In an urban jungle like Beijing or Shanghai, pet-keeping is becoming a fashionable sign of economic prosperity, and alienated humans are finding emotional anchorage in non-human relationships in this fast-paced society. However, the sad thing is, if people don’t realize that taking care of a pet is like raising a baby, demanding on both their finances and their time, they will find themselves lost and irritated.
Ultimately this can lead to abandonment, and as we have blogged before, dozens of puppies found on a building site urgently needing homes, or a visually impaired dog on the streets of Sanlitun needing to be saved.
Fortunately, there are many individuals and groups dedicated to rescuing such animals, and some of them are thinking out of the box. Nid Nair from Mumbai, India, a full-time sales manager, has been rescuing animals for the best part of his eight-year stay in China. He has been adopting stray animals and doing volunteer work for other animal rescuers for years. Now he has organized groups called “Furry Couch Surfers” in both Beijing and Shanghai. We asked him to tell us more.
beijingkids: What inspired you to organize this group?
Nid Nair (NN): This group was an idea from my friend and fellow rescuer, Nahia. The purpose of the group was to have a cage-free and safe environment for pets when the owners are away on holidays or business trips. Usually, pet sitters are expensive, and also most of them do it only for the money. “Furry Couch Surfer” members, on the other hand, are mostly pet owners or rescue fosters who understand animals.
How does this group work?
NN: So these are the group rules as in the picture.
How many pets have you rescued so far?
NN: I don’t have a track of the number of animals that I’ve rescued until now, But yes, I remember each rescues’ name and how it was rescued, and also adopters’ details.
What kind of animals you have helped to find a couch?
NN: Mostly they are dogs and cats, but we’ve sometimes helped birds and fishes.
Any challenges you have been through so far?
NN: I have a full-time job but the challenges are not much because I always have support from fellow rescuers. If I can’t do something, they always step forward to help. Rescuing cannot be done alone, and I am happy and thankful to be a part of the rescue world and have amazing support from my fellow rescuers.
Tell us a story that happened in recent years which touched you most.
NN: Recently, we found a beautiful abandoned male malamute in a police station in Shanghai. Hadn’t we rescued the dog, it would probably have been killed afterward. We posted his information on the “lost and found” for pets online to check if he had an owner, but nobody contacted us. We found a microchip on him and called his owner immediately, but once she learned we’d found her dog, she laughed at us and explained that she abandoned him since he grew too big for her apartment, and she couldn’t keep him. That’s so sad! Anyways, we managed to save him, and he is still looking for a home. We are considering a home abroad for him, he is a dog that doesn’t belong in Shanghai.
What do you think about Beijing’s animal rescuers? Do people help you?
NN: There are some fellow rescuers in Beijing, we all work together to help animals in need. I have even adopted out rescue animals from Shanghai to Beijing. Many ask “why send them to Beijing?” because they have many animals waiting for homes there. When I talk to them, I understand how committed they are.
Ready to be a forever loving family of a rescued animal? Here are some things you need to know about owning a pet in Beijing.
Photos: Nid Nair