China Expat & Travel Blogger. ATTRACTIONS & THINGS TO DO IN CHINA. See My Fun TRAVEL Adventures in China!
Let's keep it real: Kunshan can be BORING at times, am I right? Well, that's why you should invest in a pet. I myself bought a pet dog in Kunshan a few years back, and I tell ya' it was one of the best decisions I had ever made.
Truth be told at the time I wasn't even looking for the extra company, but after tagging along with some friends to a pet and flower market in the city, I somehow ended up with a black and white girl pup to take home that only cost a mere 150RMB. Cheap right? And here's why:
For one, the pet shop was actually more of a pet shack. Picture a dirty, funky, hole in the wall market overflowing with caged birds, cats, dogs, rabbits, fish, and squirrels from end to end in tiny boutiques. Could you imagine the smell?
And two, the large animals—i.e. cats and dogs—didn't necessarily look like they were kept in the best conditions. In fact, most looked as though ninety-percent of their meals came from prison cafeterias.
Nevertheless, I took the dog home—I named her 'Panda" for her black and white coat--and everything went remarkably smooth. I bought her food, a cozy bed, and even started potty training—i.e., shouting at her to stop peeing all over my wooden floor.
Then it happened—I was a proud poppa for less than a month when I began noticing a light green crust forming around Panda's eyes, and that was on top of her sudden dismal and gloomy behavior. Was it an infection? Rabies? I didn't know. What could be wrong?
Within a day I took her to an animal clinic where a vet examined her, pulled out a 'common diseases found in dogs' type book and gave a synopsis within half an hour.
Apparently she had caught some virus that was typically found in puppies that weren't properly taken care of—alah the 'pet shack'. The vet also noted that puppies at her stage had a 50/50 chance of survival. Sh*t.
He then reenforced that they could provide Panda with the necessary antibiotic shots she'd need, but at 200RMB a pop taken every 2 days over 2 weeks. Sh*t, ... again. But hey, a proud poppa gots' to do what he's got to do!
For two weeks straight I'd drive back and forth across Kunshan and to the clinic with Panda on my scooter bike. I'd also have the pleasure of watching the vet stick about 5 needles in her back each go round. Man, that hurt just looking at it.
By the end of the 2nd week she had fully recovered and everything was back to normal.
I wound up taking care of Panda over the next two and a half years, and it was #dope. We'd often hit the park across from my house to play, she'd join me on walks and jogs, I'd let her sleep in my king size bed, and I'd even bring her to a few house parties around town.
She'd also take a strong liking to my girlfriend, who'd actually spoil Panda worst than those Ayis taking care of preschool kids.
Alright, so of course there were plenty of bad times too. I lost her in my apartment building at one point, for instance, and she managed to destroy a lot of things in the house when she was a puppy. Paperwork, tissue, the sofa cover—everything was fair game.
At the end of the day though, having a pet dog while in Kunshan was a blast. Let's be real--even with a girlfriend and a good group of friends to hang out with, there was nothing like having some reliable companionship to come home to everyday.
Alright that's a tad corny. But seriously, being an expat can sometimes get boring, lonely, stressful, and emotionally draining, so why not consider taking in a pet—fish, turtle, rabbit, cat, dog—just for the hell of it?
And so what happened to Panda? Well, in 2016 I moved to Shanghai and decided that she'd be better off in someone else's care. Today, Panda sits somewhere in China's countryside with the grandparents of one of my former ESL students. Hey, it was fun while it lasted!
1. There's a pet and flower market at No. 1080 Bailu South Rd. If you buy a dog, cat, or rabbit from there, or any back alley shop for that matter, make sure you take them to the vet to get any immunity shots.
2. Most supermarkets carry generic food for cats and dogs. Many of the pet shops on the street carry premium brand food but expect to come out of your pockets more.
3. So, you need to go on vacation and can't find someone to watch your dog. Well, head to the vet and they could keep them for 30RMB per day. They'll feed them for free and you can pay the fees when you pick them up.
4. It took a VERY long while to practice having my dog sit down and keep still while driving my scooter. Many people do that across China, after all. I did practice in a remote area before going out into traffic so make sure you do that first.
There you have it folks. Enjoy and safe and happy travels!