Hyomin and Youngmini sit down for an interview together for ‘Star Pet Story’
Part 1 – Interview
Stars representing Korea’s entertainment industry, how do their pets look like. ‘Star Pet Story’, which started off out of mere curiosity, introduces celebrities’ pets as well as focuses on how they live trusting and relying on each other. Furthermore, it allows people to listen to the stars’ own honest stories about their pets through an interview, and aims to resolve together with a behaviour-correcting expert the unrevealed worries of their relationships with their pets.
Getting off at the Dapsimni station, line 5, and walking for few minutes, you will find a cafe called ‘Congzon(co-existence)’ located under a dog shelter. At Congzon, you can often see those who are out to spend time with their dogs. While sharing time with their dogs, the owners would feel sorry over realising that they might have been negligent toward their dogs all that time. The trivial but precious worries that people have for their dogs as well as the warm looks they give them, these could be a beautiful start to co-existence.
T-ARA’s Hyomin (27) has visited Congzon along with her 4-years-old dog, Youngmini. Youngmini, whom Hyomin received as a gift, is a male dog from the Japanese Chin breed. She gave him the name ‘Young-mini’ meaning he is the ‘young’ brother of the papillon dog she was already raising, Mini. Hyomin was living in a dormitory during the time she received him as a gift, and so he was raised by her parents at first. 2 years later, Hyomin started living together with her parents and Young-mini, who already turned into an adult at that time.
Youngmini is like a naughty younger brother to Hyomin, who grew up as an only-child, and like a reliable son to her parents. When Hyomin was in her teenage years and had a lack of conversations with her parents, Mini was a good companion for her parents. And when she was away from her parents for long periods due to her long overseas schedule, Youngmini played the role of the reliable son, which makes her feel very grateful towards him. And so, Youngmini and Mini are like brothers and family who connect Hyomin with her parents in a yet different way.
Hyomin seemed to feel burdened at heart about the 2 years in which she hasn’t lived with Youngmini. About what tendencies and habits has he developed and how did he develop them, all she knows is what she heard from her parents. She says although it’s a relief he grew up healthily due to his tendency to easily get along with everyone, including strangers, and without being sensitive, she still cannot overlook the notable problems he has sometimes.
Upon seeing the female greyhound, Kelly, who came along with trainer Kwon Hyukpil, Youngmini stopped his activities. Kelly, who was roaming around and exploring her surroundings, was exceptionally scary to him. Although Youngmini would quickly follow along everywhere, he was frightened and hiding under tables and behind people’s legs when Kelly ran around after seeing him. Hyomin looked worried upon seeing the passive side to Youngmini, who would otherwise act differently around people.
Hyomin: The Japanese Chin breed is said to be an active kind of breed. Youngmini, too, is a very naughty kid who isn’t usually shy around strangers, so he’s the type to get along with everyone and is easily approachable. He’s also the type to joke around with other puppies, especially his older brother, Mini, he jokes around with him a lot. Mini is very timid, but it happens a lot that Youngmini would go up on the sofa and tease him. Youngmini is also way stronger than Mini, so it feels strange seeing him intimidated. How to establish the seniority between the dogs?
Kwon Hyukpil: Just now, Youngmini could be seen turning his back whenever Kelly approaches him, when this happens, it’s wrong for the owner to hug him and dodge the problem. It’s way better for the owner to just walk around (allowing the puppies to solve it by themselves). There’s also a way to distract the puppy’s attention when trying scatter his food on the floor. When you scatter pieces of their snacks on the floor, they would grow closer as they eat together. Puppies are considered social animals so they need time to adapt and adjust themselves; however, when it comes to seniority, it’s important that they are left to establish it by themselves without the interference of humans.
What causes the biggest worry to Hyomin is the way Youngmini acts during strolls. During stroll, Youngmini causes worry by holding back his urge to pee sometimes. At home, he would usually settle his urination and defecation needs perfectly without any mistakes; however, he never urinated before during his outdoor strolls with Hyomin except for one time only. Other than that, Youngmini and Mini have irregular eating habits and rain-sound phobia respectively, causing Hyomin to worry as well.
(Photo Caption) Showing off Youngmini’s merit, Hyomin said, “Youngmini is very optimistic, he’s a healthy kid I’m thankful for”
Hyomin: Youngmini’s urination-defecation training has been easy since the beginning. Since he first came to our house, he would always do his business in the place specified for it. I think he was born with it. (Laughs). At home, he’s the type to know well where to and where not to urinate/defecate, so I though that he might just find it rather uncomfortable to do it outdoors. Seeing how the owners are supposed to clean after their pets outdoors, I would think in my head that “All good, it’s better this way”; however, I still worry about it. It’s hard to hold it in for a long time.
Kwon Hyukpil: When it comes to urination, it’s highly possible that he gets cystitis if he holds it in for too long. Usually for home-raised dogs, their owners would tell them to come back whenever they go near grass thickets or grass during outdoor strolls. Puppies would sniff scents and even feel traces of cats everywhere they go, when you restrain them from doing this, they will not be able to feel mentally relaxed. Strolling on sand with your puppy will solve such problem in about 3 days.
Hyomin: Neither of Mini nor Youngmini have greed for food. Although Youngmini teases Mini a lot, he would still treat him as his older brother when having their meals or snacks. (Laughs). When Mini is eating, Youngmini wouldn’t attack him and would just wait instead. Anyhow, Youngmini doesn’t eat well so I have to personally feed him with my hands for him to eat. He once didn’t eat at all so I, out of worry, approached him telling him to eat but then he growled at me, I was shocked.
Kwon Hyukpil: Youngmini is now accustomed to free-feeding instead of restricted-feeding. When practicing free-feeding, he will see that there’s always food on his food bowel so he would fail to link food with surviving. He will naturally come to eat less than the ideal portion of food he should have. Or he might come to not eat at all. If you switch to restricted-feeding and clean his food bowel, he will naturally start looking look for food. This food habit could also be changed by acquired learning.
Hyomin: Since 2~3 years ago, Mini would always hide under tables whenever it rains. He would go under it and quiver, and if I ever just close the door, he would start clawing at the door for about an hour. He might have a rain-sound trauma, but he would predict rain just before it rains. It’s rainy season soon, I want to quickly put Mini’s mind at ease. This kid is exceptionally timid, sensitive, and also barks a lot so it makes me worried.
Kwon Hyukpil: In this case, you can record rain-sounds and play it for him under a low volume, then offer him whatever he likes after that. For example, if he likes toys then throw him a toy and slowly raise the volume, if he gets taken aback upon hearing the sounds, then lower the volume again. Providing him with a stimulus from a low to a higher state, systematically, will gradually get him accustomed. (This method) doesn’t work overnight, it needs at least 2 weeks to work. If you do it for 5~10 minutes everyday then you will start noticing a change in about 5 days.
(Photo Caption) During the interview, Hyomin confessed her feelings about Youngmini saying he’s special to her. She said, “As I’m an only-child, Youngmini is the most reassuring existence to me when I feel lonely,” she added “More than anything, when I have lots of overseas schedules, he would fill in the job of the youngest son at home. I’m very grateful.”
Hyomin followed Trainer Kwon Hyukpil to the training session of basics etiquette. The training session uses a clicker that makes a rattling sound when clicked, whenever the dogs hear the rattling sound of the clicker, they are reminded of their snack reward and hence are able to learn the lesson quickly. Hyomin carefully observed the trainer’s demonstration and while putting what she learned into action, she proved how much of a quick learner she is. Smart Kelly showed quick reactions in response to Hyomin’s instructions, which created a harmonious atmosphere.
Kwon Hyukpil: The most important thing about behaviour-correcting is the guardian’s strong will in training. Behaviour-correcting depends 30% on the puppy and 70% on the guardian. If the person or the environment doesn’t change, then the puppy wouldn’t change either. In a case like Youngmini’s, he’s very social around people but not so much around other puppies. It’ll be good to help him through socialising training so that he can act normally even in unfamiliar environments. If you visit dog cafes too often, then it might show a reverse-effect. I’m saying this again, but the most important thing in this is the person himself.
Hyomin: The only time I ever attended schedules with my dog was for a photoshoot, but I’m so happy that I got to come here with him and spend time together. More than anything, I feel so relieved that I got to find the reason behind the problems that were troubling me and got to find their solutions as well. I want to quickly go back home to put Youngmini and Mini mentally at ease, and spend time to understand them better. Now to think of it, everything had a reason behind it, I feel sorry that I neglectfully overlooked that.
Even after she left Gongzon, Hyomin still showed interest in the dogs shelter located upstairs. She said that she has so much interests in dogs but not enough opportunities to put it into action. All of the T-ARA members live with their dogs, she hinted that, if given the chance, she wants to perform good deeds with the member who’s the most interested in dogs, Soyeon. She also said that she wants to show even more interests in Youngmini and Mini, whom she will leave to her parents as T-ARA will be mostly promoting in the Great China Region this year. And so, Hyomin left home with Youngmini.
PART 2 (Photo-story)
Someday in early June, just around time the summer heat hits in earnest, we met with T-ARA’s Hyomin (27). Hyomin introduced her 4-years-old Japanese Chin dog, Youngmini, whom she had cuddled in her arms. Taking after his cheerful owner, he approached everyone first to greet us while gently wagging his tail. He left a good impression with his charming lovely looks as well has his gentle, soft, and optimistic propensity.
The interview continued even in such a hot weather. Although the behaviour-correcting training is tiring, Hyomin and Youngmini seemed to enjoy it. Youngmini didn’t act like a crybaby at all and instead smiled while giving cute poses together with his owner. He cutely ran around between people, receiving everyone’s love. Hyomin looked at Youngmini warmly with a calm smile on.
Hyomin and Youngmini, the lovely siblings showed a happy energy. Youngmini would become shy and timid upon seeing unfamiliar dogs around; however, once he’s with Hyomin, he’d return back to his original optimistic self. The reason he was able to adapt quickly even at the unfamiliar Gongzon, was the trust he has in his owner. to Hyomin, Youngmini is a more than just a dog, he is like her younger brother. Youngmini seemed to have a strong trust in Hyomin as well. The heartwarming sight of the two tells about their special relationship, that is more than just an owner and dog relationship.
“Hello. This is T-ARA’s Hyomin. The weather’s so hot, isn’t it?”
“Youngmini, you too say hi. Hello~ I’m Hyomin noona’s youngest brother! Do you know the Japanese Chin dog breed?”
“Youngmini, are you already feeling hot. Let’s go take behaviour-correcting training!”
“Our Youngmini is scared. Don’t be scared, noona is here.”
“Trainer Kwon Hyukpil’s dog, udeung, is indeed unique. How can do such a good job! So admirable”
Youngmini is a Hyomin fan, he cares about no one but noona
Youngmini is aware of the camera, shall we pull a real pose? Is it done like this? He’s facing us!
Hyomin noona is fresh, Youngmini is stiff
“Hyomin noona, I’m starting to feel hot now.”
“My youngmini has a very long tongue, shall I imitate him too?”
“Huk, Hyomin noona don’t do this. I don’t like having ugly pictures of me~”
Hyomin and Youngmini, they have similar big eyes ~
The most romantic moment between owner♥dog, does our brother/sister relationship look good?
“Youngmini, are you tired? Shall we go home?”
“So, I’m going home now! Had a fun training today~. Youngmini, you worked hard too.”