Taiwanese dogs, why we rescue

A week ago I went to the airport to help out a local group called Salty Dog Rescue and came home with a foster dog.

And so begins my journey with Ali, my Taiwanese street dog.

As we wander around Seattle meeting people, I get the same question over and over again.

We have enough dogs in this country – why are we bringing in more?

I know, I know but anyone who has been to a country with a large stray dog population knows the misery of what being a dog can be. It makes a lot of what we see over here in shelters look like nothing.

In Taiwan there is estimated to be between 500,000 – 1,000,000 stray dogs on the streets, yes that is a million. Dogs are viewed as a nuisance by some and there are those that put out inhumane bear leg traps. Dogs end up losing parts of their legs in the process and many die horrible deaths from abuse or starvation. There are of course many dog lovers there also but the number of strays is too overwhelming to be solved by simple adoption – there is too many.

Yes I know, adopting out these dogs is just a branch of the problem.

The root of the problem is spay/neuter and education and there are groups over there working on it. Meanwhile there are all these dogs and as many dog lovers knows – it is hard to look a dog in the eye and tell them they don’t matter.

Sometimes you have to focus on the branches in order to tackle the root of a problem. When we focus on the branches instead of the root by bringing dogs to this country, we are also helping the groups over there that are striking at the roots of the problem through spay and neuter and education. It is a long hard road they are on and being able to look some of these dogs in the eyes and tell them that there is hope and that they can be loved and respected, is a big thing to these rescue workers when you see so much suffering on a daily basis.

Believe me, when I did shelter work, if I had to go to work each day just to spay/neuter and euthanize I would not have been able to do it very long. It was the fact that I was able to help individual animals, be able to look in their eyes and say, “we will find you a better home.” Without this I could not have done the hard parts of my job.

So bringing dogs to this country opens a ray of hope beyond what can be achieved by just adoption within Taiwan. And if you are one of those lucky dogs who does make it over here you have a chance to have a home, have a human who loves you, have food and safety and also become an ambassador for all the dogs back in Taiwan who are not so lucky.

More on Ali soon….meanwhile here are some links to read more about Taiwanese dogs

Animal Rescue Team Taiwan is the group that Ali came from over in Taiwan. You can use Google translator if you want to read it in English.

Here is a little about the Formosan Mountain Dogs
which these street dogs are descended from.

Salty Dog Rescue is the Seattle group, which brought Ali over here. They have a list of dogs up for adoption and who need foster homes. They also have links to articles on the animal abuse in Taiwan.

All the photographs of dogs in this article are looking for homes, click on their photos for more information.

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