Guest post: How I met Judy, an animal saver by accident

In today’s guest post I’d like to introduce you to Rose from Life in Shenzhen. Rose has been living in Shenzhen for almost five years. She has a Master’s Degree in Educational Studies and works as a teacher and education specialist, with recent experience in special needs.  She writes for Afar Media at  She is also on the board of the Shenzhen Women’s International Club (SWIC).
As the title of her blog suggests, Rose shares tips and stories about living in Shenzhen. Moreover, she shares plenty of photos with her readers, creating a colorful picture of life in Shenzhen. You can also follow Rose on twitter: Here’s the post:

I’ve always loved animals, but never really had time — or made time — for them before moving to China.  Here, I’ve been faced with the sad reality that there is no protection for animals.  Yes, in America animal cruelty still happens on a regular basis.  But the difference is night and day here, where you see animals suffering in terrible conditions everyday.

Sometimes I feel like giving up and just saying, “Well, it’s a cultural difference, nothing I can do.”  Then I read about and started meeting people in China who were passionate about helping animals.  That’s how I met Judy.

Judy is a lady who has been living in Shenzhen for almost twenty years.  When she first came here from up north, she tells the story of how she took a bus almost two hours from Luohu over terrible dirt roads.  People on the bus had all sorts of crazy things: shipping crates, snakes, live monkeys.  She made a nice amount of money in the antique furniture business.

She stumbled in to helping animals quite by accident.  There’s a big “chicken street” in Shekou and one of the prostitutes gave her a dog when she couldn’t take care of it.  That dog was GoGo, and he is more than 17 years old today.  Over the years, more and more people gave her dogs and came to her for help with their animals.  For awhile, she had a big team of volunteers.  But the difficulties of managing volunteers and lack of help from the government caught up with her, so she accepts very few dogs now.

She is very strict about taking care of dogs.  She never takes more dogs than she can take care of.  She walks them every single day at 8:00am and 5:00pm.  She spends her own money on vet care and medicine.  She interviews people and visits their homes before allowing them to take an animal.

Back to how I met Judy.  It was two years after we moved here, and we were finally ready to get a dog.  I don’t believe in buying designer dogs, especially when they come from terrible conditions like puppy mills (and many here die soon after purchase due to health problems).  I was very excited to hear about a local lady named Judy who offered rescue dogs for adoption.  Back then, she had 7-8 dogs available.  We entered the small garden by her furniture shop and the dogs went crazy.  One dog in particular kept biting my leggings and demanding attention.

That dog turned out to be Brownie, the doggy love of my life.  The prostitutes found his mother on chicken street, hurt and scared.  Soon after she gave birth to puppies, and Brownie was one of them.  His brothers and sisters live all over the world.

Brownie's party (photo courtesy of Rose Symotiuk)

Brownie’s party (photo courtesy of Rose Symotiuk)

Last Friday was Brownie’s birthday.  It is an event that started as a joke and has now become incredibly serious!  Judy and I started planning months ago and I spent more than a week making the decorations by hand.  We had a photo booth and handmade cake.  Twelve dogs came, including Brownie’s mom, Coco, who now has a loving home too.

It was a great chance to spend time with other dog owners and their dogs.  It is still a tiny, tiny community here in Shenzhen.  I’m looking forward to the next few years as awareness grows and more services and community are available for pet owners.

For more information, join our facebook group:

Have you ever owned a pet abroad or thought of getting one? I’d love to read about your experiences.

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Would you also like to write a guest post that is connected to the topic of this blog? Send me an e-mail at chinaelevatorstories[at] I reserve the right to refuse publishing guest posts for any reason.

7 thoughts on “Guest post: How I met Judy, an animal saver by accident

  1. Pingback: Guest Post on China Elevator Stories | Life in Shenzhen

  2. Pingback: Life in Shenzhen

  3. It is always sad for me to see when people mistreat animals in Europe which evolves to a constant churning in my stomach everytime I am in China.
    Chinese have a long way to go when it comes to their animals and every single person doing something about it counts for a better future.


  4. Definitely, let’s now forget that we still have huge problems with animal welfare in our own countries. In the US, they’ve only just started outlawing puppy mills and most Americans are just as ignorant about why it’s not a good idea to buy from pet stores,


  5. This post touches me personally. I have always had dogs and cats back home. But the conditions in China made me really sad. I actually never wanted to buy a dog in China… whether from those street wendors or the big pet shops in bigger cities. All their puppies look so sick 😦
    Last year I saved a little puppy from the street in rural Hebei province. Happy stayed with me for a year. But when I had to go to London to do my Masters I had to give her away. She has a new home now, but I miss her so much.
    I really wanna do something for the street dogs and cats in China. But it seems nearly impossible to heighten awareness. Not even my Chinese family understands why you cannot treat stray dogs and cats in they way many people do. It is still a long long way to change…
    I am always so happy to read about people like Judy. Gives me hope!


  6. We lived in Mexico for two years due to my husbands job. Just after moving there we purchased a Boxer puppy. Our youngest child was 12 at the time and her older siblings were in the states going to college. She was lonely so we purchased Hershey right off the side of the road. We had her for 10 years until she died from cancer.


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