Saturday, June 6, 2009

Puppies and Pigs

A very popular image being circulated by email chain letters these days is of this cute little toddler featured below giving his friendly neighbourhood piggy a big wet kiss...

The picture is talking about swine flu, and its a big deal these days, especially if you're a caucasian living in Seoul -- or a Mexican, living anywhere. Recently there's been a fair amount of hubbub about English teachers from North America bringing swine flu with them when they come to Asia and there's a fair amount of suspicion surrounding foreigners in general. Recently, an entire chain of private English schools called CDI was closed when one of the Korean children attending one of the schools tested positive for swine flu. Using a week long closure as a chance to jet home for a quick hello, one of the teachers from that chain of schools who lives in our apartment buildings is now out of a job, while her school finds out a way to send all of her stuff back home. Ouch. Its a sad and complicated story, but it does have a positive twist, in that while her stuff, including her adorable year-old puppy is waiting to make its way back to the States, I got to dog sit today with my friend Amanda!

This morning around 10:30am Amanda and I trekked to the poor girl's apartment to collect her amazingly wonderful dog, Nala and take her for a walk. Isn't she adorable? Oh, and Nala is pretty cute too! I was definitely game for dog sitting, but didn't have any personal experience with a dog, so I was happy to have Amanda along to help me out, and tell me when I was being a bad dog sitter. She's good to have around like that -- very honest.

Nala, is perhaps the most well-tempered puppy that I've ever spent time with. She was very calm, and did not bark once, even though she had never before met Amanda, and myself only once. She even let me take her picture so I could show it to all of you!

We were told that if we walked out of our building and just kind of let Nala take the lead that she would eventually take us to the park, and so we did just that. I didn't even know prior to yesterday that there was a park so close by. It was literally about a 5 minute walk from my building! I can't believe I've been missing it all this time! It's not the most amazing park that one has ever seen, but when I'm surrounded by buildings and concrete 90% of the time, it was a very refreshing change of pace! There was even a small pond with a few fountains!

We walked along through the park and let Nala chase some pidgins for a while and when she was tired we headed back towards home. It was so nice to spend a few hours in the morning out doing something so nice. I think that I might have to introduce it into my regular morning routine, perhaps before I go to the gym when it is still nice and cool. It was pretty hot though by the time we were finished, and I think even Nala was ready to head back to the apartment building.

We saw lots of different kinds of people on the way back, but Nala didn't really pay attention to any of them. Just walked on by like she was used to being a celebrity. Everywhere we went people smiled at us, and waved and tried to speak to us about the dog. She is very big for a city dog I think. While we did see other dogs while we were out and about, she was the only one bigger than the size of a small terrier.

I took a few pictures here and there, but Amanda and Nala were impatient with me...

And when I turned around they were already heading off down the road, so I put away my camera and ran after them to catch up.

Amanda stopped for a pizza to eat on the way home, and while I was waiting outside the pizza place because the dog couldn't go inside the four sweetest Korean children came to stand near the door and ask me question in Korean about the dog, with perhaps a dozen English words thrown in to make it interesting. I really couldn't understand the majority of what they were saying but they stood around chatting with us for the entire 15-20 mins that it took to make Amanda's pizza, so at the end I took their picture. It made them really happy. And it makes me happy to have the picture to show to you. The two girls in the front were the ring leaders, and the girl in the back that you can barely see really only said goodbye at the end, but they were all really sweet.

After that Amanda headed off and I brought Nala back to her house.

gave her some food and water,

and then put her back into her kennel.

We were both sad about that part.

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