“Master Island” and more than 200 wandering dogs
The small island that Ms. Zhou rented is located at the intersection of Changshu City and Xiangcheng. This is exactly an area of more than 10 acres (about more than 6000 square meters) emerging in the middle of a large lake with ɱaпy embankments and ponds, about 100 meters from the shore. From a distance, it really looks like a small island. Initially, this area was used for the purpose of crab farming. After renting it out, Ms. Zhou converted it all into a shelter for 200 “homeless” dogs.
It is necessary to take a boat to get out to this special island. The closer you get to the island, the clearer the sound of dogs barking becomes. The boat had not yet arrived, and on the small wooden wharf there were more than a dozen dogs gathered wagging their tails very excitedly. ɱaпy dogs even jumped into the water and followed the boat to swim in to pick her up.
Ms. Zhou says she spends more than 10 hours on the island every day: “She came to the island early in the morning. The first thing is to feed them, then clean up. When we finish everything, it’s around 5 p.m., which is no different from the normal commute ᴛι̇ɱe.”
Ms. Zhou was a salesperson for a company. Because her job doesn’t require her to work directly in the office, she spends most of her day on the island. In recent years, her income has relied on the support of long-standing patrons. This is also a relatively stable source of income for her to support and take care of her small island.
There are dozens of dogs on the island. Ms. Zhou said that this is a pet pet, so she is used to interacting with people, extremely friendly. The rest were kept in cages by her. The cages were repaired by her from the crab farmer’s hut on the island. The cage is even equipped with air conditioning and a blower, and also built more fences around it to expand the range of the dogs kept in the cage. Currently, there are more than 200 dogs with ɱaпy different breeds such as Golden Retriever, Horse Dog, Labrador, Bichon Frise, Pomeranian, Corgi … Before coming to the island, they were all wild dogs abandoned by their owners.
Big turning point in life
When she first rented the island in 2020, she adopted more than 100 stray dogs, and the number has grown to more than 200 within the past 3 years. Looking at her photo 3 years ago and the present ᴛι̇ɱe seems like two completely different people. If she used to be a woɱaп with fair skin, by now, her skin is much darker. To facilitate cleaning the barn and taking care of the dogs here, she is no longer too concerned about her clothes.
For Ms. Chu, renting an island to adopt stray dogs was a major turning point in her life. When she arrived in Xuzhou (Jiangsu, China), her family had a Teddy dog. However, 7 years ago, this dog was stolen twice and so far it has not been found:
“She checked the security camera and saw it had been stolen by a stranger riding a bike.” Since then, every ᴛι̇ɱe she sees stray dogs left on the street, she remembers her pet dog and can’t help but bring them back.
Ms. Zhou shared that once while on a business trip, she heard a story about someone stealing a Labrador dog and intending to eat it. She didn’t care much at first, but eventually decided to redeem it after a sleepless night. Another ᴛι̇ɱe, while walking her dog, she overheard someone say that nearby there was a stray dog giving birth, and no one took care of her. She immediately arrived and found that the dog had given birth to 4 children. After some hesitation, Ms. Zhou decided to take them all home to adopt.
Gradually, the number of dogs Ms. Zhou adopted reached 40. The house couldn’t hold it all, so she took it back to her parents’ home in the countryside and lied that she had asked someone to take care of it.
“Later, our place had to be relocated. The people there have left behind a lot of dogs that are their pets.” Ms. Zhou couldn’t stand this scene and went on to adopt her whole again. Because of the large number of dogs, she decided to rent a house far from residential areas, avoiding disturbing people around. At the same ᴛι̇ɱe, she also performed sterilization and injections on all newly adopted dogs. However, the landlord then wants to raise the price. She was lucky to find this island of a crab farmer.
Ms. Zhou named the island “Rescue House” and brought each stray dog she found to the island. Up to now, there are more than 200 dogs living here. Ms. Zhou continues to welcome the dogs back to the island. However, the island’s capacity is limited and, more importantly, her affordability has also reached its limit.
“They’re lives after all, I don’t want to use the word ‘worthy’ or not.”
“If you had the opportunity to choose again, would you adopt so ɱaпy stray dogs?”
Faced with this question, Ms. Zhou could only sigh: “After all, they are lives, I don’t want to use the word ‘worthy’ or not to measure what I have done.” Even more surprising was what she was doing, her family was unaware: “Her husband only knew she had adopted stray dogs but didn’t know she had that much, let alone rented an entire island.”
Along with that, the cost to raise these dogs is all paid by herself: “The rent for this island was initially 25,000 yuan (about 83 million VND) per year, then it was reduced a bit. But compared to the cost of daily care, the rent for this island is only a small amount.
When catching stray dogs, initially anesthetized, the cost of each anesthesia is about 400 – 500 yuan (1.3 – 1.6 million VND). In addition, vaccination, physical examination, deworming, disinfection,… are expensive. The biggest expense is feed. Quality firms will be a little more expensive, about 7,000 yuan (about 23 million VND) per ton, each month they eat up about 1.5 tons, so the money to buy food per month will cost about 10,000 yuan (about 34 million VND).
After calculating, Ms. Chu said that the cost to raise dogs on the island each year will be about 200,000 yuan (about more than 660 million VND). “Some of her friends also bring their dogs here to be raised, they pay a little more for nurturing, so the amount she needs to spend is about 150,000 yuan (about 498 million).”
Aside from the financial burden, taking care of more than 200 dogs alone isn’t easy: “Someᴛι̇ɱes I feel exhausted. Someᴛι̇ɱes he even dozed off on the way back. She also started thinking about finding a better home for them.
She plans to move some to another animal shelter. There are ɱaпy places to adopt stray cats and dogs with more people joining in to support here. If she is an adopting individual, she must check the information carefully, mainly the owner must be responsible. Being raised in families with conditions can help them have a better life.”
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