I’ve never been much of a ‘dog person’. It’s probably got a lot to do with the alsatian which hid behind a fence and barked at me every time I walked home from school, the duck-murdering rage-syndrome springer spaniel which used to chase me when I was at The Hall and the farmers dogs which chased me and snapped at me every day as I walked home from 6th form. By the time I was 18 my opinion was pretty much that;

1. Dogs are aggressive and dangerous
2. Dog owners know this, but let their dogs off the lead because they are utter dicks and don’t care if they attack or scare other people
3. Dogs are loyal, which is ok, but loyal to dog owners, which is like being loyal to Hitler or something.
4. Dogs will attack anyone, just being around them is enough to get them riled

At this time hearing the rattle of a light chain was enough to get me sprinting in the opposite direction, and walking home could be a daunting task. During university this softened – I remember playing with Adam’s dogs, though I was still very wary of them. In Prague avoiding dogs was simply not possible, even in bars, so my phobia ended there. My opinion, however, was only softened, not reversed.
So now it’s a bit strange to find myself as the master of a dog. Not the owner exactly, I guess that would be V, or her sister, or maybe her parents. The last three of these four people are currently outside Beijing, though, so the dog is staying with us.
Here she is

Her name is Xiaobei. She’s supposed to be a Bedlington Terrier, but as she’s grown up it’s become increasingly clear that they were sold a mongrel. All for the best, though, those bedlingtons look uppity, Xiaobei is merely overexcitable and a little dim.
So last Saturday we had to transport her from Tongzhou to the centre of Beijing. A taxi would have cost a fortune, so we smuggled her onto an express bus. Xiaobei, never having been past the end of the road before, seemed initially terrified, but later calmed down and stopped making whimpering noises just before the ticket inspector came and stood right next to us.
She’s been at the house for five days now. We can’t really leave her alone here or she’ll cry and tear up the furniture, so we’ve been taking her with us to restaurants and so on. She’s behaved herself fairly well in the house apart from pissing on the floor and constantly trying to eat our hamster.
We have to take her back to Tongzhou on Sunday. I’ll miss her.

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