Pet ownership in China once seemed isolated to song birds, but today more and more people have dogs. In fashionable Shanghai and other eastern cities, it’s not uncommon to see a poodle wearing a sequined sweater and booties. But there are many municipal restrictions on canine companions, who aren’t supposed to be on streets during business hours and are banned from most public parks. Large breeds are also frowned upon, and fluffy white pups are de rigueur. So I was surprised by the prevalence of dogs in Shangri-la, running around at all hours, hanging out of windows and trotting across roofs. The animal love didn’t end there. An equal number of cats were in residence, and one overly friendly feline even fell asleep on my lap during afternoon tea. We also had a family of pigs cross our path – literally – as well as chickens, horses and yaks! Oh, and did I mention the boars? I’d only seen those before on Animal Planet so I might have let slip a squeal or three when we turned a corner to find them in the middle of the street. Warning: cuteness ahead!
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