Weds 23rd June: An alternative pet shop

I was attacked and bitten during the night last night.  No, not a dog, but a giant centipede, one of the few living creatures that I kill on sight (along with ticks and moquitoes).  Everything else gets a second chance, but not these sinister creatures with their poisonous jaws and legs.  I knew as soon as I rolled over in my sleep and felt the sharp, scatchy claws on the back of my neck exactly what it was, but too late.  The bites are incredibly painful, and in the middle of the night can be guaranteed to keep you awake for hours.  It’s not just the pain, but the thought that there might be others lurking under the covers.  The one that bit me got rolled up in a sheet and safely put away to be dealt with in the morning (drowned in the dog’s never-used swimming pool).

I went to Kowloon AFCD today to pick up a young golden retriever and a husky who had been reserved for HKDR.  While there I was invited to have a look at the kennels and the other dogs, and it was like walking through a pet shop.  There was every breed and every size, some waiting for re-homing and others kept there as exhibits (for court cases).   The actual kennels were really quite nice, better than many boarding kennels I’ve seen, but still it’s so incredibly sad to see so many dogs that have been abandoned.  I asked to take quite a few of them, and will wait to be notified when they are ready.

There was one adorable scruffy pup (my favourite type) who had been surrendered, so I was able to take him out immediately.  What a gorgeous boy, so full of life and ultra friendly.  I can only guess that at six months he had become too much of a handful for his previous owners, because I couldn’t think of any other reason for giving up a dog like this.

The golden retriever too, still under a year old and a beautiful, sweet girl. I called her Amber after the colour of her coat, and the husky is now Smartie.  I was told she was exceptionally smart, and she too is as sweet as anything.

While I was waiting at the desk for all the paperwork to be completed there was a procession of people coming in with their pet shop puppies to get them licensed.  It’s good that they were at least being responsible enough to do that as many don’t bother, but still I wanted to take them all behind the scenes to the kennels where so many ex-pet shop dogs were waiting for whatever their fate was going to be.  Is it ever going to end?

I’m frequently asked what I think the reason is that so many dogs and puppies are abandoned, and I think this Financial Times article goes a long way to explaining at least part of the problem. 

The increasing ‘humanisation’ of our pets

By Sam Knight

Gordon Young (right) with Pip, a Jack Russell, which he bought for his brother, Thomas (left), who has schizophrenia, and their mother Eleanor

Click here to read the full article.

People expect their dogs be be like humans, and when they don’t behave in that way then they are thrown out.  Dressing dogs up and pushing them around in baby strollers is an obvious sign of humanising dogs, but there are many other ways.  Like not taking dogs for walks or making them wear shoes, or shampooing every day.  It’s inevitable to a certain extent, especially with small-sized dogs, but not accepting that a dog is an animal is bound to end in disappointment.


7 Responses to “Weds 23rd June: An alternative pet shop”

  1. Michelle Says:

    Omg Sally I hope you’re ok and that you went to the doctors to have the bites checked out??

    • Sally Says:

      The first time I was bitten by one of these horrible creature I went to a doctor but there’s nothing that can be done. It’s just a nuisance.

  2. Abby and Lou Says:

    It’s so true. So many times people just freak out when their dog starts sniffing my dog’s butt. Or when their dog throws a play bow. The dogs get yelled at and presumably confused. So disconnected to how a dog behaves naturally. All of these people are really loving with their dogs and take good care of them but because of how dogs fit into our lifestyle and the urban environment, many of their natural behaviours are retrained, subdued, reprimanded, and not displayed.

  3. Steve C Says:

    Besides Dog Walking in Tai Po I’d be keen to know if there is anything I could do to help educate people. I don’t want to come across like a do-gooder missionary but dogs do seem to be widely regarded as novelty toys in Hong Kong and better knowledge is good for both the dog and the owner at the end of the day.

    • Sally Says:

      Steve, we are looking for someone to help with the school projects and other talks. If you would be willing or interested in this just let me know.

  4. Steve C Says:


    This sentence from the article seems to sum up a lot of issues that Sally covers in this blog:

    “I see a lot of behavioural issues,” James Serpell told me. “I would say 90 per cent are caused by people who have no conception of normal behaviour for an animal. As far as they are concerned, if it is not behaving like a human, something is badly wrong.”

  5. Ellen Says:

    Thank you for sharing this very interesting article.

    I am somewhat surprised that pet owners can still be so “ignorant” in their dog’s needs and behaviour.

    Not that I’m claiming to be anywhere “near” an expert, but nowadays there is infinite information (though both good and no so) on the internet, and surely, as a loving pet owner, one would expect people to want to try to find out more.

    We bought our first puppy (yes Sally, I said bought, but wait for it) from the meat market for $35 (my father was determined to “save” a puppy from the cooking pot rather than buy one from a pet shop). Nevertheless, I did become an expert in parasites as the little puppy came with fleas, lice, ticks, mange and all the worms attached. It took us almost 4 months and all my pocket money to rid it of everything. He did turn into the most beautiful beige Tong Gau I’ve ever seen in my life and stayed with us a good 15+ years.
    This was over 30 years ago and Hk was not a pet friendly place (not that it’s one now, but trust me, it’s improved an enormous amount), vets were expensive and rare as were commercial pet food/products, and a dog trainer was unheard of.
    Retrospectively, there would have been many things that we could have done differently. It was partly good genes (that mutts have) and luck that our old dog lived such a long and mostly healthy life.

    Anyway, I hope that dog/pet owners spend more time researching the needs of their beloved pets.
    There is a vase amount of information on the internet and many discussion groups/forums that you can join for free.
    Also, I’m sure if any dog lover had some questions posted here, Sally or someone would be most happy to help!

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