To those of us who are fortunate enough to have a beloved animal friend in our lives, it can be heartbreaking to realize that so many other sweet, living beings just like our pets are deprived of the experience of a loving home. Around 70 million homeless cats and dogs wander the streets of the U.S., and the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there are at least 200 million stray dogs worldwide.

In areas where the stray dog crisis has become particularly acute, and governmental assistance for these dogs is inconsistent at best, compassionate individuals and groups have taken it upon themselves to alleviate the animals’ desperate plight. These people, who devote their time and energy to caring for the dogs whom authorities so often ignore, are undoubtedly the unsung heroes of the animal protection world.

And now, prepare to have your faith in humanity lifted by Wang Yan, a former millionaire from the Jilin province of China, who has given up everything to help rescue stray dogs in his community.

Yan’s passion for helping stray dogs had a tragic beginning, starting after his own cherished pooch went missing in 2012.



“I went looking everywhere, but all to no avail,” he recalled. “Finally someone let me go into (a local slaughterhouse) to try my luck there.” He continued to visit the slaughterhouse for a week, hoping to catch sight of his dog, but no luck. However, the grisly scenes he witnessed shocked him, and he knew that he had to do whatever he could to help the defenseless animals.

Yan had accumulated a fortune of several million yuan after running a successful steel manufacturing business in Changchun city, but he made the selfless decision to devote his fortune to caring for as many stray dogs as he possibly could. He immediately bought the slaughterhouse from its previous owners, to ensure that no more killings could occur there, and set about establishing an animal shelter in a disused steel factory.

 He now spends his days searching for loving homes for the dogs under his care.

The good news is that Yan’s efforts are paying off! The shelter currently houses 215 dogs, but that number used to be approaching 1,000. Wang explained that this is because, “many of them have been adopted.”

 His devotion to helping the dogs has ensured that hundreds of them, who might otherwise have been sent to slaughter, have found loving forever homes instead.

 Although Yan has gone into debt as a result of his kind actions, he refuses to accept any financial donations.

“I do not accept monetary donations,” he explained. “I only hope that kind-hearted people will be able to donate a few supplies to help build a home for these 200 dogs.”

 Yan’s obvious love for the dogs in his shelter is enough to bring a tear to the eye of even the most jaded cynic.



Sadly, local authorities in a number of Chinese cities take an unsympathetic view toward stray dog populations. In this context, it is so heartening to know that kind people like Yan are fighting on the animals’ behalf.

To find out more about the pet homelessness crisis, and how you can help, visit the links below:

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