Over the past few weeks, between finishing the fall issue and rushing to get the winter issue done, a cause came up that our staff couldn’t ignore. This is something that we’re all passionate about, and we wanted to do something to help.

One of the dogs from the Asan shelter
Credit: http://kimchibytes.com
Animal Welfare in South Korea
As many know, owning pets is a new thing in South Korea. 20 years ago, the animals were often no more than livestock and farm animals. The drastic change from food to family has been huge, but statistics show that it’s currently not a good transition. According to a study by Korean Animal Rights Advocates (KARA), 17% of the population own pets. However, a startling 51% of these families abandoned or gave away their animal by the age of 5. Only 3% kept their dogs over 10 years, and only 12% kept a pet until they passed away. Where do these dogs end up? Often, in shelters.
There are about 100,000 animals in shelters across the country. Of these animals, 65,000 are expected to die, either from natural causes, being put down, or being sold to meat factories. There are a small number of no-kill shelters in Korea, however they are often full to the brim and lack the support they truly need.
Our December issue is going to go into detail about what people can do to help the animals, through fostering, adoption, and international adoption. However, since many of our readers aren’t in Korea, we wanted to offer a way for everyone to help.
What we would like to do is have a dog sweater drive. Dog sweaters are quite simple to make, and can be knitted quickly once you get the hang of it. The reason we chose dog sweaters is because winter is coming, and many of the dogs in Korea are small breed dogs, not used to the Korean winters. These smaller dogs have a very high chance of not surviving the winter if they are not taken care of properly. Dog sweaters are rather light, easy to ship, and not very expensive to make.
Of course, since we are a Hallyu wave magazine, we want to make this a little more related to our interests. So there are two ways we could do this.
Option one: We would like to run this as an inter-fan club challenge. People would knit their dog sweaters in their fan club’s colour, as many as they like, and send them into the K-Soul office. We will be keeping track of the sweaters, and how many each fan club has provided. The sweaters will be distributed to shelters around the country, and we’ll do our best to get photos of your gifts in action. In March, we will publish the final numbers of how many sweaters each fan club donated. We will also send a short letter to the agencies, letting them know that the international fans have donated ### (fan club colour) sweaters to help save hundreds of shelter dogs in South Korea. For example, “Dear FT Island, We are happy to inform you that international Primadonnas have donated 121 yellow dog sweaters to shelters across South Korea to help save hundreds of dogs through the winter.” If we can, we’ll send some photos of the sweaters too. Because everyone loves seeing dogs.
This option requires support from multiple fan clubs. We would love to hear from Tumblr communities and facebook groups, saying that they’ll help support this project. There won’t be a prize for the fan club that raises the most, other than knowing you’ve helped a lot of dogs that may have died this winter. If you are interested in this option, simply click the Facebook like button, the Twitter retweet button, or the Tumblr reblog button below. We will be using these numbers to see if there is enough support to make a proper challenge.
Option two: If we don’t hear back from many fans, or the response isn’t big enough to be a full on challenge, we will still be providing readers with information on how to make and send in dog sweaters throughout the winter. There may even be a video how to, if time permits. There will still be an address to send them to. And if you want it to be in a fan club colour, we’ll recognize it as a fan club submission. However, there won’t be any letters at the end of winter, and we won’t publish the information by fan club.
Worried that you can’t knit a sweater? Don’t worry. A dog sweater is apparently as easy as knitting a scarf. Here are some examples of easy knit patterns:
Talking Tails: Easy Dog Sweaters
United Hope for Animals: Knitting a Dog Sweater the Easy Way
Knit and Bake: Linus’ Sweater Pattern (with pictures!!)
Making it With Danielle: Simple Crochet Pattern for Dog Sweaters
This is just a small sample of the patterns you can find on the internet. We’re looking for all shapes and sizes. There are lots of small breed dogs, but also lots of labs, Jindo mix breeds, and medium sized dogs.
If you are interested in taking part in this, please click one of the share buttons below. If you moderate a fan site on facebook, twitter, or tumblr and would like to get involved, let us know so we can keep watch for your submissions!
We hope that you can take the short amount of time this winter to help make a difference in a darker part of South Korean culture, and help make a change no matter where you are.
All phototography credit: http://kimchibytes.com Check their article from their time spent at the Asan shelters.

  1. This is fantastic. The volunteers at these shelters spend so much of their limited free time & their own money to help these animals. Your assistance surely brightens their day as well as helps the animals. Thank you!

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