I would say that I’m eleven months into owning a rabbit, but sadly Sherlock is no longer with me. At the time, I didn’t want to blog about it and I still don’t really want to dwell on it because I do miss her. I can’t help but feel like I made some kind of mistake in taking care of her.

With the weather getting colder and winter almost here, I’m spending a lot more time at home and I was thinking what a shame it is that I don’t have Sherlock anymore. But I didn’t want to get another rabbit and had given away my rabbit cage. Then, one night not too long ago, I couldn’t sleep. On a whim, I went onto the the Animal Rescue Korea page, which is the group that helped find a new home for Watson, the rabbit one of my students gave me (She was adopted a few months ago by someone who has lots of experience with rabbits. Yay for Watston!). Several of my co-workers and foreigners in my neighborhood have adopted dogs through ARK and KARMA (Korea Animal Rescue and Management Association). And I was thinking, well, maybe I could foster a dog.

I had been thinking about fostering a dog when I first got here but decided against it, because of all the time I’d probably have to spend training a shelter dog. That night, I was still a little unsure about fostering but leaning towards it. I wanted to, but didn’t know if I’d be able to give the dog the time it would need. Then I found Marty.

Marty the Smarty. Originally a resident of a Busan animal shelter, he had been brought to the Asan animal shelter (biggest in Korea) for some reason. He’s a Yorkshire terrier and based on his pictures, video and what they were saying about his personality (smart, loveable, friendly… kind of what they always say…) I was surprised he hadn’t been adopted or even fostered. Until I saw that he was blind in one eye. The Busan shelter hadn’t told the Asan shelter anything about Marty other than he was blind in his eye (and you can tell just by looking at his milky len that he is). My heart went out to the little guy and I contacted the shelter about possibly fostering him.

This Saturday, I went to volunteer at the shelter and meet Marty.  He was super friendly and started licking me the moment they put him in my arms. Which was unfortunate because he smelled horrible and had a bad case of poop-butt. Aside from that, he seemed to be in decent shape for a shelter dog. He was a good weight. I couldn’t feel his bones.

Turned out, the guy’s a little Napoleon, minus the aggression. In addition to having a messed up eye, Marty was being kept in an area with aggressive dogs that were not too nice to him. There was some blood in his coat and I could feel small cuts on him. Because of that, Marty had pretty much no fear while I was walking him. He went straight up to a husky, Ice (whose bones not only could I feel but see, poor guy) and sniffed him assertively until Ice backed off. When two pit bulls got into a scuffle, ending up in a poor little Chihuahua getting nipped (she was okay, though) Marty practically walked right into the fight, tongue out and tail wagging.

After meeting him, I was sure I wanted to foster him and was planning to bring him home at the end of November but…once I get an idea in my head I like to act on it (Plus, it took  FOR-EVER to get to the shelter from Suwon). So I asked the shelter if I could borrow a carrier and brought Marty home with me. My apartment was already pet-proof (thanks to Sherlock) and the shelter actually set me up with leashes, collars, flea medicine, cleaning supplies and a days worth of food for him (thanks to donations) so I had the basics to get him through the day until I could go shopping for him.

First thing on the agenda – BATH TIME. Which petrified the poor little guy. He kept trying to sit in my lap for protection while I was dumping water on him. And I’m going to have to take him to a professional to give him a really deep cleanand a good trim. Luckily, I managed to rid him of most of his poop-butt.

In the apartment, Marty doesn’t have as much of his Napoleon vigor and he clearly prefers the outside. He LOVES walks. Unfortunately, his eye does give him trouble. He’s run into things and I have to carry him up the stairs to my apartment (at least for now). But I seriously lucked out for the most part because he’s 100% house trained. I was very impressed. I was planning on watching him try and pee on my floor and then rushing him to the bathroom the first night to teach him to pee there. To my great surprise, after drinking a ton of water, he walks over to my bathroom and does his business without being prompted. So I let him have free reign of the apartment at night. Not a single accident. And he used the bathroom again the next morning. Not only that, but he doesn’t freak out when I leave, like I was worried he might. When I left him alone to go shopping for him, he only protested a little and was a perfect gentleman when I got back, waiting patiently for several minutes for me to open the bathroom door. It’s such a shame. Someone clearly took the time to train him properly (he walks great on the leash too and doesn’t jump up on my bed), but I guess without his eye he just wasn’t cute any more.

The only thing Marty needs to work on his obedience training. He doesn’t know any commands. Today I worked on ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ with him. He’s getting sit pretty quicky. Stay, not so much. He doesn’t like to leave my side and insisted on sleeping next to me at night. He also needs to be taught how to play. I tried playing the games that my dog back home likes but Marty didn’t understand a single one of them. It took him several tries to get that the jingly ball I got him was a toy that he was supposed to pick up and several more tries to get that when I throw it, he should chase it. But sure enough, as of an hour ago he was actually asking me to throw the ball for him. He’s a quick learner. Marty the Smarty, indeed.

So technically I am fostering him, but honestly… I’m a little hesitant to find him an owner. He’s such a good dog I want to keep him around. Maybe I’ll adopt him… We’ll see. I want to wait until I hear back about grad school to make a decision like that.

 

Someone needs a haircut. But gotta love the tongue

 

 

After doing his business, Marty likes to kick his back legs in this little dance thing. It's pretty cute. Although don't get behind him when he does it.

 

 

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