Fashion designer Yena Kim first made headlines when her furry friend @mensweardog Bodhi became a social media sensation for his sartorial splendor. But Bodhi isn’t the only pooch she’s pampering these days. In March of 2020, Kim and her boyfriend adopted a 15-pound puppy, whose life had not been easy. Luc was saved from a shelter in Pyeongtaek, Korea, where many dogs succumbed to freezing weather.
“Luc has a painful history, like many adopted pets,” Kim explains. “When I first met him, he was fearful and distrustful of people, and showed anxiety and aggression toward other dogs. Luc lived the first six months of his life in survival mode, with no reliable source of shelter or food, which understandably caused him to form a distrustful, defensive barrier.
“Trust was built over time with routines of food, water, training walks and playtime. We’ve been with Luc for over a year now, and his personality continues to unravel. We now see complete joy in his eyes, and unparalleled playfulness.”
Getting acquainted“We worked with a professional dog trainer and behaviorist to ensure Bodhi and Luc had the best introduction to each other,” says Kim. “Luc was a tiny pup when we adopted him. We knew he would get bigger than Bodhi soon, so we kept a healthy balance of making sure Bodhi felt prioritized in this new dynamic, while rewarding him with treats and praises when he shared his space and toys with Luc.”
Kim made sure Bodhi and Luc were well-fed, exercised and in a good mood upon their first meeting at a local park.
“It created a great neutral territory, and they were rewarded for calm, harmonious interactions. They walked side by side until they were ready for a good rest and we entered the home together, with Bodhi leading the way.”
Doing their homework
Before applying to adopt Luc, there were discussions to make sure the couple had the space and resources to welcome another dog.
“The amazing folks at Korean K9 Rescue were looking for a larger family home with flexible work schedules to give Luc the love, attention and training he needs. Our trainer recommended crate-training as a way of comfortably easing Luc into a new environment, because it provided him with a safe, enclosed den where he felt protected from his surroundings”.
For Luc’s arrival, a comfortable memory foam pad was purchased to line his crate. Durable food and water bowls were purchased , along with a toy and blanket, all-natural puppy shampoo, Martingale collar, slip lead and clicker for training , poo bags, training treats, an ID tag, grooming brush and fast-soak towel and safely placed gates.
While visiting her parents in Korea at the end of last year, Kim stopped by Korean K9 Rescue’s Bundang Center, which rescues strays and canines from dog meat farms, high-kill shelters and puppy mills.
“I was curious to see where Luc stayed before he was flown to New York to join our family. I was blown away by the clean facility and the care the team put into rehabilitating these dogs. I met with the staff, who were working tirelessly with these dogs to give them a light at the end of the tunnel.
“I couldn’t help but fight my tears as I walked out of the Bundang center, the dogs wagging their tails behind me,” says Kim. “Humbled, I applied to be a flight volunteer and was able to fly three beautiful dogs back to New York with me. This effort is negligent however, when compared to the care, sweat and tears that the Korean K9 Rescue team put into saving dogs every day.”