Known for his brand of Taiwanese rap music with strong social and political messages, Taiwanese rapper Dog-G (大支) is also an advocate for the humane treatment of stray animals.
Dog-G said that when he was younger he did not care much for cats. However, in 2009, he came upon an injured cat that was dying on the street.
“When I was caring for that injured cat, I realized what it must be like to be a parent. I was going to send the cat to an animal shelter, but I later learned that if the pets there do not find new owners within seven to 12 days, they will be euthanized, which I felt was very cruel,” he said.
“So I thought of taking care of him for a few days. Once I started, it became my responsibility to look after the cat for the rest of its life,” he said.
Later on, he discovered that cats were badly mistreated in some regions of Taiwan, abused by their owners or poisoned.
In a bid to raise public awareness about the plight of abandoned dogs and cats, Dog-G said he began writing and singing rap songs about them.
He also began encouraging the public to adopt pets from animal shelters instead of buying them from shops and to neuter them, so stray animals would not be killed.
“I am pushing the message that people need to care about stray animals. Each time, it may influence some individuals. So I will take up any opportunity to spread the message,” he said.
“I talk about caring for stray animals when conversing with friends, when performing on stage and at award ceremonies. I utilize every occasion to get the message across. You never know when someone will get the message, and he will influence people around him. The change could make a big difference,” Dog-G said.
The rapper now has more than 10 cats in his studio.
“The healthy ones have been adopted. Those with me now are the ones with health problems and needing the most care,” he said.
In 2011, he won best “Rhythm & Blues Single” for his song The Final Morning at Taiwan’s Golden Indie Music Awards.
The song was written to portray the experience of a stray cat.
“Our final encounter could be my shadow disappearing from a dark alley. I do not have a name. I’m a transient, a late-night shadow on a wall. Please let me be, I won’t impede you. I’m a stray cat. Maybe this is my final morning. The cats’ calls are getting weaker. Maybe we are not all invincible supermen, but we can light up a little lamp in our room for them,” he sings.
Dog-G also helps with TNR (Trap, Neuter and Release) efforts. He spends up to NT$40,000 a month for the cat neutering program. While some have asked him to start a donation drive for these efforts, Dog-G said he does not accept donations.
“With donations, there are problems in how the money is allocated. I just want to do what I can on my own,” he said.
To raise awareness of the plight of stray cats, Dog-G has produced three short DVDs, for which he recruited fellow rapper MC HotDog, entertainer Wang Tsai-hua (王彩樺), singer Yang Lie (楊烈) and Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌).
He first gave away the DVDs with his album. Later he put them online so more people could see them.
“I want to let people know that when you save a stray animal, the relationship is more than just between pet and owner. You become its savior. It is a much closer, more intimate relationship,” he said.