For all the PACK supporters who donated to Jack and Jill and Angel’s journeys to their new forever homes, this shoutout goes to you. A resounding THANK YOU! After eight long years, Jack and Jill, the beloved Border Collie siblings PACK Sanctuary rescued as pups, are finally off to a fresh new start in loving homes. Despite extensive efforts, PACK staff and volunteers couldn’t find good homes for these sweet dogs in Taiwan, so we sent them with our friends AHAN (Angels for Humans and Animals) to meet their new families. AHAN specializes in adopting Taiwan dogs to Californians. And they are good at it.
Kevin and his new Collies
But isn't a sanctuary perfect for dogs, one would ask.
Does a life confined and cramped, in the harsh Taiwan climate, without free mobility or bonding enrichment sound perfect?
I don't believe so. We provide the best care we can within our means, but in captivity, with little human interaction, dogs literally go insane, similar to human prisoners locked in cells. I’ve seen it first hand all too often, in all species. They develop stereotypic habits out of frustration, like pacing or head bobbing, and can become depressed or even aggressive, almost feral. We even lost two dogs to cobra attacks recently. The word "sanctuary" implies peace and safety. A jungle "sanctuary" on a mountain is anything but peaceful and safe when it's overcrowded and understaffed.
Our care standards rate high compared to most shelters in Asia. Yet still, animals fade without ample exercise or attention. With euthanasia outlawed and no comprehensive government spay/neuter protocol, shelters like ours are literally bursting at the seams and strapped for cash. We need to get them out. And California seems our best option until Taiwanese develop a better appreciation of their dogs
I met the dogs at the SFO airport, on June 12, with AHAN and the adopters, to make sure all went well. They arrived safely, and with a third dog, Angel, a three-legged victim of a car accident. Roads are quite dangerous in Taiwan. She is PACK’s mascot and illustrated in our logo. Sadly we have 29 other dogs that are disabled or missing limbs from car accidents and fierce leg hold traps and wires snares, illegal in Taiwan but still highly used.
This day is bittersweet for PACK. I have fostered Angel in my home. She’s a Dingo through and through. We healed her wounds and trained the street dog out of her. She’s a real lover now. In fact, staff and volunteers have cared for these three dogs since puppyhood, and love them as their own. The Collies are deeply bonded siblings, so we are overjoyed to see them re-homed together. But we will miss them dearly.
Jack, Jill and Angel — our “Three Amigos”— have attended countless adoption events in Taipei. They’ve undergone household training, socializing workshops, even Dr. Dog training. PACK’s clinic makes sure they are up to date on vaccines and parasite prevention. We also do blood work before adopting them out to make sure our dogs have a clean bill of health before leaving.
And now they graduate to new lives with wonderful adoptive families in San Francisco. Their life goals, to run, play and cuddle with a dry roof, a warm bed, and homemade organic meals, are finally a reality.
“We were looking to adopt a pair,” says Kevin, Jack and Jill's new father. “Our rescue dog Seamus died recently and we were just waiting for the right opportunity. Viola! A friend shared the post for Jack and Jill on AHAN’s website and we knew it was a match. What luck.”
“We are older now, says Kevin's wife, Kate. We didn’t want to raise puppies again but we need dogs in our lives. They are the epitome of unconditional love and companionship. I mean look around this house. The dogs have a better sofa than we do, and a private entrance of their own to the back yard.”
“The stars were aligned this time," I told Kevin. " It is not luck. It was fate." In Taiwan it is very difficult to adopt out shelter dogs. Everyone seems to want “purebreds.” Huskies, or short-legged Corgis, long-haired Chihuahuas and miniature Dachshunds. Even Mastiffs are popular… until the novelty wears off. Now Taiwan has Mastiff rescue groups. “Purebreds” are the companion animal of choice, even though genetically designed dogs (often inbred) suffer bone/joint deformities, respiratory disorders and weak immune systems.
Sadly, the culture here, largely ignores its own history and heritage, the deep human/animal bonds with the Taiwan mountain dog or Tugou for the more fashionable Pug accessory.
Related to the Dingo, and migrating with humans from SE Asia some 4000 years ago many of Taiwan’s so-called “street dogs” possess the oldest dog genes in the world. Angel is one of those special dogs but she was even more difficult to adopt out as she only has three legs.
At present, in Taiwan, PACK Sanctuary cares for roughly 400 dogs and cats with just 6 staff on call each day. It’s a monumental task just providing basic care for the animals. Most came from the streets, in constant pursuit of food and refuge. They are shadows amid daily life, living by the riverside in motley packs. Some are puppy mill rejects, dumped by unscrupulous breeders. Others are dumped by pet-shop consumers, animals who’ve outgrown their novelty.
Some 60 government and private shelters registered in Taiwan operate under a two-year old ban on all euthanasia. Sadly, dogs pay the price for this noble gesture. Quality of life declines for 35,000+ dogs crammed in shelters across the tiny island nation.
With domestic adoption rates so low, we are forced to seek overseas help from countries that have more space and deeper human/animal bonds. Fortunately, we found a lifeline. AHAN, a nonprofit run by American/Taiwanese staff and volunteers in San Francisco, re-homes Taiwan’s dogs to California. And they do it well. The NPO has already matched several PACK pooches with wonderful adoptive families.
“We are so happy to be helping PACK,” says Vicky, “AHAN’s CEO. We could tell in our first visit to PACK shelter that you really needed help. We were worried that many of PACK dogs have flea and tick borne diseases but after the blood tests came up negative, we knew it would work out.”
I must say, I was reluctant at first as well. Ten years ago I would not have even considered sending Asian dogs to the USA. But the United States euthanizes far less animals than it did in the past and the shelters in northern USA are actually quite empty compared to Taiwan’s. AHAN vets their adopters well; they go through rigorous home checks because neither AHAN nor PACK can afford returns. So, I trust them to place our dogs in proper homes.
Welcome to your new loving forever homes Jack and Jill and Angel. It has been a long time coming.
For all our supporters that helped make these new bonds possible, please continue to support our efforts to adopt our dogs to homes overseas. This is an ongoing project and campaign and it’s not cheap. Each overseas adoption costs us more than $600 USD. But each adoption saves a life and saves us overhead so we can sustain our operations.
Please share on your social media
Tim Gorski says goodbye to two of his favorite dogs