Do you want to pet a panda? If those giant, big, cuddly bears come even near our hug territory we probably won’t care about whether they can hurt us or not. What if I tell you they can come in a closer proximity like that? In China people are keeping pandas as pets. These new pandas can be kept as company. So naturally these cuddly little fellows are sweeping the Chinese off their feet. These pandas though don’t eat bamboos. Dog food is more appropriate for them. This new trend of pet panda is not even close to the cost of keeping a real panda.
Let me tell you a story, a story of a poor dog whose owner left him on the streets to die because he was ugly. Where ugly is just a word to describe unusual, I believe. His name is Columbo (a Maltese-Poodle mix breed), named after a quirky detective of a famous TV series. A man of somehow similar name discovered America. You know whom I’m talking about? Christopher Columbus. He found America. Well, America was in its place always, he just lifted the veil from it. And our Colmbo, the dog unveiled the new way to look pretty.
Kensuke Hirakawa, his new owner found him and took him home. Kensuke saw a lot of potentials in this little droopy-eyed fur ball. Columbo had been through a lot and had marks to prove it. A stiff back leg, tear stained eyes and all his canines removed to prevent biting. Kensuke was a former beautician and a pet shop owner so he mixed all his talent and hard work to make Columbo an adorable dog.
He dyed (with non-toxic colour for doggie fur) Columbo’s fluffy white furs like a Panda. Black circles around his eyes and ta-da… the Panda is unveiled! Once abandoned Columbo, became the most adorable dog in the whole neighbourhood (and probably of all Asia until the others like him came). He also became the poster dog and the mascot of a campaign to save abandoned and abused dogs in Tokyo. Kensuke hopes that this little creative work of his teaches others how to be responsible and loving towards their dogs. Later Kensuke said dying Columbo’s fur made sense as he always had black stained eyes from tears. The dye on Columbo is not permanent so after a month god knows what Columbo is going to be! A fierce tiger, or a cute bunny, the choice is upon Kensuke, his saviour.
But there are more. There are others now.
In China people are going crazy over their new Panda dogs. Earlier the Chinese people used to like Labradors or French Bulldogs as their companions but now choices have changed to these panda-dogs. And they are getting so popular that the pet stores in China are having a tough time to meet the demand.
These panda dogs are no result of cruel breeding between Panda and dogs. They are actually the same story as Columbo. But this story is a bit perfected and it’s selling well.
Hsin Ch’en is a pet shop owner in Chengdu. He perfected the colours so that it can do no harm to the dogs. However, after every six weeks the owners have to bring them back for retouch. According to Hsin Ch’en, even ten years ago people of China used to eat dogs but now they keep them as pets like Western people.
The Panda-dogs are Chow Chow dogs painted to look like panda, thus Panda-dogs. Now normally the question comes, if the paint is harmful for dogs. The answer is no. According to Hsin Ch’en the paint is not at all harmful to the dogs; there is no chemical or cruelty involved. After every six weeks the owners have to come back for retouch on their panda-dogs to keep them as pandas and not Chow Chows.
According to Hsin Ch’en with a bit of careful grooming and colouring it’s easy to turn a dog into a panda in just two hours. With all the grooming the price gets higher but people don’t mind paying a little more. In return they are getting Pandas in their houses.
So here you go with all the details of your panda-dog. Now if you want one, you have to contact Hsin Ch’en probably you’d have to go to China after every Six weeks but you can tell everyone that you have a panda-dog. Apart from Chow Chows there is another breed that does fine as a panda, Bichon fries. Though they will make rather small pandas.
With all the win-wins of the panda-dogs there are some drawbacks too. Generally, the Chow Chows are fiercely protective towards their owners and property. According to American kennel Club, “the Chow is reserved and discerning with strangers. Their cat-like personalities make them independent, stubborn and less eager to please than other breeds. They require early socialization and training, and some kind of exercise daily. Regular grooming and bathing is a must to maintain their double coats.”