This blog was created for USASTRATCOM Long Lines Battalion Army personnel who served in Taiwan during the 1965-72 time frame. Specifically, those who lived and worked in and around Taipei are the target. If you worked at the Grass Mountain or Gold Mountain facilities or anywhere in downtown Taipei, we would like to hear from you. All are welcome to visit and contribute to this blog. Your comments and pictures are encouraged.

Friday, December 31, 2010

So We Bought This Dog, Taipei, Taiwan, 1968

Based on the assumption that you can never have enough insurance, we decided to buy a dog. Before my wife arrived in mid-August, 1968, I knew approximately where the dog vendor would be during the day.

Shortly after we moved into the apartment in Yangmingshan, we went hunting for a dog. We wanted one that would add that third layer of apartment protection as well as provide us with some companionship.

A mixed little dog that would easily growl and bark was our goal. What we got exceeded our expectations and, sometimes, our patience. 
South of the East Compound and in an alley, the dog seller was found. In August of 1968, the heat was oppressive every day. This picture was taken after we bought ours.

The name had been already picked out, so now we chose. The day we bought Cecil, the assortment of these mixed Spitz pups was about six.

They were all asleep, so we chose a couple that had brown spots. Out from the cage they came, with a swipe from a wet towel to wake them up.

One actually walked toward us, and the pick was made. After haggling over a dollar or two, we took the dog home. We were assured that we had a male. 

Back at the apartment, one of us put one hand over its mouth and the other hand over the eyes. Then the other sprayed the whole body with Raid to kill anything external.

We then gave Cecil a bath and let him sleep. We figured if he could survive that first day, then chances of living were increased.

We didn't now there was an American veterinarian, so we took him to Blue Sky in Tien Mou. Maybe the address is familiar to some of you, but I believe this was on a major street.

After an initial exam, the Taiwanese vet told us our HE was a SHE.  Not that it made any difference. We weren't checking that closely. Embarrassing....yes.

The vet was pleasant and we felt confident in having Cecil spayed and given a health check.  He assured us he had only lost 3 dogs while neutering them over his years in practice. 
The battle for dominance began early. This dog would maintain eye contact which is rare. She allowed us to believe we were in charge. Her behavior, though, indicated otherwise.

She always seemed to have a purpose in her busy little life.

Since she cried every time we went to bed, Cecil soon joined us. During the winter, we used our electric blanket. She was firmly planted between our pillows. 

If we moved during the night, she growled. See the pattern yet?

After growing to about 15 pounds, Cecil was out the door at 5 a.m. She awoke her other dog friends and off they would go for the day.

She would often come back looking filthy. Three or four baths each week were not uncommon. Her breath would smell heavily of garlic.

She and her friends raided the garbage at the hotel near the entrance of DaHeng Road.

We've never had another dog who wanted so much to ride in the car with her face out the window catching the breeze.

Fatigues and hat meant going to work and she was in the car with my wife. Every time the shift was over, she would be in our car on my wife's lap, happy to see me.

She wasn't happy to see my friends or co-workers.
Once we got her to accept the leash, which took about 10 months, we could take her anywhere, including Shimending. Here, we are on the road to the Grass Mountain Hostel.
Despite her long absences during the day, Cecil always showed up when it got dark. Although being encouraged by me to play in traffic and chase taxis and buses,  she was with us when it was time to leave Taiwan.

So, the paperwork began. This is her certificate by the American vet.
Next came getting the ROC government to sign off. The association with the Blue Sky clinic didn't hurt.
Finally, the contract with Northwest Orient Airlines was made. The cost to ship her to Hopkins Airport in Cleveland was $73.00.

We delivered her to NWO freight at the airport in a very sturdy metal cage which we bought in Shimending. Attached to the cage were 3 cans of dog food, taped to the top. Also attached were a copy of my departure orders and a personal note my wife wrote.

So into the cargo hold she finally went, along with the baggage and commercial shipping. She was so tough that we were pretty confident she would survive.

My in-laws picked her up when the call came from Cleveland. The mystery was that she was not in the cage in which she was shipped. She was also very subdued and immediately formed a bond with my father-in-law, who had a story of how forlorn the dog looked. 

When my wife arrived home in mid-August, Cecil was always glued to her. None of this being alone stuff. After my arrival, she had a foursome she trusted.

Her first birthday was celebrated with us in CONUS as were 14 more. What a wonderful life she had.

1 comment:

  1. We do get attached to the little critters, don't we? I'm glad that you folks and Cecil got to know each other and that you had so many good years.