Louise Hsiao re­counts her pro­found jour­ney in res­cu­ing and adopt­ing stray and in­jured an­i­mals. Anas­ta­sia Wi­bowo writes

Indonesia Tatler - - Contents -

Louise Hsiao shares heart­warm­ing sto­ries of adopt­ing and res­cu­ing stray an­i­mals

It’s no easy task, but some­one has to do it. Ac­tress-turned-busi­ness­woman Louise Hsiao deeply cares for an­i­mals. Most re­cently, she has be­come a cham­pion for pro­tect­ing stray dogs in Jakarta. In­deed, Louise has al­ways been fond of an­i­mals, ever since her child­hood days. “I used to find strays and sneak them back home, and then I got in trou­ble with my par­ents,” Louise tells Indonesia Tatler.

At one point in her life, when she was liv­ing in the Mal­dives, she had many an­i­mal com­pan­ions. Imag­ine Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in a beach set­ting. Louise is close to al­most all types of an­i­mal: man­darin ducks, cranes, rab­bits, cats—even a cou­ple of her­mit crabs. Over the course of her life, she has tried to res­cue a man­darin crane, a squir­rel, cats, and count­less dogs. Cur­rently, she has two dogs of her own: a Shiba and a Pomera­nian.

Since March, Louise has been ac­tively par­tic­i­pat­ing in res­cu­ing and adopt­ing dogs. The story started about two-and-a-half years ago, when she first moved to Jakarta and no­ticed the strays around her neigh­bour­hood. She was cu­ri­ous—so she asked a neigh­bour about the an­i­mals. The per­son replied that they be­longed to a man who might be a dog hunter and told Louise not to get in­volved.

Louise then pro­ceeded to share her sen­ti­men­tal ex­pe­ri­ence. Back then, she drove out to a re­mote area and was shocked to find many stray dogs and cats. There, she also met Mr Sun­toro, a home­less man who lived in a makeshift tent. Mr Sun­toro had been liv­ing on the premises for 15 years with­out wa­ter and elec­tric­ity. Her heart melted—this was the mo­ment when Louise knew she had to do some­thing. Over time, Louise gained his trust; she gave him an al­lowance, and cooked and brought him healthy food. This tire­some rou­tine got to her, though—louise failed to get enough sleep, and she even­tu­ally lost her hair and weight.

Af­ter Mr Sun­toro’s ap­proval, Louise fi­nally found a suit­able house with a spa­cious gar­den and they moved the an­i­mals first. Mr Sun­toro, how­ever, changed his mind and re­fused to move. It was a stress­ful time for Louise as she had to go back and forth be­tween both places. When he is ready, Louise will try to move him to a bet­ter and cleaner environment.

For Louise, the big­gest chal­lenges in this ven­ture are trust and lan­guage bar­ri­ers. “It seems to me that there are a lot of peo­ple who wants to help just for the sake of their per­sonal gain,” Louise tells us. There is also com­mit­ment is­sue, be­cause the an­i­mals need long-term care, and she has to gain their trust.

“Once, I had a dog that was scared of hu­mans and trusted no one. I tried to bathe him, but he would at­tempt to bite everyone,” Louise says. “Now, he is very close to me, so I changed his name from Bully to Buddy. I find joy when I spend time with my an­i­mals.

Get­ting a big wel­come from my fur ba­bies puts a smile on my face. Find­ing a home for them is al­ways a bit­ter­sweet feel­ing, though.”

To the adopter, she al­ways states that if they can­not han­dle the fur ba­bies, she would wel­come them back. Once, a puppy was sent back be­cause she was ill and needed im­me­di­ate med­i­cal at­ten­tion. The dog had to re­ceive a blood trans­fu­sion and is now happy and healthy un­der Louise’s care.

More­over, Louise has the ut­most re­spect fel­low an­i­mal-lover Fie Fie Jo, who has helped her through many dif­fi­cult times, plus two an­i­mal-shel­ter own­ers, Mrs Ting Ping Ping, the owner of Rumah Sing­gah, and Mrs Is­mawanty Mima, the owner of Me­lati. “I have tremen­dous re­spect for them. They are truly an­i­mal lovers and I ad­mire their hard work and how they put the an­i­mals first,” Louise says.

Louise hopes that she can con­tinue to care even more for the an­i­mals. “It is not enough to only pro­vide food—they need to be vac­ci­nated and neutered. They need ten­der­ness and love. In the end, I hope I can find home for all the an­i­mals cur­rently in my care,” Louise con­cludes.

Over the course of her life, she has tried to res­cue a man­darin crane, a squir­rel, cats, and count­less dogs.

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