Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sugar, the Amazing 2-Legged Dog

Maybe about a year ago, months before I'd ever heard of Popeye, somebody emailed this video about a 2-legged dog from Taiwan named Sugar.

The video amazed me and the dog warmed my heart. I had never actually considered fostering a paralyzed dog before, thinking it would be beyond my capabilities, but when I saw that video, I looked her up on the Animals Taiwan Rescue site to see if she needed a fosterer. There I learned she had already been adopted.

Months later, when I was sent an email from The Animal Rescue Team Taiwan about a spunky little paralyzed puppy named Popeye, I immediately thought about Sugar the 2-legged dog. Seeing that video of her not only inspired me but made it possible for me to visualize what it might be like to care for a paralyzed dog.

So an acquaintance of mine who happened to be in Taiwan at the time, brought Popeye back with him when he returned.

And so began the Popeye Chronicles.

If you've been following the blog for long, you might remember what a tough time I had of it the first week with Popeye. If not, you can read about it here. Things have gotten way more manageable since then, to the point of almost routine. Things still aren't what they would be like with a non-paralyzed continent dog, but I would say we're 75-80% there.

This whole time though, I've thought about Sugar often. I have often wanted to communicate with the people who cared for her, to ask them questions, especially pertaining to the idea of amputation. Several months ago, I even tried to email the Youtube account that had posted her video but never got a response.

Then just a few days ago, I was emailing an online acquaintance in Taiwan, who rescues stray dogs privately (if you live in Taiwan and care anything about dogs, there's almost no way you can't get involved with the thousands of strays that are everywhere there). I happened to mention the video of Sugar and how I wished I could contact her owners.

Guess what. In less than 2 days, Abbie had found the emails of both the man who had fostered her in Taiwan as well as the couple who eventually adopted her and now live in the Netherlands. I don't know why I didn't think to check earlier if anyone I knew in Taiwan might be able to hook me up, because apparently, Sugar had been somewhat of a celebrity there.

Abbie also showed me this link that details Sugar's earlier days. I thought I was smitten with her before . . . .

(Taken from

Post subject: We All Need a Little Sugar!

Sugar came to us early this year, a puppy found in the mountains near Daxi/Sanxia, emaciated, wet, cold, with a fever and a badly broken leg. She was barely two months old.

She was taken to the nearest available vet for emergency treatment and remained there in intensive care for the next two weeks, too sick to undergo surgery to correct her broken leg. She was also found to be a parvo carrier, but had so far not succumbed to the disease.

After settling the rather hefty bill at the Sanxia vet, AnimalsTaiwan transferred her to the Jia Ching Animal Hospital on Nanjing East Road, where she was further assessed. It was decided to operate on her leg, to reset it to enable her to walk better.



She ended up undergoing three operations to put it right, staying at the vet for about three weeks, and running up further bills. But she is an extremely lovable and brave little girl, and we decided she was precious enough to warrant the outlay.


Sugar recovered beautifully, and after fulfilling the required - and rather lengthy - quarantine period, was soon snapped up by a kind foster family, who agreed to care for her until a permanent home could be found. But, of course, they fell in love with her, and they decided to adopt her themselves.

Everything went very well, with Sugar winning everyone's hearts with her sweet nature and gorgeous looks. Then she got sick - pneumonia. She was rushed to the vet, where she stayed in intensive care for another couple of weeks.


Sugar is sweet, but she's also tough; she beat the pneumonia, and returned to full health, leaving only another costly bill behind.



Just when we thought she had finally beaten poor health and was destined for a full and loving life, tragedy struck; Sugar collapsed, paralyzed from the waist down, her brain permanently damaged from the trauma it had sustained from overheating in the hot summer months - she had been kept on the rooftop. This time she was rushed to NTU Veterinary College for tests, but they were inconclusive, and the vets there felt that her crippling brain injury was permanent and nothing could be done for her.


We were devastated. But Sugar wasn't giving in, so neither were we. We decided to take her back into our care, so she could get the very best treatment when it was needed. Despite her crippling paralysis, Sugar has been our most playful dog here at the AnimalsTaiwan holding centre. She play fights all day (when she's not being cuddled, of course), and her favourite playing partner? Ariel, our little wheelchair-bound lady!

Sugar always gets on with life the way it's presented to her. She is never sad and lives her life to the full. But having two very stiff legs jutting out underneath her made her posture poor, her mobility limited, and her legs prone to scratches, sores, and infection.


While at the AnimalsTaiwan vet (YangMing Veterinary Partners on Tianmu East Road) for an eye infection, Sugar demonstrated to Dr Yang how much she loves to scoot around, despite her handicap, prompting Dr Yang to suggest something quite radical: we could remove Sugars paralyzed legs, and she could then get around by balancing on her two front legs, as she was almost doing already. This was quite a decision to make, but Dr Yang is usually right, so we agreed. We'd come this far with her, and we decided that the surgery would be money well spent. Sugar was taken in for her operation early last month.

Well, it's not often that Dr Yang calls me up, but that evening, just a couple of hours after the surgery, he did. "She can walk! She is walking now!" Fantastic news! Sugar had taken to her new situation beautifully, putting all her weight on her front legs and walking around the clinic like she'd been doing it all her life.


What this means is that Sugar is now able to go outside with the other dogs at exercise time. She can run out to greet visitors, as she loves to do, and has already taught herself to be housebroken. It also means she is now far more likely to be adopted - something we are all dearly waiting for.


Some very kind donors have bought a wheelchair for Sugar, and she can now go for long walks with her friends, so things really are looking up for this sweetest - and bravest - of little dogs. She has never lost her spirit, and remains one of the happiest, most playful dogs at the AnimalsTaiwan holding centre.




Everyone who meets Sugar loves her, and she really enjoys the atention.


But so far all have passed her by when it comes to adopting her.


Let's hope her dream comes true and someone will see her for all that she is rather than what she doesn't have. The perfect home is out there; could it be yours? If you have a place in your home and heart for young Sugar, please do not hesitate to contact me today.

Everyone needs a little Sugar in their life! She is so deserving of a good home, and now she is no more difficult to look after than any other dog - yet she's so unique! Sugar is also available for sponsorship - contact me today for details at sean [dot] animalstaiwan [at] gmail [dot] com.


She is looking forward to hearing from you soon. :pray:



Sugar did indeed find a Forever Home. The couple who adopted her not only brought her back to the Netherlands with them, but they brought along 14 other dogs & cats and helped to find their Forever Homes too. You can read more about them here:

A wonderful wonderful story about an even more wonderful dog. I think Popeye's got a lot bigger helping of spice in him than sweet little Sugar but he's also got the same fighting spirit. And I hope it's not too big of a dream to imagine that he will one day find his perfect Forever Home too.

I actually did get to email Sean, the man who had cared for Sugar in Taiwan--more to come in later days!

UPDATE: I've also communicated with Sugar's mom in Holland. She provided me with some new videos of Sugar and her adorable pack.

First video:

Second video: