Saranghae the Infatuated Pet Rock
Legacy Name: Jindo
The Sweetheart Kumos
Age: 6 years, 8 months, 1 week
Born: December 11th, 2015
Adopted: 6 years, 8 months, 1 week ago
Adopted: December 11th, 2015
- Level: 1
- Strength: 10
- Defense: 10
- Speed: 10
- Health: 10
- HP: 10/10
- Intelligence: 0
- Books Read: 0
- Food Eaten: 0
- Job: Unemployed
This would be Miso's last litter. The magnificent jindo was entering her twelfth year of life and while she still ate and played with the enthusiasm of a younger dog, it was clear that this latest group of rowdy puppies was slowing her down. Ye-jun was there as witness to all seven births, seeing to it that his beloved dog's water dish never emptied and feeding her gomguk with a rich beef flavor and kimchi to replace those nutrients lost through the milk she gave to her pups. He did not make contact with the pups, not yet. He knew the importance of allowing Miso to bond with her children.
Ye-jun had always taken pride in his dogs, producing champions both in the ring and on the field. Some of the puppies he'd bred had even found homes in Europe and across the ocean in the United States. He was a responsible breeder, taking the time to get to know his buyer months in advance of a birthing. Neither wealth nor status could persuade him to home a puppy with a person he didn't trust. His dogs were the faithful children he wished for, the sort that stays home and protects the family rather than chasing dreams of wealth and foolishness.
His wife Ji-min was no less involved in helping to raise the puppies, despite her confinement to a wheelchair. She could sit for hours, rolling the little red ball for her four-legged babies to chase. She never grew bored of their company, secretly giving them names despite her husband's many warnings. She was the one who designated a different colored collar to each pup and who took all the photos for the website on which they showed off the dogs they had loved and lost over the years.
It had not been easy for the couple to accept that they would soon share Miso's fate. The dusk of life was approaching for both, forcing them to find new homes for most of their breeding stock. Miso was special, though. She had been hand-reared by Ye-jun upon the loss of her own mother. She would stay in the family home until she could no longer eat, then taken to the vet for a merciful end.
Ye-jun watched the last pup with concern. Runts were always at a disadvantage, the last to suckle and the first to be tumbled by their playmates. The tiny male with the pure white coat had the spirit of a much larger dog though he was often batted aside and squashed beneath his brothers and sisters.
Ye-jun fell in love with the undersized little warrior, taking to sneaking him bits of food at those times when the other pups ignored their smallest playmate. He could not always hide a laugh behind his hand at the sight of Jindo wrinkling his nose at the water dish. The pup got most of the water he needed from his diet and made his distaste for simple water quite plain.
Owners came to claim their new family members all too soon. Four puppies sold within the first week. Another was claimed a week later by a man in search of a loyal hunting companion. Even the pup with the crooked ears managed to find love in the arms of a little girl and still the runt was ignored by those who visited the kennel. Ye-jun went to his wife with a fresh bouquet of flowers and his best imitation of puppy eyes. She did not need much convincing. She was no less in love with the antics of the little white dog that had stolen one of the socks she was knitting and somehow managed to get it stuck on his nose.
Miso passed unexpectedly in the night, solidifying their resolve. The puppy with the oversized feet and red collar came to be known simply as Jindo.
Jindo's broken heart hurt much more than the leg that had been shattered.
He had made it his job in life to protect the Man. His pack leader was master and food source, an authority to fill the void of losing his beloved mother. He adored every command granted by the wave of a hand and would gladly walk through fire to rescue the Man or his mate.
He had tried to save the Man, his superior hearing picking up the alarming sound of a car that would not simply pass as cars were supposed to do. He could hear how the tires swerved on the pavement and his instincts warned him that something was wrong with the young man behind the wheel. Jindo hurled his body against his leader, taking the sharp impact of the bumper on his own body. It was not in his nature to cry out but this pain was too great to pretend he felt nothing. His yelps would echo in the ears of the boy that sped away for many years to come.
Jindo's tail wagged as he approached the Man. His master would take away the pain and give him healing rest. He'd been well cared for that time he cut his paw and could not bear to put any weight on it. His leader always saw to his needs.
Shock coursed through his body at the scent coming from the Man. Jindo moved forward despite the pain, nuzzling Ye-jun's cold cheek. Blood pooled from the gash on the back of his head and he made no effort to rise.
Ye-jun's neighbor found them a few hours later. He called for the police, agreeing to take charge of the dog that cried out and tried to prevent the removal of the body. Jindo had been well-trained that biting a human was forbidden, though he was sorely tempted when the stranger lifted his body and placed him in a strange car. The smell of bubble gum was too sweet in his nose. He closed his eyes and shuddered, willing himself not to be sick.
He was almost comforted by the familiar smells of the vet's office. Ye-jun had taken care to teach him that the vet was a friend so that he would never be one of those dogs that planted his rear on the floor and howled when he was taken to the back office. A needle stab gave him sweet relief and he slipped into sleep.
He awoke in his bed in the family room but nothing felt right. Ye-jun's scent was fading. His battered old hat hung on the hook beside the front door where he'd forgotten it when the pair went for their last walk.
Food was left for Jindo but he took no interest in it. Only one sound could reach him through a fog of pain. The Woman's cries were soft and low. She would take the food offered by the neighbor's wife but she refused to rise from her bed. Jindo limped his way up the stairs, placing his head within easy reach with a whine of complete understanding. For many hours she stroked him, keeping a rhythm that lent comfort to both until she fell asleep.
The children arrived the next morning, intruders that were intent on taking away what little Jindo had left.
The son never ceased to complain about the dog hair and doggy smell present on every piece of furniture. The daughter shot Jindo many dirty looks. She would never be bold enough to speak outright to her mother but Jindo knew what was in her heart. She believed he was responsible for the death of Ye-jun. He could hardly disagree with her when he had failed at his most important job.
The daughter took him outside the day after his cast was removed, walking him on the old leather leash until they were deep in the forest behind the house. She unclipped the hook from his collar, screaming and waving her arms until he grew tired of her company and began to walk away. Smiling smugly, she turned back in the direction of her mother's house. Jindo waited until her scent had faded to make his own return. She howled with anger when she spotted him sitting on the back porch, waiting to be let in. Every day she took him a little further out, pulling him along on those wet days when his leg pained him. He never failed to reappear outside the familiar back door.
The son was just a little more human than his sister, leaving small scoops of food for the dog to find.
One day the pair lured Jindo to the son's car with a most vile trick. They took an old coat of their father's from his closet, placing it as a blanket for Jindo to lie on. The dog rejoiced in the strong, familiar odor of the lost man. He eagerly followed the children into an unfamiliar stretch of forest, flopping down on the jacket that the daughter placed beneath an ancient evergreen.
It was not until a few days later when his own scent overpowered the fading smell of Ye-jun that Jindo realized he had been tricked. Not even the stinking mechanical devices of humans can trick the nose of a dog. He allowed his instincts to steer his steps, limping over sixty miles of wild terrain until he came at last to the neighborhood of his birth.
The house of the Man and Woman was dark and empty. It was clear no humans had been here in days. Jindo lowered himself stiffly to the ground, ears pointed at the sky and eyes fixed firmly on the sliding door. His pack would return. They had to.
Ji-hu's children sang in the back seat, their high-pitched voices turning a silly song into something worth sharing a laugh over with his beautiful wife. It was so good to escape the office for a week and just enjoy the company of his family. He couldn't wait to show them the lake where his grandfather had taken him fishing every summer as a boy. Ji-yoon and Min-jun were finally old enough to control their own fishing rods. Min-seo sat in the passenger's seat, returning his smile as she started up a new song about a panda bear.
He was looking for his turn when the magnificent jindo caught his eye. Ji-hu had always loved dogs, from the scruffy mutts that wandered through his boyhood village to the pampered poodles and groomed greyhounds paraded through the convention center where he worked during an international dog show. His wife insisted they wait to get a dog of their own until the children were old enough for the responsibility. Ji-yoon would be turning ten in a few days and Ji-hu was a firm supporter of her petition for a puppy.
Ji-hu slowed the car, coming to a stop without even realizing he had done so. It did not take his children long to notice the catcher of his attention.
"Ohhh, look at the beautiful dog! He's so thin!"
Min-jun set aside his dinosaur coloring book. "Can we pet him Dad?"
Min-seo clucked her tongue. "You children know better than to run up to strange dogs. He looks like he's just waiting for his family to come home. You wouldn't want to take him away from other children that love him, now would you?"
Ji-yoon shook her head, her ponytail swishing back and forth. "Look at his coat, Mama. It's all full of twigs and icky stuff."
Ji-hu put the car in park and pulled the keys. "Look at the sign in the yard. This place is for sale. He may be abandoned or left behind when the old owners moved. We could at least get a look at his collar and give him a meal."
Min-seo gave in to the pleading of her children though she gave her husband a warning look. "We'll help him find his way home but we are not keeping him."
The children cheered. Ji-hu rummaged through the suitcases in the trunk until he came up with their picnic basket.
Jindo watched the approach of the man through wary eyes. Men in suits had tried to drive him away before, swatting at him with sticks and even throwing stones. He would not dishonor his master by growling but a good glare made it clear that he had no desire to rise.
"It's okay, boy. I'm not going to hurt you." Ji-hu laid out a double scoop of kimchi on a paper plate, smiling as the dog wolfed the treat and licked the surface of the plate clean. He poured a bit of water from a bottle but the dog would not even sniff the second offering. He left the pie pan for later, confident the dog would drink when he was thirsty enough.
Ji-hu made it a point to drive past the abandoned house every chance he got, bringing more offerings of kimchi and kind words. Sometimes Ji-yoon and Min-jun would ride along though he made them swear not to tell their mother just yet.
The brine of kimchi awoke memories of the smell on his mother's breath when she led her pups to share bites from her food dish. He was wary of the man who seemed so eager to feed him. Traps had been left before by men who wanted him captured or even dead. It had been many days since he'd eaten, though, and the kindness in the young man's voice was so different from the harsh growls of the men who wanted the property to sell.
The cat people made up his mind. They called in animal control as their glossy pair of Siamese cats yowled insults through the sliding glass door. Jindo easily evaded the wire snare of the fat man intent on his capture, hiding on the edge of the tree line until the officer gave up and vowed to come back the next day.
The young man was surprised when Jindo followed him to the car. He did not rush the dog as Jindo stared at the interior, smelling the girl's strawberry shampoo and the fruit snacks the boy had been munching on when his father dropped the pair off at school. His bad leg made him stumble over the jump. Ji-hu rubbed the dog between the ears, speaking softly and offering him a piece of freeze-dried chicken. Jindo hesitantly accepted the treat, taking great care not to touch the man's skin with more than a tongue tip. Ji-hu was pleased at how well the dog was trained.
Min-seo sighed at the sight of the large dog. "Did you really think you could trust a six-year-old with your secrets? I'm amazed it took you this long to bring him home." She pulled the ceramic dishes she'd hidden out of the closet, laughing lightly as Ji-hu grabbed her in a hug. She was a dog lover too.
Jindo is tolerant of the children though Ji-yoon sometimes has to be reminded to take him for walks and Min-jun can get a little rough when he plays. He does not mind their teasing at his distaste for water. Min-seo makes it a point to heat a cushion just right to ease the pain in his bad leg and Ji-hu will sit for hours stroking him in just the right place between his ears.
His masters will never be replaced in his heart but now he has a new pack to love and protect.
Simple Leather Collar
Ruffie Food Bowl