China’s largest animal migration: 1,500 stray dogs relocated to new shelter
On the bus, a volunteer uses wooden planks to block bus entrance and exit to prevent dogs from running away.
Dogs ride the bus to their new home.
Saturday, as the last carful of stray dogs were shipped into the new shelter, relocation of Ping’an-Afu Base for Stray Dogs came to an end. The relocation, originally expected to take two days to complete, was finally finished within one day, thanks to the outpouring of volunteers.
Ping’an-Afu (literally “Safe Afu,” with Afu being a traditional and cute name for dogs) is the world’s largest privately-owned animal protection and rescue organization located in Nanjing, a city in eastern China near Shanghai. Founded in July, 2002 by animal rights advocate Ha Wenjin, it has so far provided sanctuary for more than 1,500 stray or abandoned animals.
On the early morning of the moving day, more than 30 cars gathered and set off for Ping’an-Afu Base for Stray Dogs on the outskirts of Nanjing.
According to the founder of the Base, Ms. Ha Wenjin, since the news of the relocation got out on November 22, she received tons of phone calls each day from people who wished to join her. Not only people from neighboring cities such as Suzhou and Shanghai offered help, some from as far away as Ningxia Province, in China’s northwest, even called her to express their support and wishes. The 30 cars that came with tender loving care also poured in from neighboring cities and provinces. 200 volunteers showed up. To ensure safety of the motorcade, public security department even sent police cars to escort it.
The new shelter is a huge improvement over the old one. It is brighter, has wooden beds, and on each bed is a cozy comforter.Ha Wenjin said that because of lack of funds, the construction and furnishing of the new shelter went on and off. Even until this day, only basic facilities are ready.
Ha said the most crucial task of the new shelter is to take good care of each dog and prevent them from straying again. She would try her best to let dogs eat well, sleep well and adapt well to the new environment.
Until 6 p.m., all 1,500 plus dogs arrived at their new home. Most staff and volunteers did not grab anything to eat for during the day and finished their work with a grumbling stomach.
Ha said last time the Base relocated, she spent an entire day on 500 dogs. This time, with so many helping hands, it was accomplished very smoothly. She was worried that dogs might run away or get frightened; they never did.
It is the sixth relocation since its founding. Moving has compounded its financial predicament. But Ha said she was touched by the support and help from kind-hearted people, which will further motivate her to carry Ping’an-Afu forward.