In a world where countless stray dogs yearn for human kindness, Buddhist monk Zhi Xiang stands as a beacon of compassion. Since 1994, Zhi, a 51-year-old monk from China, has devoted his life to rescuing and saving thousands of stray dogs. His inspiring mission reflects a deep connection between faith, empathy, and the well-being of these helpless animals.
Driven by Faith
Zhi Xiang attributes his unwavering dedication to rescuing stray dogs to his profound faith. The monk emphasizes that saving these animals is a calling he cannot ignore, stating, “I have to rescue them because if I don’t, they will die for sure.” This sense of responsibility fuels his mission to provide a haven for these creatures.
Zhi tirelessly rescues animals from the streets, offering them shelter in his monastery or in a dedicated shelter he operates in Shanghai. While he extends his help to various animals, a significant portion of his rescues focuses on dogs. Over the years, Zhi has saved an incredible 8,000 dogs, demonstrating the impact of one person’s commitment.
Caring for these rescued dogs comes at a significant cost, amounting to $2 million annually. Zhi’s mission receives support from his parents, fellow monks, and other generous donors who share his vision of alleviating the suffering of stray animals in China.
Root Causes of Stray Population
Zhi identifies irresponsible pet ownership as a significant contributor to the overwhelming population of stray dogs. He asserts that a lack of spaying and neutering, coupled with improper animal care concepts, leads to out-of-control breeding and abandonment. Zhi emphasizes the need for responsible pet ownership to address the root causes of the stray population.
International Adoption Efforts
While China grapples with a large population of homeless animals, Zhi plays a vital role in reducing the number of strays by facilitating international adoptions. Dogs rescued by Zhi find new homes abroad, offering them a chance for a better life. Despite missing the dogs when they depart, Zhi remains hopeful for potential reunions in the future.
Hope for the Future
Zhi envisions a future where he can travel abroad, visiting the dogs he rescued and cherishing those reunions through photographs. He dreams of reliving these moments in his old age, reflecting on the lives he has touched and the positive change he has brought to the world.
Zhi Xiang’s remarkable journey exemplifies the transformative power of compassion and selfless dedication. His mission to rescue and care for stray dogs transcends geographical boundaries, inspiring others to contribute to the well-being of animals in need. Zhi’s story serves as a testament to the impact one individual can make in creating a more compassionate and humane world for all beings.