The no-kill animal shelter I’ve become slightly obsessed with, TUAPA (see posts here, here, and here), does everything it can to place dogs and cats into homes in Taiwan. It works to rehabilitate dogs that need a little extra nudge in a positive direction so they can join a family once they’re ready.


People worldwide are supporters of this little engine that could. TUAPA partners with rescues and shelters around the world in order to help some dogs from its shelter in Taichung, Taiwan, that are “most adoptable” travel abroad to rescues, foster homes, and forever homes.

I was trying to get him to pose for a picture that Courtney, the passenger, who was sitting in front of me, was taking. Hannah took this picture of our massive failure.

My friend Hannah and I were able to help nine TUAPA dogs, including The Pup Formerly Known As Charlotte, get ready for the long flight from Taipei to Seattle on Tuesday, February 21.

Happy people, happy puppies at the airport.

Then, on Thursday, March 1, I flew with two dogs to their new foster home in San Francisco.

Two shy sister shiba puppies. Eventually this one hopped out of her crate, only to crawl under the cart so she could "hide".

All I had to do was carry some paperwork, claim the dogs at customs, and cart them out to their waiting foster dad out in the arrivals hall.

When you're checking live animals as luggage, the airline treats you differently. The scanners beeped every time my ticket was scanned, and everyone knew the puppies were mine. I also got to cut in line a lot. Not a bad gig.

It’s a process to get the dogs ready to fly abroad – medical tests, fundraising, extensive paperwork and email chains, and finding a passenger willing to fly directly to his or her destination. Once the dogs arrive, the rescue and receiving families get to work.

San Francisco, here we come!

For the humans, it’s a lot of time-consuming effort, but for the dogs, it’s a new life, and that makes it all worth it.