China Daily News

China Daily News 1994.1.24/Chan Ping Yi

Brother Native Dog and the Howler Family
Chen Ming Nan's 'Native Dog Fever
' is as hot as ever after 10 years

Being a guest at Chen Ming Nan's house takes caution because he has a very loyal native guard dog named Moon Howler. Its way of hospitality is to takes full sniffs of a guest upon his arrival.

When the guest sits down, it patrols nearby to stand guard. Due to Moon Howler's watchful nature, all guests at Chen's talk especially more softly and act especially gingerly under Moon Howler's supervision. The Chen's living room walls are covered by dog pictures.

Ever since having fell in love with Taiwan Native Dogs,Chen has been a loyal follower.
He even laughs at himself for becoming a dog slave for the rest of his life.

Chen is true to his nickname 'Brother Native Dog.' Finding another person as devoted to Native Dogs as Chen won't be easy. Although Chen has liked dogs since young, he never focused on Native Dogs until six years ago.

His next door neighbor was robbed; he was wounded and lost a lot of money. This incident affected Chen tremendously. He started to look for a reliable Native Dog as guard dog.

After having looked all over Taiwan's countryside, he realized that Native Dogs were gone, at least from the plains. His persistence took him to the mountains where he swore to himself that he would not quit until the Native Dogs were found.

During the ten year quest, he visited some experts in the canine world of Taiwan and read up on any information he could find about Taiwan Dogs in the libraries. These researches made it clear to him that due to the advancement of civilization and in-breeding, Taiwan Dogs were facing a very dim future. Saving them became his mission. He visited the mountains even more often.

As long as there is the rumor of a Native Dog, he will do anything to get there

At that time he would travel through fire to find these dogs; nothing and no one could stop him. He acted as if he was possessed, and Native Dogs were the only things he had on his mind.

Even his mother couldn't stand this insanity and scolded him for not being home all day. Before having found Blackie, Chen had already bought 18 dogs, but unfortunately, after much studying afterwards, none of them was a representation of the original true Native Dog which Chen wanted.

The disappointed Chen brought those dogs back to their original owners one by one, even though he already spent a lot of money on them. His reason was that he did not want to run the risk of not loving them enough resulting in mistreatment. One morning six years ago in Wufong Hsiang, Hsinchu County, Chen went about his usual task of dog search.

He met an aborigines coming toward him with a small black puppy. Despite of the unremarkable feature of the puppy, Chen's eyes lit up, stopped the man, and bought the puppy on the spot for a large sum of 30000 dollars. He took the puppy away from the astonished man immediately and drove happily down the mountain.

To commemorate his first Taiwan Dog, Chen named blackie a strong name, Hsiao Wu Fong. Chen stayed at home awhile with Hsiao Wu Fong, but when it grew up, Chen had to look for a mate for him. After looking around for 6 months, Chen finally found Black Spirit in the Central Mountain Range where Yilan and Hualien meet.

Black Spirit was a puppy found by an aborigine when he was hunting boars. Chen was very proud of it and said that it ran as a flying fairy. After spending some money, Chen was able to mate Hsiao Wu Fong and Black Spirit.

To keep a promise, Hunter was sent home. It cried when leaving

The Howler family kept on growing under Chen's care. Since Hsiao Wu Fong was young and energetic, Chen got him another old mate called Hunter. Hunter had a beautiful tiger-striped coat.

When Chen spotted her in a mountain aboriginal settlement accidentally, he fell in love with it and asked to mate her. He visited its owner three times, turned down each time. The fourth time he went, he was even thrown out of the house.

But Chen did not give up. The fifth time, plus a little help from 50000 dollars, the owner relented. He brought Hunter to the front door, took a sip of rice wine, and whispered into Hunter's ear. When he finished his drink, he sold Hunter.

When the ecstatic Chen was taking Hunter back to Taoyuan, Hunter stopped after only 5 steps. Chen looked back and saw Hunter looking back at the house with tears streaming down its face. Chen was so moved by what he saw, that he promised Hunter to take it back.

In August this year, Chen kept his promise and took a long journey here to bring Hunter back. Chen bought a dozen bottles of rice wine and 24 cans of Hunter's favorite food. As he was leaving, Hunter was visibly sad, but Chen was the one who was crying.

His only son already in agricultural school studying veterinary science. Father and son plan to bring the glory of Taiwan Dogs to the world

Moon Howler which is the only house dog is Hunter's offspring. It is extremely bright and can do simple arithmetics. It's the baby of the family. Three months ago, Chen found out that Moon Howler seems to be able to connect with him psychologically. He tested by keeping his eyes closed, mouth shut, and no gestures.

Even so, Moon Howler was still able to do arithmetic. Chen shared his great finding with his family. As to Moon Howler's amazing ability, Chen thinks it's the best gift that Black Spirit could have given him. Chen's hobby became his mission. All he thought about everyday was how to preserve the Taiwan Dog breed.

Since they are still at the stage to maintain a pure bloodline, Chen emphasizes the more indigenous the better. But in order to secure the purity, genetic engineering must be applied. In view of this, he persuaded his only son to study veterinary science at an agricultural school. Both father and son are prepared to work as a team in this mission.

Besides Moon Howler, there are about twenty members in the Howler family, all of them living on the roof of Chen's home. Feeding them and watching them grow happily everyday is Chen's biggest joy.

Treating the dogs like historical treasures and being the self-appointed caretaker of this breed, Chen decorated his kennel as a miniature Native Dog museum, both to make the dogs realize their own historical values and to provide them with the most appropriate home environment.

Looking back at the ten hard years, the 42-year-old Chen says he is destine to be a dog slave for life. His only hope is to see them shine in the canine world internationally, and to earn back the overdue respect to Taiwan. With someone so dedicated in his mission, Taiwan Dogs will probably soon be the next hot item.

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