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Didn’t get a chance to post this gorgeous tugou encountered on a walk when I went down to Puli, Nantou County — the only land-locked county in the center of the island where my dad’s side of the family mostly resides.

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I don’t often see black and tans that retain such a sharp mask and distinctive form.

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You see why they often end up getting dubbed “Basenji” mixes when they arrive Stateside?

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Despite her towering presence atop the column, she wasn’t that big, about 40 pounds. I’d be able to brush the top of her head and certainly her ears without stooping if she was beside me. Not that she offered a chance to get close.

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Given the current rabies situation in Taiwan, I made sure to note the number of free-roaming dogs that I still saw during my trip down south. While I didn’t encounter groups of strays, as I have before, it was mildly surprising that many pet dogs were still given free rein. Rabies “hysteria,” as it were, is not so easy to observe from a casual perspective. One probably has to go to shelters and vets to get a better sense of heightened anxieties.

About a week after my country excursion, the first case of rabies affecting a pet dog was confirmed in Taitung, on the Eastern coast.

20130812 Rabies alert poster: "This kiss could be deadly."

Public notice posted at the library when I first arrived in August, warning that “This KISS could be deadly!”

I know not what this portends. Taipei often seems a world away from the rest of the island, let alone further points abroad.

Puli