“Helping stray dogs is not going to save the world, but could change the lives of the animals.”
This is the message from a Taiwanese civil aviation pilot who has rescued more than 30 dogs in the past two years.
The message in a recent video on YouTube has gone viral on the Internet.
In the past two years, Jesse Wang (王丰), 51, has adopted 20 dogs from animal shelters and helped treat 10 injured dogs he found on the streets.
The total cost of his compassionate work came to about NT$1 million (US$33,300).
Earning over NT$3 million per year, Wang considers himself well-off enough to spend this amount of money on stray dogs.
However, part of the reason why he can afford to help animals is that he lives a simple life.
He drives a 20-year-old car and is more than willing to reduce his material comforts to the lowest level in order to help other living beings.
“Compared with many people who are struggling in life, I am lucky to have a really good job with a relatively high income, so I have to do more than others,” he said.
“My life has become more meaningful by saving more lives and not asking for anything in return. You can always make money, but their lives cannot wait,” Wang said in a nine-minute video clip on Taiwan Citizen Journalism Platform, a blog where citizen journalists can post their stories.
The video has touched the hearts of many animal lovers, who posted messages of support on Wang’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/jesse.wang.758).
Wang’s story inspired one of his former colleagues, a retired pilot, who posted the video of Wang on the blog to highlight the issue of abandoned animals.
Wang started to feed stray dogs and devoted himself to animal care after his first pet dog, Jimmy, went missing in 1987.
Wang said in another interview posted on the blog that he waited at an animal shelter close to his home every day for three months, but Jimmy never came back.
Although the Animal Protection Act (動物保護法) came into effect in 1998, it has achieved poor results and provided no punishment for people who breed animals illegally or those who abandon or abuse their pets, Wang said.
Instead of providing proper care to stray dogs and promoting animal protection awareness among the public, the government kills over 80,000 stray dogs every year, he added.
Stray animals, regardless of their health, are put down 12 days after being caught and sent to animal shelters, if no one adopts them.
“The issue of government policies was too complicated; I prefer to do things myself with some of my friends who also love dogs,” Wang said.
Speaking in tears in the video clip, Wang said not being able to find permanent homes for animals that managed to survive many hardships and even surgeries is the most unbearable experience he has been through.
“Saving one dog, 100 dogs or even 1,000 dogs will not change our society, but the whole world of the animals you helped will have been changed,” he said.