next best friend.
Cover photo by Valerie Yee.
Valerie adopted Jasper, rescue Jindo, from Korea in 2017.