Wet nose, wagging tail, companion, loyal- what is the one word which comes to our mind when we read these words? Dogs, better known as “ma...




Wet nose, wagging tail, companion, loyal- what is the one word which comes to our mind when we read these words? Dogs, better known as “man’s best friend”. They bring a kind of happiness in your life which cannot be substituted. They add fun to mundane activities, like going for a walk, taking a nap, eating a meal, etc. Adopting a dog is one of the purest forms of joy a person can experience.
Ms. Wang, a citizen of China, experienced this joy when she got herself a little puppy! She made the most amazing memories while raising him. She trained the puppy, got him groomed, took him to the park, bought him all kinds of toys. However, as time went by she started noticing little things about him that raised some red flags.

The pet shop was crammed between two tall buildings. Wang was sitting inside her car, waiting for the store to open. She had gathered the courage after weeks of procrastination and finally got herself out of bed. Ever since she got her own house, people have been suggesting her to get a pet to keep her occupied and fill the space. 

Wang knew that getting a pet will be a huge responsibility for her. She didn’t mean to imply that she was not ready for that kind of responsibility but she was nervous. Because she will be responsible for a life, looking after it, feeding it, bathing it, etc. She already had her eyes on a particular pet though.

She has always been an animal lover, so more than nervous, she was excited. She is tired of coming back to an empty home, and it will be nice to have someone greet you and wait for you and be happy about your arrival. Wang knew it will be slightly difficult, managing to take care of a pet when she is working full time. But the challenge didn’t faze her.

The store sign changed to “Open” and that was Wang’s cue to rush inside. The bell on the door jingled as she entered the store. As expected, the store was empty. Wang knew she is early but she couldn’t put this off any longer. She decided to take a look around. There were all kinds of animals here, some she didn’t even know people could keep as pets. 

The glass jars showcased snakes, frogs, turtles, and hamsters. The birds in the cages started chirping at the sight of a visitor. Wang had to make a decision, she had to pick an animal and take it home. She has always been a dog person so her choice was not that complex after all. She had a rough idea about what kind of dog she wanted.

Wang wanted to take home a Japanese Spitz dog, and her eyes spotted the one she wanted. It was a tiny white-colored fluffy puppy. It was asleep and rolled up into a little white cloud. Wang reached its cage and the puppy opened its eyes slowly. It had the most beautiful blue eyes. She knew her search ends here. She is going to take this puppy home.

Wang called out to the store salesperson and asked him to take out the puppy. She had made her decision, this furry baby is going to be her pet now. Little did she know that her decision will have her embark upon an eventful journey. 

The salesperson took out the puppy and brought him to meet Wang. She was in love with the little guy already. She reached out to pet him but he didn’t seem to respond or understand what is happening. Wang found this reaction slightly odd but didn’t think too much about it when the puppy started licking her hands. He seemed to like her too!

That evening Wang took the puppy to his new home. At first, he didn’t know how to settle in. Wang guessed it is because he has lived in a cage since birth. He is still young so she figured he will get used to this as well and feel more at home eventually. Wang got him some warm milk for dinner and put him in her bed in an attempt to make him familiar with her smell. 

Wang was excited to get her little puppy some toys to play with. She got him a bunch of things including food and water bowls, a bed, and a bunch of toys to chew and play with. She knew young puppies have the urge to chew everything. 

Wang noticed that her little pup was more of an outdoor-loving puppy. As much as she would love to cuddle with him in bed, he was more of a roll around in the mud kind of dog. She was not comfortable with letting him sleep outside because he is so tiny. But it took him a long time to get used to his bed. 

Slowly over a few weeks, the little puppy became more and more playful with Wang. She gradually got him used to dog food and taught him little tricks. Despite the endless number of toys, his favorite thing to nibble on was Wang’s sweater sleeves. He loved to follow her around the house. Wang was happy to see this progress in the tiny one.

Over the course of 3 months, the puppy had grown up beautifully. A lot has changed about him in the past couple of months. The fluffy fur grew thicker over the past couple of months and the tiny tail grew into a long more bushy tail. For some reason, he was no longer into dog food. All these changes were making Wang utterly confused and curious.

Wang loved to take out her new puppy to the dog park and let him run around. But the one thing which she noticed was how her puppy never got along with other dogs. It was as if they were almost scared of him. As a result, Wang had to put a leash on him when they went for walks. She couldn’t understand what was so ferocious about the tiny being. 

As the puppy started growing bigger, Wang noticed all the minor changes that would make him stand out from other puppies and dogs. His behavior was putting up multiple red flags. He didn’t enjoy dog food anymore, he didn’t mingle with other dogs, more like scared them. And the weirdest thing out of all was that she had never heard him bark.

Wang assumed maybe the puppy has grown up in three months and that’s why he didn’t enjoy this particular dog food. The food catered to younger puppies and she thought if she replaced it with big dog food, things will be fine. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work that way because her puppy refused to eat that as well.

Wang had a feeling that this dog might not be a Japanese Spitz but a mixed breed instead. Because as far as she knew, this particular breed of dogs was affectionate and they loved to cuddle. But her dog was not really the cuddling type. He preferred to sleep alone, and was not much of a “catch” player either. Despite the various tricks that Wang taught him when he was younger, he didn’t seem to participate in any of those now.

Wang decided to get some expert opinion about her dog. She has to find out why he is acting weird and making other dogs uncomfortable. His change in appetite and features were also a matter of concern. Wang decided to take her pet to a vet and get him checked for any medical condition or health issue.
After contemplating this thought over and over again, Wang decided it was time to meet the experts. She knew she wants to get some answers. She took her dog to see the vet. Sitting in the waiting room was a challenge. Her dog made all the other dogs uncomfortable and they started barking at him. And yet again, the only dog who was not barking was Wang’s.

Wang noticed how the employees of the clinic and the people around her were staring at her and her dog. There were some pointing and whispering too. She found it quite rude but knew it’s because he was making other dogs uncomfortable. She pretended to not notice any of them. What she didn’t know was they were staring at her dog because of his looks. 

Wang released a sigh of relief when it was finally her turn to go inside and meet the vet. To her surprise, the vet immediately stood up at the sight of her walking in with her dog. She frowned at the look on his face. He seemed mildly alarmed but waited for her to speak and tell him what was wrong. Wang started talking about the changes she has noticed in her dog for the past couple of months.

The vet patiently listened to everything Wang had to say. Then he looked at her with concern and told her something that left Wang bewildered. The vet told her what she owns is not a Japanese Spitz dog. It is a domesticated fox instead. 

Looking at the size and the pointy features of the ‘dog’, the vet declared that it’s a fox cub. Wang was beyond confused because she got him from a pet store thinking its a Japanese Spitz. The vet told him that it’s quite common for such shops to sell fox cubs claiming that they are dogs. Wang felt devastated and cheated. But at the same time, this news made so much sense to her.

Wang came to know that this practice of selling foxes as dogs is quite common for pet stores. In fact, some of them actually sell foxes to people who are interested in buying foxes. Wang wanted to go back to the store and yell at the seller but she knew it didn’t matter now. Because despite the truth she still cares for her pet, even if it’s a fox. 

No wonder her pet never barked or cuddled with her. He stopped playing fetch and hated dog food. It all makes sense now. The vet also told her that these fox cubs have a distinct smell which they carry everywhere with them and it grows fouler as they grow up. Thankfully her fox was not there yet. It didn’t smell bad. 

Wang looked at the vet with a thousand questions in her mind. But she didn’t say anything. Her main concern at this point was what to do next? She loves her pet but she doesn’t know how to care for it, not in the way it demands to be cared for.

The vet suggested Wang give her fox to the zoo. That way it will be in an environment which it’s more familiar with and she wouldn’t have to worry about caring for a wild animal. As sane as this suggestion sounds, Wang didn’t like it. She didn’t want to give her pet away even if it is not a dog. Wang thanked the vet and got up to leave.

Wang left the vet’s office feeling heartbroken. Because despite the truth, it was still her pet and she was attached to it now. How is she supposed to just give the animal away? She has had it at her home for almost a year now and it didn’t take long for Wang to love the fox. Granted she loved it when she didn’t know that its a fox. But nothing has changed for her even now.

Wang knew she is being stubborn but she decided to keep the fox, even when her judgment was telling her otherwise. She knew she can’t care for a wild animal, but she just couldn’t bring herself to give it away. Wang decided to change its diet and give it chicken and other kinds of meat for now. She also went as far as allowing it to sleep outside, hoping it will make it feel at home. 

Despite Wang’s attempt to keep the fox and make it feel at home, she could tell her efforts are going to waste. The fox mostly kept to itself and sometimes didn’t even come inside the house. Wang had a feeling that her keeping the fox made it unhappy and even though she did everything in her power to make it feel at home, it was not working. 

The fox’s behavior gave Wang that reality check which she needed. She realized the animal is not meant to spend its life indoors. It is meant for the outside world, to live outside and play around instead of being stuck inside a house. This realization resulted in Wang taking a heartbreaking decision. 

Wang began her research about what to do with the fox. She recalled the vet’s advice of giving the fox to a zoo. She realized this is the option that makes the most sense. So she decided to contact the local zoo and tell them about her situation. She wanted to ask them if they will be interested in meeting her and taking in her fox.

To her surprise, the zoo was very much interested in meeting her and the fox. They would gladly take the animal for their exhibit where they have other foxes as well. As glad as Wang was that her search ends here, a part of her was sad too because this news meant the time to say goodbye was near. She decided to take the fox down to the zoo and meet the employee she spoke with. 

Wang took the fox to see the people at the zoo. And as discussed on the call, they were ready to take the animal. They were going to keep it with other foxes so it instantly feels at home. Also, the exhibits provide a massive space for it to run around and play with others of its kind. On Wang’s permission, they took the fox inside for a regular check-up before placing it in the exhibit, to see if it gets along with other animals.

Before leaving Wang asked if she could see where the fox will be kept and the people at the zoo were happy to show her. To her surprise, the fox seemed so much at home it felt amazing. It finally had friends who were not scared of it and actually wanted to play! Just seeing that sight confirmed that Wang took the right decision, even if it made her sad.

The fox will be kept in quarantine for a month before it is placed back in an exhibit finally. It is important to keep it in isolation because this is not a normal fox. It has been domesticated. So as far as living in a whole new environment goes, making that adjustment will be tricky for the fox. So to be on the safer side, the zoo decided its best if they keep it in quarantine for the time being.

The people at the zoo told Wang that she did the right thing by bringing it in. Foxes are not the best house pet. They are meant to stay outdoors. And if they are kept inside a house, they can get destructive and ruin everything around them. Plus the smell they carry is impossible to live with. 

Wang noticed how the fox grew faster than a puppy and within three months it grew up to 12 inches. The people at the zoo told her that the growth of that fox is still not over. In fact, they grow up to be huge animals. This is another reason why they can’t stay indoors or live domesticated. 

Sensing Wang’s sadness, the zoo informed her she is free to visit the fox any time she wants free of cost. Wang appreciated their efforts to make her feel better. She was happy that now the fox will live in an environment where it feels at home. And after months of eating food that it didn’t like, the fox will finally get the food that pleases its taste buds. 

Wang decided to never go to a pet store again. She would rather adopt a puppy from a shelter and never suggest anyone go to a pet store. Besides, adopting is the best way to bring an animal in your life because it is about providing a home to the ones who need it the most. Buying a pet is not the right option for sure, and Wang learned it the hard way.

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