Pet friendly Jeju, Jeju, South Korea
Who says you can’t choose your family? If you’re like me, a fellow pet owner here on Jeju, you understand how important health and happiness are for your furry (or feathery) family members. It’s safe to say that owning and taking good care of a pet anywhere is a huge responsibility; however, it’s even more difficult in a foreign country – not to mention an island where the culture of pet ownership and care hasn’t been cultivated for a long time. I’ve had my puppy, Bubak, for three months now and, during that time, it’s been a challenge to find the right vet, the right park (see Information 4), the right food and the right kennel for her well-being. Although I do not claim to be an expert in Jeju pet care, I will offer some modest and heart-felt advice to all you current and potential pet owners.
My reason for writing this article initially came out of a tragic experience which happened before I got Bubak. My husband and I bought a puppy from a vet in Jeju-si. We were told he was vaccinated against DDPPL (the major puppy diseases that are common on the island: see Information 1). Unfortunately, our puppy started to get sick the moment we brought him home. We were told by the vet that it was nothing; that he was fine and perhaps a little dehydrated. It wasn’t until a concerned veterinary medical student at Cheju University recommended another doctor (who also happened to be a part-time professor at the university) that our puppy was diagnosed with distemper, one of the diseases which we were told he was vaccinated against. Needless to say, our puppy had to be put down at tremendous financial and emotional costs. This story is told not to discourage anyone from buying a pet from a vet doctor on the island, but on the contrary I recommend getting a furry companion. It is, however, a strong suggestion to find a good vet on the island, which I realize isn’t the easiest thing to do.
A warning about the 5 Day Market
Before I make any recommendations about caring for your animals, I will put another warning out there. For potential pet owners: please try to avoid getting a dog or cat at the 5-Day Market in Jeju-si and Seogwipo-si. These animals are so poorly taken care of and kept in such close proximity to each other that many are already fatally diseased before they even go to their new homes. One foreigner in particular tried to do a good deed by adopting 2 puppies from the 5-Day Market only to have to put both down within the first week of their purchase. Save yourself a lot of financial trouble and heartache by steering clear of these pet bazaars. Instead, do some research, talk to trustworthy animal doctors on the island or Korean friends, or check out the Cheju University Free Veterinary Clinic for possible adoptive pets. Another great option is to look to the mainland for adopting a furry friend. The Daejeon Shelter is a great place to start. It is a privately-run shelter on the outskirts of Daejeon. The dogs are all examined and treated by Chungnam University vet students. Most dogs are either spayed or neutered and all are adoptable. An adoption fee of 30,000 won is expected. The shelter also welcomes volunteers for work or foster care and donations (Information 2).
So you’ve adopted your little beast and now the responsibilities begin. Where do you go for treatment, vaccinations, food, toys, walks, and so on? To make it a little bit easier for both potential and existing animal owners, I’ve put together a list of some trustworthy vets, pet shops and even a doggie kennel to board your pooch or kitty when away (see Information 3). This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it is a start towards owning and caring for a healthy and happy pet.
DHPPL stands for Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospira, Parvovirus, and Parainfluenza. All puppies should be vaccinated against these 5 potentially fatal diseases. The vaccine is administered as one shot 3 times in the first year of the animal’s life and as a booster shot to follow every year thereafter. Both Distemper and the Parvovirus are extremely contagious and very common on Jeju Island. For more information please see: http://www.puppyeducation.com/infectious-diseases.html
To learn more about the Daejeon Shelter, to make a donation or to inquire about fostering or adopting a pet in South Korea please see: http://www.animalrescuekorea.org/ (English). Or contact: Tim Vasudeva (in Seoul) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Veterinary Doctor Information:
*Dr. Kang Yoon Ho, at the New Jeju Animal Hospital, is located in Shin-Jeju, has a full veterinary medical practice and treats cats, dogs and small animals. He is situated across the street from Lotte Mart and on the same street as Jeff’s Academy. He is a part-time professor at Cheju National University School of Veterinary Medicine and speaks English very well. Tel. #: 064 744 2772 // 064 744 2992 // Mobile: 016 699 2992
*Dr. Han Do at the Dana Animal Hospital is located at the Inje-Sagari Junction in Gu Jeju on the northwest side beside the flower shop. He treats cats, dogs and small animals. He speaks English. Tel. #: 064 757 7577 // Mobile: 010 5145 9010
*The Halla Animal Hospital is located in Jeju City near the Inje-Sagari Junction up the north road on the east side past Paris Baguette. He treats dogs, cats and exotic animals. He offers pet-boarding services at a cost of 15,000 won per day. The boarding services include dog walking, feeding and grooming. His English is not very good, but his assistant can speak a little. Tel. #: 064 753-0880 // e-mail:email@example.com. Website: www.hallapuppy.com (Korean only)
*All vets mentioned above have an amazing assortment of pet food, toys and accessories. E-mart and Lotte Mart also carry a large selection of food, treats, toys and accessories for your pet.
Jeju, for the most part, is incredibly pet-friendly. I have had the pleasant experience of being allowed into restaurants and coffee shops with Bubak without any problems. In general, all parks are great for a run or walk with your pet. Just beware that you may need to keep your pet on a leash (although some parks allow for more freedom than others). In Jeju City, I recommend Sarabong. Most people who frequent this park are both friendly and don’t tend to mind a leash-less puppy roaming around. In Seogwipo, I recommend Oedelgae during not-so-busy times for your animal’s outdoor pleasure. Beware of people trying to touch, grab or hold your animal without your permission. This is a common practice here and it may become an uncomfortable situation if your puppy snaps or yelps. To avoid this potential problem, having your animal on a leash is a good practice in high traffic areas. Happy “pet-ing” from one animal lover to all of you out there.