Zoey, Los Angeles, CA

My name is Zoey and I was born in front of a roast duck restaurant in Taipei, Taiwan, in April 2007. The owner came out and washed me and my 5 siblings into a gutter. Luckily a kind student named Amy witnessed this and took us all home with her.

A month later, an amazing group called Animal Rescue Team Taiwan came to help us get ready for adoption in the United States. A really nice lady named Joy became my foster mama from that point on. I was the runt of the litter, only weighing 2.5 pounds, and she gave me so much love and helped me grow stronger.

Across an ocean in Los Angeles, a woman named Grace was looking to adopt another rescue dog. She thought her first rescue dog named Maeby would like a little brother or sister.

One day while searching on the internet, Grace saw my photo staring back at her! She knew I was the puppy she had been waiting for, and in that moment, she just knew she would become my mommy.

In August 2007, a nice young dentist volunteered to bring me to America, so I boarded a plane in Taiwan and crossed an ocean to meet my new mom in LA. I was so scared when I got off the plane! But my new mom was ready for me, and immediately gave me so much love.

I was home.

I’ve always been very, very shy ever since I was a baby. But my big sister Maeby was the best! She is 9 years old and a former street dog from Mexico. She became my friend right away and she’s my inspiration in life. My mom likes to say I’m Maeby’s little shadow. But Maeby is so smart, wise, and gentle and if I have to learn from anyone she’s the best dog to learn from!

I feel like new people don’t understand me. I get really scared of new people and bark a lot, but people don’t realize that I’m more afraid of them than they are of me.

Six years after my mom brought me into her life, a new little creature came into mine. His name was Jasper, and he was my human baby brother!

My mommy and daddy didn’t rush me at all when it came to getting to know this strange little guy. They knew I needed patience and they gave me lots of space. But I like making new friends! I just need to grow brave enough to say hi to them.

Little by little, I became more comfortable with my little brother. I saw how Maeby was with him and knew I could be friendly and gentle, just like her. I started to go closer to him to sniff him, and sometimes I even liked to lay on the bed with him.

One day when he was 7 months old, I was laying on the bed and Jasper came crawling to me. I decided that I knew him well enough by then, and that we could be friends! So I rolled over onto my back and showed him my belly. I’ve heard babies can be rough with dogs, but Jasper gave me the most gentle little pets! And ever since that moment, I decided we could become friends. Now I like to be the first to run into his room in the morning, and lay by mom’s feet when she’s feeding him. He thinks I’m just the funniest girl he knows.

Oh, and Jasper and I are the star of our very own photo series: Zoey + Jasper: A rescue dog and her boy! I love having my photos taken with him. And I feel like people are finally seeing that I’m a pretty cool girl, and not a scary black dog. 🙂

By the way, after the photo series started getting attention, people were criticizing mom for putting clothes on me because I don’t smile in my photos so they think I must be miserable in them. What they don’t understand is that they are looking at my extreme concentration face because I take my job as a model seriously. 🙂 I really enjoy wearing stuff! Maeby would wear anything mom put on her as long as she gets treats. But I absolutely LOVE wearing clothes!

Mom thinks my love of fashion started when our family went on a staycation at this dog-friendly hotel in San Diego. We had to do lots of walking through the lobby and hotel and I was so scared of new situations and new people…so my mom bought Maeby and I matching scarves so other hotel guests would smile at us and send us warm energy. And it worked!! I looooooved it!! Ever since then, I love wearing anything mom put on me and actually do little happy dances when the props come out.

My parents are the best parents ever! They love us SO MUCH that they only take vacations within driving distance so Maeby and I can come along—we even went on their honeymoon!! They would never, ever do anything to make us upset. So please don’t hurt my mom’s feeling by saying she’s making me miserable. If she knows I’m writing this about her, she would say, “Zoey, oh my sweet Zoey!”

Since the series has started getting attention, mom noticed that I had an extra skip in my step. She’s not making this up! I’m extra smiley and happy because I’m feeling all the love you guys have been sending me! 🙂

~ Zoey

p.s. As the photo series broke around the world, a miracle has happened! Mom reconnected with my foster mom Joy! Joy saw the photos all the way in China and had a hunch that I might be the sickly little 2.5 pound dog she nursed to health in Taiwan—and she was right. She’s been waiting for 7 years to hear more about the puppy she fell in love with. ♥

Photos courtesy of Grace Chon, mom and celebrity pet photographer at Shine Pet Photography. Grace also photographs adoptable dogs for rescue groups in Los Angeles and Orange County, including Downtown Dog Rescue, The Dawg Squad and Jason Heigl Foundation.