I was kind of surprised to see just how many international people here (teachers, students, military) foster and adopt pets while they’re here in Korean. And since I am one of those people, I thought I’d share the info on how to do it responsibly in case any readers are interested.
- DO THE RESEARCH! Sure you want to help them, but you can’t help them if you bring them into a bad environment. Can you have pets in your apartment? Is your apartment pet proof? (sound proof for those barking dogs) What kind of care will this pet require? A Great Dane in a tiny Korean apartment = A LOT of walks on your part. Be aware. With that in mind, what kind of time can you give them? One hour a day? Seven hours a day? And what kind of money can you afford to spend on them? Some of these animals are pretty sick and their bills can add up (but luckily, there’s help for that, so don’t let that turn you away).
- Check out this website: http://www.animalrescuekorea.org/forums/index.php. Animal Rescue Korea can hook you up with the pets in need anywhere in Korea. And the people are the site are incredibly helpful and knowledgeable.
- If you can’t/ don’t want to adopt a pet, consider fostering. For the time being, it’ll be like you own a pet, since you’ll need to get all the supplies, toys, food, etc, not to mention hospital bills, but it’s totally worthy it. Of course, a lot of the shelter animals are not trained, so you’ll need to train your foster up a little bit. But again, totally worth it when after weeks of peeing in the wrong spot they finally figure out you want them to pee in the bathroom.
- If you can’t foster, consider sponsoring a pet. Sponsoring can help pay for that pets bills for an entire year (luckily health care is cheap here in Korea, even for animals) so they can keep on going until they find their forever home.
- Consider volunteering. If you’d just like to hang out with some animals for the day, don’t go to an expensive Cat or Dog Cafe (although those are also awesome). Donate sometime to a shelter and take care of some cats and dogs that really need love. The Asan shelter welcomes volunteers every Saturday. Daejeon Paws also welcomes volunteers. Check out ARK’s volunteering forum: http://www.animalrescuekorea.org/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=23.