Twelve stray Golden Retriever puppies made a journey from the streets of Taiwan to San Francisco on Tuesday to be united with new families waiting for them in the United States.
The rescue was a coordinated effort between three Northern California rescues and Taiwanese rescue groups. The dogs ranged in ages from puppies to seniors. The groups Love & Second Chances, Muttville Senior Dog Rescue and NorCal Golden Retriever Rescue said the operation was a success for all involoved. There's a high demand for Golden Retrievers in California, but few of the good natured dogs enter shelters and rescues in the area.
Meanwhile in Taiwan, the opposite is the case. Golden Retrievers roam the streets after their owners tire of them or find the dogs too big for their small homes and simply abandon them.
Airlift organizer and founder of Love and Second Chances Melody Chen, explains that Golden Retrievers are a popular dog in Taiwan but are being over bred within a densely populated country. She told KGO-TV, "In Taiwan what they do is they'll take these dogs because they're so cute and their temperaments are so good. But once they grow to be full size they just set them free."
The dogs arrived in the US in reasonable shape, given they were living on the streets. "They come in with hip x-rays, blood work," said Jill Morgan, area coordinator for NorCal Golden Retriever Rescue. Dog lovers in Taiwan spend up to $1000 per dog preparing them for their new homes in the US. All three of the rescues take care of plenty of dogs from within the States that are looking for homes too, but this was an opportunity to make a difference.
Love and Second Changes posted to their Facebook page, "There is a long waiting list of amazing homes all waiting for Goldens here in the states and there are Goldens dying everyday in Taiwan in shelters and on the streets. From just that aspect, there was an opportunity to make a difference without throwing off balance....in this case it is very much a win win situation on both sides. Many of our adopters have already look[ed] through shelters or have been on waiting list for up to 2 years for a good potential [dog]. There will always be argument, but being a rescue we saw a chance to make a difference. We have rescued many local dogs and are doing our best to help out these dogs in need. In the end, a dog is a dog and a life is a life."
Several of the Taiwanese dogs already have homes, such as Teddy who is 5 and a half months old and was rescued during a typhoon. He's now being spoiled rotten by his new family.
Sacramento resident Jonathan Longacre cuddling his new dog said, "He seems good. I was told he's pretty shy because he came from a pretty bad background so we're gonna give him lots of love and lots of hugs."