Autumn and KAPS dog volunteering
November was a crazy busy month so unfortunately I’ve not had the chance to update this for a while! I have been busy with classes and marking hundreds of student’s essays ready for them to be published in a book or the school magazine and newspaper.
I feel like it’s a bit late to write about Autumn as its all but over as the last leaves clinging for their lives are falling from the trees. However, although I’ve been very bad at updating this blog I have been good at getting out in the fresh air and taking pictures of leaves and trees whenever I could. I had a chat with my co-teacher about how impressive all the really red leaves are here in Korea. She told me that apparently the leaves turn red if the difference between temperatures of morning, afternoon and night time vary a lot. Does anyone know if this is true?
Anyway here are some Korean Autumn pictures.
Volunteer dog walking – KAPS
KAPS (Korea Animal Protection Society) takes in dogs and cats that have run away, been abandoned or who’s owners can’t care for them anymore. After finding out on Facebook that we could volunteer to walk them, Ash and I got involved. We started walking the pooches before the summer and have tried to go as much as possible ever since, so usually at least once a week.
KAPS do a good job of looking after these animals with little funding and few resources, but when I first entered the shelter I felt really sorry for the dogs. Small dogs are kept in little cages in one room and in the back room there are a few large cages for big dogs. Obviously it can be a scary and bewildering experience and a sensory nightmare for them due to the amount of loud barking and the smell of other dogs. The Korean women who work there are friendly and must be worked off their arses as there is a constant stream of dogs entering and leaving. The dogs (especially the big boisterous ones) really need walking, which is why we have been going so much.
Sometimes the first ten minutes of the experience – getting the dog out and trying to calm it down, can be a bit stressful but seeing the startling change in the dogs after they have been out for a while is so worth it. Dogs who at first seemed nervous, sad or dismissive often come out of their shell and turn in to affectionate fun-loving animals. There is a large park called Duryu Park very close to the shelter, which is a good place to take them for a little stroll. We’ve recently taken to walking the dogs up to Apsan mountain park, taking them in to the creeks for water and wandering through the trees. This is when they really come alive and start running around chasing scents or exploring in the undergrowth.
An amazing but also heartbreaking aspect of walking the dogs is when they really bond with you and look at you like you are their owner. We usually take them out for maybe 4 or 5 hours and it’s great for them to get out, meet people and other dogs and socialise, all these things combined give them a greater chance of finding an owner. However I must say there have been a couple of times when I’ve had tears in my eyes putting them back. Despite this we go back most weeks because I think giving them the chance to get out in the daylight, get some fresh air and some exercise gives them a bit of happiness in their days.
Here are a mixture of some doggy pictures Ash and I have taken.
I would really recommend anyone who likes dogs to visit KAPS dog shelter as you are definitely helping them. Also with Duryu Park and Apsan so close its an interesting way to get out and about or exercise.
There is also a cat sanctuary around the corner although I’ve never been there.
The dog shelter is open from approx 9.30 to 7pm. Lunch is between 1-2 (so either pick up the dogs before then or wait until about 2.30) and the dogs need to be bought back between 6-6.30pm.
For more details about KAPS : http://www.animalrescuekorea.org/animal-shelters/kaps-korean-animal-protection-society