Lucy

There had been a golden retriever at the shelter for a few months. I couldn’t understand it, she was stunning, well mannered and healthy. Sunnan said it was probably because she was too big.

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I used to take her out on dog walks, both on my own and as part of the big group. She was absolutely fantastic. There was an area of the park where all the little kids would go to play on bikes and roller skates. Most children in Korea have very little experience of dogs. They might be lucky enough to have one at home, but it is unusual, even if they do it is more likely to be a Jindo, outside on a chain than a house dog. This often means they are nervous or afraid of dogs and don’t really know how to behave around them.

We would go to this part of the park together and sit next to the water fountains. Within seconds kids would start to gravitate towards us. The dog would sit, still as could be, as if she knew how nervous they were. I always sat beside her and monitored and we never stayed for long, but she was always incredibly patient with them.

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I would sit and watch as ten to fifteen little children crowded around her, some of their parents were obviously afraid of dogs but the children were attracted like a magnet. She would sit with all these little fingers burying into her fur, her eyes partly closed, she looked like she was in heaven.

I knew Luna wouldn’t be impressed if I brought her home (she was getting used to being the centre of attention) and I really wanted her to have her own home. So I asked for help on Facebook.

It didn’t take long before a couple came forward, they were moving to the Army base and would foster her when they arrived. That wasn’t for a few weeks yet though so I wanted an interim solution. Luckily one of our volunteers, Katelin and her partner, offered to help.

I have a picture of Katelin and Wil outside KAPS when they came to pick her up. They named her Lucy, and she changed their lives.

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It didn’t take long for Katelin to start umming and ahhing about passing Lucy on to her new foster parents. There were excuses and logical explanations. Eventually she admitted that she had fallen in love, and she just wasn’t sure she could ever let Lucy go. The other couple had been really looking forward to Lucy and were a bit heartbroken, but they understood.

Katelin went on to become a core team member at KAPS, she helped me develop our volunteer programme and adoption and fostering programmes for foreigners and later led those programmes. Her previous experience meant she could make leaflets for us and create a database. She started a blog about Lucy and their life in Korea and started learning about dog training and behaviour.

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This really is a fairytale story. Katelin, Will and Lucy live happily ever after in Portland, USA. Katelin and Lucy are now a trained therapy team and Katelin’s experience working with Lucy helped her to find her passion and she is now a brilliant dog trainer.

If you are lucky enough to live in Portland and have a dog in need of some training, get in touch with Katelin at: coexistcaninecoaching.com

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