SAEKI, CHINGU'S FRIEND




I may not be a one dog man as I'm told Chows are one man dogs but once Imake a commitment, I am totally loyal and completely committed. Case inpoint: Chingu is old. Although I tell him, I give him an order that he hasto live five more years, I am indeed blessed and honored for each day hechooses to remain and thankful God allows him to tarry. Chingu could gohome and meet Menam, the cat. "Menam" which means "handsome"in Korean, is a real character, fearless and a tease for a cat, as longas I was around, and since Chingu likes and understands cats, having raisedtwo cats from babies, the two will get along great.

However, Chingu has decided he can endure the pain of arthritis and he'llstay here a little longer and keep me company for which I'm very grateful.

Over the years, I have tried to mate him with a bitch so I can at leasthave a trace of his intelligence and personality in the form of his offspring.There was one dog that I thought would be ideal. Several times, we wouldget them together and Chingu was raring to go but the bitch as a "realbitch" and playing the "touch me and I'll scratch your eyes out"hard to get game. Chingu was probably too old for the bitch. While she wasonly about 10 in human equivalent age, and Chingu was 77, she probably likedyounger dogs, the flossy :-). (How would we like it if our parents triedto match us up with someone not of our choosing? That used to be very commonplace.)Over the years, we tried several times but she wanted nothing to do withChingu, sexually.

Still, I tried to keep him active and sociable by taking care of other people'sdogs while they were gone giving Chingu a reason to do more than sleep allday. Generally, they would get totally possessive of me and start to crowdChingu out. That's all it took and the other dog was history.

Finally, a couple years ago, after the mating routine and the dog-sitting-for-an-extended-period-of-time"routine ended in abject failure, I tried to adopt a pup for Chingu. Chinguhas always gotten along with other dogs of any size as long as they weren'tterritorial or have something to prove. I know that accounts for about 75%of all dogs but there are some dogs that aren't that way. Just like a humanchild, it depends on how the dog is raised. Dogs are teachable and I don'tmean through obedience training.

Chingu loves cute, little, playful and cuddly kittens and puppies so I adoptedhim a black Labrador pup. I named him "Dioji" which by the waymeans and spells D-O-G. I was very happy that Chingu took to him,... forthe first couple of months. Chingu is and was older and sedate. Dioji wasyoung, full of mischief and very self-centered. Like most children! ThenDioji found out that Chingu had an irritable streak when it came to a small,hyper-active, constantly annoying, playful, inconsiderate, pesky littlepup. Chingu didn't like Dioji biting his tail. I would have to constantlykeep Dioji on a leash or he would be biting Chingu's tail and playing, grab-me-if-you-can-reach-mewith Chingu. It got so bad, they went from occasionally sleeping togetherto the point Chingu would growl if Dioji ever walked in the same room.

During several of our might-time bonding rituals in which Chingu lays onthe bed and we communicate mentally, he conveyed his total and completedislike for Dioji. It had gotten so bad that I had to keep Dioji tied upto a tree outside to keep him from pestering Chingu. When I would unleashhim for a second, like a powerful magnet he'd be drawn to Chingu. Diojiwould tear into the house and regardless of where Chingu was, Dioji wouldfind him and start biting his tail.

If it wasn't so pathetically irritating, it was cute to see a little dogflying around in a circle behind Chingu attached to his tail as Chingu wouldtry to chase Dioji. Chingu was never one for chasing his tail but with Diojiattached to Chingu's, it was a pathetic sight to see.

At any rate, it tore me apart to see the hurt look on Dioji's face whena couple kids, answered an ad and come to take Dioji away. At that moment,Dioji had an intense fear, a hurt look on his face. I never want to seethat again.

Chingu was back to his old self. I continued to try to mating route butnow Chingu couldn't keep up with younger dogs.

Finally, after a friend said his dog has had pups and wanted to know ifChingu would like a companion, I said only on a trial basis to see if Chinguwill accept a pup. Saeki, a Rottweiler/Beagle/German Shepherd mix was clumsyfalling over itself at every turn. Chingu was curious, tried to be a goodparent and watch out for the pup, help and train it. But then it grew andgrew and grew and grew some more. At four months, old, it had grown nearlyto the same height and weight as Chingu. Then he stopped growing, fortunately.

At 15 years old, Chingu is about 3 feet tall and weights 90 lbs. Saeki atonly four months old, was about 2 feet 10 inches and weighed 70 lbs.

Then, Saeki was eating four or five big bowls of food a day. Chingu is nowdown to two handfuls of dried foot with beef or chicken broth a day.

Saeki's feet look humongous, even now. But he hasn't gown an inch sinceabout the third or fourth month. I don't know how much he weighs. HoweverChingu feels light compared to Saeki.

It is interesting, cute in some regards sad how Saeki got his name. Aftera month, I hadn't come up with a meaningful name for him. First of all,"Saeki" literally means "offspring, baby, infant, one's young."Kae Saeki, literally means "dog offspring" when used by a Koreanon a dog. It means a baby dog or pup. But when a Korean uses that phraseon another human or whenever a certain American, namely yours truly, usesit, it means "Son of a bitch."

I was considering naming the new pup "Dioji dulche bun" in memoryof "Dioji" the first but a friend reminded me that Chingu hatedthe other dog so bad, it would be like biting and yanking on Chingu's tailevery time I called the new pup "Dioji." We reasoned, that wouldbe a sure way of sabotaging Chingu's acceptance of Saeki.

Chingu and Saeki were out side and when Saeki was a couple months youngerhe used to be very irritating even to me and pester the hell out of Chingu.In all fairness to Saeki, all he wants and wanted to do was show affectionto and for Chingu. Saeki would smother Chingu's face and ears with kisses.The face area, Chingu could handle but as Saeki got to the ears, Chinguwould let out a deep, loud and angry growl to the point I could hear them500 feet away. Chingu was finished doing what dogs do and Saeki wouldn'tlet him move. Saeki would stand perpendicular to Chingu so Chingu couldn'tmove. If Chingu turned his head and started to go another direction, Saekiwould walk in front of him and stop so Chingu couldn't move. At the time,I had never seen an animal do this so I curiously watched the behavior forwhile until Chingu finally got mad and bit Saeki. My automatic reflexeskicked in and I yelled, "Kae Saekia, Ma!" which is to say, "Youson of a bitch, stop it!" Saeki stopped! I first apologized to Saekithen I thought, 'Hum! That's what he is. He is literally a son of a bitch!'I watched Saeki and like Chingu, and when I used Korean, his comprehensionand understanding of what I was saying was almost instant. I use mostlyKorean on them to this day. That's not to say they don't have a mind oftheir own and they will always obey. They will but only if they want.

In the article on Chingu, I said that for the past thirteen years, sinceChingu was about two, I've used Korean to communicate with him verballyand mentally. I have wondered why my dogs respond to Korean better thanEnglish. I'm not qualified as anything but a Ph.D. in Canine Quackery, butvoid someone else with better credentials coming forth and putting forthprovable fact or a believable theory, my theory is valid, at least for me.

Why do my dogs respond better and seem to understand and comprehend Koreanbetter than English? This mind you is not putting down Korean but ratherelevating it. Let's take the basic phrase I just introduced, e.g. "KaeSaeki." If my distracters can focus beyond their criticism of the romanizationof the phrase and try to focus on the content, maybe we can have a discussion.

"Kae Saeki" literally means "dog baby," "dog offspring,""dog young." You probably surmised that "Kae" means"dog" and "Saeki" means "baby, young or offspring."It is very basic, easy and clean. What do we say in English, "Son ofa bitch." Not "bitch son" or even "bitch son,"but "Son of a bitch." To someone unfamiliar with what you're saying,in English, there are four sounds instead of just two. I think that Englishhas gotten to be so burdensome, for example with all of its prepositions,articles, objects of prepositions and exceptions, oh and don't forget theexception to the exceptions, English is said to be one of the most difficultlanguages to learn if not the most difficult to master. English speakingpeople have a hell of a time even communicating among themselves. I can'thelp it though, English is still my native language and despite the factI'm told that few people will be able to understand this article let aloneread it. Needless to say, believe it or not, I am a native born American.Despite all of the insistence on the accuracy of speech, in America andthe fact that we seem to getting farther and farther away from a commonunderstanding which is supposed to be facilitated by communicating via acommon language, English is my first and maybe even preferred language.However, I would that I could speak and understand all languages.

Back to the subject of Saeki. He is apparently going through what human'scall the "terrible two's" but in animals, it more like the obnoxious,riotous, destructive adolescence. After dragging garbage all over the carpet,tearing anything apart in his reach -- on his hind legs, his front pawscan reach to 6 feet -- and ripping up the carpet in the dinning room, Ifinally told Chingu I've tolerated enough for now and make Saeki stay outsideor in the garage all day and night. The few times he made the mistake ofthinking he was still welcome in the house, he about shit on the floor withfright as I saw him and screamed out him to get "Out!" Still,there isn't a day that goes by but what Chingu doesn't try to sneak Saekiin the house.

Saeki is frankly too young and immature for me to be able to give you avery detailed sketch as to Saeki's personality and his intellectual acumenbut I have observed Saeki's attention to external stimuli and personally,I think he is very analytical and observant which are key ingredients tointelligence. He loves to watch TV although I don't know what programs helikes. He watches TV intently like some children that just stare at thetube whenever it's on. I watched his eyes while he is watching TV and theyfollow the action. Now if he will only grow out of his "puppy"immaturity. He's beyond looking like the cute little, cuddly pup of a fewmonths ago. Size wise, he is now a dog with a puppy personality.

I try not to prejudice Saeki because he is not the dog of my choice noris he the offspring of Chingu. However, Saeki has a very cute, unique faceand personality. He has that Beagle "Snoopy" look in his faceand I predict he will be a very intelligent dog.

UPDATE: 7/6/95

After ripping up the carpet and a month of having to stay outside and sleepin the garage, Saeki is once again, allowed back in the house. It was nearlyas hard to let him know he was welcome again as it was to tell him he hadto stay outside.

Additionally, up until a couple days ago, I was just now able to sleep inuntil 5:30 a.m. when Chingu would wake me up, tell me its time to get myass out of bed before HE goes back and lays down and goes to sleep.When he was Saeki's age (less than a year old) until he was about 8 or 9,Chingu would wake me up at 3:00 a.m. I can never understand how they cantell time so precisely. Each year older he got, I would get a half hourmore sleep.

The past several mornings, I feel a paw gently nudging me awake then a wettongue licking my face. I looked at the clock, 3:00 a.m. Damn! How do theydo that?

It wasn't all in vain, though. Usually when I get up, I open the house andhelp Chingu down the stairs so Chingu can go out and do what dogs do (peunsoka). The other morning, when I got up, I noticed Chingu pacing the floorlike an expected father or a woman with labor pains. He was obviously inpain because Chingu made a B-line for the stairs, followed me down stairsand out the door.

Saeki has been rude if not mildly cruel to Chingu because Chingu is oldand frail but I was impressed that Saeki is learning to be considerate andhelp Chingu instead of trying to always run down and knock him over. Asa parent, I always wonder, am I getting through to him?



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