Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Puppy Dogs

In earlier posts I've raved about the dogs which run loose around here, barking all hours of the day and night.

Just before I left for Australia, one of my neighbor's dogs which runs around the neighborhood had puppies again.... she nursed  the five of them just to the left of the front door in front of what was then an empty unit. Thankfully, someone moved in and the neighbor forced them temporarily into cages.

Unfortunately, they've long since been let out of the cages. They bring their bones, trash, etc. to my house front, where I sweep them up in the morning. I've been reminded that I need to leave my outside trash can elevated on top of the bird cages or else they'll get to them.

In my weaker moments, I've contemplated kidnapping the puppies in the middle of the night in order to drop them off in a remote location far from here, or leaving them some steak laced with something to make them go to sleep (to facilitate the dog-napping) or worse. Thankfully, I never acted on those thoughts.

Last week the 20 year old son of the neighbor in question came over to chat with me at my house... the very first time. He works in a small local seafood restaurant. Soon he'll be leaving home for the first time as he does his compulsory military service. He's been back two or three other times since. In one of our talks, he shared about how a dog he raised over by his restaurant was kidnapped and killed by someone in order to enjoy the dog meat. This saddened him greatly.

If I had acted out on my thoughts and been discovered, I would certainly not be in the position I find myself now of being able to share the hope and love we have in God through Jesus Christ to this young man as he moves off into what he feels will be an uncertain period in his life. May God give us additional opportunities to interact. Maybe I can even gracefully approach the topic of the stray dogs and the havoc they cause for the rest of the neighborhood again... However, they do provide an important security service in this area where thieves break in wherever they feel they can make a quiet get-away.

The Inspector is Coming!

fence1 A few months ago I wrote about the ongoing road construction in front of my house and some of the resulting inconveniences. Since returning to Taiwan's coastal countryside a month ago, progress has been slow. As we continue to battle the dirt, mud, and noise, we'll be lucky if the project is completed before Chinese New Year's.

However, what happened yesterday especially deserves to be mentioned.Because the inspector is coming, the road workers erected fences across the other side of the street (beginning with a bang at 6:00 am no less). The only reason they've put the fence up is to pass the inspection. This probably doesn't fool the inspector, who can simply look up the street to see the unfenced construction a few hundred yards away, but at least provides an opportunity to snap a picture to say everything was done properly. The day after the inspector leaves, they'll probably take the fences right down again, just as they did earlier once last summer already.

A little over a month ago, my elderly next door neighbor fell into the ditch in front of her house when trying to move her scfence2ooter across. She got cut up badly and had to make several trips to the doctor.

There was no official attempt on the part of the local government or the safety crews to provide safe crossing boards for the residents; we go and borrow some boards or ask them to drop them off (Having said that, the workers are friendly and helpful in an unofficial capacity-- when I came back from Australia they piled dirt over the ditch in front of my house in order to allow me to pull my car out from inside).

Early yesterday morning the work crew without warning took all our boards away again as they evidently need them for their unit's work elsewhere. So I went off to fend for myself and came back with the best I could find.

The safety concerns of the construction companies and local government seem about as complete as the concerns for justice of Taiwan's fledgling democracy, what with all that has been in the news about the jailing, handcuffing, etc. of the former president and others these past couple of weeks. Thankfully though (and here I take the optimistic view) things will continue to move forward and not backward.