Yan’s Rescue Story, Duo Duo the Little Pom:
Part 1: Meeting the Little Pomeranian
“A few years ago, it was a trend to breed cute little animals in China. Due to popular demand of purebred dogs, many tiny dogs were bred with family members to maintain purity of genes. They disregarded the dogs’ health and the fact that this practice was causing many defects.
When I first sent MuLan (another NL Animal Rescue dog) to the vet’s boarding service, I saw a little Pomeranian next to her kennel. The Pomeranian was jumping up and down and barking very energetically. It was a powerful bark straight from the chest. I asked the vet who he belonged to and the vet simply replied that his owner had brought him here. This eased my concerns about him. After that, I kept rescuing more and more dogs and I was under a lot of pressure to find them homes, so I had no time to check up on the Pomeranian. But, I still remembered to clean his kennel when I cleaned the other dogs’.
Once three of my dogs all left Guangzhou to be brought to their permanent homes, I was finally able to breathe again and spend some time looking at the little Pom. It was then when I noticed his bark wasn’t nearly as strong as before and he had also stopped jumping. After digging for more information, I found out that he’d been abandoned by his owner in March because he was twelve years old, started to become less energetic, and had developed arthritis. The owner’s family had originally wanted to put him down but the daughter wasn’t quite ready yet so she paid for a year’s worth of foster care. This wasn’t a good arrangement, especially for such an old dog, because the little Pom received only food and water and nothing else. Hearing this made me frustrated.
When I let the little Pom out of his cage, he could barely walk. He simply stood in one spot and trembled. His fur was matted and covered in dandruff due to months of neglect. It took me several days to comb all of it out. Sometimes he’d bark if I accidentally hurt him but then he’d lick my hand to let me know that he wasn’t upset with me. During the nine months he spent cooped up in the cage, he didn’t get to go on any walks and feel the sunshine on his skin. There was no bed inside of the cage, he simply slept pushed against the iron bars. His fluffy fur gave off the illusion he was healthily chubby. As soon as I picked him up, I could feel all of his ribs jabbing through. He barely weighed two pounds. When the weather got colder, he began to cough a lot. I asked the vet to bring him home for a few days so he could run around and lay in the sun but the vet said no because the little Pom had an owner who was paying for the boarding service still.
After I mentioned the little Pom’s sad conditions to the rest of the members of the Northern Lights Animal Rescue organization, they began to brainstorm ways we could save him. Because of his old age and heart condition, we knew he was too frail to travel long-distances. Fortunately, we quickly found a home for him in Shanghai. I asked the vet to reach out to the little Pom to explain the situation. I had wrongfully assumed that the family would be delighted to hear this because I was under the impression that the family didn’t want the dog anymore but also didn’t want to be directly responsible for his death. Instead, the family refused to give the little Pom to us and claimed they were planning on visiting him eventually. The entire rescue group was extremely frustrated.
Part 2: Found a Home!
A volunteer was temporarily in this area of China for business so she reached out to the owner in hopes of convincing them to give us the little Pom. Finally, the owner agreed. Now that the poor dog was finally in our care, we gave him a fitting new name: Duo Duo, which meant “lots of happiness and luck” in Chinese. The volunteer visited the clinic at the end of the work day and brought Duo Duo and MuLan to her temporary residence. She sent many videos of Duo Duo enjoying his vacation which consisted of countless walks with MuLan and lots of snazzy new clothes.
Eventually, the volunteer’s business trip reached its conclusion and she had to bring Duo Duo back to the clinic. We were worried he wouldn’t be able to survive long enough to be taken to his new home in March as originally planned since his heart problem was getting exponentially more concerning. After much deliberation, we decided that Duo Duo could probably handle a train ride from Guangzhou to Shanghai, where the adopter lived. The volunteer was willing to accompany him.
When I saw the photos of the inside of the freight car that Duo Duo would be riding in, my heart hurt. There were only two cages: one containing Duo Duo and the other occupied by a Samoyed. There was no heater and the temperature outside was extremely cold. Duo Duo wore his winter jacket. A few additional pieces of clothing were draped over his cage in an effort to conserve some heat in. For the entire twenty-two hour trip, the volunteer was restless. She bribed the security guard in front of the freight car door with cigarettes to allow her to visit Duo Duo.
When the two of them finally arrived in Shanghai, the adopter was eagerly waiting for their arrival with a bouquet of gratitude flowers. After handing Duo Duo over, the volunteer flew back to Guangzhou, exhausted. The entire journey had ended up taking thirty-six hours. The volunteer insisted on paying for everything. She didn’t leave Duo Duo’s side until he was finally with his new family. I’m eternally grateful for this kind woman’s selflessness and compassion.
Part 3: Duo Duo’s Misfortune
Unfortunately, Duo Duo didn’t get his happy ending yet. After a few months of him living with his family, they messaged me asking if I could take him back. The family returned him because he would always bark (I think he only barked because they kept him locked up in a cage at night). He also had a tumor that made him feel like he constantly needed to pee. They didn’t realize how much attention dogs demanded. Adopting a fur baby is practically the equivalence of adopting a human baby so the way you raise a dog should be the same as the way you raise a child. Dogs develop health issues just as humans do. People who genuinely love their dog would go above and beyond to take care of them, regardless of their age.
Right away, I made arrangements to bring him back to Guangzhou. Luckily most of my dogs had already been adopted, so I only had to focus on Duo Duo and Xiangzi (another NL Animal Rescue dog). Xiangzi was a puppy and thus always full of energy. He’d constantly be jumping up and down, pestering Duo Duo into playing with him. Duo Duo, annoyed by this younger dog’s immaturity, would pretend to bite Xiangzi. When this tactic didn’t work, Duo Duo hid in his crate.
Nowadays, Duo Duo is being taken care of by three people. The house he lives in his dependent upon who’s in Guangzhou at the time. While he doesn’t seem to mind constantly being passed around, I know that the instability probably isn’t the best for a dog -especially one as old as him. I really hope that some generous person will step forth and adopt Duo Duo. He deserves to spend the rest of his life with a loving and patient family who will take him on plenty of walks and comb his gorgeous fluffy fur.
Poor Dou Dou, when will you find your forever home?"