In coming home from my KMA gig yesterday, I got sick of the Saturday crowd on the blue line and exited the subway early, at Chungmuro Station, which is walking distance from my neighborhood. I went out Exit 1, which took me past a couple of the many pet shops that line that section of Chungmu Street. As I walked by one particular shop, a little pup, all brown and black, caught my eye. I stopped and stared, utterly enchanted by the pup's fragile cuteness—the scrub-brush hairs sprouting from its muzzle, the huge eyes, ears, and paws. The pup, curled up and resting, sensed my presence and looked over its shoulder at me. When it saw me staring, it awkwardly stood up and moved toward the corner of its glass container. Then it made a gesture that nearly broke my heart: it placed a paw on the glass and wagged its little tail, and I felt as if I could read its mind: will you be my friend?
I wanted to buy the pup right then and there, scoop it up in my arms and bask in its uncomplicated loyalty and love. But I live in a yeogwan, and I'm gone from my residence all day. What kind of life would that be for a tiny, helpless little dog? Plus, I have no idea how much a dog costs, and have no clue as to what's involved, legally, in keeping a pet in Seoul. There are probably veterinary costs, ID forms to fill out, and who-knows-what else. Could I afford all that? Probably not. Not for years. Sadly, I turned away and walked on. I imagine the pup went back to the spot where it had been resting, curling up and waiting for the next potential friend. I hope it finds a good, loving owner.
I've mentioned it before, but I'll say it again: if I ever do get myself a dog, I'm going to name it Joongsaeng, the Buddhist term for a sentient being. This would be a bit like giving it the name Living Creature in English, a thought that amuses me to no end, because although joonsaeng can be roughly translated as "living creature," the phrase "living creature" has a somewhat different connotation in English, seeing as it comes out of the Bible. I'd be curious to know whether the biblical phrase "living creature" is rendered as joongsaeng in a Korean Bible. At a guess: probably not.*
*Why guess when one can do online research? This page suggests that "living creatures" is rendered as saengmul-deul (living things) in a Korean Bible (Ezekiel 1:15).