For some dogs, the adoption journey is scary and confusing. They don’t understand where they are going, why they had to leave their “home” (the shelter they have become familiar with), and how they ended up in a new home with new people. Despite how comfortable and welcoming we try to make their surroundings, they need to find their trust and confidence in their own time.
But in spite of all the confusion and uncertainty, other dogs just seem to immediately know they have arrived to safety, and lend their trust in knowing they will be taken care of. Somehow, despite never knowing the warmth of a cozy home or the comfort of a fluffy bed, they seem to figure it out immediately. Knowing comfort is instinctive despite having never experienced it.
Is Doing Our Best Enough?
We are often resolved to accept that doing our best is the best we can do. Our best is enough. But sometimes when faced with the realities of what we are up against, we are left to wonder what more we can do. The recent winter in Korea has brought record-breaking, extreme temperatures that even we as humans have found it difficult to adapt to. It has not been uncommon for temperatures to drop down to below -20 Celsius.
We have always committed to supporting our shelter dogs by any means possible, especially when “winterizing” for the season. Dogs are provided winter jackets, heating sources, and insulation for outdoor kennels. However, while all these arrangements do make outdoor kennel living conditions more tolerable, the difference is in fact quite marginal.
Seeing our dogs having to live through such conditions has made us feel our efforts have been inadequate. But unless we are able to find the space and resources to build an indoor, heated facility for over 600 dogs, there is not much more can do. This time of year is especially difficult for senior dogs. Despite having lived through many winters at the shelter, one can never fully adapt to such harsh conditions.
What is the Solution?
The reality is, the only opportunity these dogs have to escape their circumstances towards a better life is to find a forever home. Given an overpopulation crisis and low local adoption rates, many of these dogs will spend the majority, if not their entire lives living in these humble conditions. Although we have done our best to find homes for as many dogs in the system as possible, there are not enough willing adopters out there.
There are many reasons people are apprehensive about adoption, and choose to avoid it altogether. Adopting a dog can come with challenges, and we strive to be open and honest about them so people can make informed decisions on what is best for both their family and future family member. But in promoting education and awareness of the good, the bad, and the ugly, we never want the latter two to overshadow the good, because the positive aspects are what matter most. As one of our followers once said, life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful.
Meet Some of Our Seasoned Alumni
Funny enough, some of our longest-standing shelter residents have had the shortest adjustment periods in their forever homes. Perhaps it is because they intuitively know their lives have changed for the better. Perhaps intuition comes with age and experience. We don’t know for sure, but we do know time and time again, they have broken down stereotypes and prejudices surrounding shelter dogs. They have almost always exceeded our expectations.
For every person who chooses against adoption, another dog loses its chance at a forever home. On the other hand, each time a shelter dog is adopted, it helps save the lives of 2 dogs – the one who found their forever home, and another dog who gets triaged into the shelter in hopes of being the next one off to greener pastures.
It can be disheartening when despite our best efforts, there is still a long and winding road ahead. Is our best enough? Absolutely. Is there room for improvement? Always. Can we achieve this alone? The problem is much bigger than we can handle. The rescue takes a village and a multitude of collaborative efforts. Our only hope is that by sharing truths and experiences, more people will join us in working to become the solution to the problem.
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