Shitty People Being Shitty to Other Shitty People, But Not Always

It can seem like there are days here where I see nothing but shitty people being shitty to other shitty people. Today I saw some girls shove a blind man out of their way. There’s no shortage of cars cutting off pedestrians, cyclists, or other cars because everyone is in a hurry and thinks their own time and safety is more important than others’. I hate when people park right in the middle of the road or on a sidewalk, completely blocking the flow of traffic for everyone else because someone was too lazy to go find a parking spot while they ran into 7-11. Or how about the famous incident of the little girl getting hit by a car and no one stopping to help her while she died in the street a few years back? Seeing shitty, selfish, greedy behavior like this all the time can really bring a person down.

However, I have managed to find a group of wonderful, wonderful people who are the exact opposite of all this. Volunteering is a pretty new concept in China, a lot of Chinese people don’t even really understand what it means. I’ve been working with a couple of animal rescue organizations and a Trap Neuter Release organization in Shanghai and have had the opportunity to get to know some of the most selfless people I’ve ever met in my life. It’s refreshing to work with them and to be reminded that not every single person in Shanghai is a shit bird who couldn’t care less about the people around them.

These people dedicate so much of themselves to trying to ease the pain and suffering of animals, especially stray animals. They spend countless hours and their own hard earned cash bringing stray animals to the vet and then placing them in homes. I work mostly with the TNR organization and one of the members, a guy named Steven has become a bit of a hero to me. He spends most of his mornings before work at the vet checking on his strays, goes to work and then spends most of his evenings catching stray cats in neighborhoods (mine included) where TNR programs are on-going and then goes home to a home full of dogs and cats that he fosters until they can be placed in permanent homes. You’d never think he was anything special if you just saw him on the street. He’s just a regular guy. Him and a few others have spent months pursuing official NPO status for the TNR organization and just recently got it approved. They’ve designed this amazing plan for not only carrying out TNR, but also dedicating time and resources on educating people on proper pet care and how to prevent the growth of Shanghai’s stray animal population. I’ve learned that many Chinese people have some really interesting and sad misunderstandings about pets and pet care that end poorly for our furry friends. They are trying to educate people against this kind of unscientific, superstitious thinking.

Another unsung hero is Chris Lau, founder of ThinkAdoption who at any one time has about 20 pets in his home. Some of them are his own, most of them are waiting for adoption. I myself have two cats and I feel that they take up a lot of my time (they’re so messy!), I have no idea how people like Chris can hold down full time jobs and then manage to care for so many animals! Especially in a large city like Shanghai where you can’t just put the dogs outside in your yard while you go to work. It takes remarkable dedication and selflessness.

Some people have asked me why I spend so much time and money on trying to help stray animals instead of trying to help people. I have two reasons. 1. The situation of all stray animals was caused by humans – people not being responsible pet owners, releasing them when they become a burden and not de-sexing them. I feel like we owe it to them. 2. People indirectly benefit from taking care of the stray animal problem. How? Well, stray animals can sometimes carry rabies. I saw a news report yesterday that said that 10 people in Beijing died from rabies last year because of stray dogs. Stray cats make a lot of noise at night when they’re in heat, so de-sexing them solves that problem and also helps them to lead longer, healthier lives. I am frequently woken up by the cats in my neighborhood fighting or getting it on. I’ve managed to spay/neuter 5 of them already, but I probably have 10 more to go before we have the problem mostly under control.

If anyone is interested in learning more about these organizations, I recommend you check them out on Weibo or WeChat. Search for ThinkAdoption, PPAR (Paw Pals Animal Rescue) or TNR Action at TNRaction.com.

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10 thoughts on “Shitty People Being Shitty to Other Shitty People, But Not Always

    • Your MIL sounds like a badass lady!  I hope more people become aware of these organisations too.  A problem with people who are used to heavy handed governments like China’s is that people often believe that everything is an issue for the government to deal with and that there’s no need for them to get involved personally.  That’s starting to change with younger people, but it’s still going to take a lot of time before the concepts of “volunteering” and “donating” really catch on.

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  1. On Saturday morning my boyfriend found a kitten that was trapped in a kind of pit in our compound. It was the space between two buildings, and because it went all the way down to the garage it was like 6 or 7 meters deep. We tried several ways (throwing a box with food inside while holding on some strings, to shift it if he got inside, called the firemen, etc) but the cat was still there on Sunday. Then my bf contacted some animal organization and someone came all the way from the other side of Suzhou with a rope and went down to rescue the cat!

    In the end the stupid cat got out by himself, he was so scared of the guy he got into some pipes connecting the pit to the garage (probably the same way he got into the pit in the first place…). But I was really surprised that these people drove for almost one hour just to rescue a stray cat!

    Do the misunderstandings about pets you’ve heard include that rabbits don’t drink water? I wonder how many rabbits have died of dehydration in China…

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  2. It’s wonderful to know there are so many people that do go out of their way to help animals in need. I really enjoyed reading your post. I used to feed stray cats twice or three times a week when I lived in Beijing and I did this for three years…so many stray cats there…in winter my friend and I made cardboard houses for them and I asked my Aiyi to buy some towels and I put those in there for warmth…it was the least I could do.

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