Puppy Power in the PRC

It’s somewhat amazing how quickly a relatively calm and orderly life can be turned into a non-stop “no!” shouting, pee cleaning, slobber and hair covered existence.

We got a puppy!

Maggie and I have long talked about getting a dog, and in the end always had something looming that prevented us (mostly financial or geographical). However, when she got back from Dalian last week we began talking about it again, as I wanted to get her a dog for our anniversary (and cleverly name it “Paper”).

Adobe (Addie)After running through the pros and cons a couple dozen times, and debating it for a couple days, we decided to check out the local pet store and see what our options were. Maggie wasn’t too concerned with the breed of dog, having grown up her whole life with puppy-mill muts, but I had my sights set on either getting a pug or a golden retriever – both for their relatively good temperment and lack of being overly yappy. I fecking hate yappy dogs.

Other than what a couple Google searches yielded, I didn’t know much about pugs, but had previously had a golden retriever when I was young and loved the thought of getting another one, despite having some reservations about their size and energy levels.

The biggest challenge in getting a puppy in China is the sheer number of health and ethical problems. The cheapest puppies come from pet markets mills that have a horrible number of animals stuffed in cages far too small for them. Though cheap (up to 1/10th of the price of the same animal at a proper pet shop), you have absolutely no guarantee of the animal’s health, and by buying it there you are supporting a torturous industry. A little stat: of 10 puppies bought in a pet market, 9 will die.

Adobe (Addie)Luckily for us the pet shop closest to our place is reputed to be one of the best in Suzhou, and I can certainly testify to them being fantastic.

The guy led us around the shop and told us which breeds might be suitable for us, and showed us where they keep the puppies until they are at least two months old. After asking about pugs and being told that their big heads tend to cause very small litters, making them tough to get, we inquired if they could get a retriever and were told no problem.

This didn’t really surprise me, as I’ve seen a number of goldens around Suzhou and have since learned that they make rather good dogs for apartments as they adapt very well to any environment (large or small) and are generally quite quiet and well-behaved.

We paid a 50% deposit and were told to come back later in the day after he’d had a chance to go out to the breeder’s and see what pups were available. The price for a golden retriever was 2,500-3,000 RMB depending on the pup’s “quality” (read: colouring) and he was straight up with us that he was shooting to get the best (3,000 RMB) one as the shop had a good reputation for selling the best dogs, and they wanted to maintain that. Fair enough.

Adobe (Addie)True to his word, we went back in a bit later in the day and got to see our little puppy. We had asked for a girl, as they tend to be of a slightly less rambunctious nature and get out of the puppy stages a tad faster. She was pretty sleepy when we first got to see her, but looked healthy, and damn cute.

The pet shop has a policy of keeping the puppies for about two days just to assure that they are healthy, so we weren’t able to take her home that night. Instead we bought half the shop with all the peripherals needed – big dog bed, puppy chow, a couple teething toys, bowls, etc.

While waiting the couple days we tossed around names – eventually settling on Adobe (or Addie), as it seemed to fit, and acts as a bit of a homage to that which paid for her.

So, yesterday morning we went and picked up little Addie. I’m sure most people feel this way about their dogs, but she’s awesome.

Adobe (Addie)She has a set routine that goes something like sleep, pee, play, pee, eat, pee, shit, pee, play, sleep…. and it can be a bit tiring at the moment chasing her around and trying to get her to understand that “just anywhere” isn’t an acceptable place to relieve herself.

But she’s cute as a button and really well behaved. She likes to mouth everything, a trait common to her breed I guess, but is starting to learn what she can and can’t chew on.

I’ve wanted a dog for a long time, but after having to give away some pets when I was younger because I moved away, I promised I wouldn’t get any more animals until I could properly care for them. Being somewhat settled now, it seemed like the right time to take the plunge and I couldn’t be happier.

Well, she’s just woken up from napping at my feet, time to see if I can get her to the paper before she pees on the floor again. Our apologies to any guests who have to endure the rather odd mixture of dog pee, vinegar and scented candles.

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  1. Pingback: Addie’s First Birthday | A China Blog on Suzhou Expat Life | The Humanaught

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