Irene Park, NY
Born in LA, raised in Korea, and now living in New York, Irene has a penchant for solo traveling and living in different places around the world. Her publishing background is as varied as the cities she’s lived in, with Zagat Survey, Vogue, and Footwear News Magazine rounding out some of her top titles. When Irene isn’t writing or editing, she likes to sing, illustrate, and work on her graphic design business. Oh, and cuddle with her dog, Kenji.
As a Story Terrace writer, Irene interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better by reading her autobiographical anecdote below.
I’ve always wondered how people go to animal shelters expecting to “just know” at first sight that a dog or cat is the one for them, especially given how long people take to decide when fellow humans are “the one.” For me anyway, love with my schnauzer mutt had to marinate before it really set.
When I met Kenji for the first time, I noticed two things: 1) he was much cuter in person than he was even in the adoption agency’s photos, and 2) he seemed kind of broken, literally. Even though he was only a puppy, he sat so motionless when I was holding him that I had to check to see if he was actually still breathing. I quickly noticed other oddities after I took him home, like how his stomach would never leave the floor, or how his favorite pee spots seemed to be my comforter and active power strips. And he abhorred going outdoors.
I kind of hated him that first month.
But slowly, we started to open up to each other. I could feel it in the way I softened my tone toward him, even as I continued being strict with his house-training. And I could see it in the way he ventured more and more steps on walks every day, as opposed to how he used to plant his haunches and freeze whenever the leash got anywhere near his collar. When I wasn’t looking, he would even sneak over to me and hug my feet, falling asleep on them like they were his personal body pillows.
But the real turning point came when we were roaming a park together one day. Kenji was off leash, because no one was around and I was still trying to show him that outside is a fun place to be. To my delight, Kenji followed me around even unbidden. I jogged a few steps forward to test him. He watched me, then when I’d stopped, he trotted over and closed the distance. I tried again. Sure enough, he caught up with me.
Smitten, I cupped his furry cheeks in both of my hands. Dappled sunlight shone through the trees, casting a soft halo around his little head. Several minutes passed as we both sat there, just staring into each other’s eyes.
In that moment, I think we both just knew that we were each other’s one. And to this day, he follows me everywhere, even all the way around the world.
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