Friday, March 11, 2011

A Crippled Dog in Taiwan

Pigs in cage in Taiwan

Aren't these the cutest? These are little piglets that I saw when I was on my way to Kaoshiung. But I'm not going to talk about pigs......

........but dogs. In some countries they still eat dogs.  Like China. I saw dogs in Vietnam being carved up to be  splayed out on market tables.

In Taiwan, I don't believe they're still eating doggy sandwiches before bedtime, but it was whispered in some quarters that you might want to check out the meat whilst dining out. But whether or not they are chowing down on our four-legged friends or not, the treatment of animals in Taiwan was truly appalling, with many dogs left all day in tiny cages where they're not able to stand up, or left in cages that are filthy and cold. One of my neighbors tied up his dog outside in the burning heat for two days, leaving him without any food or water or protection from the sun.  In front of all the neighbors who could have helped, the dog died. When I went to the police station about it, they shrugged. Hey, it's only a dog.

One day I drove over to a spectacular home in Tainan City with a friend; it was karaoke and tea day. My friend visited this woman once a week because she was 'lonely.'   Her husband was a workaholic who slept in his office and forgot he was married and her children were off at college in America. After parking in front of an enormous house, a tiny woman with a waist the size of a ballpoint pen and a lacquered bouffant straight out of The Bride of Frankenstein opened the garage door and walked out to greet us.  Walking behind her, I was awestruck by the size of her garage and, an oddity for Taiwan, how empty of useless crap it was. A retractable-gear Musketeer with a thirty-two foot wingspan could have fit in the enormous space.

dog on bucket in Taiwan As we continued through the empty garage, I saw a medium-sized, black dog lying in a large steel cage in a corner. He was all alone in a cage that would have been more appropriate for restraining a grizzly bear than this defenseless lump of fur. The steel bars were three inches round and the bottom had a poopee drop-down zone where his business fell through the floor and was whisked away through a drainage pipe linked to the sewer. There was nothing in the cage, not even a chewable toy. I reached in to pet him but he never stirred, nor wagged his tail. Only his sad, brown eyes followed me, peering out from under his bushy eyebrows. He lethargically stood up and stretched and yawned when he realized I wasn't leaving right away, but I could see that any hope he had of ever being released from his life sentence had been extinguished long ago.

It was the son's dog, the one who was now in America going to school and who would only return on holidays. I stooped to pet the dog through the bars, scratched his ears and asked if we could bring him into the house with us, but the two women chuckled and waved away my request with rolled eyes  and ushered me into the house. 'Come. Come. Let's sing songs.'

I didn't say anything, nor did I protest, because the Taiwanese mind is as thick as Swartzenegger's dick at a New York City summer swimsuit show when it comes to the dog issue. They don't understand what all the fuss is about when it comes to the torture of animals, they're only animals. But while I was picking out tunes to sing and as my ears shrank listening to my pals screech over the ear-shattering decibels of the speakers, my mind kept wandering back to that poor lump of fur left alone all day, every day, in his cage.

After tea and two hours of excruciatingly bad Chinese pop music sung very badly, I wanted to leave, but the bouffant wanted to give us a tour of her house before we left  We got in the elevator and headed up.

It was impressive. Each room was artfully designed and furnished with expensive rugs, lamps and antiques, and enough booze bottles filled ceiling-to-floor cabinets in the living room to open a liquor store in three districts. The kitchen was filled with brand new appliances which were still wrapped in plastic, while her bedroom was fitted with a clothes closet bigger than a concentration camp changing room, and with just as many shoes, hats, dresses and empty suitcases.

After we stepped off the elevator and back into the garage where the dog lay as if dead in his cage, she begged us to stay longer, upon which my friend reiterated in my ear how lonely she was wandering around the house by herself and craving company during the day. 

'Tell her to take the dog for a walk,' I said.