Thursday, 14 October 2010

SPCA has moved blogs!

The Taiwan SPCA now has a fully functional blog on our website!
Please visit for future postings!!!

Friday, 16 July 2010

Figuring out Ferrets: Part 1

Ferrets are small mammals that have become popular pets in some areas of the world. They can be fun companions, but before you decide to get one as a pet, you need to understand that they can be a demanding pet to keep. When they are active they need lots of supervision and you will have to take many precautions in your house to ensure they are not injured or killed. Ferrets can also have health difficulties and will need veterinary care from time to time. Ferrets will also have difficulty getting along with some other animals you might have in your home. Ferrets are not just big hamsters, before you make that decision to bring one home educate yourself on the responsibilities involved.

Basic Information:

The domesticated ferret is from the family of mammals known as Mustelidae which also includes weasels and otters. The skunk is also a relative to the ferret and one legacy of this is the musky scent the ferrets produce. Ferrets were originally domesticated by man sometime between 2500-1500B.C. and used to kill or capture rodents and other small animals. Ferrets range in size from about 33-50cm long and weigh between 33 to 180g with the males being almost twice as large as the females.


Ferrets require a cage to spend most of their time in. A good cage is one that is at least large enough for the ferret to stand completely up on its hind legs. There are many cages which have multiple levels for the ferret to explore. The cage should include a bed which allows the ferret to curl up out of sight as they will be sleeping through most of the day and will appreciate some privacy. A litter box is also necessary in the cage. The ferret will pick one corner of the cage to use as its bathroom; this is where you should put the litter box. The litter box will need to be cleaned frequently. They will also require a water bottle which fastens securely to the side of the cage, and a heavy food dish that is difficult for the ferret to overturn.

Next time we will conclude our discussion on ferrets by looking at their behavior and health.

Tune in to find out more...

Wednesday, 14 July 2010


Hamsters are lively and clean animals that like to live alone. They can take a while to become tame, so patience is essential. Hamsters are nocturnal animals so they need a quiet and peaceful environment during the day.


• To live on their own (some dwarf species will live as pairs).
• To be fed seeds, grains, nuts, cleaned fruits and vegetables daily and to have a constant supply of fresh drinking water. A drip-feed bottle with metal spout is ideal.
• To be given a large living space kept indoors that is out of direct sunlight and a nest box inside where they can sleep and hoard their food.
• To have sawdust on the floor with hay or soft wood chips on top as well as paper towels for their bedding.
• A plastic exercise wheel (not the open rung kind). Hamsters love to exercise.
• Toys to stimulate them, like plastic or cardboard tubes, mazes and ladders for climbing.
• To have their homes thoroughly cleaned weekly.
• A hardwood gnawing block, natural not treated wood, so they can wear down long teeth.
• To be picked up gently, with 2 hands.
• To be brushed.
• To be taken to the vet if they are sick or injured or when showing abnormal behaviour.
• To be looked after while you are away on vacation.


• Don’t let your hamster run freely around your house as he or she could get lost, injured or stepped upon.
• Don’t take your hamster out for outings like you would your dog. They are tiny animals and the experience could be very traumatizing for them.
• Don’t handle your hamster roughly and quickly. Hamster like to jump when they are scared therefore could jump right out of your hands and get injured or lost.
• Don’t take your hamster to school and pass them around to your friends like a toy. The noise, movement and unfamiliar surroundings could be extremely traumatizing. Remember how tiny they are and how big you are.
• Don’t use newspaper or cotton in their cages.
• Don’t keep more than one hamster in a cage as they will usually fight.

No matter the size of the animal you keep, it is your responsibility to give him or her what they need. If you cannot provide what a hamster needs, you should choose another animal that better suits your lifestyle.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

You WILL Enjoy This! The Musings of a 19 Year Old Intern at the Taiwan SPCA

Dear honorable supporters, dedicated fans and avid followers of the Taiwan SPCA,

In the article that follows you will be able to delve into the delicate mind of a 19 year old intern at the Taiwan SPCA. You will able to enjoy the quality musings of an adolescent living in an adult world, doing adult things and taking on adult responsibilities. Don't worry, you will not be met with the usual plethora of teenage slang and idioms. Instead, I hope you will discover an article worthy of deep and meaningful discussion which would ultimately lead to a new level of enlightenment to all. Please enjoy.

Before I begin the amazing journey which is my article, I deem it proper social etiquette to introduce myself to those who haven't had the pleasure of meeting me yet! A happy coincidence including a half-eaten hamburger, a note, a sleazy restaurant and a group of adolescent Taiwanese girls gave birth to a relationship which lead to me! I hail from the two great nations of Taiwan and the Netherlands. I was born in Kaohsiung and have lived in Asia the whole 19 years of my life. I've lived in Japan, China and Taiwan. After 19 years of exploring the Orient, I decided that my life needed something new, and I headed to the West. I am currently studying Wildlife Management in the Netherlands. To close off a great first academic year full of study, drinking, rugby, drinking, fraternities, drinking, new friends and drinking, I decided to do my required internship back in my trusted city of Taipei. Having worked with Sean McCormack before (as a staff member at the AnimalsTaiwan Rescue Center) I contacted him. He offered to help me out, and now here I am; the new Taiwan SPCA intern. Now enough about me! Onwards we go to those quality musings about being an intern that I promised.

What I suspect that my new superiors wanted me to do is, is to write an engaging article about my experience here. Since all good interns listen to their boss, especially when they look like the two bosses I have here in the office (twins...HOT!), I shall now proceed with my account of my days here at the office of the Taiwan SPCA.

The days always start very ritualistic. Many business men and women can probably relate; you probably do exactly what I do every single day. You shuffle into the office, still rubbing the last bit of sleep out of your face. You incoherently greet your co-workers and make your way to your desk. While your computer is starting up, you take those two minutes to sip your morning beverage wishing that you were back in your warm, comfortable bed. When the computer is finally on and you've logged on you can finally start your day of hard work! That means only one thing, up comes Facebook so you can check if any of your friends have replied to your last posts. This Facebook page will not be closed throughout the day and will serve as a hourly distraction to an otherwise productive day. This is the beginning of everyone's day, yes?

**I know it's a lot of text. I apologize to those people who are thinking that Sean has made a grave error in allowing me access to the blog for a day. Keep reading though, I'm very funny.**

On to more serious material now. It is of course not all play. Occasionally it's serious here in the office as well. Multiple phone calls come in that Connie replies. Tens of emails come in every day which Connie replies too. Then there's the multitude of paperwork that Connie works through, while I look on. It seems I am here only to provide some moral support for my hard working boss...

That's a lie. I don't just watch Connie all day (although that would be a great pastime for when I have more free time). When I get to work everyday there is a small piece of paper on my desk describing all the tasks that I should do that day. These administrative undertakings of me are one of my main areas of focus while working for the Taiwan SPCA. Although I had always marked myself as an outdoors man, running wild with animals in the field, these tasks do teach me everyday about responsibility, dedication, patience, and many other things that 19 year olds learn from these kinds of experiences.

However, my internship is not limited to just this laptop. No indeed, I am let out from time to time to take in the brilliant weather here in Taipei and participate in outside activities. These 'outings' include many different things, from investigating horrendous animal cruelty cases to bringing animals to doctors. Oh the sights I've seen! The sounds I've heard! The smells I've smelt! It would be unimaginable for me to describe the horrors that I have experienced. No, don't ask! I better keep the details for myself and suffer alone. It would be best not to ask me about these things...

At this point in my long, almost nonsensical musing, I must add that I truly enjoy the work that I am involved with at the Taiwan SPCA. All sarcasm and drama aside, this work has been my motivation to continue in the study that I am currently in. I feel a certain passion for this work that I can't adequately describe with my vocabulary. I feel the need to go out and help all the animals who don't have the vocal abilities to stand up for themselves. Not just wildlife, but domestic as well. Sean has quite generously given me opportunities to work in this field, TWICE. So thank you Sean, and thank you to my colleagues at the SPCA who have welcomed me into the animal welfare circle. (And on top of that they've shamelessly used me to lighten their own workloads!) I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all those volunteers and sponsors who make all this possible as well!

On a more goofy note...again, I've started to come to the end of my attempt at an article worthy of your attention. I hope that I have managed to spur your imagination and given some insight into this young man's mind. Now you've learned something about me, my experience at the Taiwan SPCA, and my views on the adult world which I have hesitantly made my first steps into. Be enlightened! (As promised at the end of the first paragraph.)

PS. My name is Arnold Taen. ;)

Tuesday, 18 May 2010


Dogs are intelligent and fun, each has a unique personality, and they are rightly known as mans best friend. However, all dogs, no matter their size or temperament, require a great deal of energy, attention, care, space, and financial commitment.


• Companionship—to live in a family setting, with other dogs or people
• Space and freedom to move around
• A balanced diet
• Fresh, clean water
• A comfortable place to sleep, away from noise and the elements
• A daily walk of at least 45 minutes, on leash while near roads or people
• The opportunity to go to the bathroom three times a day (puppies need more)
• To be brushed regularly and have clean teeth
• Responsible carers to always pick up their mess
• To have a collar with name and contact number on it
• To be microchipped and neutered, and to be adequately vaccinated
• To be taken to the vet when sick or injured or when showing abnormal behaviour
• To be properly cared for while you are on vacation
• To be properly trained—you are responsible for your dog’s behaviour
• To be given preventives for parasites such as heartworm and ticks


• Don’t leave your dog by itself all day, on a balcony or outside
• Don’t keep a dog in a cage or on a chain
• Don’t feed bread, rice, etc., which have little nutritional value to a dog
• Don’t feed onions or cooked bones, which are dangerous (garlic and raw bones are fine)
• Don’t hit or humiliate a dog—not only is it cruel, but it creates other problems
• Don’t walk your dog off leash
• Don’t walk your dog by tying him or her to a scooter
• Don’t walk your dog by making him ride in a baby carriage—dogs need to walk and smell the ground
• Don’t treat your dog like a toy by coloring or shaving patterns in the fur or making him or her wear silly clothes
• Don’t allow your dog to become overweight—obese dogs lead miserable, unhealthy, short lives
• Don’t abandon your dog—if you cannot care for your dog any more, find him or her a good home
• Don’t leave your dog in a car on warm or hot days, as dogs can die in minutes like this
• Don’t mutilate your dog. Tail and ear cropping is considered mutilation.

Having a dog as a companion is a life-long commitment. If you cannot provide what a dog needs, you should choose another companion animal that better suits your lifestyle.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010


With spring here and summer right around the corner that means that ticks are out in full force, hidden in parks and other grassy or leafy areas, just waiting for their next meal.

Ticks are parasitic arthropods that feed on the blood of the animal they attach to. They are found in tall grassy areas, mountainous regions, and anywhere that has a lot of trees and plants. Once they attach to their ‘prey’, they will feed on it until full, which could be several days. They usually attach to areas on the animal that don’t have a lot of fur, such as around the ears, between the toes, or in the crevasses of the legs.

The best way to ensure your dog’s health is to check him or her after walks by running your hands over the entire body, paying particular attention to the areas mentioned above, and to take preventative measures to avoid infestation. This can be done with the following methods:

1. Spraying a 50/50 mix of water and white vinegar on your dog’s coat before walks. This is great for the skin and coat, but also leaves an acidic film on the coat that ticks are not attracted to. Also, it is all natural with no chemicals or toxins that can be harmful to your dog, and is in fact great for his digestive system should he or she lick some of it off.

2. Ensure your dog’s immune system is strong. A strong immune system is a deterrent for both ticks and fleas. Feeding healthy foods, vitamins, and minerals all help boost the immune system.

3. Add garlic to the diet and feed daily. Feed about one gram of garlic (about half a regular clove) per ten kilograms of dog every day (so a 20 kg dog would get one clove). The Taiwan SPCA has found that garlic is just as effective at keeping fleas and ticks away as spraying with chemical parasiticides.

(For more information on healthy diets please go to or

If you do find a tick on your dog it must be removed immediately. Please follow these steps for safe removal:

Use a pair of tweezers to remove the tick. Grasp the tick at the base of the skin, pulling slowly and making sure to pull out the head as well. DO NOT squeeze the tick’s body as this could inject diseases into your dog. Once the tick is removed, put pressure on the area to stop any bleeding and clean with warm soapy water. Keep an eye on the area for a couple days to make sure no infection has started. Always remember to keep yourself safe and wash your hands after handling ticks.