As the pandemic hit in 2020, I quarantined with my beloved 14 year old rescue dog Rascal. I knew we were in our last season together, and I put all of my energy into making the most out of our time. He was the best dog I’ve ever known, and my best friend. At the time, I couldn’t even imagine opening my heart to another dog anytime soon. But I knew the day would come, and I wondered if getting Rascal’s DNA test might point me in the right direction when that time came.
When the results came back and I learned he was predominantly Korean Jindo – I was shocked! But once I read everything I could about the breed, everything made sense. It explained so many things about his unique disposition, both endearing and maddening traits! And once I found FKD’s adoption page….I was toast.
After Rascal passed away, I was heartbroken. I quickly knew that the “break” I planned on taking was not right for me, and several weeks later I started the process of bringing my next best friend home. Winter (formally Pado) was found as a pup on the street, underweight with severe skin disease. The amazing rescuers were able to catch her after a few days of chasing and she stayed in a boarding house while she healed from her ordeal. By the time she was 11 months old she was ready to find her forever home. I fell in love with her wild, shaggy coat and awkwardly long legs immediately. I was so grateful to be chosen as her new mom.
She arrived on December 30th, 2020. She was timid and fearful, but so gentle and kind from the start. It was clear on the first day that she has such a courageous heart. Even though she was easily spooked (still is) and overwhelmed by her new environment, her endless curiosity and loving nature always push her to explore and try new things.
Based on my previous Jindo experience, I was expecting it to take some time (maybe a lot of time) for her to warm up to me. That was not the case with Winter. I was and am so amazed at how she leaned into the love I was offering from the beginning.
That’s not to say it hasn’t been challenging – it has! A few weeks after she arrived, I unexpectedly had to move, which set us back on potty training and routine for a while. She is still fearful of strangers, hallways and weird noises. She’s not always a great listener. Building up her confidence, helping her feel safe in this world and managing that Jindo stubborn streak are things we work on daily, and will continue to work on for a long time, maybe forever.
It’s been almost 3 months since Winter came home, and I am so proud how far she’s come. In that time, she has gone on her first of many big hikes, visited the ocean, experienced her first snow and started doggie school. Her favorite activities include exploring nature, body slamming me when I’m trying to do yoga, playing fetch, learning, tapping me on the face when I forget to keep petting her, and snuggles. She is goofy, sweet, awkward and so smart. I have so many plans for our fun future together – she’s very excited to start agility training this Summer! I feel so lucky to have found such a great match – we just click.
The past year wasn’t easy on any of us. Losing my best friend in the midst of so much isolation and uncertainty made it even tougher. Opening your heart to another dog after so much loss is a scary choice, and I’m so glad I made it. Watching her grow, learn and thrive has enriched my life in so many ways and I can’t imagine life without her. I am so grateful she’s here, healing a broken heart like only a dog can.
Article and photos by Erin Kerrigan