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High Park's hip check ninja

Interview by Melanie Dziengo

Photo courtesy of



Look at Charlie! You’d never guess he was rescued from a meat factory in South Korea. But, now living in Toronto’s High Park neighbourhood, Charlie has become a “hip check ninja,” according to his owner, John Bory, who adopted him from KOCA Dog Rescue in September 2019. Read on to find out more about Charlie’s adoption tale, and about how he’s two different dogs — depending on where Charlie is.


How old is Charlie and how long have you had him? 


We have had Charlie, a jindo-kooiker mix, since September 2019, when he was almost 3-years-old. We found him on Petfinder initially, and submitted an application on the KOCA Dog Rescue website. 


What was the process like adopting from KOCA Dog Rescue?


About two days after we submitted our application form on their website, we got an e-mail asking if we wanted to meet Charlie. We drove to meet him that weekend, and we got along right way. He was putting his paws on our hands like we were dancing, and it was absolutely adorable. We were asked some questions about ourselves, and what Charlie’s life would with us would look like. It all seemed going well, so we paid the adoption fee and signed the paperwork. 


Because we were going move to a new place, things were messy, and we didn’t want him to adjust to too many new places, we kept him with his foster mom for a few more days. Otherwise, we could have taken him home the same day.


What was the adjustment period like when you first adopted him?


Charlie was happy the day we picked him up — until he realized his foster mom was not coming back. He hesitated a bit going into the car, but he enjoyed the car ride. When we arrived, Charlie was happy and curious, checking out the new place. After a few hours, he started getting sad, and the first two days he refused to drink or eat. So, we went to get him new food and treats, and tried to hand feed him. It was so exciting seeing him taking treats from us for the first time — maybe he was too hungry, or maybe he accepted that we were his new family!















Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

It took some time before Charlie showed us his true self. He was really well behaved or alert at the beginning. He stayed in his crate a lot; we left the door open so he could go in whenever he felt it was too much. Gradually, he stayed with us, followed us everywhere (especially to where the food was), and cuddled with us on the couch.


What’s he like at the park and what’s he like at home? 


He’s like two different dogs inside and outside. Charlie doesn’t do much, mostly staying in his bed and occasionally cuddling with us on the couch. But, when he’s outside, he checks all the smells on humans, dogs, trees, you name it! He’s not very vocal, and we rarely hear him barking, but he does this cute playful growling sound when he gets very excited (asking us or other dogs to play). Charlie can be funny and have no sense of personal space when he really wants to play with a dog, and it doesn’t matter if the dog is grumpy or barking at him!


What’s the most rewarding thing about rescuing an animal?


The most rewarding thing about rescuing an animal is the achievement of how much of a positive difference we can make in their life.


What’s the most rewarding thing about having Charlie in your life?


The most rewarding thing about having Charlie is how much happier and healthier he makes us. He takes us for lots of walks, and acts funny or cute. Sometimes, you feel like you don’t know what he’s thinking, and sometimes you feel like he knows what you feel and need.


What advice would you give someone thinking about adopting an animal?


Make an informed and rational decision about adopting. Meet the pet, and interact with it for a bit to see if it’s actually a good fit. Be prepared financially too because it can be expensive because some rescue animals have special needs. It’s also very important to keep vaccinations up to date.

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