As a proud new owner of a Jindo, possibly Pungsan mix puppy, my daily routine has been turned upside down, albeit in a good way. In my life, before owning a pet, I could go out, take photographs, go urban exploring without much consideration. Now, with Harrow, our six-month-old pup, we have to consider his needs before going out. Walking, feeding, and cleaning our newest member of the family take a precedent now.
On January 15th, my wife and I were coming back home after seeing an early showing of Steven Spielberg’s production of West Side Story. Around Haengshin-dong, we saw a white puppy wandering in the middle of traffic without a care in the world. He was not aware of the danger he was in, and there wasn’t anybody doing anything to get him out of harm’s way. My wife and I felt compelled at that moment to get the pup out of the road, even if it only meant putting him in our car and removing himself from the dangerous situation. We got him loaded up and drove into an apartment complex to go over what to do next. A guy watched the whole incident go down and followed us to ask us what our intentions were. He was a bit odd; the man, toting a handbag-sized poodle in a bag, seemed drunk and was questioning us, almost criticizing us for taking him in our car. He mentioned that that dog had already eaten two bowls of food since this morning. It seemed he had seen the dog loose in the neighborhood, possibly taking care of it. He was against us taking it to an animal shelter because they were going to kill it, but at the time, we couldn’t think of any better options.
After checking the dashcam footage, we saw one person go after the dog but stopped, seeing that we would retrieve him. Also, in the video is, the man who questioned us is in front of a store watching idly. Taking the future Harrow to the animal shelter, it would be possible to find his owner, preventing him from getting in more dangerous situations. After settling Harrow down, my wife comforting him, we took him to the animal shelter. I knew I was smitten with him when I laid eyes on him, but we needed to do the responsible thing and see if anyone would claim him. It was hard to drop him off in the cage and go on with our lives. As a naturally spontaneous and impulsive person, I was ready to take him home. Fortunately, my wife is a more grounded and careful person about serious decisions, and in the end, I realized we made the right choice at the time.
Harrow’s Gotcha Day was February 21st. Since then, we’ve been trying to care for the needs of a young pup like Harrow. It’s taken over our free days; the walks, the training, and forming a bond with him. I grew up with a Zork, but he was an outdoor dog with a backyard to roam. We played with him and generally let him be. We never tried to socialize him with other dogs, but I only now realize it’s an essential skill to learn when you are out in public. We live in an apartment, and Harrow needs multiple walks each day to stay physically and mentally healthy.
So, we’ve been spending most of our free time with the dog. Last weekend, we thought it would be an excellent opportunity to see how Harrow would do exploring a soon-to-be-demolished redlight district/neighborhood in Southeast Seoul. I think it went ok; he still needs to work on being on a leash, and I hope he can be less reactive when coming across other dogs and cats. It will be important when exploring, as stray cats are the norm in an evicted neighborhood. It was also tricky trying to take pictures and walk Harrow simultaneously. I’m glad my wife was there to take Harrow when I wanted to go off and see the neighborhood freely. While most of the buildings were locked up still, I got into a few opened houses. My wife took Harrow to a park nearby while I looked around in more detail. Caution is needed when exploring this neighborhood/redlight district, as people are still living/walking through the area.
There are no plans to make Instagram pages or Youtube channels based around Harrow the Urbexing the Dog. I don’t want to make Harrow a thing; he’s the newest friend that hopefully, we will be on many more urban exploration adventures with us in the future.
Hopefully, we will come back to this neighborhood in Gangdong-gu. As I mentioned earlier, there are still residents and constant foot traffic you must contend with. There are many shaman houses and glass boxes that have lots of exploration potential. Here are my initial impressions of the area.