They’re still looking for the perfect family who can give them a home together.
Mary Choi was used to picking up stray dogs in Taiwan. As the founder of Mary’s Doggies, an organization that rescues street dogs there, Choi usually has anywhere from 50 to 100 stray dogs in her care at one time.
But one rescue mission has firmly etched itself in Choi’s memory.
“We were notified about a family of dogs living on a building site,” Choi told The Dodo. “The building site was near to completion, and the dogs would need to leave. The workmen on the site were preparing to either chase the family of dogs away or call the kill shelter to come and take them away.”
Choi went to the building site, initially thinking she’d at least catch the puppies, who were about 2 months old at the time. But when she saw the mother and father dogs, and observed how close the entire family was, she knew she had to get them all.
“The mother dog, Regal, looked after her six puppies, and the father, Royal, stuck by the mother no matter what,” Choi said. “The two adults were so sweet and caring for their puppies. They were inseparable.”
Choi easily caught the puppies, as well as the mother dog, Regal. Royal, on the other hand, evaded Choi at first. But in the end, Royal couldn’t bear to be separated from Regal, and when he followed Regal, Choi managed to tether him to a leash.
Choi found homes for five of the six puppies in Taiwan, but she had a tough time finding a home for the last puppy, Roma, as well as Royal and Regal. While Roma could be adopted by himself, Choi was adamant that Royal and Regal stay together. This, however, was somewhat impossible in Taiwan — not many people adopted larger dogs like Royal, let alone two dogs.
So Choi reached out to the Etobicoke Humane Society (EHS) in Ontario, Canada, and arranged for the two parent dogs, as well as Roma, to be transported to Canada.
But even in North America, finding Royal and Regal a home together continued to be a problem.
“It’s really difficult to adopt dogs out together, so it’s something that we don’t prefer to do,” Larisa Duravetz, intake and adoption manager at EHS, told The Dodo. “We tried to put them in separate kennels to begin with, but Royal refused to eat, and they were both just miserable.”
When Royal and Regal were placed together in a larger kennel, both dogs immediately relaxed.
“Royal started eating as soon as Regal was with him,” Duravetz said. “So it was just clear to everyone that they had this connection, and they’d already formed this bond together, and we just didn’t want to separate them. They wanted to be together.”
Royal and Regal also loved spending time with their puppy, Roma, out in the play yard.
“Royal was also so sweet with his puppy,” Duravetz said. “They would play outside, and he was the perfect dad. He’d let him play and watch over him. He’d never get upset with him. It was so sweet to watch. It was something I hadn’t personally seen in two dogs.”
When Roma was adopted in November 2016, Royal was devastated, and he sought comfort in his partner.
“It kind of confirmed his bond with Regal even more,” Duravetz said. “They were always snuggled together, and you could tell that he was kind of sad to lose his pup, but he still had her. So we could never take her away from him.”
But unfortunately, Royal and Regal haven’t found a home. In fact, they’ve lived at the shelter since October 2016.
“They spent their lives in Taiwan trying to stay away from people, and trying to protect themselves and their puppies,” Duravetz said. “So when visitors come, Royal will bark, and he has this terribly loud bark, which we all think is hilarious because he is such a gentle soul — he’s just barking to protect Regal and his territory. But unfortunately, when visitors come, they see this big, barking dog … and that hasn’t been very good for them.”
Royal might have a big bark, but he’s a completely different dog when he and Regal are taken out of their kennels.
“Our adoption coordinator will try and take them home as much as they can, so they spend time at her house, and so they get used to it,” Duravetz said. “Once they’re at her house, they’re lovely dogs. But when someone comes to the shelter and visits a dog, they don’t have the time to sit there and build the trust with the animal, and Royal and Regal really need that time.”
Royal and Regal are also still working on their walking skills, and until they get used to leashes, they’d thrive in a home with a big fenced-in yard, according to Duravetz.
“They’re very scared of things around them, even though they’ve come a long way with the volunteers who have been working with them,” Duravetz said. “So they need a huge fenced-in yard, where they can learn to be dogs and be comfortable.”
But the most important thing, of course, is for Royal and Regal to be together.
“I would normally say, ‘Let’s separate these dogs,’ but in this case, these animals have chosen each other,” Duravetz said. “Somehow they got together on the street, and they have this bond and special relationship, and I would hate to take them away from each other because we couldn’t find them a home. I know there’s got to be a home out there somewhere that is willing to take them as a pair.”