It’s been a long time since I’ve been motivated to write. When my work contract expired in November and the person I was filling in for returned from her leave of absence, I had to apply for a job-seeker’s visa for the first time in all my years in Korea. I had to show Immigration a plan detailing the steps I was going to take to find a new job. I sent out applications, but the job market was terrible and I got rejection after rejection. I took a few Korean lessons, but I couldn’t put in enough time to make any real progress.
Then, a while ago, I found work in my field in central Seoul. Bangsiri had already been slowing down and losing mobility, and one day she slipped on the wooden floor while I was changing a pee pad. She hurt her knee and has been having serious trouble walking since that day.
A week ago I decided it would be better for her to spend her days at a clinic while I’m at work and come home with me every evening. It’s partly a safety issue—these days she’s more likely to trip over her water bowl than drink from it. I also don’t want her to make a mess, walk in it, and stay dirty all day until I come home. (Giving her a bath at home is a lot harder than it used to be because she gets stressed and tries to run away, but has trouble keeping her balance.) I also need more help managing her care because she won’t take medicine at home and requires hand feeding.
Fortunately there’s a twenty-four-hour clinic right across the street from our home. I worried that the clinic environment might be stressful for her, but the vets say she sleeps most of the day and seems calm. I’m looking forward to walking her when the weather warms up, but the vet says she may need a special harness that supports her hindquarters.
There have been other changes over the years, including some positive changes. Bangsiri used to be very scared of strange people and strange dogs—for a while I tried using treats to make her more comfortable around strangers, but what really helped was becoming much more protective of her space and discouraging strangers from approaching. Now she doesn’t care when the doorbell rings, or when a stranger visits to check for gas leaks or install internet service. She rarely barks, and she barely notices other dogs.
But the days when I could take her on long bus rides, or keep her with me while I ate at a restaurant or spent time in a coffee shop, are behind us now. Transportation has gotten a lot more stressful for her, and I’m having trouble figuring out whether the problem is pain or fear. Just going across town for her heart checkups is more complicated because she cries if I strap her to my stomach on the subway as I always used to. But when I tried using a taxi service and a large carrier, she slid around in the carrier and seemed even more anxious.
I love my baby princess, and I hope she knows I’m still her real mom.
I also got some pictures of Pedro last night—my sweet foster baby from 2010. It’s such a relief to know that he’s still happy and content in his forever home in the Toronto area. The featured photo for this blog post was taken by his current guardian, and the other dog must be Pedro’s sister. He and Amber/Bangwuli, my 2003 foster baby, both seem to have gotten loving long-term families. As for the other furbabies who spent time under my care in past years, I’ll always wonder where they are and hope they’re safe too.