by Dr. Bob Wang – Former AIT Deputy Director 2006-2009
I left Taiwan over a decade ago but have kept a photo of Puppet in my wallet ever since. Why? Because puppet was truly special and will be a friend to me forever.
Moving so often in my career, it was difficult to own a pet so I was happy to be able to sponsor Puppet in Taiwan. I really looked forward to running with Puppet on weekends, and we quickly formed a bond. Puppet made me feel as if he was the one taking me out for a run after a long and busy week.
After we left Taiwan, I was happy to hear that a British lady adopted Puppet and brought him (and Mushroom, another furry friend) to the UK shortly afterwards. I began communicating with Puppet’s new mom, Lynda Malone. She sent photos and videos of Puppet running through the countryside, sitting by the fireplace on Christmas, chasing kites on beaches, bringing back wonderful memories of Puppet.
When Puppet suddenly passed away in 2015, I got a message from Lynda that pretty much sums up my feelings: “I lost my sweet Puppet on 02/07/2015 (oh hell here come the tears again…). Pup woke up poorly and we lost him the next day due to a problem with his liver. It was totally out of the blue and I still cry over him. He was a true friend and I called him a Hachiko dog as he was so faithful, wherever I went, Pup was next to me. When we were going up to bed at night, I sometimes held back knowing he would stop on the first stair and look back to see why I wasn’t at his side. He wouldn’t proceed until I was at his side. He was not going to be left behind now he had a friend….”
“I am still crying but mixed with all the grief is the immense joy I feel at having been lucky enough to share the love of these two wonderful characters for 5 years. The depth of my grief reminds me of the depth of my love for Puppet and Mushroom. Without the likes of you, Mayumi and all the other volunteers at the rescue center, I would never have known such joy. You made it possible for two little unwanted dogs to travel so far and gave them the life they deserved. Everyone they have met whilst living in the UK says what lovely natured dogs the dogs from Taiwan are.”
Yes, Puppet also reminds me of Taiwan and its people…warm, friendly, kind, fun and willing to heal and take care of stray animals like my true friend Puppet.