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People's Daily Online>>Life & Culture

This shaggy dog story has a happy ending

By Dinah Chong Watkins (China Daily)

13:34, April 24, 2012

Poop. I thought I saw the last of it a decade ago, somebody else's that is, not my own. But here I was, bending over with my thin plastic bag scooping up the fecal matter. Thankfully, when you're related to the individual, it somehow lessens the trauma - babies, elderly parents, spouses with a bad case of food poisoning and of course, the family dog.

Two years ago I wrote about house-sitting a bunch of cats and dogs and how the experience confirmed my pro-choice pet-free lifestyle. But with a change in climate, separated siblings and the need for exercise, a dog seemed like a good choice. Besides, I had an unused case of fur-attracting lint brushes in the backroom closet.

Weeks went by when I would check out dog shows, breeders and ads on the online shopping forum Taobao. I finally found myself at a pet store with a few dozen puppies of various breeds squeezed into tiny individual cages.

She wasn't what I was looking for, I wanted a nice, compact Welsh corgi, but her bright personality and bear-like fluff had me at "woof". I conveniently set aside the fact that size-wise, she would grow to a third of my height and half of my weight.

I brought home the chow chow puppy to the delight of my daughter, surprise of my husband and annoyance of the ayi. Baozi (Chinese for "stuffed bun") as she was named, the dog, not the ayi - is as cute as she is furry.

But enough of the good stuff, the reality is the floors of our home are now papered over like a mish-mash collection of stamps. There's an obstacle course of bones, water bowls, chew toys and unwelcome "treasures" that dot the landscape. Good dog food, the kind that won't give your pet renal failure, costs more than steak and like Louis Vuitton - counterfeit brands proliferate in the local market. And the dog has been to the veterinarian more times in the last two weeks than my husband has seen a stethoscope in three years.

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