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EAST MEETS WEST

Putting on the Dog


By staff reporter PENELOPE COLVILLE

brought about better care conF the term had been coined ditions for canines, felines, and here, the cat walk of the a host of other small mammals. West would have been a And Chinas attitude towards dog walk in the Middle the beloved pet signals it may Kingdom. The Chinese are putbe a compensation for the oneting on the dog, but the old exchild policy, meaning dogs pression for dressing up in ones sometimes enjoy some of the fanciest and conveying the imfreedoms common to canines pression of living large, is being in Europe, with caf owners given new life in the East. Mao bringing their pets to work and once declared the pampered pet looking the other way when a disgracefully bourgeois habit, customers arrive with their own but modern Chinas burgeoning leashed companions. urban middle class, the DINKS Dogs welcomed as members (double income no kids) and of the family appear to be as empty-nesters are taking to pet coddled as the Chinese child, ownership in a big way. While complete with wardrobe. The birds or a collection of tropical publishers of Dog Fans and Cat fish are considered to be the traFans run a seasonal analysis ditional, classic Chinese pets, the on trends in dog fashion, and canine is the new darling. Any editor Wang Ran confirms the trend taking hold in China tends pages devoted to advertising to create a rush on the market all kinds of pet products in right at the outset, as the numthese magazines just continue bers of consumers are so large. to grow. Japanese designers This one has unleashed both the are still the taste-makers in frivolous and the serious, from the clothing industry, but the the predictable social front of garments are manufactured in animal rights crusaders to the China. Chinese designers who much more surprising advent of go it alone and market their a riveting and clever dog fashion goods online have trouble with industry with Chinese characterFormer advertising jetsetter Mary Peng has harnessed her brains intellectual property theft, findistics that truly set it apart. and her heart to the task of improving things in China one little life ing knock-offs of their designs at a time. Other than the pampered up on the net only weeks after pets of the court, such as the release. Pekinese and the Shih Tzu, there Online isnt for Andie Zhang is little precedent for the dog as who recently made a deal with pet among the Chinese rank and Chinas biggest pet store chain file, except as a work animal. to provide its own line of dog The nations dog clothes designclothes. An animal lover who ers have therefore been free to knows trends turn into industake the industry in any direction, and the dog walk is a source of and velveteen antennae). Nail polish and tries overnight here, she went off to endless delight, bringing about canine hair dye followed. While many experts study clothing design in Italy for a year Halloween costumes, silk pajamas and lament the anthropomorphic aspects of at the Instituto Marangoni. Then the 24bumble bee outfits for spring (complete dog clothing, the ascendancy of the dogs year-old returned to China to start her with wire-supported gossamer wings popularity in Chinese cities has actually own dog clothing line called AndI. The

Peng makes sure you know how to adopt, register, ship and firework-proof your pet.

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CHINA TODAY

Nip and tuck fashion Andie Zhang convinces her dog Ido to model one of her cotton fleece-lined dog dresses.

Perhaps only dog psychiatrists know what dogs really feel about all the new styles.

canine fashionista confesses to much the same preoccupations as a regular designer: she considers the temperament and size of the breed to create outfits with either elaborate or sleeker styles and warmer or cooler palettes that match up with the characters of terriers or poodles, accessory-sized or large family dogs. The roots of her inspiration are personal; her poodle Ido was a gift from a friend, and when she went to the pet stores she couldnt find a thing for the dog to wear. Objections from hardline animal lovers everywhere is that dogs have hair to keep them warm and furthermore, any clothing masks the dogs body language which is how the animals communicate with each other. On the more practical side however, an indoor animal in China is more than likely an apartment-housed creature with no chance to grow protective hair for the winter. A coat is at least practical, as are boots to protect pads from winter ice and salt. Making dogs look good is not Zhangs only mission anyway; the young designer is concerned with the whole fertile territory of the human-pet relationship, explaining, Clothes were just the easiest entre to the market; from here on I am thinking about bowls, leashes, toys, and furniture.
JUNE 2011

During her BA program at the Beijing Institute of Technology she studied product design, but researching life with pets is clearly a 24/7 occupation: her cat Bai for eight years, and now her dog Ido. We are better off in China now; we need, want and can afford pets these days, she says, but the designer still fears people may not understand their little charges

Canine couture may seem lamentable but the popularity of the dog has brought about better care conditions for all sorts of pets in China.
well and the animals suffer as a result. Zhang sees her products existing to make that bond across the species easier, better and more fun. The needs of animals and pet owners in China have attracted the best and brightest. Mary Peng had a successful career in advertising when it got turned around by a stray cat. A Columbia graduate in East Asian Studies, she went to work for Dentsu, Young and Rubicam from 1991 to 1998, covering Taiwan and Chinas major cities. When she moved to the capital in 1991 and adopted a Turkish angora cat, she was surprised to find

there were no veterinary services at all at the time. An agreeable vet with small animal experience had to be tracked down at the Chinese Agricultural University to provide rabies shots and spaying. The cat went back to New York City with Peng in 1998 while she got her MBA from her alma mater. When she returned to China with McKinsey & Company in 2002, she now had a much older cat; still there were no vets. Animals figure big in Pengs value system. Taiwanborn and New York raised (from the age of three), her parents were Chinese farmers from Henan. The family always had pets; at one time, two dogs, three cats, 29 hamsters and a mynah bird in their home in Queens. She left her job at McKinsey with a new mission: visiting animal hospitals all across the US, Asia and China whenever she was on a trip somewhere. Two friends of hers became her business partners and they formed the International Center for Veterinary Services (ICVS) in 2006. Their enterprise is the first, and still the only, wholly owned foreign enterprise (WOFE) animal hospital and pet care facility in China. Today, Beijings regulations are typical of Chinas big cities, allowing only one dog to be registered per household,
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EAST MEETS WEST

City dogs and country dogs ICVS patient Colette with Dr. Jessica Wu, and farm puppies adopted out with ICVSs help.

and limiting size within a radius around the city core. The first municipal dog restriction made in 1995 allowed citizens to raise pet dogs legally after paying a license fee of RMB 5,000 the first year and RMB 2,000 in subsequent years. At the time, dogs were responsible for more than 95 percent of all rabies transmissions and the steep cost was meant to restrict explosive growth. Before this statute the dog world was in a legal limbo, and authorities turned a blind eye to the animals until they made trouble... say, like biting people. Despite the steep costs, dog and cat ownership continued to grow, but it took 14 years for a private health care and services sector to develop. Peng explains that dog lovers were a phenomenon waiting to happen, whether the business sector was ready or not: Even at a price that was more than the annual salary of an ordinary Chinese worker, records show 140,000 dogs were registered in 2002 in Beijing, and in 2003-2004 when the cost was reduced to RMB 2,000 it jumped to 410,000. China has yet to institute a national rabies vaccination program, Peng admits. ICVS is leading a grassroots movement to inform and work with the government on compulsory vaccinations to prevent the return of practices like culling to control diseases that threaten humans, as was done in 2003 and 2004 for rabies in the southern provinces. Peng and her veterinarians
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also work with the animal husbandry bureau of Beijing to educate owners on finding legally registered and officially designated animal vaccination hospitals, putting an end to fake vets peddling dubious vaccines. Unregulated breeding has compounded the disease control issues as inexperienced puppy mills use a few representatives of popular breeds theyve imported to create stock for sale, but as there are only a few of each breed

the mothers are overworked and weakened, the puppies inbred and defective. Disease often does its worst work when the animal has already been sold, causing a family tragedy. Andie Zhang feels some Chinese pet owners, unaccustomed to their furry four-footed friends, are ill-prepared for the responsibility and just abandon them in another neighborhood one day. But Peng doesnt buy the criticism that

Niu-Niu was rescued from a life on the street but dresses very well now and helps her owner May greet coffee shop customers.

CHINA TODAY

Chinese pet owners are irresponsible and cites some interesting statistics to back herself up: Licensing your dog in NYC is $8.50 and there is only 10 percent compliance; in Beijing its the equivalent of $170.00 but compliance is at least 30 percent and may be as high as 50 percent. Unwanted pets flood city shelters during peak expat departure times as well summer, Christmas and after Chinese New Year. The PRCs government kennels can give strays only a few weeks to be claimed. Beijings shelters most privately owned, unlicensed, and run by animal lovers are all overwhelmed. Peng works with them on good shelter management practices, neutering, adoption preparation and placement. Then she follows them home if she can. Pets can play such a big part in childrens lives that Peng runs a workshop to teach them how to approach, understand and behave around dogs. From the day they opened, ICVS had an animal welfare program in place, and cats get equal treatment. Their trap-neuter-return program relies on local volunteers to capture strays with ICVS-loaned equipment, then the cats are returned to their colony safely neutered and with an ear tipping that indicates they can no longer reproduce. Expats who need to know how to adopt a pet from a shelter, register a dog with the authorities, get four-legged companions in or out of the country, or how to handle their pets fireworks phobias, go to ICVS for their regular workshops. When the Chinese zodiac brings a new creature into the cultural spotlight every year, fresh workshops address their care and feeding. In the Year of the Rabbit, its the Bunny Care Basics naturally. In America Peng would be a lobbyist. The list of organizations ICVS is engaged with to improve animal welfare in China includes the international SPCAs, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Humane Society International and the Jane Goodall Institute. Government bodies she works closely with are the ministries of Agriculture, Health, and Education, the Entry and Exit Bureau, and the quarantine authorities. She uses her knowledge and skills to make a major and ongoing contribution to animal welfare and to her permanent adopted home, one little life at a time. I love it here; I am a visitor to America now, Peng smiles. C
JUNE 2011

POT LUCK

Yellow Croaker Guota Style

Guota is a traditional cooking style that combines frying and stewing, producing dishes that smack delightfully of both fried and braised food. The style originated on the Jiaodong Peninsula in Shandong Province on Chinas east coast. Yellow croaker is a representative guota-style dish, a specialty of Shandong cooking, which is one of Chinas eight major cuisines. The invention of this dish, it is said, goes back 500 years; they still tell the story, during the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644), of a rich man in Shandongs Fushan County who loved seafood so much that he hired a celebrity female chef to cook it for him. One day she was late for work and so as not to delay serving up, she cut the frying time for the fish. The rich man, finding it undercooked, got very irate and demanded that she redo it. The chef knew that if she fried the original fish some more, the color would be too dark, which would make him even more upset, but starting over with a new fish would take longer and he wouldnt happy about that either. Sudden inspiration struck. She made a soup with seasonings like scallion, ginger, Sichuan pepper and star anise, put in the part-cooked fish, stewed it until the liquid was reduced and served it up. To the surprise of all, the rich man loved it and asked how she had cooked it. After that he would always ask her to cook it for him and it was taken up in many a local home. Obviously, fresh yellow croaker is a must; the other ingredients are scallion, ginger, edible black fungus, ham and bamboo shoots. First, coat the fish with flour and then with egg yolk, and fry it until it starts to take on a gold color. Saut the other ingredients, add soup-stock and seasonings, put in the fried fish and cook until the liquid is reduced. Serve. These tasty guota dishes have become firm favorites in the Shandong culinary repertoire. You might also try the delicious Guota Chicken and Guota Clams.

Where to eat:

1. Tongheju Restaurant Add: A-1, Yuetan South Street, Sanlihe, Xicheng District, Beijing Tel: 010-68522917 2. Qiluyuan Restaurant Add: F1 Shandong Hotel, 2 Madianqiao South Road, Haidian District, Beijing Tel: 010-82003266 3. Shandong Restaurant Add: Building A, Dongjiu Mansion, northern end of Xizhaosi Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing Tel: 010-51007180

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