no21_10-01s.jpg  

我和一位來訪的朋友計畫探索台灣的鄉間。我騎著機車,而坐在後座的她沿途說著鄉下常見的景致:廟宇、傳統小吃攤、當地漁民。突然間,她驚呼:「有一隻小狗!」。對我而言,這一切都太過熟悉,因為台灣的流浪狗問題是我前所未見的嚴重。雖然每次見到他們都覺得心疼,但這個難題對一個人而言,似乎太大了⋯⋯

文圖/Story & Picture ─ Mandy Hutchinson

 

「流浪狗到處都是。」,我的話語飄散在風中,而我們又經過一個有大有小的狗群。

「不,是一隻真正的小狗!」朋友又重複一次。我定睛一看,真的,有一隻無助又幼小的狗狗努力地試圖穿過馬路。

我們把車停在路邊,仔細看了看這隻後來在我口中被描述為「森林生物」的狗狗,因為他長得真的很像一隻小熊!我們環顧四週,不見他的媽媽,我把他舉起來,放在眼前端詳。雖然他的眼睛只能勉強睜開,他還是與我的眼神交會了。那一刻,我知道我無法棄他於不顧。

以幼犬來說,薩爾瓦多.達利(取名自著名的西班牙加泰羅尼亞藝術家)身上有你能想像到的所有寄生蟲。獸醫說,要不是那天我們伸出援手,他極有可能小命不保。

薩爾(他的小名)復原得很迅速。同時我也體會到,就算我無法改變全世界,我也能改變他的世界。

自從我救了薩爾,我的雙胞胎妹妹也一同遷居台中。這段時間以來,我們協助了將近15隻流浪貓狗的救援、絕育與收養過程。算算看,一隻未結紮的狗一年可以生出16隻小狗,六年下來可能就有超過五萬隻的小狗誕生。

和我一起努力的是一群超棒的夥伴,他們持續不懈地投入,將台灣的流浪貓狗出生數量減少了數十萬,甚至可能上百萬。在這裡服務的期間,我也親眼觀察到流浪貓狗的情況的確獲得改善。

生活中多了薩爾的確有其挑戰與收穫,但我從未後悔過。在我住在異國的這段期間,他是個忠實又可愛的好夥伴。薩爾就是我在台灣的家人。

 

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no21_10-02s.jpg  

A visiting friend and I made plans to explore Taiwan’s countryside. Cruising on the backseat of my scooter, she pointed out the usual: temples, traditional food stands, and local fisherman. Suddenly she gasped, “a puppy!”

This was all-too-familiar; the stray dog problem in Taiwan was like nothing I’d seen. Although my heart ached every time, it seemed like too big a problem for one person.

“They are everywhere,” I replied, my voice trailing-off as we drove past a pack of dogs with some playful puppies.

“No!” She repeated. “A REAL puppy!”

I focused my gaze and sure enough, there was a tiny, helpless puppy struggling to make its way across the country road.

We pulled over and inspected the ‘forest creature’ (I later described him this way to friends; he actually resembled a bear cub). With no mother dog in sight, I held him up to my face. Despite his eyes being barely open, he caught my gaze; I knew I couldn’t leave him.

As a puppy, Salvador Dali (named after the famous Catalan artist) had every parasite imaginable. The vet said his chance of survival was dismal had he been left on the road that day.

Sal recovered quickly, and I learned that I can’t change the whole world but I changed the whole world for him.

Since Sal’s rescue, my twin sister has since joined me here in Taichung. Together, we have assisted in the rescue, sterilization and adoption of almost 15 dogs and cats. If you do the math, one unneutered dog could produce 16 puppies in a year. This could result in over 50,000 unwanted puppies in six years.

I’m thankful to have worked alongside of amazing people who work tirelessly to prevent hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of unwanted dog and cats births in Taiwan. I have seen first-hand over how much the situation has improved during my time here.

It’s true that having Sal has come with its own set of challenges and rewards - but I wouldn’t change a single thing. He has been a loyal and loving companion during my time abroad. He is my Taiwan family.

 

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