Today is National Korean-American Day, and what better time to introduce the newest member to Pug Rescue of Korea, Jessica Jun! Born and raised in the US and of Korean ethnicity, Jessica moved to Korea in 2015.
As our Manager - Korean Operations, Jessica maintains a host of responsibilities, including a recent successful Holiday Bazaar online fundraiser, where she single-handedly raised over $1000!
Outside of this, Jessica also:
- Liaises between Korean pug parents/supporters and PRK. There's a very supportive group of pug owners in Korea that she contacts when Kim needs help and when we need temporary foster homes.
- Leads PRK merch that is made in Korea (masks, magnets, blankets)
- Supports Kim in tracking pugs’ vet visits and health checks
- Promotes PRK to Koreans
- Translates all PRK documents from English to Korean
How did you get involved with PRK?
It seems that volunteers with animal rescue organizations have some type of 'aha' moment that gets them involved. For me, my aha moment was when I rescued my second pug Bella in the summer of 2017 outside of Seoul. That summer was especially cruel because it was extremely hot and over 30,000 dogs were being abandoned throughout the country. I didn't have much knowledge about rescue animals or had even considered adopting one until I came across Bella's picture and called to inquire about this tiny pug that was to be euthanized soon due to lack of space at this high-kill shelter. Bella has been such a joy. She makes us laugh and is a playful companion to Rug, our pug-bulldog mix. We knew instantly that she was family. Then I realized there are more people in need of their own Bella and too many dogs like Bella looking for forever families. I then learned about PRK and reached out to help. Bella opened up my heart in such a way that made me want to help other abandoned or relinquished pugs find their forever families so people can feel what she makes me feel every single day!
Tell us about your pugs
Rug is a 9-year-old pug-English Bulldog mix, who moved from Virginia to Korea with my boyfriend Doug in 2015. (Doug and I had mutual friends, but we started dating because I was always dogsitting Rug!) Rug... is not interested in anything, well, except maybe for walks and eating meat. He doesn't like to eat the same kibble for more than 3 weeks because he's so high maintenance. He will also turn his nose or spit out inadequate treats like fruits and vegetables. I must hold onto my job so that I can bring food to... his bowl!
Bell is presumptively 3 years old. She was left in front of the fire station by her previous owner. Bella loves toys, especially rubber balls so they are all over the house. Feisty, she puts other foster pugs in their places, but she's mostly a sweet snugglebug that loves to cuddle with Rug and her Dad.
We cannot imagine our lives without our two pugs. They have both been great with all of our fosters and we are so proud of them!
Jessica led our black pug mask fundraiser and our future blanket fundraiser
(blue pug blanket in right picture)!
What do you like about working with PRK?
Saving animals, especially across the globe, takes teamwork. I really enjoy working with PRK because we have a great team of volunteers as well as rescue organizations and independent rescuers that we work closely with. It's important not only to share information, but to step in and help each other whenever we can. I like that we don't compete with other organizations, but rather work together to achieve our primary goal, which is to help the animals in need.
Everyone has a power to make a difference
What do you see for yourself and/or for PRK in 2021?
I would like to involve our Korean pug community more in 2021. Everyone has a power to make a difference, and I would love to work with my community here in Korea to give everyone the opportunity to save lives. People have different talents, and I know that every single person can contribute in ways they wouldn't have thought could be lifesaving.
Top left, clockwise: Fosters Joy, Milo, Taco, Vegemite, Loretta
What dogs have you fostered for PRK?
Joy - 8mo, AVAILABLE FOR ADOPTION
Taco (fka Ollie)
Vegemite (fka Greta)
Manny (fka Young), from @bulldogs_going_home
Any memorable experiences so far with PRK and/or with fostering?
We have a doggie door that opens automatically when a dog with a sensor necklace gets close to it. Well, we started fostering Taco (fka Ollie) at the spur of the moment, so his necklace hadn’t arrived yet, but he enjoyed following our dogs out to the terrace through the doggie door when we were not home. One very hot afternoon, I was checking on the dogs on Furbo and saw that Taco somehow got himself stuck between the screen door and the sliding door! And our dogs were inside just looking at him nonchalantly! Taco must have followed one of our dogs out but did not follow them back inside! Since my office is over an hour away, I had to call a friend to rescue Taco. After that day, we made sure to always have extra sensor necklaces to for fosters and dog visitors!
What's your background?
I was born in Tennessee and grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. After graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in Hospitality Management, I pursued a career in the hotel industry. When a unique opportunity arose in Boxing, I jumped ship. This ultimately led to my MBA in Switzerland in Sports Management and working in the 2015 European Games in Baku Azerbaijan as their Boxing Competition Manager then later as Protocol Manager. Now I live in Seoul, Korea and work as international relations specialist in quasi-government engineering organization.
How long have you lived in Korea?
I moved to Korea for my job in August of 2015, so it's been about five and half years!
Anything you'd like to add?
Working in animal rescue can be emotionally exhausting. It makes you wonder how some people can be so cruel and you start to question the system because it seems to be failing at helping these vulnerable creatures. However, no matter how hopeless things may seem at the moment, I've come to realize that the rewards are more than worth the effort and some of the most heart-breaking cases wind up being our proudest success stories. I am extremely grateful to PRK for giving me an opportunity to be a part of the team and witness the rescue pugs find their happily ever after.