I didn’t know how to be a good mother in 2008 when I took Bangsiri home from the dirty greenhouse she shared with at least 150 other dogs, but I knew I couldn’t leave her there.
The shelter was in crisis, but the number of dogs dropped dramatically in just a few months because so many people stepped up to adopt or foster. Without the volunteers, the city might have forced Ms. Jung out and seized all the dogs.
If the volunteers who helped Bangsiri are reading my blog, or Facebook or ARK, I’d like them to know she’s still in her forever home. I wouldn’t hoard my pictures and let them wonder what happened to her. When I see Ms. Jung, I update her on Bangsiri and try to remember to bring pictures.
In 2009, my foster baby Snoopy died very suddenly and unexpectedly just two days after his adoption. Even though his adopter was in mourning and shock, I’ll never forget she took the time to write to me. She explained how Snoopy got sick and detailed the steps she took to get help for him. And even though I’ll always regret putting him on that plane, at least I know he had a loving home before he died.
My previous foster baby, Amber, lived with me for five weeks in 2003. I always appreciate it when her mother posts pictures showing she’s still safe and well more than seven years after leaving my care.
Lucifer was only a baby when he was found on the street near Manila in 2005, and he had nowhere to go. A rescuer in Palawan offered to take him (she ran a small private shelter in the south of the country), but she told me a few weeks of foster care would greatly improve his chances of survival.
As it turns out, he didn’t have to go to a shelter. Lucifer got an indoor home in the city with at least four brothers and sisters, but the adopter cut off all contact two years later—she didn’t like the way I was handling a different rescue. I don’t know where Lucifer is today.
Silk was a sweet cocker spaniel I only knew for a short time in 2008. He’d been purchased on impulse as a puppy and urgently needed a home, so I travelled to Daegu on the KTX and brought him to a foster home in Suwon. He sat on my lap on the train because his former guardian didn’t have a crate for him and no store could sell us one in his size. (A cocker spaniel is a big dog here, so a special order would have been necessary.) Luckily the girl beside me was a dog person and didn’t complain.
But when Silk’s foster mother sprained her ankle and couldn’t keep him, I brought him to the local E-Mart for boarding. He got adopted, but immediately came back because of his fearful behaviour and I took him home for a few days. When my neighbours complained about his barking, I was forced to take him back to E-Mart where he was surrounded by strangers again.
Finally, a nice family saw his picture on the ARK board and came to Pyeongchon to meet him. The children played ball with Silk on the roof of my building, and a few days later he went home.
Silk’s family never sent the pictures and updates they promised, but a year after his adoption I got a brief message saying “he is doing great.” I’ve tried unsuccessfully to get further updates.
After Silk got adopted, Reggie had no place to go. Reggie was another one of Ms. Jung’s dogs, and her foster mother couldn’t keep her because of a dog-hating landlord. I agreed to take Reggie on a trial basis, and I had her spayed. But again, the neighbours complained and I didn’t want to jeopardize the animals I already had. I returned Reggie to her foster mother, who put her back in boarding and said later she was “pretty sure” Reggie had a home. But she never kept in touch, so I don’t know for sure if the adoption worked out.
Yangee stayed with me for six months and Pedro stayed for five. They slept in my bed and became members of my family, but I couldn’t have taken care of five furbabies long term. I’m glad they got better homes, but it’s been months now and both adopters have been uncommunicative.
I’ve been assured Pedro is fine and pictures are on the way. That’s a big relief because it’s very upsetting when adopters don’t keep in touch.