Much of my life in Korea was made on impulsive decisions, especially when it came to animals. These weren’t always sensible. I asked to bring Gracie home. Just for a while to see if I could help.
We packed her up in a crate and drove her back to Daegu. She hated the crate, fought getting in and threw up when she was in there! She hated the drive and was generally a terrified little mouse…aside from the fact that she was already almost a meter tall.
Big and black Gracie was a bit of a shock to the neighbourhood and to me. She lived with me for a month in my tiny little apartment (not kidding, one room, maybe 4×15 metres). I worked split shifts at the time so I would get up at five thirty in the morning and leg it out to the river. She would hang out while I went to work, then I would come back at lunch time and take her out for a couple of hours, and again in the evening. It was exhausting!
She did well though, she learned some basic commands. She got really friendly with the local kids, once they have gotten over the fear of her size and blackness. She hung out with my friends, ate a lot and chewed through things.
After a month though I decided to send her back to the shelter. She was stronger and happier, but the main reason was because the weather was getting hotter, and I was worried she wouldn’t be safe in my tiny little room in 40C heat. It was cooler in the countryside and she could lay about inside or out.
It was heartbreaking to take her back but she managed remarkably well. Her little sojourn had given her confidence, given her time to grow up a bit, she knew things now. She settled in to shelter life quite well and the fighting seemed to have stopped.
On returning to the shelter a few months later though I was worried to see her stress levels back up again. She was running along the fence, chasing and barking at a dog in the next cage. She hardly stopped the whole time I was there.
I came home determined to find her a new home. Not long after I was chatting to an American friend of mine. She had a Shih Tzu but her boyfriend was hankering after a bigger dog. I started telling her about Gracie and within a week we were on our way to Boeun to check her out. They took one look at her and it was love at first sight. We piled her into the back seat of their little car and trundled back Daegu.
Gracie took well to her new home, a much bigger apartment than mine. She struggled with house training and took a good year to get used to the crate. She was loved though.
Gracie moved back to Chicago with my friend and her boyfriend. She continues to live a happy healthy life on the side of the lake where she goes for long walks on the beach and digs in the sand and snow.