Editorial: Wolf & Simon
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 1998:
Having formed perhaps the farthest-reaching animal protection
newsgathering network ever, we may receive and read more cruelty
reports, from around the world, than anyone else who ever lived.
Readers reeling from the shock and horror of just the handful
of cases they’re familiar with often wonder how we cope.
We look out the window. The joy and surprise of animals is
never far, from the flash of a diving redtailed hawk, the chirp of newly
hatched songbirds, and the whir of a hummingbird, to the sentinel work
of our German shepherd, Tasha; the industry of the rats, mice, chipmunks,
squirrels, and rabbits who loot spillage from our bird feeder;
and the indefatigable concentration of our cats, who never tire of watching
them, tails twitching, from behind secure fences and screens.
Shrews, snakes, and even giant banana slugs likewise give us
moments of appreciative interest. Some creature is always doing something,
and frequently the action is not only heartening but unexpected.
We recently looked just in time to see Alejandro, one of the
two Mojave desert burros we adopted a year ago, pause momentarily
while flopping himself down to roll in dust to gently nuzzle aside a
mouse who otherwise would have been crushed. Formerly at risk of
being shot by the National Park Service for being “non-native,”
Alejandro and his companion, Eeyore, were captured by Wild Burro
Rescue with an assist from Steve Hindi of the Chicago Animal Rights
Coalition. Though gentled for five months before their arrival, they are
still wild creatures, tolerant but cautious toward humans. They did long
since bond with our dogs, however, and watch the back door avidly
each morning in hopes the dogs will join their chase games. Alejandro
and Eeyore are also socially conversant with the bolder of our cats,
especially Dolores, a formerly starving abandonee who found us in
upstate New York, whose long grey fur is the color of their own. But
Alejandro didn’t learn benevolence toward mice from either dogs or cats.
The most joyous animal scenes here lately tend to involve our
newest family member, Simon, a former Taiwanese street mutt.
Recounts Mina Sharpe, of the Taipei Abandoned Animal
Rescue Foundation, “This little guy was hit by a car when he was only two months old,
requiring life-saving surgery to his hips,” including follow-up surgery we’ve scheduled for
late September. “He was then scheduled to come to the U.S. only a few weeks later to continue
his treatment,” Sharpe adds, “but a serious illness sidetracked those plans.”
Luck and Sharpe, however, were on his side. Sharpe, 16, formed the Taipei
Abandoned Animal Rescue Foundation four years ago. With the help of the Yang-Ming
Veterinary Hospital in Taipei, she has now rescued, neutered, and placed about 350 street
dogs, demonstrating the no-kill alternative and setting an example of working in respect of
the Buddhist life ethic. As Sharpe volunteered in introducing herself to us last spring, her
efforts are a deliberate counterpoint to the Humane Society of the U.S., People for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals, and World Society for the Protection of Animals, whose response to
Taiwanese dog overpopulation to date centers on teaching animal control staff to kill more
dogs, faster, with scant attention if any to neutering.
Sharpe emphasizes neutering, as we recounted in our July/August cover feature, “A
dog’s life makes a difference,” and has become influential in promoting high-volume, lowcost
neutering in Thailand, as well. She’ll use all the help you can send her, c/o T-AARF,
800 Chung Shan N. Rd., Sec. 6, Shihlin, Taipei , Taiwan 111, Republic of China.
After receiving intensive care through Sharpe and T-AARF, and spending a night in
transit with Terri Crisp of United Animal Nations, Simon joined us in June, just as school let
out for the summer. Simon and our son Wolf, not quite eight, spend much of every day playing
“stick” and “ball,” practicing leash-walking, and pretending to be members of an African
wild dog pack, under Tasha’s watchful eye.
Simon has adopted Francesca, a black Labrador/spaniel mix, as his surrogate mother,
perhaps compensating Francesca for the loss of a litter taken from her by the unknown
Vermonter who dumped her, still lactating, out of a truck near our former headquarters
around four years ago. Simon and the burros exchanged play-bows almost immediately.
The cats tolerate his bouncing, and tend to migrate toward whatever room he is in to
see what commotion he’ll start next. His tail never stops high-speed wagging––except when
he’s asleep in his traveling crate, now his bed.
He’s a great ambassador for the millions of needy dogs in Asia