Link and Zelda

Link and Zelda

Several years ago, I took in a 5-month-old jindo dog. He was a fluffy white thing that was born in South Korea—and had he not been rescued, he might have become dog meat. Apparently, while jindo dogs are prized by many Koreans, they’re regarded as food by some others. When I learned this through an officemate, who was then fostering a jindo pup, I decided that this was reason enough to adopt one of my own. 

Enter: Link. He came into the picture by way of a dog adoption event in Los Angeles. Link, along with his siblings, were bred to be sold to a dog meat farm in South Korea. The DoVE (Dogs of Violence Exposed) Project intercepted the sale a day before it took place, and fortunately, they were able to transport Link, his siblings, and later, his mother from South Korea to find them loving homes overseas. 

Although we didn’t expect to take a puppy home that day,  it seemed like this quirk of fate had other plans for us. No one—not even his own foster parent—claimed him, so by default, Link could already be ours. My boyfriend and I were instantly enthralled with Link and the possibility of calling him ours. After fostering him for several days, we then made him a permanent part of our little family. 

It was only a few months later when my fiancé and I decided to adopt another jindo dog. Link seemed like he could use a friend of the four-legged variety. Whenever we left home, even if only for a short grocery run, he would bark and howl and cry incessantly. Maybe, we thought, a friend would make him feel less lonely.  After a few weeks of browsing, my boyfriend ran to me shouting in excitement. 

He found the perfect companion for Link: an achingly adorable 4-month-old jindo pup. She was awaiting a home in a South Korean shelter—and if we don’t adopt her now, my boyfriend warned, someone else would snatch up this little cutie. We have to have her, he exclaimed, so I scurried to fill up an application, and left the rest to sheer luck. And lucky for us, Zelda was on her way to Los Angeles a few weeks later.

Unlike Link, we didn’t know why she was put up for adoption. If anything, Zelda was more wary than her newfound brother, though she took to him right away. As soon as they exchanged sniffs, Zelda began to play with, but mostly boss around Link. Tiny as she was, she was a feisty little fluff ball—and it was just like Link to indulge her behavior. While they had two very different personalities, they were in love instantly.

My fiancé and I always knew we wanted a dog, and when we purchased our first place together, we kept the possibility of dogs in mind: We made sure our place offered a nice backyard to romp around in, and we even built a doggy door. I lived among dogs my entire life, but for my fiancé, it required some adjusting—what with all the added responsibilities of owning two dogs instead of one. 

Thankfully, apart from a few holes in our backyard and some bite-marked mail, pillows, and trash cans, the dogs didn’t cause much of a ruckus at all. Potty training was a cinch, and though Zelda was often the first to instigate trouble—which was funny because she was originally named Angel—Link was fortunately more behaved. He would “tattle” on her every time she was found ripping our mail and pillows into shreds, or digging holes. 

Despite their polar opposite personalities, both Link and Zelda are, in short, quirky. Link is a goofball, quick to give kisses to anyone who’ll let him, and has taken on the job as our tiny security dog. He patrols our backyard in search of critters, and takes pride in the fact that he thinks he can keep them at bay. Link also can’t help but express himself whenever possible, making what we like to describe as “Chewbacca noises.”

Our tiny Zelda, on the other hand, is still as feisty as ever. She is selective with those she shows affection to, but if there’s ever an opportunity to show her love to either our family or Link, she won’t hold back. And over the years, she’s become even more loving, and likes to snuggle with my fiancé and I. Link only has increased his social skills, but he has learned to draw the line with rude dogs—and makes sure to let them know it. 

As the years have passed, though, the pups I remember them as are only continuing to become larger and more independent. I miss how small they were, how I was able to scoop them into my arms without strain, and bear witness to all their firsts. At the same time, they’ve come so far. In spite of undergoing hardships, they’ve turned out to be pretty well-adjusted dogs, if I do say so myself. 

At the same time, they’ve made our lives better, too. They’ve made our home so much livelier. They’ve made us more active, thanks to all the walks and hikes we’ve embarked on together. They’ve made us feel like a real family unit, and continue to make us smile, laugh, and even if they might not ever know it, taught us so much. We can’t imagine our lives without them, and I hope in some way, they feel the same.


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