Our Korean Jindo who Survived Death Twice
It was New Year’s Eve as we made our way across the desert to Santa Monica from Las Vegas, Nevada. Jonathon and I wanted to get out of the desert and enjoy feeling the humidity, hearing the waves while massaging our toes in the sand. Our Korean Jindo rescue Mochi joined in the back seat as with every adventure. He hated the fireworks that spread across the valley for hours last New Year. We wonder if the fireworks remind him of the Bok Nal festival in Korea where over a million dogs are consumed in the form of ‘bosintang’ soup each year.
On December 31, 2017 our beloved Mochi ran away in the desert. At a rest stop in Primm, Nevada, we came back to our car and found Mochi had disappeared. Why had he jumped out of the half opened windows when he had never tried to escape with the windows fully open in the past? We would never know.
We took our skateboards and looked around the parking lots of the Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas parking lots. There was a security guard in the Primm Valley Lotto Store parking lot who said he had seen a white dog in a harness with a leash trailing behind running south into the desert earlier.
Heartbroken, Jonathon and I started searching the desert adjacent to the Lotto Store and parking lots hiking miles into the dry brush. The further we strayed from the parking lots, the more we realized how desolate it was out there. It happened to be a full moon which made for a powerful start to the new year. We were devastated and stayed the night in Primm hoping to have better luck the next day.
After more calling for Mochi while walking miles through the desert, we decided to go home and make lost signs. Using the vast network of the internet was the best way to try and find him if someone had picked him up or dognapped him. If that were the case, he could be anywhere from Las Vegas to Los Angeles and beyond with how much traffic there is between the two states on New Year’s Eve. It felt like it would be more difficult than finding a needle in a haystack, but I knew we couldn’t stop until we had found him dead or alive.
We returned to Primm on the January 1st, 2018 to post signs, talk to the locals, and leave clothing items, food, water to draw him back in. Apparently many dogs get lost and even purposefully left behind out there. There were a lot of resources in the vicinity of the mall and rest areas that made us feel like Mochi could survive. So many people claimed he didn’t have a chance against the coyotes in the area but we knew him as a strong fighting survivor.
Since we had lost him on the state line border between Nevada and California, I posted on both state’s Craigslist, Facebook, and lost dog web networks. Creating and updating lost dog postings became a nightly ritual. There were many false leads but each one fed that remaining sliver of hope.
One day we spread physical fliers up and down Highway 15 at rest stops, veterinary clinics, feed stores, and animal shelters from Las Vegas to Victorville. Someone might have seen him or decide to turn him in for our $500 dollar reward.
After a week of searching the area, we had to get creative. Our friend Tony recommended using a drone to get an aerial view. Between driving, hiking, and drone exploration we thoroughly covered the area shown to the left.