|"I just want to be your fwiend..."|
It's not like there aren't dogs in Korea. There are tons! There are even a number of quite large dogs - Huskies are pretty popular (though I don't know why, considering the climate). And while we've seen a few strays, nearly all the dogs we've met have owners and are well-cared-for. Some very popular reality shows center almost entirely on animal stories, particularly dogs.
|"... or do I?"|
My totally uneducated stab-in-the-dark answer is this: it's about familiarity. Most American children are taught, from an early age, how to approach dogs and handle them safely. Most urban Korean children are not. Although there are a lot of dogs visible in Korea, most families still don't own one. The dogs that people see regularly fall into two categories: small lapdogs that, as far as I can tell, are usually very poorly trained, and large dogs that are kept strictly outdoors and never mingle much with the family. If your only encounters with dogs are with big barking ones in people's yards and tiny, crazy, probably nippy little five-pounders, being approached by an uproariously happy and rather large (by Korean standards) terrier can be kind of scary.
So it's not that I don't understand, but I do wish it was different. I firmly believe that animals in the household are an essential ingredient to a happy and healthy life, and I admit to being ethnocentric enough to stand by that idea. Now I just need to figure out how to smuggle Friday into my classroom...