Today’s post isn’t related to crochet, but it’s exciting news from my life … I’ve adopted a dog! As a result of everything involved in getting her and getting my place ready for her, I’m a bit behind on posting the daily Mandalas for Marinke posts, but they’ll return in a few days and for now I thought I’d introduce you to my girl.

katara rescue dog

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Ready for a Dog

As some of you know from my social media shares, I spent a significant amount of time in the last two years watching other people’s dogs. I do pet therapy volunteering with Golden Retriever Lucy (that work is amazing and will continue with her) and I was watching a lot of other dogs, including special needs dog Chief who sadly died recently from complications of a seizure disorder. I was devastated when he died; it broke my heart. But as I grieved, I realized how much time I had been spending with him and how this opened up space in my life to finally get my own dog. It’s been many years since I was ready to commit to my own dog but now I’m ready.

kathryn vercillo with rescue dog katara

Looking for a Dog

I didn’t really plan to get a dog until after the new year began, with December being such a busy month in so many ways. But I started looking on the SF SPCA website, and Katara’s little face (actually, it’s a huge face) just kept drawing me in. I kept looking at her and trying to convince myself that I needed to wait. Finally, I couldn’t wait. I went to go meet her. Oddly, the offices were closed the day I went due to a weird network issue that took their computers down. I went back the next day. When I got there, they said she was still available and I met her and said I wanted to take her, but it turned out there was some confusion and someone else had placed a hold on her planning to adopt her. I was so sad, but I decided if she found a home then that was the home that was meant for her. Well, the next day I got the call that they had changed their minds, so I immediately put my own hold on her and started to get things ready for her. She came home yesterday.

rescue dog katara

A Dog Ready for a Home

Katara is a rescue dog from Korea. Korea is one of the few places in the world that still sells dog meat for food, and the dogs there live in terrible slaughterhouse conditions. From what I understand, Humane Society International is working to end this practice by relocating the dogs to new homes and educating the “farmers” to switch over to agriculture. They’ve bought the dogs from several farms, destroyed all of the nasty crates so they can’t just start over and signed contracts to get the farmers transitioned to growing things like blueberries and chiles.

From what I understand, Katara came here in a batch of 57 puppies in March. All of those dogs came to SF SPCA (which interestingly is a local non profit not affiliated with the ASPCA, and is also the place through which I do my pet therapy volunteering with Lucy). They took in all the dogs, did the medical checks, etc. and then some of the dogs went to other shelters until they all started to get homes. I don’t have a lot of information on Katara’s early days here but she was at this particular location for a few months and hadn’t gotten her forever home until now. She was a very shy dog who was suspicious of new surroundings, but it’s a testament to the great loving work they do at SF SPCA that she’s really already gotten a lot more confident just in the time that she moved there.

First Day Home

rescue dog katara with crochet blanket

I picked Katara up yesterday and brought her home. I have two sets of stairs up to my apartment and although she got up the first ones ok, she planted herself after that and was scared to go up the second set. It was a long, slow, patient process to get her inside. You have to understand that she spent her first year and a half or so housed in a big dirty crate with lots of other dogs, that she was likely never handled by humans or only roughly so, and that her first experience of things like grass and beach and toys all happened once she came here. She’s understandably suspicious of anything new.

That said, she really took to the apartment almost right away. She started nosing her way around, checking out which things she was allowed to explore and which she needed to leave alone. She kept checking back with me to see if she was doing okay. She’s a quiet dog. She doesn’t bark (although she snores like crazy when she’s contentedly sleeping!) and when she’s scared she just sits still and looks at things to get information about them.

She quickly discovered that she really loves towels and blankets (and there are plenty of crocheted ones all around this house). She gathered as many as she could from around the house and brought them to a spot in the living room that she seems to have claimed as her own. She ate her food, which was good, because she has some food and tummy issues and we weren’t sure if she’d start eating here right away. By the end of the night, she was wagging her tail when I called her name.

rescue dog katara with kong

She’s not afraid to be left alone, although I only plan to leave her for very short periods of time. And we’ve already had two guests over today and she took to them pretty quickly. Although she wants to be the one to make the approach (rather than people approaching her) she really likes people and comes up with a curious face to find out about them.

Now that she’s happy in the apartment, she doesn’t want to leave it. She doesn’t want to take those stairs again and she isn’t even very keen on going out on the deck, yet. I had assumed we’d be going on a lot of walks but it’s going to take time before we get there. The most important thing is that she feels safe and secure here in the house and with me. The rest we’ll work on. She has big paws but they have to take baby steps.

Currently what she likes most is laying on comfy pillows, playing with her nylon stuffed toys and eating peanut butter from a Kong. I’m thrilled to have her join my life. It all happened much quicker than I expected but we are both already happy to get to know each other and I’m excited to start this chapter of my life with her. She’s a great pup and I hope she’s able to gain confidence with time, as she increasingly learns that this is a safe, secure, fun place.

Katara - Lands Ends 11_30_15


San Francisco based and crochet-obsessed writer, dreamer and creative spirit!


  1. Phil Sacks Reply

    Thank you for sharing this. I was one of the many volunteers who worked with Katara, trying to build her confidence. It sounds like she could not have found a better forever home.

  2. Yvonne Abdul Reply

    Beautiful pup and so lucky to have found a new loving home. Perhaps you could write a post about the health benefits of owning a dog, as together with crochet, pets can really make a difference to our mental wellbeing. I speak from experience.

  3. Edward Prosick Reply

    Best of luck to both of you! My little girl terrier puts smiles on my face everyday.

  4. You seem to be the perfect match for this pup. I have 3 small house dogs, all with different personalities and quirks and I enjoy my time with them. They definitely enhance my life! Merry Christmas to you both!

  5. She’s so cute! Adopting animals is such a wonderful way to add quality to your own life and theirs. Thanks for taking care of her!

  6. Elisabeth Andree Reply

    Sooooo happy for you two and she has such an adorable face! A kiss and a hug for you both and my best wishes!

  7. Christine W. Reply

    Thank you for sharing this lovely story of your new relationship with Katara! I’m a volunteer and staff (new) member at the SFSPCA and have known Katara since she arrived with us at the Mission campus. I’m so happy she and you have found each other! I love the pictures you’ve shared and look forward to following Katara on Instagram. I knit and crochet too, so I know she’s gone to the best sort of home with the best sort of people! Blessings on you both!!!

  8. Aw, what a cute face! Welcome to your new home, Katara. May you and your momma have many sweet adventures together.

  9. Sarah Lloyd Reply

    I can quite see how you couldn’t resist that gorgeous face. So happy that you’ve found each other and I hope that you have a very rewarding life together. I’m sure that you will post more stories about your adventures and I look forward to reading them. Happy holidays to you both. Love and hugs from Hampshire, UK xx

  10. Cris & Pieter Reply

    This is such a beautiful heartwarming story. We adopted 3 of 57 (our instagram account keevaharukuma). Similar to Katara, we almost ended up not adopting HaruKuma (someone else had put a hold on Haru before we had the chance, but that person did not come back for Haru). Our 3 bring us so much joy… we can’t imagine our life without them. So glad Katara ended up in such a kind loving home. She is truly beautiful, and we are so happy for her.
    PS: your website is so wonderful!

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