Gabbey came into my life quite unexpectedly. I was visiting my cousin in L.A. and he had his hands full with two young Jindos, one was red and the other was a pure white Jindo puppy named Toby. He had asked me to possibly help train both dogs so they could live inside, but in the end, he decided it would be best to find loving homes for both dogs. Gabbey was around 6 months old and had already been surrendered by his previous owner for unknown reasons. When I first approached him, he was extremely timid and jumpy but would lick my hand incessantly, which was his version of a nervous greeting. I had never seen puppies display such shy, suspicous behavior and immediately I was intrigued by their lack of interest in me. I decided to take Gabbey soley based on the fact that he was older and not as attractive as Toby. Toby was a snow white puff ball with deep, dark eyes; He resembled a tiny polar bear cub and I knew his good looks would appeal to any prospective owner.
I already had a 2 year old neutered Akita mix at home and I was nervous about introducing a new dog into such a small living space. I had wondered if a 1 bedroom apt. would be adequate for 2 large dogs, but after receiving approval from my landlord, I was finally able to bring Gabbey home.
Gabbey vomited the entire drive from L.A. to San Diego; Little did I know that this would be his regular car etiquette for the next 4 months. Needless to say, we went through several blankets, towels and upholstery shampoo before he finally learned how to relax in the car. When I brought him home, he continued to display nervous behavior and was cautious but tolerant towards my other dog, Feo. He was clearly afraid of his new surroundings and I even tried to offer him the comfort and security of a large crate which proved to be a huge mistake. He was absolutely terrified in the crate and stood there frozen and shaking, unable to sit down or relax. I had been warned (by his previous owner) that he managed to free himself from his collar and that he would even chew Toby's collar off to also free him. After chasing him around the apartment for an hour, we finally came to an agreement and he let me put his collar on. I made a conscious decision that no matter what happened, I would commit myself to his care and provide him with a permanent home, further intrigued by his wild spirit and distrustful nature.
One of the great things about Jindos is that they seem to potty train themselves and Gabbey was no exception; He was allowed free run of the house, based on the fact that he never had accidents and didn't show any signs of destructive behavior. I would sleep with my bedroom door opened and notice that with each night that passed, his position in the house would change as he seemed to be inching closer to my room. By the 3rd night he slept in the hallway, keeping a watchful eye on his new roomates while they slept. Despite my efforts, he still refused to enter the bedroom even when I called to him. He did not respond to treats or food as a motivational tool, which frustrated me even more. It was on day 7 that Gabbey decided that he wanted to join his new family in the bedroom and as he lay next to me he seemed to let out a big sigh of relief. It was our first small step at forming that bond of trust which I learned was so crucial in owning a primitive dog like a Jindo.
The following month I had called the maintenance dept. to address a plumbing issue in my apartment. I was in bedroom getting dresssed and was alarmed by a bizarre howling, braying sound (typical Jindo vocalizations) coming from the living room. I ran out of the bedroom and saw Gabbey, all of 8 months old, screaming and howling at the terrified repair man. He looked like a crazy, red porcupine with his fur and tail standing straight up, as if trying to make himself look bigger. He was small but mighty and was determined to stand his ground. I eventually calmed Gabbey down and assured the repair man that he wasn't aggressive but rather protective of his new home. I was blown away that even at such a young age his instincts as a Jindo took precedence over his fears and insecurities; He was truly born to protect and guard whomever he chose as his "master."
I soon discovered that the simplest tasks were no longer taken for granted and giving him his first bath left me with battle wounds on my arms and legs from his sharp nails. As I reached under his belly to wash, it was apparent that the stitches from his neutering had not been removed by his previous owner and had painfully ingrown into his belly. It took 3 people to subdue him and remove the wiry stitches while he fought and screamed with all of his might. To this day it's virtually impossible to take him to the vet for even the simplest of procedures. A routine round of vaccinations ended with Gabbey's blood pressure crashing and as a result, he had to be kept for observation. An attempt to have his teeth cleaned proved to be quite taxing on the staff, as the vet later informed me that the maximum dose of sedation had no affect on him. (She said they eventually used a tranquilizer that is more commonly used on horses.) But the last straw was when Gabbey seemed to have a blocked anal gland and we took him in to get it drained. I could hear him braying and screaming in fear and realized then that I would never subject him to this torture ever again. The vet came back to the waiting room looking exhausted, confused and frazzled. She said that even though he was bound and tethered, it took 4 tech assistants to hold him in place and they still could only drain one sac. Gabbey seems to tolerate our local shot clinics much better than the vet's office, so they have become a welcome alternative from our anxiety ridden office visits of the past.
Gabbey was named "Dokkaebi" by his original owner which is a type of goblin or monster from Korean folklore. I decided just to call him Kaebi for short (pronounced Gebbey) but he's known to us as "Little Buddy" because of his need to be in close proximity of us at all times. He loves to follow me around and keep an eye on my whereabouts no matter how tired he may be. At night, he loves the comfort of being close to his pack and will snuggle up to whoever is available. For many years I couldn't decipher his restless behavior and tendency to constantly reposition himself throughout the house, depending on our location. My husband finally solved the mystery and made the observation that he will always place himself in between us and wherever he may perceive a threat may come, which is usually any open door. Even when I momentarily get up to brush my teeth, he will awaken from a deep sleep and place himself in between me and the adjoining bedroom door. This is a testament to the loyal, protective nature of our Jindo; Always aware of his surroundings and under constant protective watch of his family and master.
I've learned so much about myself from owning a Jindo; Gabbey has taught me about primitive dog behavior and the patience and tenacity it takes to own a Jindo. There were times when he tested me to the point of wanting to give up, but his desire to be loved and unbreakable spirit, kept me committed to his cause. It's been an adventure and labor of love for all of us and I never dreamed that he would bring so much happiness to our family. I hope you enjoyed his story and here are some more facts about Gabbey:
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