Having a Dog in China

We’ve got a dog at home. His name’s Duoduo, which means in Chinese free translation ‘something a little extra’ and we got him from a shelter. Yes, from the shelter in China! This article is written for everyone who found this information surprising! When my wife and I uploaded a first picture of our little Duoduo on Facebook and wrote that our new family member is from the shelter, the first comments shocked us. I made up a test. Try to give someone around you two tasks. First, tell them to make ten sentences with the words ‘dog’ and ‘China’.

Second, to do the same with the words ‘dog’ and ‘Slovakia’ (EU). Most likely, the sentences would be totally different. In the sentences with the word ‘China’, we’ll find words like ‘they kill’, ‘they eat’, ‘they torture’, ‘they skin’, ‘they sell’, ‘they drowned them’, etc. Now, I will give the same task to Chinese people. Imagine that in their case the sentences in both tasks will be the same. In the sentences about China and also in the sentences about Europe will be words like ‘they breed’, ‘ they educate’, ‘ they like’, ‘ they love’, ‘pet’, ‘companion for a child’, ‘man’s best friend’, etc… And here exactly is the problem. We’re trapped in prejudices, illiteracy and ignorance, while the Chinese won’t despise us in this way. Why?

Having a dog is a trend that has hit the whole of China. It started in big cities. Nowadays, this trend has spread throughout China. In big cities it is common for families to have a dog that has lived with them for more than 10 years; it’s possible that they have the second generation of dogs too. In cities every dog should be registered and should have his license. In fact, the small dogs are not checked that much and they don’t have licenses. However, all big dogs have them. If a big dog doesn’t have the license, the master would get fined. A family can have only one big dog. Anyway, the Chinese cities are already heavily populated. Dogs must be vaccinated. In Shanghai, you can find a vaccination station approximately every five kilometers. They are small shops looking after dogs. Apart from the fact that they vaccinate dogs, they are also hairdressing salons for dogs, hotels for dogs and pet shops. You can’t take the dog to the metro, to shop or to a restaurant. However, you can take him to the bus and to a taxi, if the taxi driver agrees. You can take a small dog in a bag or crate to the train. You can arrange a place in a luggage coach for a big dog and take him in the crate. Dogs can’t be on a long distance coach.

Yangzi river (Long river) in China

Yangzi river (Long river) in China

We walk Duoduo in the park which is in our residential area. Every day we get to know at least five new dogs. Everyone has a dog here. Big, small, young, old, behaved, not behaved ones… and nobody eats dogs here! Nobody would hurt the dog here! On the contrary, all dogs are too spoiled and fat here. Many dogs are on a leash, some are loose. You can already see that the masters are carrying the bags in order to collect the dog poo. However, it is the gardeners working here who do it mostly. When we are walking on the streets, the kids and adults always stop by, wanting to play with Duodu. Small kids and young people ask what his name is, how old he is, how long we have had him and other similar questions. Women from Shanghai over fifty years old all ask the same question: How much did we pay for him? At first it puzzled me when I heard the question how much he cost. After all, people in our country don’t ask such questions. But after the fiftieth woman asked that, I got used to it. In Shanghai money is important for people.

Yes, if you really want, you can find a restaurant where they also have dog meat. In China they used to eat it on a regular basis, but not only in China! However, if you order barbecue it doesn’t happen that instead of lamb meat they give you the dog one. Most likely, they’ll give you pork instead of lamb. The dog meat is marginal, difficult to get and quite expensive. Of course there are people that like the dog meat, mainly on the south and northeast of China. In Guangxi Province, for instance, dog meat is a normal food. But dogs used as food have to be specially bred. It happened a few times this year that in South China there were dog thieves who threw sleeping pills wrapped in meat into gardens and then they stole the dogs from people and sold them in restaurants. This year the thieves have been caught by neighbors twice. What happened then? The angry people almost lynched the thieves, so the police had to intervene to ‘save them’ from the angry crowd. People like these thieves are an exception in China, and they deserve stricter punishments. And the same kind of people are unfortunately in our country too! From the percentage point of view, there’s the same amount of them in China as in Slovakia. When someone around you says that in China they only torture and kill dogs, please first hit him on the head and then give him this article to read. Then hit him on the head again so he realizes that he should feel ashamed.