BRAUN: The more I learn about people, the more I love my dog

A house without a dog is a lonely place.

My kids grew up with Desmond, an unkempt and badly disciplined but intelligent Lhasa Apso-poodle mix who was both friend and guard dog.

The guard dog part may have been mostly in his imagination, but still.

He died last fall at age 15.

Sometime around Christmas, those children — adults all, now — started agitating for a new dog.

I wanted time to think about it, but will admit to having being interested in a neighbour’s rescue from Korea. That dear little dog would have ended up as someone’s meal. Given the plight of these animals, cruelly caged until they’re slaughtered and eaten, it’s impossible not to be moved to action. (Older Koreans believe dog meat contributes to virility; let’s hope this idea dies with that generation.)

Humane Society International says there are 17,000 dog meat farms in South Korea, a notion incomprehensible to most westerners — although CNN recently reported that a dog meat farm was shut down by the ASPCA in Pennsylvania.

Anyway, Humane Society International is doing their best to shut down dog meat farms in Korea, but it’s a bit of an uphill battle.

This whole issue got a lot of publicity recently from international athletes who began bringing some of these otherwise-on-the-menu dogs home with them from the Olympic games in PyeongChang.

World-renowned U.S. freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy — as if there weren’t already enough reasons to love the guy — adopted a pup and helped rescue 90 dogs from South Korea earlier this year.

Canadian pair skate champion Meagan Duhamel, a 2018 Olympic gold medalist, got her rescue dog through Free Korean Dogs, the same group that helped my neighbour get his dog from Korea.

All my kids needed to do was check the freekoreandogs.org website and the conversation began.

Before too long they spotted a dog that looked perfect.

EK Park, the woman who helped Duhamel get her dog, was in contact with us to be sure we had good intentions and the wherewithal (and the fenced yard) to care for a dog.

Within a few weeks, a white ball of fur we call Smokey Joe was in the house. He hasn’t been here long, but he seems happy to have made the trip to his forever home.

There are a few hurdles helping these dogs adjust but so far it has been completely worth it. Smokey Joe is a smart dog and happy to be with us, although he is still very frightened of other animals and hyper alert to certain noises. He is content indoors, where he can race after a toy or sit on someone’s lap; outside is a bit of a challenge for him. With time and affection, I have no doubt he’ll be as well adjusted as my neighbour’s dog, who is as sweet as pie but likewise needed time to acclimate.

There are a lot of dogs right here in Toronto who need to find homes. Actually, there are dogs everywhere who need homes and luckily, rescue dogs are becoming a popular option. Whether you go to the Humane Society, freekoreandogs.org, SOS or any of the other rescue organizations, you’ll get a bit of history about the animal you adopt and a great deal of satisfaction in giving a dog a home.

What you get in return is that unconditional love and devotion that led dogs to be known as man’s — and woman’s — best friend.

Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies