Eighteen stray or disabled dogs were flown from Taiwan to the US on a journey to new homes on Saturday, the result of efforts by volunteers from the Animal Rescue Team Taiwan (ARTT), who found the animals a second chance at life abroad.
Volunteers with ARTT bid farewell at the Kaohsiung Railway Station to the rescued dogs that they treated and took care of for the past few months, as the animals headed north for a plane that flew them halfway around the globe to meet their new owners in the US.
The 18 rescued dogs appeared healthy and vivacious, though months ago their lives were hanging by a thread before they were found.
One of the canines was found with severe head injuries, making his head swell to the size of a pig’s, earning him the name “pig-headed dog,” volunteers said.
Another one, whom they called the “palm-severed dog,” was found snared in a steel-jawed foothold trap, with a puncture wound so deep its bone had been exposed, they said.
A “hairless dog” was delivered from New Taipei City’s (新北市) Tucheng District (土城), with a serious skin disease that made it hairless, while a litter of puppies were abandoned on an open ground at the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, they said.
“After posting their stories of misery on the rescue team’s Web site, many loving families in New York and Los Angeles expressed a desire to adopt them,” the volunteers said, adding that it was hard to part with the dogs they had tended to for months.
“The ARTT has shipped more than 2,000 stray animals to the US and Canada for adoption over the past eight years. This weekend’s has been the largest single shipment of stray dogs so far,” said Ni Chao-cheng (倪兆成), head of the rescue team.
Overseas shipment costs for the 18 stray dogs totaled about NT$200,000, which volunteers paid for out of their own pockets, Ni said.
Ni also called on tourists planning to fly to the US and Canada in the future to sign up on the rescue team’s official Web site (www.savedogs.org) as a “dog ambassador” who can accompany and provide assistance to strays or disabled animals on their flights.
Translated by Stacy Hsu, staff writer