Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Rosalia Wu (吳思瑤), who became a dog owner last year, said that being a pet owner has inspired her to advocate for animal welfare legislation.
Wu in 2016 began serving Taipei’s first electoral district, which covers Beitou District (北投) and parts of Shilin District (士林), after defeating then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Ting Shou-chung (丁守中).
In October last year, while attending the annual Za Share EXPO for Innovative Education in Taipei, Wu came across some puppies at a booth run by Tata, an animal rights group that seeks to “build a zero abandonment future through education.”
Photo: Chen Yu-jui, Taipei Times
One of the puppies was quiet — unlike the others, who were all very energetic, Wu said, but after holding the puppy, she decided to adopt it.
“I had three cats at home and had never raised a dog,” she said, adding that she named the puppy Zaza, after the exhibition.
Thinking it would be difficult for her cats and Zaza to share the same space, Wu said she decided to keep the dog at the Legislative Yuan, which has no rules against pets.
Wu added that she had previously seen a colleague bring a cat to work.
Wu wanted to keep Zaza at the Legislative Yuan’s Research Building, where lawmakers spend most of their time conducting research for laws, preparing for question-and-answer sessions, and meeting with government officials or members of the public.
However, before making the adoption official, she called her aides to make sure that they would be okay with working in an office with a dog — and taking turns taking care of it.
At first, she frequently had to take Zaza to a veterinarian, but with the help of her colleagues, Zaza has become an energetic dog, Wu said.
In the past, Wu rarely cooked, but now, whenever she has time, she prepares food for Zaza in the office, she said.
Many of Wu’s visitors request to meet her at her office in the Research Building just so they can meet Zaza, she added.
Since taking office, Wu has introduced animal protection issues into the new national education curriculum, and backed a nationwide project to raise stray dogs on school campuses.
Her legislative work on animal-related issues has a lot to do with her being a pet owner, she said, adding that since adopting Zaza, she has begun to consider more aspects of animal welfare in policies.
Wu said that before raising a dog, she had never considered how difficult it would be for owners of larger pets that could not fit in portable cages, such as Zaza, to travel home with their pets for the Lunar New Year holiday on local trains or other forms of public transportation.
Zaza has become both her “ally” and “child” at the Legislative Yuan, Wu said, adding that she would continue to fight for animal rights.
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