After about 2 hours from Incheon, I finally got to a house in Seoul. That is where I left Bori for the first time. I only thought getting a dog would be a good idea, solely because of my mother. After my older brother began his mandatory military service, she just got somewhat depressed. We used to bicker often but once he left she wept as if her only son has gone away. I could really understand but I wanted to bring something to make her happier and began looking for a puppy for her birthday. I talked to few people and in a few days I got in touch with the person who wrote "Puppy for Adoption - Seoul - Rehoming Fee 50,000 won."
I now have a job and 50,000 won isn't much but back when I was a student and unemployed, it was a little much to handle. And I leaned that adopting a dog requires a lot like various shots, pet care products, dog food or pee pads. I couldn't just bring a dog home with the adoption fee. I knew I would have to all my parents to pay for all of that. I just had to stop from making them pay for the aftermath of the gift I gave them. So I had some gigs and made some money. On the birthday I got a new pair of shoes where the puppy was about to be in for the day. I made an arrangement with the current owner that I'll get the white puppy. But when I got there, I fell in love with the bori-colored puppy (bori is buckwheat in Korean) and asked if I could take him instead. The owner asked for extra 50,000 won so I ran to the nearest bank and got the money. That was my first time meeting with Bori.
Bori came to our house hidden in a shoebox. He shivered with the loud noise inside the subway. There was little I could do so I opened the box put my hand in. I called Bori's name and made eye contacts. Bori licked my hand and saw my eyes in a smelly second line of Seoul subway.
One day, I saw Bori running in the park near our house and wondered, I know the family became so happy to have Bori around but would Bori feel the same way? All my family works during the day so Bori was left home with our cat from day to late at night. We would walk him in the morning but that could have never been enough. When I did the math, we barely had 4 hours with Bori in a day. Except the 8 hours for sleep, Bori would have had 12 hours alone in a day.
Shortly after I came to Jeju and on my flight, I looked out the window to the ocean and the cloud and wondered if Bori has ever seen an ocean before, or would Bori know that seawater is salty.
On the day I climbe Geochin Oreum, I sniffed the smell of the plants and the trees and wondered if Bori would know what an Oreum is. Probably not. Bori would never know what an ocean is, nor a river. Bori has never climbed a mountain so Bori would never get to know what a forest is or Oreum for that matter. Bori would never know that the color of silver grass on Oreums is much like his own fur. Only things that Bori knows are the scent of the members of my family, the house, streets or gas.
On the day I climbed that Oreum, on the day I saw the silver grass on the Oreum, on the day I saw the sunset and the horizon pass that sunset, I decided. To make a good life for Bori.
Before I brought Bori, I needed about a month for preparation, to get the flight tickets and things he would need once he gets here. What we needed to get him on the flight was the appropriate cafe and the diet plan for Bori to be on board. What I felt so terrible was that he was only 6 kg (13 lbs) but the total weight of the cafe and Bori had to be 7 kg (15 lbs). The soft shell cage I found was about 1.4 kg (3 lbs) so Bori had to lose about half a kg (1 lbs). To lose weight we fed him half the amount he normally eats and gave him no treats.
On the night before we left for Jeju, Bori whined in the middle of the night asking for more food. I was devastated thinking that maybe I'm trying to have him go through all this just for my sake. It was series of dilemmas and regrets up to the moment we left. But imagining Bori in front that cold metal door that was closed for 12 hours everyday, I assured myself that there's greater happiness waiting for Bori in Jeju.
In a small soft shell cafe of 37 cm by 22 cm by 23 cm (14 in x 8 in x 9 in), Bori left the mainland with me. Bori was shivering so much with the low and loud sound of the engine, scratched the cage with his paw and whined. I didn't know what to do. I only remembered the day I brought small Bori to our house for the first time.
I opened the small window on the cage, put my hand in and gently touched him. For what it seemed like an eternity, I had my hand in the cage just like that day. And saw Bori's face and said to him.
"We are going to be happy."
It's been five months since I came to Jeju. And on my fifth month on October, at 9 in the morning Bori sits by my face and waits for me to wake up and get my glasses on. It's Bori's first month in Jeju and I've been walking him everyday. Who care if it's raining or the wind is too strong. We go out the house on gray days for a walk. I want him to experience the wet smell of the ground after the rain, the moist in the air, the blazing sun. Everything.
The smell of the tangerine farm, stonewalls, the ocean. Bori is experiencing new smells and about to much more. I will go on new adventures, climb Oreums or go surfing on the ocean
Bori is now 6. I wish he could say longer but he can't. For that he is a special member of my family and my pet. Bori will always see me like I'm the world to him but I want him to know that there are much more to explore in the world.
"Sniffing Around Jeju" is a series devoted to those traveling with animals. To make your travel more special, we create this series to make the lives of your animals much more beautiful as I want the same for Bori. As I am writing this, I am on my bed telling Bori this.
"You're going to be happy, Bori."
<This series was inspired by a book, 제주犬학>