Seven years after Guijoong flew to San Diego to start his new life in his new forever home with his new family, we visited the U.S. in February 2020 to check up on other internationally-adopted dogs.
During our visit, we also saw how Guijoong was doing.
Abandoned to Die
In the autumn of 2013, we saw a Balbari (Also romanized as “Balbali:” A breed of small dog native to Korea similar to the Spitz, characterized by short legs, pointy ears, and a tail with long and abundant fur) puppy next to the cement wall of an old factory.
A few Balbari puppies had been abandoned in a fish box. While scavenging for food, the hungry puppies had ingested pesticide and died. One puppy had survived, though. Being born blind, he couldn’t wander around looking for food as his siblings had, which had saved him from getting poisoned.
The starving puppy was sitting forlornly inside a half-demolished factory filled with debris and broken glass. Unable to see anything, he could only rely on the wall next to him in dark solitude.
One day, a lady discovered the lonesome pup. She wanted to help, but was not able to take him home and keep him as she already had a lot of big dogs at home. Instead, she visited him once a day to feed him. Two months went by like that, and it was time for the factory to be completely demolished. The lady reached out to us to rescue the puppy before the demolition.
“There’s a poor little thing that needs help. He’s blind. I can’t take him home, because I have a lot of big dogs. The building where this puppy is sheltered is about to be taken down. We must act fast.”
With only a cement wall and a bowl next to him, the golden brown Balbari puppy was waiting calmly for the lady. He had no eyeballs, which made it appear as though his eyes were closed.
When he heard the lady’s voice, the puppy immediately stood up and wagged his tail excitedly. We loaded him into the car, and as we started driving away, he realized the lady was no longer near him. He started to whine for the lady who had saved him.
We named the puppy “Guijoong” (In Korean, it means “precious,” “valuable”) in hopes that when he found his forever home, he would be treated as such by a new family.
Relieved to no longer feel broken pieces of glass under his paws, Guijoong sniffed around the foster house confidently. As if he could see, he didn’t bump into walls or furniture as he explored.
He had no trouble jumping onto and off his bed, going potty, crossing over door sills, or even climbing up and down the staircase. He was a wondrous, brave little pup. It was as though his other remaining senses were far more acute than those of other dogs with no disability.
Forever Home Found
Meanwhile, we received news that a Korean family living in San Diego, California, was interested in adopting Guijoong. Unfortunately, contrary to the fact that Balbaris are a unique breed native to Korea, there are misperceptions that they are “common mutts.” This makes adoption of Balbaris in South Korea more difficult than other types of dogs.
The family had already adopted another abused Balbari named “Aein” in 2004. We felt assured that they would provide the perfect forever home for Guijoong.
We thank Guijoong’s family for being wonderful caretakers of their three beautiful Balbaris.