Before I knew of the Life is Hope Foundation (LHF), Formosan Mountain
Dogs, and was only vaguely aware of international adoptions, I offered
to babysit a little black dog named Charlie for a week while his mom
had surgery. Charlie was quirky, funny, self-contained, and adaptable,
and I only learned he was a Formosan Mountain Dog mix after falling in
love with him. He, my dogs, and my family had a great week. So began
my love for the street dog breed, and I knew I would rescue one in the
future. Who knew I would have one myself less than a year later?
Early this year, my old dog finally succumbed to her slow-growing
cancer. As devastating as that was, I knew I would always honor the
species by getting a second dog. But I was going to wait, just wait, a
few more months. Then my daughter texts me a webpage.
“Mom,” she said. You’ve got to read this puppy’s story. She’s a
Taiwan dog like Charlie! ”
“Too soon,” I thought, but I looked anyway out of curiosity.
And there was “Cupcake,” the most adorable puppy in the history of
puppies. She had such a tale of woe, but her bright, forgiving energy
burst through all her photos. I knew we could give her all the
recovering love she needed.
I admit I was worried about how complicated an international adoption
might be. Fortunately, LHF made it seamless! Anita contacted me a few
days after I applied, did her due diligence, and then the adventure
began! At LHF they took care of everything way beyond the cost of
adoption (roughly the same as domestic costs, at least in the SFBay
area), sent more photos and videos, and answered all my inane motherly
questions (What food does she like? What’s her neck/chest size?). She
and her volunteers worked to meet all the stringent health clearances
and to arrange for accompanied flights. It is incredible how much they
LOVE dogs, and the effort to provide for them is exhausting and takes
endless hours of dedication. I just had to assure them I would provide
Cupcake with a good life, and they would jump hoops for us to make
sure she was healthy and arrived at SFO in the comfort of a big crate
(toys, blankets, sweaters, too!).
I could talk endlessly about life with Mei Mei (FKA Cupcake). How
wonderful she is, how her spunky little love for us humans must have
gotten those factory workers to rescue her and the foster families
already full of puppies to take her in. I can wax poetic about how
intelligent this breed mix is and how the stories of their absolute
loyalty are not exaggerated. But for brevity, I will conclude that the
special surprise that came with her was her community. People who own
FMD are a small but loyal group of people worldwide. I’ve made new
friends with whom I chat often about any care, stories, or just to
brag about the unique characteristics of these dogs. Mei Mei’s fosters
and LHF are still a part of her life, cheerleading from afar as she
grows and accomplishes new things. With Mei Mei and LHF, I’ve made new
dog friends and staunch champions for all dogs.