Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Raising a Dog in Korea | Big Dog's Adventure in Daegu

Big Dog Life in Daegu, VOL 1

Meet Shenzi

We moved to Daegu mid-July last summer. We brought our 75 lb (34 kg) dog from the USA also. Her name is Shenzi and she is a Black-Mouthed Cur. You will not find her on the list of distinguished bloodlines as her breed was designed specifically in the southern USA to hunt boar (wild pig). So she is rare to find in the USA…and VERY rare to find another like her in Korea. Her coloring is brindle (tiger-striped), but most curs will be all tan with a black mouth. We adopted Shenzi from an animal shelter in Georgia over 4 years ago, and she is family! My Shenzi loves kids, people, and dogs (well…the nice ones anyway). She has never hunted, but she does love exercising outdoors!
If you would like to adopt a Big Dog in Korea, there are surprisingly always a few available to rescue each month through the Animal Rescue Network Korea facebook page (I have seen Jindo-mix, Huskies, Labs, Golden Retrievers, Boxers, and German Shepherds in addition to the many, many little dogs) Just be prepared to exercise with your big dog because Big Dogs have LOTS of energy! And also research the requirements to take your Big Dog with you when finally return to your home country. There is much paperwork to prepare, and it is very, VERY expensive.

Longing for Better Weather

It was a very HOT summer last year and a very COLD winter this season and I must say…Shenzi looked forward to Spring & Summer maybe even more than me. How do I know? Because her favorite spot in our spacious city villa has been the master bedroom window opened wide to the alley scenery below for MONTHS. She loves people watching, listening to stray cats, and smelling the variety of sweet (and SOUR) smells that would come through that window. Because when it was unpredictably rainy or chilly, we did not venture out on a regular basis. But now that it is warm again, we must start a new routine of longer walks, and more BIKE RIDES for recreation!

Collar, Leash and Roll of Waste Bags

It is important to PREPARE for Big Dog adventures out because the animal owner’s is responsibility for control & safety of their pet. The leash should not be too long for biking (in my opinion). Extra leash slack could put your dog at risk for crossing over your bike’s path, getting distracted from your leading, or getting tangled on an obstacle! The collar should not be too loose, or too tight, and should securely hold up to date information on rabies vaccination, contact info if lost, and name of dog. Lastly, bringing an entire roll of waste bags are a MUST! Owners can receive fines up to 100,000 won for not cleaning up their animal waste in a public place! Bring many bags! I like to also bring a light backpack filled with extra water for both Shenzi and me, and a dog bowl. Dogs must always be leashed in public places.

She's Ready to Go Please

Shenzi is considered a Big Dog (even though some of her Daegu doggie friends are BIGGER than her), and she needs more exercise than some smaller breeds. When we were in the states, we had a treadmill for her to keep her active during the winter months. We did not bring the treadmill to Korea because we were preparing for smaller apartment living. We were lucky to find a big place measuring 92 Pyeongs (3,274 sq ft). Though we would not buy ANOTHER treadmill, Shenzi appreciates the additional home space. We realize this is rare for Korea city living. We love that Daegu offers this floorplan as an option!! In the USA, most Big Dog owners would rent a HOUSE with a FENCED Backyard and there would be less WALKS in the daily routine. I would say Shenzi loves her Big Dog Life in Daegu!

Should we go Left......or should we go Right...

Good choice! Let's go find a Tree!

Shenzi and I have been biking together since she was a 9-month old puppy. She always wanted to run fast and I couldn’t keep up. Walking was not enjoyable for me. But the bike could keep up no problem! I am often asked if I am afraid Shenzi will pull me off the bike or knock me over. Shenzi obeys my commands and follows my lead because she WANTS to bike with me. She LOVES the exercise. She cooperates.

Found it!

I was worried about living in Daegu because it is a real city! Concrete and cement in every direction; while all a dog wants…is a patch of grass or a tree to mark. Many Big Dog owners will select their apartment residences based on proximity to GRASS for their dogs. So many of our Big Dog friends live either close to the River, or close to Apsan. We picked close to the river!

Shaded bike lanes have less crowds

The bike paths adjacent to the river are just as wonderful as the Riverwalk. I love it because it is least crowded with pedestrians or even other bike riders. It is predominately shaded by trees and the bike path is paved smooth for a safe stretch of trotting with my dog. I will usually take Shenzi up and down these paths before taking her to where there is more activity and less shade. A tired pup is a calm pup. Our special path is along Sincheon Stream near 226-31 Icheon-dong, Nam-gu, Daegu. There are many special paths to discover with you and your dog! Be safe, respectful, and enjoy the time together.

Then discover Spring along the River!

Finally! We are at the Riverwalk itself. What a gem! For both the people of Daegu and their pets!! Here there are long stretches of manicured grass – a puppy paradise. On both sides of the river there are dedicated lanes of pedestrian paths and bike paths going in both directions. Every access to the river (underpasses, street ramps & stairs) has its own set of exercise equipment, rest benches, or beautification project on display (flower beds, rose bushes, vine tunnels, etc). So be sure to explore frequently as there is always something new to see! I see American friends with both big and little dogs.

Learn something New

Look! A newly installed information billboard! Shenzi can’t read Hangeul, but she is very curious about her world. Be like Shenzi and always want to learn new things!!

Smell the Flowers

Take the time to smell the flowers. As long as you don’t have allergies of course! But even if you do, wear a quality mask and take a closer look at all the pretty flowers.

Do not damage the Beauty though!

Remember to leave nature undamaged for the next person to enjoy. I am always seeing groups of ladies or men working together to maintain the beautification projects along the river. They are so cute in their matching smocks or hats! Seriously, Shenzi, no eating the flowers!!

Don't forget to take breaks!!

Biking, exploring, and learning can be exhausting; especially if you have been cooped up all winter! Take frequent shaded rest breaks under a tree, bridge, pavilion, or on a bench. If you ever see my Big Dog digging at the dirt and then lay flat in it, then you are observing Shenzi trying to cool her underbelly with the freshly uncovered soil.

 Especially water breaks!!!

Water is the most important thing for you and your pet while biking together!! Everybody is working hard and even on a cooler/cloudy day will need fresh water during exercise. Please do not wait until you get back home to hydrate. Public restrooms or water fountains with running water are not a guarantee along your particular stretch of Riverwalk.

Take your animal's waste with you please

Keep Daegu colorful! Clean up after your pet please!! Aaaaand take it with you. Because if you don’t, then my Shenzi wants to sniff what you left behind…and that’s gross. Thank you. Plus, trash bins are not guaranteed along the river either. Be prepared to carry your own used waste bags all the way back to your residence. Not fun, but necessary.

Shenzi is glad to be home

Did you have a nice adventure, Shenzi? You look really, REALLY happy. And I am too. Because we biked together. We were safe and we represented Big Dogs well today. I am so proud of our cooperation.

Have a good Rest!

Rest well, Shenzi. You earned it!!! Maybe we’ll watch a Softball Game, or go to the Dinosaur Path on our next Big Dog excursion…

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