Aside from a couple Bows who infiltrated the above shot, these are all rescued Taiwanese dogs that have managed to find forever homes across the Pacific Ocean, here in California. Given our geographic proximity to Asia and the abundance of direct flights from TPE to SFO, this is one of several North American hotspots for Taiwanese rescue dogs. Several local organizations, including Rocket Dog Rescue, Doggie Protective Services, Asians for Humans, Animals, and Nature, and others have networked with Taiwanese rescue groups in order to find good homes for these unique dogs.
These athletic, compact dogs are often billed as “Basenji mixes” on this side, which is not accurate, but serves as the best approximation for their primitive look and slightly “feral” temperament. That is, indigenous Formosans were originally bred to be independent-minded and to hunt in forested mountain terrain. And like the term basenji just means “bush thing,” and doesn’t actually translate as a purebred, AKC-registrable dog in its native lands, neither does tugou refer to a distinguished breed in Chinese, and certainly not a purebred in the contemporary sense of the word. A tugou is an “[native to the] earth dog,” so this one is as much a tugou as any of the all-black specimens above…
… as well as these.
International dog adoptions are sometimes criticized from a protectionist standpoint, out of concern for local shelter reform, etc. I can appreciate that it’s a complicated issue, but in my world, the international is already home. About one in every five residents in my county is a foreign-born immigrant, myself included, and this ratio is true of many places where I’ve lived and felt most at home. In a typical day, I can pick up ten random items around my house and find that they’re made in at least five different countries. I might make a meal of Italian sausages while drinking a German beer and listening to French pop on a Japanese radio. While I can and do make conscious decisions to contribute to my immediate community, it doesn’t take much for the local to meld into the transnational, at least not from where I stand.
Thus, it seems to me that opening one’s home and giving love to a dog who happens to come from overseas is NOT going to upset the cosmic balance all that much in the long run. As the result of someone’s compassion, even imported rescues do their part to seed the very idea of a more humane world, wherever one may inhabit it.