Saturday

I was excited. I had taken some pictures of my new recruits on Wednesday and hadn’t stopped looking at them all week. I had spent too much money on dog food and was ready to be a foster Mum.

I was in my second year as a teacher in South Korea, this time I had returned to work in public schools. I had been consigned to a public school about 10 miles outside my previous home of Daegu City. I wasn’t happy with this new assignment. I had returned to South Korea with the specific goal of getting more foreigners involved with the Korean Animal Protection Society, or KAPS, and it was hard to do this when I was so far away. The car was a major improvement.

I parked on the street and headed up the stairs. The office was always warm but the smell of dogs permeated everything. You could hear them as you climbed the stairs, but luckily since the building was right on a major road most of the barking was drowned out by the traffic.

Miss Yee smiled as I came in, a shy woman with no English she took a long time to warm up to me. Perhaps in her early forties she kept her thick black hair in a bob with a fringe which framed her delightful surprisingly freckled face. Miss Yee took me into the shelter and straight away handed me the little white puppy and went off to fetch the Shih Tzu.

The puppy wriggled in my arms, squirming around to lick my face. I took her out into the corridor and set her on the floor. Immediately she set off sniffing and investigating.

The Shih Tzu looked a little better, she seemed to have gained some hairs in the few days since I last saw her, but her attitude remained the same. Bored.

The puppy wasn’t much interested in her. Occasionally she would check in with her, but since the response was always the same, she obviously didn’t see the point in getting excited to see her new friend.

The first thing was to name them. Miss Yee of course had already named them. But being a foreigner the average Korean name just wouldn’t cut it for me. Besides, I wanted to foster them, they needed catchy names to capture the interest of new owners.

A theme began right there in that room. A fan of Harry Potter, I thought, well why not! The white puppy was obviously a Molly, full of beans and good humour, she was capable and into anything. As I watched the Shih Tzu I noticed her eyes. Years of working with horses had taught me to recognise a wall eye, in horses this pale blue eye often suggests blindness. On this little disdainful dog that same blue made her look a little weird. Every Shih Tzu I have met before or since has always had brown eyes, so on her blue looked particularly strange, that coupled with the attitude and the crazy hair meant she could only be named Luna.

I borrowed a couple of harnesses from the shelter and carried the pair down the stairs. On the street they both perked up and walked nicely to the Freedom Machine. Taking my lead from Cesar Milan I calmly lifted them up onto the back seat. I looped the leads around the seat belt and closed the door.

Miss Yee was pretty excited about the whole thing I think, she had accompanied me down to the car, stood watching them in the car and waved us off.

Halfway home I stopped at some traffic lights. Turning round in my seat to check on them I was bowled over to find them both on their sides fast asleep. Shelter life is pretty tiring.

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