For six hours, a stray dog stayed near his mate after she was hit by a car in the middle of a traffic-filled road in Zhangzhou, in China’s southeast Fujian province. The dog licked her face and head and nudged at her; when she did not wake, he positioned himself at her side, never venturing too far and dodging cars, says the Daily Mail. Eventually, he lay down at the female’s side.
A butcher on the street, Xiao Wu, said that he had recently started to feed the golden brown-and-white female. A week ago, the male appeared with her. “Then I realized she had a boyfriend. They were together all the time, playing and in love,” he said.
According to Xiao, the male dog even sought to “hug” the still body of the female with his forelegs. After she was finally moved to the side of the road, he stayed beside her, as these photos show.
Some comments about this video asked why the person taking the photos did not move the female stray’s body to safety. I suspect this did not happen simply because human observers were afraid to step into the heavy traffic on the road — all the more highlighting the devotion of the male dog in protecting his mate.
Both dogs have the pointed ears and wedge-shaped head that links them to prehistoric dogs like the dingo. Indeed, stray dogs in India — which has tens of millions of stray dogs and where thousands report being bitten every year by them– are probably descended from an “ancient Chinese immigrant.”
India did pass a law in 2001 forbidding the killing of strays. Currently, China has no animal welfare laws in place and, back in June, one member of the Punjab Legislative Assembly proposed sending strays to China, where they could be slaughtered.
Dog meat has been considered a delicacy in China but, recently, things have been looking up for dogs. Animal activists have began to demand change, as Care2 blogger Judy Molland has written. Hundreds of dogs destined for the slaughterhouse, to be butchered for meat or for their fur, have been rescued, but it is just a start.
This past February, the China Beijing Hearing-Dog Association started a program in which stray dogs are trained to assist the elderly and those who have hearing disabilities. Under the program, dogs are chosen from an animal shelter and trained for 180 days by Japanese instructors to understand hand-sign language. The dogs are trained to react to sounds such as a knock on the door.
36-year-old Liu Yan has a hearing disability and has been benefiting from the training of a hearing dog named Pan who, among much else, alerts her to when water is boiling on the stove. But while guide dogs in the U.S. can enter public places and use public transportation freely, there are no such policies in China. Pan cannot accompany Liu on the subway and bus and taxi drivers refuse to allow the dog on.
But is it not a sign of changing times that, according to the Daily Mail, it was a butcher who first fed the female stray dog in Zhangzhou and then observed her mate’s tender care for her after she was killed by a passing car?
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