Animal Rescue Korea closing September 1st

July 15: User registration closed. No new content (comments excepted).

September 1: Adoption listings removed. Commenting and login closed.

After Sept.1: Access to read-only content (Adopted Gallery, Articles, etc.)

Seven years ago this week I flew from Incheon to Toronto with my husband, our dog, and our last Korean foster dog, Scruffy. After seven years of teaching English, we'd just spent a good part of our last week in Daejeon volunteering at Mrs. Jung's first private shelter. We donated our blankets and a laundry machine as we vacated our apartment in Gwanjeo-dong.

This website-- not yet named ARK-- was just over one year old and I worried about how it would continue.

But the number of people interested in helping animals in Korea only kept growing, and the website grew along with it. Still, every time an awesome foster parent or shelter trip coordinator left Korea, I would have the same worry: Who would fill their place?

And each time I learned that even though no one can really replace that person, at the same time, whenever there is a void, someone new arrives and fills it with their own special qualities.

After more than 8 years of managing this website, it's time for me, too, to let go and focus on projects closer to home. Managing the site from so far away has only gotten harder over time. It's become increasingly difficult for me to stay in touch and up-to-date with the needs of rescuers and volunteers in Korea, so I've decided to slowly retire the website.

However, I have no doubt that something great will come along to fill the void.

As of today, registration is closed. No new adoption listings or content other than comments can be created.

UPDATED: From August 1st August 31st, adoption listings will no longer be editable. All listings will expire 30 days after that.

From September 1st, the adoption listings will be permanently closed.

I will gradually be moving and removing content over the next couple weeks. I have not yet decided how much will remain accessible in a read-only archive after September. Articles, vet clinics, and links will remain accessible until the end of the year.

Many thanks to all the rescuers, shelter volunteers, foster parents, animal lovers, writers and photographers who have contributed content to ARK over all its years. Thank you for sharing your devotion to animals through this site. Without you, ARK would not have grown into the success it has. Together we have helped over 2,200 animals find forever homes (and countless foster homes), helped Korean animal shelters find new volunteers, helped families travel safely back to their home countries with their animal companions, and so much more. I am humbled and inspired by your work.

I wish all of you the very best in your endeavours to continue helping animals in Korea, or anywhere else you may find yourself living in the future.

With sincere gratitude,
Karen Busch

Tags: site news


clare_bell's picture

You've built something amazing and without you working steadfastly from overseas, these animals would never have been able to find the homes that they have. Thank you!

Karen's picture

Thank you, Clare. It's been awesome working with you!

sarahlena's picture

Is there anything anybody could do to keep it alive? its one of the only English-speaking resources for animal adoptions in korea - it would be sad to see this well maintained page go down. I'm sure there are some volunteers [me included] who would run the website - maybe not alone- but as a team?

Natasha's picture

Let's do it

marlajoy's picture

Karen, I am in Korea long term and I would love to talk to you about what would be involved in taking over this site. This website is a HUGE help to so many animals. I would hate to see it end.

Rocko321's picture

I'm sure there are a lot of people here who wouldn't mind (myself included) in helping take over this site. So many rescues these days, so I can only imagine how overwhelming it must be for you.

Anyways, thank you so much for creating and managing this site. It has helped save the lives for a countless number of animals and motivated many people to get into animals rescue work here in Korea. You are a hero Karen. :)

marlajoy's picture

Agreed!! :)

KathyKat's picture

Thank you, Karen, for creating and for keeping it going as long as you have. I know most of my rescues would not have found their forever homes without this wonderful page. All the best <3 xoxo

Amanda24601's picture

Oh my, this is sad news : ( I and the 60-something cats and kittens that we were able to place in homes over the past few years (because of ARK) are extremely grateful for Karen and all her hard work and devotion. I cannot imagine how much time and work go into maintaining this site! I hope somehow someone or a a few people collaborating can perhaps keep this site running because I don't know what we'll do without it. God Bless, Karen, and keep up the amazing work!! Thank you, thank you, thank you from my husband and I, our three rescue cats, and allll the kitties that are alive because we had a place to give them voices and second chances : )

deborah's picture

Many thanks, Karen, for all your work over the years to provide a space where so much good could be done. So many little lives have been saved, and with every pet that found a new home, the world has been made that little bit brighter. I truly hope that we can find some way to keep the website open. Take care and the best of luck in the future.

Natasha's picture

Oh, so sad news, but Karen you are did amazing job, from all my heart I wish you and your family all best, thank you , you helped make outer world Mach better, and my personal thanks fir Chamchi and Pepsi,

Natasha's picture

Guys !!!! we can't allow such a site will be closed, LETS DO. Something together to keep ouer animals in hope that one day they will be somewhere where is warm , love, and care, I have time this is my number please contact me any time. 010 2660 8882 let's create new website, I don't exactly how to do it, but I can lern , and also aske one of my friend hwo can help he is professional in creating sites, I know all cats name and always look at pages and see how they're condition and maybe good news about them, Gomma asan shelter, Lexy , 2 red cats, bona with her kitten, skinny black and white kitten at clinic,,,,,,,,, All of them they are waiting for our help

Karen's picture

Thank you everyone for your kind words. It feels really good to hear that ARK was able to support your rescue work.

This is an emotional time for me and some of you might be feeling upset or anxious, too. I've received a number of emails, many with ideas on how to transition. I am going to respond to every one as soon as I can. Please forgive me if I take a little longer than usual, I want to give everybody thorough and thoughtful replies.

drkim81's picture

I was always impressed whenever I use this site.
I have 21 profiles of adoptable cats and 24 adopted cats. I couldn't find great home for these cats without ARK site.
Thanks all Krean. You are really amazing person. :)

CATS_Whiskers Ministop's picture

Words cannot express how grateful I am and many people are about the existance of ARK site. I started volunteering and helping homeless cats about the time you started this amazing website. I am sure this must be a lot of work and heartbreaking at times and overwhelming as well, especially even helping from overseas.
I sincerely appreciate all your effort and always wish only for the best to you and your human and furry family.
Sungmi Allie Hong

Louise's picture

Karen: Tim introduced me to ARK's web site 7 years ago shortly after you created it. I think I must be one of the oldest members still here in Korea and I have posted abandoned animals and had many fostered and adopted. It has been a blessign in gettign attention to the special needs animal hwo get fostered and adopted. This site will be sorely missed as with you. I feel like many others we cannot lose this site so let's send out the message - we need a webmaster for this site.

Karen's picture

Thank you all for your concern for ARK.

I want to clarify that I do not intend to delete the whole website, as I'm hearing in some emails. I'm closing the adoption listings and other user-submitted content. However, I intend to maintain other content relevant to helping Korean animals in general.

All the vet clinics, shelters, and articles will remain until the end of the year. I will be keeping the Adopted Gallery open, too. The links directory I've already reduced by 60%, but the remaining links will stay until I start finding broken URLs.

I will periodically remove content that becomes irrelevant and outdated. For example, blog posts with questions and no replies will not be kept. And if a shelter or clinic website link no longer works, I will assume they don't exist anymore and I'll remove the page.

Many people are suggesting giving the site to new owners to maintain. I'm grateful for your offers to help. If transferring ownership were easy, I'd consider it. But there are a number of technical and other reasons which make that option not possible.

So no, I will not be transferring the website to new owners.

I do truly believe this is a great opportunity to build something better (not to say that this site is bad). In 2011, there was resistance when I decided to close the old forums and redesign a completely different website. Even though there were bumps along the way, I think most people would agree that this site was an improvement over the last one.

That will happen again, but through someone else's effort and vision.

I hope you understand.


Karen's picture

Minor update:
I've revised the notice appearing throughout the site to try to clarify that "closing" does not mean all content will be removed.

Also, the end date for updating/editing content is extended to August 31. This applies to adoption listings, animal shelters, blog posts, links, and vet clinics.

Sofia's picture

Hello Karen,
it is very sad that we are losing Animal Rescue Korea website.
Glad that we would be able to use some information.
It was sad to find out that "Resources" were deleted (with all of those photos and adoption profiles, etc.). Would it be possible to bring it back?

Karen's picture

Hi Sofia,

Most of the pages under the Resources tab were not deleted, but they were moved. You can find Articles, Links, and Vet Clinics now in the main navigation.

But photos and adoption profiles, do you mean the ones from the old forums, before 2011?

Sofia's picture

Yes, from the old forum.

Karen's picture

Sofia, I just sent you an email.

annemariew's picture

What a huge loss. I do understand and honor your decision to move on and grow in new ways, and I admire it. Thank you for your responsive support, your spirit of helpfulness, and amazing attention to detail that showed up in this beautiful website. What a gift you gave all of us and the many needy animals that were helped. Thank you, Karen.
~Anne Marie

red dog's picture

I just saw the sad news and don't know what to say, except thank you for all you've done for my family and for homeless animals in Korea. The end of ARK is not something I ever expected, and this comes as a real shock.

Claudia M's picture

I cannot understand why the management of this website won't be transferred to someone else who is a permanent resident in Korea. Closing down this site is detrimental to the lives of hundreds - if not thousands - of animals looking for homes in Korea. I highly doubt anything "better" will replace this void. All that will occur is competition and conflict between various groups trying to create a better webpage. Your 8 years of selfless service to this site is worth little if you shut it down in the face of so many Korean animals needing help today. I urge you strongly to hand over the webpage to someone else for the animals' sake.

marlajoy's picture

As Karen stated above, "If transferring ownership were easy, I'd consider it. But there are a number of technical and other reasons which make that option not possible." Karen created this amazing site and I would have been happy if it had continued indefinitely. At the same time, the animal rescue community in Korea is full of amazing people with passion and the ability to create amazing things. Why shouldn't we be able to create something better, or at least as good?! Have a little positivity! :)

Amanda24601's picture

I am very curious if there is anyone even thinking about building a new site? I for one don't know the first thing about it : (

I'm getting more and more anxious and feeling more and more helpless watching cats and kittens come into our vets office, where they can only stay for a short time. I cannot get them the exposure ARK used to, and I know many will be turned back out onto the streets as. To know that a replacement for this site is in the works would be a great relief. As I said, I don't know the first thing, but I'm willing to learn or help if I can. Are there any whisperings at all about a new site??

pipu's picture

Leo Mendoza at BAPS currently is at work to build one.

mjfield's picture

If so, I would suggest a prominently placed paypal donate button ASAP so we can support Leo in this. I remain on a couple of dog mailing lists in the San Francisco Bay Area and I would be happy to publicize (and donate) and I also know dog lovers with much stronger technical skills than my own. My gorgeous Jindo (Happy) and I would not have found each other without this site (and a wonderful Canadian called Amy) so I would really like to help, as I am sure many others would. It seems a terrible shame to lose the ARK name and I have been in IT long enough to know that ANY technical challenge can be overcome with money. Popular business wisdom is that the solution to all problems is not money, which is true, but it is the solution to about 99% of them. Just as one example - your past adoption history is like a list of Alumni in terms of potential fundraising - surely you won't let all that information go to waste when there are so many people who would be eager to help if you just gave them a way to do so? Karen and Leo - please let us help to continue your great work. Best regards -- Martin & Happy ([email protected])

Natasha's picture

Agree I think it could be possible

deborah's picture

The website Leo Mendoza is working on will host adoption profiles at Another new website at will also be launched soon. We hope to provide a space that will have many of the functions of the ARK website, including adoption profiles, blog spaces, information regarding shelters, vet clinics, fostering, taking animals abroad, etc. So far, everything is going well. You can out more information about the coming websites at and

pipu's picture

Leos website is online!!!
Karen! If you still read this blog can you please make a highlighted link on ARK to his website This way people will know were to look for future adoptions^^

Thank you so mush for your hard work Karen, I really hope you got much more nice feedback than negative one. You did an amazing job. All the best for your future!

Karen's picture

I won't be posting any prominent links to new sites until the site builders have announced they are ready to accept content.

The decision to close ARK was not based on technical or money-related issues. If other site creators decide to collect money for their projects, they can do so through their own networks. I'm sure they will be grateful for your support.

Thank you for always sharing your positive voice. The optimism in your hundreds and hundreds of supportive comments has been an immense gift to this site and to me.

red dog,
Thank you so much for sharing your writing and research skills with ARK. I've learned so much through your thoughtful articles as well as through your belief in ideals.

I am so grateful for your understanding. Your words have helped me get through these past few days.

To everyone:
You are some of the most devoted rescuers I know. You must also often feel like Allie described, heartbroken and overwhelmed. Please know how much you inspire others through your work. Wishing you many, many more successes in your rescue efforts!

Many thanks again to those of you who've taken the time to share kind thoughts.

Comments are now closed.