It is estimated that the pet industry in Hong Kong is less than twenty years old. Thirty or so years ago, the economy in Hong Kong would not have allowed for its population to be able to afford a dog. In the late eighties Hong Kong experienced a huge economic boom, and people’s disposable incomes rose from almost zero, meaning that the majority of the population could think beyond buying daily necessities and look to making lifestyle purchases.
Since the liberation of the Hong Kong wallet, people have looked to dogs as status symbols. Ex-pat residents such as Darren and Rachel Whitfield, approaching Hong Kong with a more traditional approach to dog ownership, have found it an interesting challenge to fit with Hong Kong’s unusual take on dog ownership.
Here is their story.
“We were sitting in a restaurant reading the local Hong Kong paper when the face of a cute puppy caught our eye. It was an advert for Hong Kong Dog Rescue trying to find a home for rescued dogs. Busta was advertised as a Shih Tzu-cross who had lost an eye in the rescue centre during a confrontation with a bigger dog.
My wife’s eyes swelled with tears reading the story. We had desperately wanted a pet since our move to Hong Kong a year before, and her compassion insisted that this had to be the one! We met Busta the next day amongst a pen of 35 excited small to medium dogs all abandoned and in need of homes. Another 35 large dogs barked desperately at us through the adjoining fence. Busta was a little dirty, and sad but we could see the heart of gold and calm personality. It was a little heartbreaking, but comfort came in knowing these were the dogs that have been rescued.
Little Busta Boo, pictured above
In Hong Kong alone over 40,000 dogs are abandoned each year and the government pound only allows 4 days for collection before putting them down!
Do you have a view of dog ownership abroad? We'd love to hear from you!