Three years ago, Bubu lay on the floor of a construction site, waiting to die.
Now the four-year-old mongrel sits quietly under the desk of his owner at the National Immigration Agency waiting to help seek out illegal immigrants or fight human trafficking.
“When we first found him, he was weak, small and tied up,” Michael Kuo (郭春華), Bubu’s owner and a member of the agency’s Specialized Operation Brigade in Taipei, said recently.
Kuo and his team found Bubu just as the dog was about to be cooked and eaten at a construction site in southern Taiwan, during a crackdown on a group of illegal Vietnamese workers. The investigators released the dog, but to Kuo’s surprise, it did not run to freedom.
“It just followed us to the car,” he said.
Kuo took the dog in and helped nurse him back to health
The 57-year-old immigration officer has taken Bubu on several operations and said the dog has saved his life on a number of occasions.
Kuo said he was inspecting an MRT construction site in Taipei when the dog started to bark furiously. Kuo quickly grabbed his cellphone to use as a flashlight to see in the darkness of the underground site and saw an illegal worker only a few meters away holding a steel bar, apparently about to strike him.
On another occasion, Kuo was investigating illegal labor practices at another underground MRT building site when he injured his foot, leaving him unable to move. He could not call for help because he was deep underground, but when he did not return, Kuo’s colleagues released Bubu and the dog quickly found his master.
Calling Bubu his guardian angel and full-time bodyguard, Kuo said that the dog is special because he is exceptionally alert, obedient and calm — attributes that make him valuable in investigations.
“It’s as if he knows what his job is,” Kuo said with Bubu lying quietly at his feet. “It seems like he’s paying back the kindness that was shown to him.”
The dog now works five days a week with Kuo, wearing a green jacket on which Kuo has sewn the agency’s logo.
The soft-spoken dog-lover said he named the dog “Bubu” because “it was feeling ‘blue, blue’ for a while after he was rescued.”
“The National Immigration Agency’s work deals with human immigrants, but sometimes I think that since animals are also living beings they should be thought of as immigrants, just a different kind of immigrant,” Kuo said with a smile.
Even though Bubu has become a popular and cherished member of the office, Kuo said that some of his colleagues get slightly frustrated at times because no matter how much they play with the dog, Bubu is still loyal to only one master.
“For example, if you approach me and put your hands on my shoulders, he will bark at you,” Kuo said with a laugh.