Don't Change Your Mind, Be with Them to the Last
Don't Change Your Mind, Be with Them to the Last
  • Hong Ha Sunwoo
  • 승인 2014.04.09 12:38
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Have you ever raised something?  From dogs to cats and even plants, many people like to care for something.   Because society is getting more competitive, tired people relieve their loneliness by keeping pets that wag their tails only for their owners.   Sadly, when the pets get sick or old, many people abandon them despite having one treated them as family members.   There are centers for these abandoned pets, and people can volunteer at the centers.   Ha Sunwoo, a reporter of the Sookmyung Times, visited one of the centers and volunteered to care for the wounded but lovely pets.

Just Do It!

There are two centers that invite people to volunteer for abandoned pets.  One is Toegyero Adoption Center, which is near Chungmuro station.  It is famous for buying and selling pets.  The  other is Dapsimni Thank-you Center, located in Gangbuk.  The centers are run by the Coexistence of Animal Rights on the Earth or CARE.  The centers promote adoption of pets that have been rescued fi rsthand by the public.  Before volunteering, the centers require a reservation for the exact day and time that you wish to volunteer.  Because of the popularity of this type of volunteering, reservations should be made at least a week in advance.  Reservations are done on this homepage:  More and more people who are concerned about Korea’s abandoned dog problem and who just love dogs participate in this kind of volunteering.  There are four separate volunteering activities at the centers.  The walking of pets in the park is the most popular activity as it requires one to merely walk a dog in a park nearby the center.  This activity takes place every day, so you can walk a dog whenever you like.  There are also aesthetic activities like cleaning and bathing services for pets.

Be a Friend to a Dog for a Day

When I decided to participate in abandoned dog volunteering, I went to Toegye-ro Adoption Center since it is located near Sookmyung Women’s University.  Unfortunately, all volunteering spaces were full, so I went to Dapsimni Thank-you Center.  I took Line 5 and got off at Dapsimni Station.  This attractive yellow colored center was about ten minutes on foot from there.  On the first floor of the center is a vegetarian café, which I received a discount coupon for after volunteering.  I went up to the second floor of the center and saw many celebrity autographed photos of people who had visited the center.  I chose the walking a pet activity because I had no experience caring for a dog.  I was first asked to record my name and phone number.  If you have VMS* ID, you can get confirmation of volunteering hours.  After that, I went to the nearby park with a dog on two separate occasions.  Never having cared for a pet, I was frightened the dog would suddenly run off.  Before heading out each time, the manager of the center reminded me not to allow the dog to defecate near shopping districts.  Moreover, I was not allowed to permit people to touch the dog because it could bite.  The dog as it strutted beside me was filled with joy, and I sensed her desire to hurry.  I brought a trash bag along with us in case the dog had to defecate.  The first dog I went out with was named Sarang.  She was so powerful that I had hard time controlling her.  She wanted to defecate, so I returned to the center after just ten minutes.  Sarang barked at people who were dressed similarly or had alike appearances.  I thought that she recalled her previous owner from those people.  Some people keep pets for their own satisfaction or temporary enjoyment without considering the responsibilities.  These reasons cause the rise in abandoned pets like Sarang.  I suddenly felt a strange anger inside myself thinking of such people.  After returning from our short excursion, I cleaned Sarang’s feet with tissue.

With Sarang done, I headed to the park again with another dog named Mongchi.  Before leaving, the manager warned me of the dog’s weak constitution, so if the dog indicated any desire to return to the center, I was to bring it back immediately.  Just as I had done before, I brought a trash bag and head out.  The dog was reluctant to walk, so I picked it up and waited for it to indicate the wish to walk on its own.  I followed a map, drawn on a little sheet of paper that the center had given me, to the park.  It took just ten minutes to reach our destination.  Upon arrival, Mongchi wanted down, so we strolled together about the park.  Mongchi enjoyed our walk, but I felt a sense of pity towards her because I imagined her bygone’s days frolicking with former owner.  Fortunately, she returned to the center bravely and I cleaned her paws off.  I took pictures of her and said goodbye.  I looked around at other dogs after returning from my walk with Mongchi.  Many dogs barked at me and the manager said to me that the dogs are expressing their anger about their previous owner.  Name tags are used to indicate how old a pet is as well as its name.  At the center there is a room devoted entirely to cats that have been rescued off the streets and/or that were abandoned. After volunteering at the center, I realized the need to campaign for learning responsiblity before owning a pet.


A Cure for Their Wounds?

Do you know how to write pet in Chinese?  It’s 玩 which means ‘taunt.’  That is, the character implies dogs are treated like toys.  However, these days, pets are companions.  Rather people treat them as entertainment, a thing of enjoyment.  People need to think twice before adopting an animal and make certain they are ready for the responsibility.  Society needs to adopt these pets or support them regularly through the homepage.  The centers’ dogs and cats suffer wounds inflicted by their previous their owners, so if you decide to engage in volunteering activities at the centers, don’t do it out of mere curiosity.  If you’re sincerely ready to embrace their wounds, how about accessing the homepage and making a volunteer reservation?


* VMS is a service that verifies volunteer hours.  It also calculates a running total of volunteer hours.

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