Tue, Apr 29, 2014 - Page 5 News List

Taiwanese street dog star of US toddler photo series

By Huang Hsu-lei and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

US photographer Grace Chon’s seven-year-old dog and 10-month-old son wear towels around their heads in an undated photograph. The dog was cared for in New Taipei City by volunteers from the Animal Rescue Team Taiwan when it was a puppy.

Photo courtesy of the Animal Rescue Team Taiwan

US photographer Grace Chon’s photography series featuring her seven-year-old mixed-breed dog and her 10-month-old son have made headlines worldwide, drawing the attention of volunteers from the Animal Rescue Team Taiwan (ARTT).

The dog was found in Taipei County by the group’s volunteers when she was just a puppy.

The photo series, titled Zoey and Jasper: A rescue dog and her little boy, shows the duo wearing a variety of identical accessories, from “nerd glasses,” birthday hats and baseball caps, to aviation hats, paper bunny ears and sunglasses.

The photographs have gained considerable popularity among netizens since their debut earlier this month and have been reported by several news outlets, including the UK’s Daily Mail.

“Zoey was found abandoned in front of a roast duck restaurant in New Taipei City’s [then-Taipei County] Yonghe District (永和) in the summer of 2007, and was rescued from the streets by our volunteers,” ARTT spokesman Antony Ni (倪京台) said.

Ni said Zoey was given all the medical treatment she needed at the time, before she was flown to Los Angeles to meet with Chon later that year.

The rescue team has saved the lives of more than 5,000 stray animals since its establishment in 1995.

In 2004, it joined hands with US animal welfare organizations in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, as well as in Canada, to initiate a pet adoption program, which has helped about 2,500 stray dogs and cats find a new home abroad.

Veteran Taiwanese animal photographer Chris Wong (翁志宏) praised Chon’s creativity and patience, saying that animals and children were the two most difficult subjects to photograph.

“I assumed that Chon photographed Zoey and Jasper separately and then mounted their pictures together… Her patience is something worth learning,” Wong said.

In an interview posted on My Modern Met, Chon described Zoey’s tough start in life.

“She was born in front of a store and the owner washed her and all her siblings into a gutter. A schoolgirl walking by witnessed this and scooped up all the puppies and carried them home, with Zoey’s mom following her all the way. She contacted Animal Rescue Team in Taiwan,” Chon said.

The photographer said Zoey is usually very shy and afraid of new things, but likes being photographed.

“I know it sounds crazy, but I think it builds her confidence when she wears clothes,” Chon said.

“She does a happy dance when the props come out and she loves posing for the camera,” Chon said.

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