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Saving Lives in a Small World

  • Until recently, Tiger & Greta lived in a shelter in Istanbul, Turkey. That’s 5,010 air miles away. Before that, Tiger and Greta lived on the streets.
  • And then there are Ian and Sean, two darling 12-week old brothers from the Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean, That’s 1,322 air miles away.
  • Finally, we have a little pack from Taiwan, 7,856 air miles away: Gary, Michael, Gina, and Lavender, Yuan Yuan, Albert, and Terry.

All together, these 11 lively young dogs traveled more than 14,000 miles to arrive at the safety of our no-kill shelter, all within a three-day period in early August. In a sense, you could say they’re a United Nations of dogs, a canine General Assembly. But unlike the members of the human U.N., these doggie delegates are playful, friendly, and sweet — as well as spayed and neutered! And amazingly, they need no interpreters; they’re all fluent in the same language: the language of love and kindness. With no ancient feuds to settle or petty disputes to resolve, they’re free to be happy just to be alive …and we at North Shore Animal League America are pleased and proud to welcome them to our International Rescue Program.

It’s a cliché, of course, but true just the same: the world is getting smaller every day. As citizens of the world, we’re all part of a revolution in transportation, communication, and information that has changed how we see our planet, sometimes for the better…sometimes for the worse.

Here at the League, we prefer to look at “the better,” and for several years now we’ve used every technological advance available to save more and more innocent lives. Through our International Rescue Program, we’ve formed lifesaving alliances with several organizations around the world. Here are just a few:

• Beykos Animal Shelter, Istanbul, Turkey
(Two dogs, arrived August 2)
We worked with this fine group in 2013, when we rescued a dog named Raki. Nancy Karabeyoglu, our contact in Istanbul, got in touch with us recently to tell us about Tiger and Greta. When we heard their stories, we immediately agreed to help remove these two sweet pups from harm’s way.

The logistics of transporting these dogs are simpler than you might expect. According to our Shelter Director, Christina Travalja, Nancy asks volunteers or family members to accompany the dogs from Turkey to the U.S.; she has also received grant support from Turkish Airlines to make the rescues possible.

Tiger* is a three-legged Mutt-i-gree whose story is available in a touching video on YouTube. The video was made and posted by Ozdemir Sogukdag, the gentle man who found Tiger gravely injured and suffering by the side of a busy road.

*We’re thrilled to report to you, Nancy and Ozdemir, that Tiger’s odyssey has already reached its happy ending: he was already adopted into a loving home.

Tiger’s fellow traveler, Greta, is still available. “Greta is a very lovely dog,” says Christina, “and she’s gradually getting used to our shelter environment. We hope to see her find a loving home in the very near future.”

• Turks and Caicos Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (TCSPCA)
(Two dogs, arrived August 3)
We’ve been happy to work with TCSPCA several times in the past. A small but dedicated organization, TCSPCA is working hard to educate people on the islands about the importance of spay/neuter, pet health care, and the humane treatment of all animals. TCSPCA also works to rescue, foster, and place pets in its care. Fortunately, the group has volunteers who live in New York and travel to the islands for business and pleasure. They are always happy to return with a little extra baggage, in this case, adorable Ian and Sean. Both are “potcakes,” or mixed-breed island dogs who resemble Shepherd mixes. Just 12 weeks old, Ian and Sean are extremely playful and love other dogs.
Animal Rescue Team Taiwan (ARTT )
(Seven dogs, arrived August 4)
We’ve worked with ARTT several times in the past and are delighted to have helped bring these seven charming dogs to safety. Now more than 20 years old, ARTT is an innovative organization that works tirelessly to find homes for its dogs and cats, not only in Taiwan but also internationally. Their global program, called “Cross-Ocean,” involves recruiting volunteers and international travelers to accompany their dogs and cats to shelters in the U.S. and Canada.

Founded by a retired math teacher, Joseph Nee, and his wife, Maggie, ARTT and its team of dedicated volunteers have saved the lives of thousands of Taiwan dogs. They rescue the dogs from animal traps in the fields, and from streets and roads in the towns and mountains. They then provide the dogs with full medical treatment, including tests and vaccines, funded from their modest personal resources and small donations. Their volunteer team then provides loving homes for the dogs, socializing them in the process, until they can find airline passengers to accompany them to their new lives.

When our Rescue Associates met this pack of seven at JFK, each was in a secure carrying case with their photos taped to the outside of the case for identification. Each case also displayed the dog’s name, along with contact info for both ARTT and the North Shore Animal League America. And finally, each dog arrived thoughtfully accessorized, wearing colorful harnesses and matching leashes.

All seven of the ARTT dogs are standouts, so it’s a challenge to choose one or two to tell you about. Despite being a bit nervous after such a long journey, their personalities are beginning to emerge.

Take Gary, for example, whose high spirits are hard to ignore. On a recent Monday morning, one of our associates took him for walk. Initially leery, he quickly began to warm up. Gary seems relaxed outdoors and loves to play in the park. A seven-month old neutered male, Gary should weigh about 30 pounds fully grown.
Another associate spent time with Gina, the little lady who arrived in a charming pink and white polka-dot ensemble. Gina appears to be housebroken and walks well on a leash. She warms up after a bit and loves to play with tennis balls.
As you might imagine, all of these new arrivals need time to adjust, to get over their canine jet lag, and to find their footing in this new and puzzling environment. But with the dedicated encouragement and patience of the League’s compassionate staff, their personalities will come shining through in no time. Once they’re ready to meet their public, you’ll be the first to know.

Thank you for your continued support of our many innovative adoption programs, including our international efforts. Without your generosity and kindness, these 11 sweet dogs would not be looking forward to the good lives that await them. We appreciate your continued donations as we expand our reach to save even more dogs, puppies, cats, and kittens.

Related Links:

International Rescue Videos

Tiger, Istanbul ADOPTED!

Albert, Taiwan
8 months old, neutered male, 15 lbs., sweet and friendly.

Lavender, Taiwan
2 year old, spayed female, 22 lbs., friendly and calm. Lavender recently gave birth to a litter of puppies and was a great mama dog.

Michael, Taiwan
8 month old, neutered male, 24 lbs., friendly and sweet. 

Terry, Taiwan
2 years old, neutered male, 28 lbs., super friendly

Yuan Yuan, Taiwan
7 months old, spayed female, super friendly.