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SZ a rising pet-friendly city 爱宠物日:深圳打造宠物友好街区

南头古城 2023-05-31 13:04:18

A BLACK Chinese rural dog and a Maine Coon cat laid down on the floor, staring at each other face to face, interested but vigilant, during a pet walk event gathering 10 pet families on a group tour to Nantou Ancient Town, which is also branded as Nantou City, on Saturday.


“She [the Chinese rural dog] had a lot of fun today,” said Tuding, owner of the 1.5-year-old dog nicknamed Dousha. “I want to bring her to see more places and meet new friends.”


图片

A pet owner holds her pet corgi during a trip to Nantou Ancient Town on Saturday. Photos by Wang Haolan

Saturday’s event was held to mark the city’s fifth Love Your Pet Dog Day, which fell on Monday.


Pet owners are now encouraged to take their pets to Nantou City as the site is holding a monthlong campaign called “Hi there, friends” in its effort to build a pet-friendly community and enhance the public’s concern for animal welfare. A total of 16 stores and institutions have joined the campaign, which will end June 18, to welcome little animals inside.


“Pet-friendly” has now become a hot term in Shenzhen, which is becoming one of the most livable cities for dogs. The city has seen a surge in the number of pet owners over recent years. According to data from China Development Institute released in March, Shenzhen had approximately 500,000 pet cats and dogs.


图片

A group photo from a guided tour to pet-friendly spaces in Nantou Ancient Town on May 27.


More spaces needed for dogs


During Saturday’s trip, Dousha was curious in exploring the new area, showing enthusiasm to greet other dogs and cats. She would run fast towards her interested target and drag her owner to chase her, tugging on her leash.


“We drove all the way from Luohu District. Her carsickness made her nervous and she was drooling along the way. But she played happily today,” Tuding said joyfully. “Dousha was shy and timid, and meeting new friends will train her to be social.”


According to Tuding, she picked Dousha up from her hometown when Dousha was less than 2 months old. “She used to play around with her siblings. After she arrived in Shenzhen, we didn’t take her out until she got fully vaccinated. Staying in a limited space might be the reason for her to being timid.”


图片

A woman with her pet cat during a pet walk event in Nantou Ancient Town in Nanshan District on Saturday.


Therefore, pet owners like her treasure opportunities to walk their dogs and long for more open spaces and events for pets.


But is a pet-friendly space merely just an open space for pets?


Co-sharing spaces


When the group entered MeToo Café, a shop assistant offered each pet a cup of water using a disposable paper cup. The café treated pets as customers, taking their demands into account.


“A pet-friendly space is somewhere that human and pets can coexist,” said Jia Hai, co-partner of the cafe and owner of a giant poodle Qiyue.


图片

A participant of the guided tour on May 27 receives a gift from a staffer of the Nantou Ancient Town Service Center according to the number of seal collected.


“I always remind my customers there’s a dog here, and would take Qiyue away to a separate area if the customers were uncomfortable with dogs,” Jia said. “Always standing in others’ shoes is a favorable way to reach mutual understanding.”


Jia’s idea was supported by Coco, one of the members who launched the campaign and a staffer with Ruipeng Foundation, an animal charity. She said a pet-friendly space is not only a place suitable for pets and pet owners, but also a shared space for every individual inside who’s not raising a pet.


Coco and her coworkers have worked out several rules to guide retailers in Nantou City to reach a consensus on a pet-friendly space and raised requirements for pet owners to follow while attending events.


The retailers are trained to guide the customers with and without pets apart, guide a dog and a cat apart, and prepare first-aid kits or water for pets. “Pet owners are reminded to keep their pets on a leash and be cautious of not biting people or fighting with other animals,” she added.


图片

Ghost the British shorthair poses for a photo with its owner at HH Dance Studio in Nantou Ancient Town.


According to Coco, Nantou City is trying hard to build a pet-friendly community, as many stores both have open and indoor spaces.


“However, there are still some people allergic to animals and pets. We will find suitable places to gradually promote pet-friendly events,” Coco said.


“What’s important is people’s attitude towards animals. People should treat animals equally as humans, and we must be aware of what animals need. Therefore, I encourage the retailers to provide water stations for pets as the bare minimum to show their concern for animals,” Coco said.


Regulating rules


“Sometimes, when I take Qiyue to go potty and the distance is close, I keep her unleashed. However, one time, Qiyue scared a man and he shouted at me, telling me to keep my dog leashed. I knew I was in the wrong because there’s a regulation in place,” Jia said. “Regulations are important to boost an environment where society accepts dogs.”


图片

The stray cat transfer station at the Port Apartment (Nantou City Store).


Shenzhen launched the Muquan Action in 2019, rolling out measures on keeping dogs. In 2020, it implemented new rules on pet dog ownership, which required dog owners to leash their pets while going out, collect and dispose of their waste properly, and vaccinate and register their dogs.


As of this May, Shenzhen had recorded 238,000 pet dogs, as per data announced at an event held Sunday to celebrate the city’s fifth Love Your Pet Dog Day at the Jingtian pet park in Futian District. The city has 11 pet parks, which provide open space for pet owners to frolic and play with their furry friends.


Shenzhen is already dog-friendly in many ways. It had had 540 pet clinics by the end of last year and an increasing number of pet-friendly bars, restaurants and cafes, in addition to the vaccination, microchipping and registration of all dogs. Various sporting events for pets and pet industry exhibitions have also been organized.



Editor/Li Jing

WeChat Editor/Claudia


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