Kids on pause: Why young people in Taiwan prefer pets

Six years ago, Vulcan Ke took an unexpected trip to a pet shop in Taipei. Ke’s friend had proposed visiting the store, but it was Ke who became smitten by a tan and white corgi puppy.

Ke had never pictured himself as a dog owner but three months later, he found himself sneaking a chubby bundle – now named Butter – into his apartment after making a return trip to the pet shop.

Butter has become an important part of the 33-year-old’s life. He recently moved to a larger apartment, in part for his dog, in a more pet-friendly part of Taiwan’s capital. But while Butter remains a firm part of Ke’s future plans, his dreams for marriage and children are hazier.

“I dream of having my own house and living with someone,” Ke said over tea at one of Taipei’s many pet cafes. “I love having my own dog, but I don’ t want a traditional family. I just don ‘t like it. I just don’t like traditional Chinese culture.”

Ke’s parents in rural Taiwan cannot understand it.

“My parents live in central Taiwan,” he said. “It’s a very remote area and very traditional. They don’t understand what I am thinking, but I am really lucky that they will not interfere with what I do.”

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