Joel Aronson's
Taiwan Gallery

Pierre - Chinese Nationalist Dog

(most photos by Joel Aronson, otherwise credited to Jack Corrado)

In the cool dawn of a sultry Asian day in 1962, a Chinese Communist Air Force pilot broke loose from his squadron, banked his MIG-15 fighter jet east into the rising sun and set course toward the island of Taiwan. His mates chased after him but turned back when out of the sun came a formation of Chinese Nationalist F-86 fighters which had urgently scrambled to welcome and protect the defecting pilot. In a matter of minutes he landed in Taipei to a new life of freedom and great wealth, rewarded to him for safely bringing in his aircraft as a trophy of the Cold War.
(click on this photo to access its larger image)

photo by Jack Corrado
The MIG-15 was put on display in Taipei. Relaxing in the shade under the fuselage of the MIG-15 fighter is a short, strange-looking, mixed-breed dog, Pierre, who was the pet and mascot of Jack Corrado's United States Air Force unit, a group of young men who were Chinese linguists. For a dog, Pierre had a great personality and was well known on the streets of Taipei. That's why he was easily able to slink by the armed soldiers guarding the fighter, to escape the blazing sun, and relax in the shadow under the Communist jet.

Pierre started life as the puppy of Airman Don Dietz and his family. Here, he is playing with Tina Dietz, who was then two years old.
After Tina's brother Chris was born, it was decided that Pierre would get more attention if he moved in with other Americans who worked at JOC (Chinese-American Joint Operations Center).

Pierre easily accepted his American human buddies, joining in their many varied daily activities. Above, he rides behind SSgt Jim Wise on a delivery cart. Below, on the Tanshui River, he is ship's dog on the tiny sloop Pepe.

As he matured, Pierre's multiple ancestral lines emerged - a controversial mix of Welsh Corgi, German Shepherd, Dachshund, Fox Terrier. Although known far and wide for his inherited lack of handsomeness, Pierre compensated for this by charming many with his good manners and impeccable taste.

photo by Jack Corrado

One of Pierre's favorite spots in the house was the top of the refrigerator from where he could easily watch the goings-on. Below, Bob Gee teaches Pierre to eat with chopsticks.

Pierre had his share of chores to do. Here he volunteers to help Bob Gee charge his car battery.
Like most dogs, Pierre loved to travel, to go out on the town with his human buddies.
Below, with Joel Aronson by his Cadillac. Once, this car was stopped in traffic because Chiang Kai-Shek, Taiwan's President, was coming out of his palace. As the limousine slowly passed next to the Cadillac, Pierre, always political, leaned out of the car to sniff Chiang's German Shepherd, who came out of the back window of the President's limo. For a brief moment, both dogs happily sniffed noses, while the President of China laughed and saluted Joel.

Living in a house with a large courtyard, Pierre was often visited by stray dogs in the neighborhood who would wander in through the bushes. This female, Blackie, was one of Pierre's favorite companions until she died of distemper. Many Taipei dogs lived in the streets and had no veterinary care.

photo by Jack Corrado
Pierre loved to prowl the streets of Taipei, always looking for action, just as his American human friends did. A tribute by former U.S. airman Luther Deese:
"I knew Pierre well. He had the run of his neighborhood -- Chungshan N. Rd, the P.X. compound - - all other dogs had to step aside when Pierre was strutting down the street. When I last saw him, at the JOC house, he had been in a fight and one of his ears was bitten up a bit - - but he was still healthy and cocky at that time. He has long since gone on to doggy heaven or wherever - - He led a dog's life in Taipei for sure."

Neither Pierre nor any other animals were harmed by associating with the Americans of JOC.