Police Dog Trials (Photo : Getty Images)
To make his 85-year-old paralyzed father ha fppy, a farmer from Hebei Province trained two dog to perform stunts, particularly walking tightropes. Zhang Yukun, the father was a famous calligrapher who became paralyzed in 2012 after a stroke following the death of his wife that year. He lost the ability to move his limbs.
Zhang Mengqiu, the son, resigned from his work in 2012 to take care of Zhang Yukun. Every day, he fed his father and helped Zhang Yukun walk. He also used Chinese traditional medicine therapies such as acupuncture and cupping on his father.
Cause of Depression
In 2015, the loss of the family pet dog caused Zhang Yukun to be depressed. Zhang Menqui bought two Belgian Malinois dogs to cheer up and accompany his sick father, Daily Mail reported. When Zhang learned that his father likes watching dogs walking tightropes on TV, he trained his dogs to perform stunts such as climbing stairs, jumping over walls and sitting up straight.
China’s Central Television Station produced a documentary about Zhang Mengqui and his two dogs. But with fame came criticisms from the Humane Society International’s Wendy Higgins who said the dogs suffer from the training and having to perform even if it made Zhang Yukun laugh.
Fear of Punishment
She pointed out that dogs would not willingly walk a tightrope and it only does so out of fear of punishment or Zhang Mengqui used a fear-based training. The belief of Wendy Higgins is that the dogs went through mental anguish and had to endure physical pain in the form of cut or sore paws. Humans should cry rather than laugh when animals go through such ordeal.
However, Animals Asia, lauded Zhang Mengqui for being a devoted son but added that it demonstrates the importance of animal welfare education in China. Jill Robinson, founder and CEO of Animals Asia, agrees that while the son is not a bad guy, he is unaware what he does harm the dog’s welfare. She suggested other ways of bonding between the dog and his owner by instead throwing balls with the dog, QQ.com reported.