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Wang Ayi, Shanghai's Dog Whisperer

Wang Ayi has made taking in strays her calling. She could use a little help. Devastating cuteness inside. Resistance is futile...
Oct 23, 2014 | 14:46 Thu

If ever there were a dog lover it is Wang Ayi. A Shanghainese woman in her 40's, she has spent every single day for the past ten years rescuing and caring for stray street dogs. After retiring from her factory job early because of an injury, Wang Ayi began bringing strays into her home and then eventually opened her first unofficial shelter when her own home became overwhelmed.

There is no official legislation on animal care in China, so sheltering strays lies in a legal gray area—one of China’s many it’s-okay-until-one-day-it’s-not scenarios. Wang Ayi was kicked out of her first shelter in Pudong’s city center because of complaints from neighbors. Then she moved to the shelter’s current location, a purpose-built facility inside, of all places, a puppy mill. She transported each dog one by one on her electric scooter, and since then the dogs numbers have soared to 170 pups. She calls her current shelter Wang Ayi Pujiangtang Stray Adoption Organization (WAPSAO).

WAPSAO keeps dogs of all sizes, ages, breeds (mutts, too), and ability (she recently found a home for a three-legged dog). She now has around twenty volunteers who help her clean and feed the dogs every Saturday, too. The other six days of the week, Wang Ayi runs the shelter all by herself. Together the volunteers pitch in to cover rent, food, vent bills, and other amenities, which currently total around 30,000rmb per month. Plus, each of the volunteers keeps three to eight dogs in their own homes. They are desperate for help as their doggy numbers and financial burdens continue to grow.

The shelter’s top priorities are finding adoptive owners, recruiting volunteers, and getting donations—financial as well as in dog food, toys, and blankets. Currently, all of the shelter’s volunteers are working people who can only commit one day per week to volunteer, so the group is hoping to find people who have more flexible schedules and free time who can help out on weekdays to clean, feed, and play with the dogs—calling all animal loving taitais and guytais. For a fun upcoming opportunity to contribute, on November 1st a Halloween dog party event will be held at a new creative studio in town, Red 8 Studios, with all proceeds going towards the shelter.

A note on adopting from Wang Ayi’s shelter:
All of the shelter’s dogs are given care and treatment at the vet before going to the shelter and are guaranteed to be healthy. Wang Ayi is also a skilled dog trainer (China’s answer to Cesar Millan) and the dogs are reputed to be friendly and well trained, afraid of the wrath of a big-hearted woman at her wits end.

The volunteers report that the issue with strays in China is a cultural one. They have seen people in China often abandon their dogs when they get sick and their owner’s don’t want to pay medical bills, or when the dogs need training that their owners don't know how to provide it. There is a lack of understanding in the responsibility that comes with buying or adopting a dog, which is the shelter’s number one priority when screening for adopters—understanding that a owning dog is a responsibility for life.

Contacting the shelter:
Stay up to date by adding their Official Account on WeChat: PJZ. Chinese updates only, but you’ll see a lot of cute photos.
To inquire about volunteering and to leave donations of any kind, contact English speaking volunteers at or add WeChat user xqp_ddhww


Click here for more information on WAPSAO's Halloween dog shindig.

You can also find pets who need a home in our classifieds section here.