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從小我們家一直都有養狗,也許是因為養的大多是凶猛的德國狼犬、羅威那和西藏獒犬,所以我很怕狗。會在2011年5月去溫哥華時報名擔任護犬大使,說真的,我也不知道自己是哪來的勇氣啊!

文圖/ Story & Picture  江穎俊/ Evelyn Chiang

當天我護送的狗狗是大喬(米克斯)和Blue(哈士奇)。此行光是飛行時間就有10小時,為了讓狗狗有一趟舒適的旅程,義工們事前已經幫他們洗好澡,也在寵物箱裡準備了吸水墊和水。所有的登機程序在義工和航空公司協助下,快速且順利的完成了。簡而言之,狗狗就是掛在護犬大使名下的「超大件行李」啦!(請放心,原來的行李限制並不會受到影響。)

趁著義工們在準備時,我也鼓起勇氣和狗狗培養感情,摸摸他們,和他們說說話:「要出國了喔,會不會緊張?你們很幸福喔,我們出國還要學英文,你們不用欸!你們到了國外一定會很開心的!」

在溫哥華機場領行李時,大喬和Blue已經坐在大型行李轉盤等我了,兩個小傢伙看起來狀況都不錯,讓我鬆了一口氣。出關後,加拿大的義工已經等在外頭接他們了。我的任務也順利完成囉!

讓毛孩子能出國尋找幸福不容易,需要國內外義工事前的洽談、辦理出國手續、身體檢查、以及募集經費。然而當護犬大使卻是很容易也很輕鬆的!只有您有計畫直飛溫哥華、舊金山、洛杉磯和西雅圖,且願意讓狗狗成為您行李的一部分,就能夠成為送他們到新家的幸福推手。

 

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Courage comes when you are least expecting it. I know because that’s what happened to me, a girl petrified of men’s best friend, when I volunteered to escort two stray dogs from Taiwan to meet their adopted families in Canada back in May 2011.

 

My fear for the four-legged creatures stems from my childhood when my family kept big ferocious dogs such as a Rottweiler, German Shepard, and Tibetan mastiff. But as much as I was afraid of dogs, my fear was not strong enough to deter me from helping them.

 

To make the 10-hour flight a smooth ride for my two doggie companions - Big Joe (a mix breed) and Blue (Husky), the volunteers made sure their carriers contained a water bottle and a water-absorbing mat. With the help of the ground crew and the volunteers, the check-in process was a breeze. Simply put, when you become an animal escort, you agree to have these animals as part of your “luggage.”—don’t worry, no matter how big and heavy they are, they don’t count towards your luggage limit!

 

While the volunteers prepared for the carriers, I mustered up my courage to interact with the doggies briefly. I patted their back and said to them, “Are you guys feeling nervous about this trip? You are so lucky because you get to live abroad without having to learn English! I hope you both will lead a better life in Canada.”

 

By the time I stepped off the plane at the Vancouver airport, Big Joe and Blue were already waiting for me at the oversized baggage claim area. I let out a sigh of relief when I saw these two fellas were happy as can be. As soon as we passed customs, the volunteers from Canada were ready to take over the rest of the process and my mission was considered a success.

 

It is a never an easy feat to send Taiwan’s stray dogs overseas. Volunteers have to jump through multiple hoops to make it happen, such as assessing compatibility of the potential families, getting these dogs to pass the health tests, and raising enough funds so these dogs can find happiness across the ocean. On the contrary, to be a doggy escort is quite effortless. If you ever fly to Vancouver, San Francisco, Los Angeles or Seattle, please consider being a doggy escort. You just might be the final missing link to a dog’s new lease on life!

 

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