Spend your time with big dogs at Fur Kids TW


As a dog owner, I have visited my fair share of dog shelters. From adoption centers that house over 20 breeds of dogs to ones that specialize in the care of toy poodles, I thought I had seen all that Taiwanese dog shelters had to offer. It wasn’t until I visited FurKidsTW (Fur Kids) when I realized the lack of shelters that specifically accommodate large dogs.  


Located in Keelung city, Fur Kids is a non-profit organization created specifically to house large sized dogs. While the shelter can accommodate a maximum of 20 dogs, there are currently 19—all of which fall under the category of either tibetan mastiffs, caucasian mountain dogs or formosan mountain dogs. 


“Tibetan mastiffs and caucasian mountain dogs have very few chances of being adopted due to their size and fierce image,” Rene Chen, an active volunteer and chairman of Fur Kids, said. “While there are 180,000 abandoned dogs in Taiwan, Fur Kids takes on the most difficult mission of rescuing the extra large dogs and providing them with shelter.” 


Currently, Fur Kids has three dog care assistants that provide the dogs with around the clock care. The assistants typically start their day off by cooking fresh food for the two meals each dog eats a day. This is then followed by other tasks, such as cleaning cages, walking or washing dogs, sending dogs to veterinary hospitals and much more. 


“Taking care of the dogs is not always easy, and sometimes the assistants can get injured from the dogs,” Rene said. “Just like teenagers, the dogs might sometimes show attitude or do things for no reason that hurt the assistants, as if they were parents.”  


Since Fur Kids is a non-profit organization, the shelter heavily relies on volunteers and donations. “We do need donations to support more dog rescues, food, shelter, medication and manpower,” Rene said. “Volunteers are always welcome to help.” 


While volunteering, visitors are accompanied with at least one Fur Kids assistant and allowed to wash, feed or walk dogs depending on the weather. Those who want to visit the shelter as a group are encouraged to 


“The first time I went to Fur Kids I helped walk a few of the dogs,” volunteer and TAS parent Jenny Wang Chen said. “The second and third time though the weather was too hot so the dogs could not walk on the heated ground, so instead I helped wash the dogs. My experience has always been very positive, and although the dogs may initially seem scary, Fur Kids is actually the most docile dog shelter I have visited in Taiwan.” 


The obedient nature of the dogs is something that Fur Kids volunteers and workers are rather proud of. “The dogs are generally friendly towards visitors and other dogs, and most of them can be taken out for walks by any first time visitor under the supervision of staff,” volunteer Sonia Ho said. “What’s more, fights rarely happen among the dogs. I believe these changes are made by the love and care the dogs have been shown over the years.” 


In fact, most dogs are tame enough that they are given the freedom of roaming around cage-free during the day. “When I went to volunteer, the assistants would open most of the cages and the dogs would just walk around freely amongst each other with no problem. This is really rare to see at shelters, because typically rescued dogs have developed anxiety or can be aggressive towards one another,” Jenny said. 


Fur Kids believes that part of the reason why their dogs are so calm is because they often play mantra, a motivating chant that is performed through Hinduism or Buddhism, outloud in the shelter. 


“The dogs listen to mantra all day long because we believe that it really helps them calm down and live peacefully together. We’ve found that you can easily see a difference before and after the mantra is played,” Rene said. 


Aside from Fur Kids, there are very few shelters in Taiwan that can accommodate large sized dogs. For those who are interested in volunteering or looking for a fun way to pass the time with friends or family, I highly recommend taking a trip to Keelung to visit the dogs at Fur Kids.