Duo Duo, The Little Pom --Story by Yan
Part 1: Nov 2018: The Little Pomeranian
A few years ago, it was a trend to breed cute, little animals in China. Due to popular demand, many tiny dogs were bred throughout generations, regardless of the dog’s health; most of the dogs had many defects.
When I first sent Mulan (see Mulan’s story here) to the vet’s boarding service, I saw this little Pomeranian next to Mulan’s kennel. She was jumping up and down and barking very energetically. It was a very strong bark from the chest. I asked whom the dog belonged to and the vet said that the owner sent the dog here, so I didn’t ask any further questions. That happened at the end of June. Then, every month I had to quickly pick up and drop off Mulan and Xiaobai so I didn’t have any time to look closely at the little pom. After that, there were more and more dogs waiting to be adopted. I was under a lot of pressure to find many homes for these dogs so I had even less time to look at the pom. But, I still remembered him and every time I cleaned the other dogs’ kennels, I also cleaned his.
Once Bentley, 007, and Agan all left Guangzhou for their permanent homes, I was finally able to breathe. Turning my attention back to the little pom, I noticed that his bark wasn’t as strong as before and he stopped jumping. After digging for more information about him, I found out that he was abandoned by his owner in March because he was 12 years old, started to get sick, and had arthritis. They wanted to put him down but the owner’s daughter hesitated so she paid for a year’s worth of foster care, but that only included water and food, nothing else. Hearing this made me frustrated.
When I first let the little pom out of the cage, he could barely walk; he stood there and trembled. His fur was matted and he had a lot of dandruff due to the lack of care for his fur. It took me several days to comb it out. Sometimes he would bark if it hurt but then lick my hand. He was in the cage for 9 months, from March to November 2018, where he got no sunshine, and no walks and slept on the iron bars of the cage. When the weather got colder, he coughed a lot. I would bring him outside into the sun. He struggled to walk but kept persisting. Eventually, he could run a little, and his cough got better.
I asked the vet if I could take him home for a few days so he could run around and lay in the sun but the vet said no because he had an owner who paid for the vet’s boarding service.
After I mentioned the little pom to my rescue group, they found people willing to adopt the little pom. I asked the vet to reach out to the little pom’s family to explain the situation. The family made up many excuses and even mentioned that they wanted to see the little pom even though they mistreated him which is very ironic and selfish. The rescue group was extremely frustrated and tried to figure out how to help the little pom whom we named Duo Duo which means lots of happiness and luck.
Part 2: Christmas 2018: Found a Home!
When I think of Dou Dou, I feel very guilty. If I had paid more attention to him at the time, I could have at least started to bring him on walks and outside to sunbathe. I shouldn’t have waited until he started coughing and losing his spirit to notice him.
I still remember when I first opened the cage to try to carry him out. He shrunk back into the cage unlike before when he would push himself against the door and bark. I reached out and said, “Schatz (sweetheart), I will take you on a walk.” Dou Dou seemed to not believe me and looked at me while tilting his head, hesitating and looking at me. Because my right knee wasn’t good, it was hard for me to kneel down and stand back up. Even with my knee, I bent down to take Duo Duo out of the cage. When I placed Duo Duo on the floor, all four of his limbs gave out partly due to the slippery floor, partly due to his lack of strength. I picked him up quickly and I noticed that he was less than 1 kilogram. Although he was fluffy, he was extremely skinny and his fur underneath was matted and covered in dandruff. One of his ears also seemed to be infected.
Dr. Ye said that he had been kept in the cage for 9 months which caused his bones to calcify. I didn’t want to walk him with the other rescues so I brought him out alone. After I put him on the ground, he was trembling and took a little step, with his arched back and a constant cough. His back legs were shaking so I carried him to the park, afraid that he would fall if he was standing alone. I found a place in the sun to place him down. Dou Dou stood there and looked around curiously, smelling the leaves around him, as if he didn't believe he was finally in the sun again. After standing for a few minutes, he began to try to take a few more steps, and then the first thing he did was to mark his territory. Although his four legs were still weak, he began walking more confidently, but still like an old lady. Every few steps he would mark his territory as if to make up for the lost time.
On the first day, I didn't dare go outside with him for too long. I took him back to the clinic after half an hour. When he got in the cage, he was quiet. When I got him fresh water and food, he just stared at me while staying quiet. Little Gray and Niu Niu (the other two rescues) were in the cage above him. They would bark and scratch the door but Duo Duo would just stay quiet. When I left, I looked back and he was still staring at me silently.
After that, I walked Duo Duo twice a day after walking all of the other rescues. Slowly, his two back legs stopped shaking and he walked, sometimes even running, with more confidence. After soaking in the sunlight, over time, he stopped coughing. One day I was tired and sat on a rock and let him walk around. When he saw that I didn’t follow him he would turn back, jump on my lap, and let me hold him. I brought a brush to brush his fur. After each brush, he would bark and then look at me. Sometimes I knew that it hurt him but sometimes it was nothing and he just barked. When it hurt, he would lick my hand. I think he did that to seek attention.
When I shared Dou Dou’s information with my rescue group, they began to brainstorm on how to save him. Because he was 12 years old we believed that he couldn’t handle long-distance traveling due to his heart condition so we tried to find a home for him in China. Fortunately, someone from the group found a home for him in Shanghai. The clinic and the original owner were communicating but the owner refused to let the rescue group take over. At this time, Wangcai and Qiu Qiu’s mom went back to China for business and solved the problem. After work, she would go to the clinic every day to walk Xiaobai, Niu Niu, and Mulan (rescues). I finally named him Duo Duo officially. She brought Dou Dou and Mulan back to her temporary residence. Dou Dou’s freedom was just beginning.
Wangcai and Qiu Qiu’s mom sent a lot of videos to show Dou Dou’s happy life: lots of walks with Mulan, his new clothes, and marking his territory.
When it was time for Duo Duo to go home, we were worried about Dou Dou’s heart problems so after thinking, we decided to use the train. There were no freight cars apart of high-speed trains so we could only use a special train that would take 22 hours. Wangcai and Qiu Qiu’s mom was anxious when she heard about the travel time and she didn't rest assured that Duo Duo could handle such a long travel. If I went back to the Spring Festival in February, there would be no freight cars. If I waited until March, then Duo Duo would have to return to his cage for at least another 2 months. Considering all of these options, Wangcai and Qiu Qiu’s mom decided to personally escort Duo Duo to Shanghai and then fly back to Guangzhou.
On January 25th, they went to the train station early. She saw Duo Duo’s crate being loaded into the car. One of them was in car 1 and the other in car 11 so she would go back and forth to check on him.
Wangcai and Qiu Qiu’s mom is meticulous and caring. Before she left, she wondered how she could take Dou Dou off quietly out of the car. I told her to bring scissors and little knife but we most likely couldn’t due to security. Eventually, she brought cuticle scissors. Imagine a woman sneakily sawing away at the rope while Duo Duo jumped around excitedly.
I saw the photos from inside of the car and my heart hurt because there were only two cages in the empty car, one with Dou Dou inside, the other with a Samoyed. There was no heater and the temperature was low because it was January. Dou Dou wore his winter jacket and a few pieces of clothes were covering the outside of his cage to keep him warm, all of which were brought by Wangcai and Qiu Qiu’s mom. She covered the door with a training pad to block out the wind. That night, she barely slept because kept checking in with Duo Duo. Since there was a security guard in front of the freight car door, she bought him cigarettes to allow her to visit Duo Duo.
Thanks to the care of the Wangcai and Qiu Qiu’s mom, Duo Duo was very strong. When they arrived in Shanghai, the new mom greeted her with flowers. The first thing they did was walk Duo Duo and send photos and videos to the rescue group.
After handing over Duo Duo, Wangcai and Qiu Qiu’s mom flew back to Guangzhou. This entire journey lasted 36 hours and she took care of all of the costs. She did not leave Duo Duo’s side until he was at his new home.
Part 3. 2019 Spring Festival: Dou Dou’s misfortune
I thought that Duo Duo would have a happy retirement and thought that I focus on other rescue dogs. Duo Duo’s family sent me a message asking if I could take back Duo Duo due to family reasons. Right away, I arranged a transportation company to fly Duo Duo back to Guangzhou. At that moment, it was only Duo Duo and Xiangzi (another rescue) instead of like before when I had Niu Niu, Mulan, and Little White (they all went to Germany). Xiangzi was full of energy, always clamoring to play with Dou Dou but Duo Duo wasn’t in the mood. Xiangzi would not give up, jumping up and down, asking to play. Duo Duo pretended to bite Xiangzi to tell him to stop bothering him. Duo Duo was so annoyed that he crawled into his crate and Xiangzi stayed behind because he used to be stuck in a cage for long periods of time.
Duo Duo is very healthy for his age. He can eat, drink, and sleep. But, he has a tumor which always makes him need to pee, so I went out to walk him twice daily. Every time he went to the same tree to do his business and then immediately return home. The family that returned Duo Duo told me that he would always bark at night. However, he only barked because they kept him in the cage at night and he had to pee. When he was with me, he rarely barked unless Xiangzi annoyed him.
Adopting a fur baby is actually like adopting a human baby. The way you raise a human child should be the same with a dog. Just as a baby needs to be potty trained or taught how to walk and talk is just like training a dog. Dogs also develop health issues just as humans do. If you really love your dog, you would go above and beyond to take good care of them, regardless of their age.
I always see people claim that they love animals. There was this one woman who said that she loves dogs very much and that she has a dog, but she hates seeing stray dogs when she goes to China. She said that she’s a really good person to not call the police to capture and kill the strays because they’re dirty, carry diseases, poop everywhere, and make her and her child uncomfortable. She also said that her American neighbor's dog was euthanized because the dog barked too much. I don't understand how she can foster such hate towards helpless animals. Thus, I think that it is two different things to have pets and to love and respect their lives.
Nowadays, Duo Duo is being taken care of by 3 people. When I’m not in Guangzhou, Duo Duo lives in Lisa’s home. Lisa rescues stray cats in Guangzhou. I know her because she helped me rescue Mulan. From then on, she started helping me take care of the other dogs. Lisa has two cats of her own and she rescued two kittens. During the Spring Festival, she found a stray poodle, whom she named Winter, at the bus station. She’s also fostering Duo Duo and Xiangzi. Duo Duo will also stay with Wangcai and Qiu Qiu’s mom when she returns to Guangzhou. In May, Xiangzi bit Dou Dou which resulted in some blood and 2 holes in his hind leg, probably because Xiangzi wanted play but Duo Duo didn’t. I quickly separated them by taking over Xiangzi’s care. Duo Duo would either stay with Lisa or Wangcai and Qiu Qiu’s mom.
When Duo Duo is with me, I comb his fur. I don't know how long it hasn't been combed since a lot of it is matted. I had to use scissors and a razor to unknot his fur. Duo Duo was so scared from the razor’s sound and annoyed that he bit his tongue, causing some bleeding, so I quickly stopped
Poor Dou Dou, when will you find your home?