BARK, The Dudes and You

Hi all,

First, I have a word or two for all of you south-dwelling animal lovers who have rescued animals and who continue to rescue animals independently. It’s not until I began being more involved with animal welfare that I realized how many of you rescue strays to keep as pets, or to find them new homes; to give them a second chance. I want to thank you for your kindness, for your time, and for your dedication to making a difference in the lives of the ones we often refer to as “the dudes.”

It may not seem to make a significant difference in the big picture, but it does. Needless to say, it is also saving the lucky ones that crossed your path from a life of hardship.

Nevertheless, for a wide array of reasons, not everyone is in a position to adopt or rescue strays. It is quite understandable. Small living space, unwilling roommates/landlords, lack of money, lack of time and allergies are but a few realities some of you are facing when you see an animal in need which you would like to help.

This said it seems that among those of us who care for animal welfare, there are generally two categories of people; those who can help and those who can not help. While I’m happy to acknowledge the efforts of the former, this message is more for the latter; more for those of you who can not help. Keep in mind that even if you are not in a position to help, I still appreciate your concerns regarding the less fortunate of us living beings who have to live on the street.

Although BARK is still a young organization, we already receive a minimum of one phone call every day from people who need help with an animal they rescued or wish to rescue. Often, it’s two or three calls daily. If we agreed to take responsibility for every animal people ask us to take from them, we would be overwhelmed with animals within two weeks.

BARK is not a government funded organization like the SPCA who is active in many countries. We are a group of like-minded people who put forth efforts to help strays, but our resources are limited. All of BARK volunteers work full time jobs, and of course, we depend on charities to pay for various expenses, most of which are veterinarian expenses.

Back in April 2006 when Natasha and I founded BARK, our goal was simply to organize a network of animal lovers so that we could help more animals “in need” together. I must say, we exceeded our expectations ten fold already. Within a year, we have already helped more than 100 animals. It goes without saying that we are thankful for all the help and support we received to achieve that.

More to the point, every animal on the street is “in need.” So which one do we choose to help? While we would like to help them all, the reality is that we simply can not. While we would like to take responsibility for every animal people call us about, the reality is that we can not take them all under our wings.

In other words, if you call us about an animal that is not in a state of emergency, we will not take him/her from you. You will have to take responsibility for that animal, or face the harsh reality of not helping him/her at all, unless you are willing to work with us to CNR (Catch-Neuter-Return) the animal. Contact us for more details, or read our post titled “BARK, CNR, and You.” Sad, I know… But since when is the stray problem in Taiwan a happy story? The only way to turn a sad story into a positive one in the life of a stray is to take responsibility for him/her, and as mentioned, BARK can not assume responsibility for every stray in Kaohsiung. And that’s the bottom line.

This said, however, there are things we can do to help you help animals. We can provide you with free food (limited to availability), we can help you with discounts at our participating veterinarian, and we can also provide you with a wealth of information and sources to help you train, and re-home an animal. Contact us for more details.

We know it’s not much, but as mentioned, our resources are limited both in terms of manpower and in terms of money, and we hope that you will understand that we do the best we can with what we have.

Thank you for your understanding.



An Important Notice in reference to BARK the Dudes and You.

To whom it may concern…

Please take the time to read the original message if you have not already.

The amount of phone calls I receive from foreigners who make their intentions clear to “put their pets to sleep” if they can not find homes for them before they have to leave Taiwan is overwhelming.

Firstly, all of us with BARK are animal lovers. That’s no secret, and naturally, we do not appreciate phone calls from people who threaten to kill their pets if we do not help them; if we do not take
responsibility for their pet upon their departure from Taiwan.

Secondly, we do not believe nor support putting animals to sleep. Besides, that is just a fancy way to tip toe around the harsh reality that “putting a pet to sleep” is nothing short of killing your pet.
After all, going to sleep entails that one would later wake up…

Thirdly, we see animals in need daily, and I’m sure most of you witness the same just about every day, too. This said, if we have the choice between saving your pet because you are considering killing him/her, or helping a sick stray, the choice is rather simple, and as mentioned, sick strays are abundant.

It doesn’t really matter if you purchased a pet from a pet store, or if you rescued your pet. The bottom line is that owning a pet should be for life.

That being said, we do understand that in some cases, foreigners do face extenuating circumstances which leaves them little choice but to leave their four-legged friends behind. However, in most cases it’s just irresponsible pet ownership. We all know that. Few people are willing to fork out money and go through all the paper work in order to bring their pets “home” with them.

To conclude, I have some advice for you. Please remember that your stay in Taiwan will less than likely exceed the lifespan of your pet. Think before you buy a pet. Are you willing and capable of assuming responsibility for an animal considering the cost and efforts involved in taking an animal back to your home country? If not, then maybe you should not buy a pet. Rescue an animal instead and do not consider it your “own” pet. Look at it as if you are just helping an animal in Taiwan and post the animal up for adoption as soon as it is healthy and ready to be re-homed.

It can take over a year to find a home for a fully grown adult mutt. Although you may not realize it, to wait until a few months prior to your departure to start looking for a new home for an animal you rescued can, and most likely will not work out. So if you choose to help a stray, I say good on you, but do not adopt it unless you are sure that you will bring that animal home with you. Re-home “your” pet ASAP, and if it works out, then you can always rescue another one if you like to have a pet at home.

In other words, if you own a pet but do not plan to bring it home with you, then start trying to find it a home at least a year before your departure and be willing to part with your friend early instead of ending up thinking about killing it because you love him/her so much and you would not want to see him/her go back on the street. Do your best to find your pet a home as you would if you had to be on a plane tomorrow.

And remember, you can always foster one of our pets. It’s a great alternative for transient foreigners.

If you need help and information to re-home an animal, do not hesitate to contact us. We can help. We also have heaps of solid information about taking animals to many countries such as Canada, England, Australia, South Africa, and more. It’s really not that difficult, by the way, and it’s not THAT costly.

Best regards,


You rock, Chris!

There was a cute story in the bilingual pages today of the times. … 2003492681
They are looking for people to take over.

Good post!
I second the idea of ‘fostering’ a pet while you are in Taiwan. People who are unable to keep a pet for the duration of it’s life can still help a LOT of animals. I’ve got two dogs of my own and a third place open for a foster pet- So far I’ve had three fosters in Taiwan and they have brought me so much joy (and frustration :wink: but mostly joy!). It’s a great alternative for someone who loves animals but can’t commit to a forever pet.
Another word on finding a permanent home for an animal: Always interview EVERYONE who lives in the house where the pet will live. Everybody needs to agree that the pet is a good addition to the family.
Try to do a ‘home visit’ to see what sort of conditions they’ll have it in.
Happy rescuing, many thanks to everyone out there doing their part.

How many people have threatened to kill their pet if they can’t find a home? I’ve heard of playing hardball to try and get what you want, but actually killing your dog? Have you ever see this happen, a first hand account of a healthy young dog being put down by it’s foreigner owner prior to leaving Taiwan? I just can’t believe a person could do that.

A small group of people have expressed interest in taking over BARK’s entire operation, but nothing is certain yet and we are still accepting applications should you be interested in running BARK. For more information about what’s happening with BARK, you can read the following news article published in the Taipei Times yesterday: … 2003492681
For inquiries, contact