Countless stray dogs in the world merely require some human care. However, although many people choose to ignore these dogs, others devote their entire lives to assisting them.

A Buddhist monk whose devotion inspired him to rescue hundreds of stray dogs from China’s city streets.



Since 1994, 51-year-old monk Zhi Xiang has devoted his time and energy to helping stray canines. He has contributed to the 8,000 dog rescues throughout that time.

To save the helpless creatures, he claims that his faith compels him to do so: “I have to rescue them because if I don’t, they will die for sure,” Zhi told AFP.



Zhi takes in street animals and provides them with a home, either at his monastery or the Shanghai animal shelter he manages. The majority of the animals he has saved have been dogs, though he has also saved cats.



According to AFP, he spends $2 million a year on dog care.
His parents, other monks, and other donors all support his mission.

With an estimated 50 million homeless animals, China has long struggled with a large population of stray cats and dogs.



According to Zhi, irresponsible pet owners who frequently fail to spay or neuter their animals have a significant role in the issue.

“Stray animals are neither caused by people who dislike animals, nor by the government, but by the so-called dog lovers,” Zhi told AFP. “If they adopt a dog without sterilizing them, without proper animal-caring concept, they are getting dogs and then abandoning them when they don’t want to raise it anymore, which causes out-of-order breeding.”



But even though the stray population is still a problem, Zhi is doing a lot to help by finding homes for the dogs in other countries.

Zhi said he frequently misses the dogs when they travel abroad, but he is hopeful that he will be able to see them once more.


“I think they’re very happy so I feel it’s worthwhile,” Zhi said, after dropping a dog at the airport as it headed overseas to Seattle. “But of course I miss them.”

“I have a dream that one day when I have some free time, I want to go abroad and visit them, take photos with every dog that I rescued,” he said. “So when I get old and can’t walk, I have these photos to look at.”


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