A dog lover from the Pudong district of Shanghai, recently melted millions of hearts after it was revealed that he has been living on the streets of the Chinese metropolis for a decade, so he could take care of stray canines.
58-year-old Cui Hengyi started caring for injured and abandoned dogs in his city 28 years ago. He wasn’t homeless at the time, so he started bringing them into his home, and claims that at one point, in 2006, he had a whopping pooches living with him. The constant noise and the fear of disease didn’t sit too well with his neighbors, who soon started filing complaints against him. Pressured by the authorities to get rid of the animals or risk getting evicted, Cui decided that having a home wasn’t worth giving up on his furry friends, so he decided to leave his house and family behind and live in the streets to take care of stray dogs.
Cui now lives in a small mobile shack, and makes a living picking up trash. He claims that he spends about 5,000 yuan ($750) a month on food and medicine for the 10 dogs currently in his care, and only 600 yuan ($90) for himself. It seems almost impossible for a person to live on just under $100 a month, but his dogs come first, and Cui admits that his kindness to abandoned animals have attracted a number of local volunteers who are always willing to help him out when he needs it.
In order to avoid bothering people with his dogs, like he did his neighbors years ago, Cui always makes sure to walk them early in the morning and late in the evening, when the streets are less busy. He is very proud of the fact that he hasn’t received a single complaint in the last five years. The Shanghai native wakes up every morning at about 5 a.m. to walk the dogs, clean their cages and feed them, after which he spends the rest of the day collecting trash, listening to music or resting.
Although he only has 10 dogs permanently living with him right now, Cui Hengyi says that he has helped over 3,000 dogs in the last 28 years. he makes sure they are well fed, healthy and neutered, but his main goal is to find stable homes for as many of them as possible. That doesn’t mean he’ll hand over his four-legged friends to anyone who comes asking, though. He has a very strict adoption protocol, the rules of which are very clearly stated on an “Adoption Requisition” sign posted on his shack. There is even a QR code available for people who want to learn more about the adoption process.
Cui admits that his strict adoption rules, which include follow-up visits to ensure that the dogs are well taken care of and vaccinated on time, have turned away some potential adopters, but he claims they are required to ensure that the animals don’t become strays again. At the same time, he acknowledges that finding a good home for his dogs is essential to his mission.
In a recent video interview, Cui Hengyi said that in the last few years, he was only able to spend the Holidays with his family one or two times. He spends most of his days in the streets with the dogs – which he says are his soul – and his wife and children understand and support him.