Chai Tian was a dog with a journey, a tale told by those who knew its past.
It hailed from a charitable pet rescue in the distant mountainous outskirts of Beijing, run under trying conditions by a dedicated Beijinger. Among over three hundred dogs, Chai Tian shared a stony enclosure with several Labradors. Despite the grim surroundings, their playful spirits thrived.
Our visit to the shelter, intent on adoption, did not initially include Chai Tian. We aimed to adopt a small female dog, but a mix-up had Chai Tian labeled as an adult male. Yet, fate works in mysterious ways. The two small females we fancied were elusive, impossible to leash. Only Chai Tian remained, steadfast by our side (later, we learned it was more out of laziness).
Surprisingly obedient, Chai Tian accepted the leash and skillfully leaped into our car. Recognizing it, the shelter owner recalled its story. Arriving at the shelter, Chai Tian had given birth the very next day. By the time we met, it had been there for three years, making it roughly four years old.
Before bringing it home, we conducted a thorough health check, revealing only minor hyperlipidemia – otherwise, a healthy, spayed adult female. After a life of transience, Chai Tian finally found a home.
Known for its stubbornness, Chai Tian was a dog of strong character.
Initially, it refused to eat at home, rejecting even well-cooked beef. My worry nearly brought me to tears until it finally ate – an apple, its newfound favorite.
The first few months were challenging, as Chai Tian resisted learning to use the bathroom at set times. This defiance led to a heated moment where I let it out, and it actually ran away – only to be coaxed back into safety. Just as I resigned to its stubbornness, it learned to use the doggy toilet and, over the years, even signaled when it needed to go outside.
Uninterested in balls or typical dog toys, Chai Tian favored a single duck doll, keeping it close for years. It disliked clothes and shoes, often stubbornly refusing walks.
Following an anesthetic procedure, Chai Tian's stubbornness shone through again, refusing to rest and struggling into our arms instead. The vet remarked on its extraordinary will.
Chai Tian was a realistic dog, understanding basic commands like sit, lie down, and handshake – but only with food as a motivator. It would turn indifferent once treats were gone, ignoring calls and play.
It stuck close while we ate pizza or fried meats, but showed no interest when our meals turned to healthier salads.
Gentle by nature, Chai Tian allowed strangers to take food from its mouth, hid behind me at the bark of smaller dogs, and sighed resignedly when children played with its tail. When in trouble, it would hide, lifting a paw in defense.
Chubby and heat-sensitive, Chai Tian found solace in cool spots during summer, but was quick to comfort those feeling down.
Chai Tian might not have been more exceptional than other dogs, but its resilience was remarkable. In late October 2021, it was diagnosed with nasal gland cancer, a malignancy without a known cure. The vet suggested euthanasia, giving it less than six months, to minimize suffering.
At nine years old, surgery for Chai Tian carried high risks, including a potentially life-threatening operation and a large surgical wound. Even with successful recovery, eating would become a challenge.
More than a pet, Chai Tian was family. Faced with this agonizing decision, we chose to embrace joy, treasuring each day as a blessing.
Together, we climbed mountains, roamed grasslands, and witnessed rain and snow. When warmth returned, we journeyed to the seaside.
It's now December 12, 2023, two years since the diagnosis. We've traveled far, seen much, and made new friends. Chai Tian remains spirited, joyfully feasting each day.
As the mascot of Tactical Geek, its indomitable spirit touched us all, embodying a unique geek spirit – teaching us to stay optimistic in the face of adversity.
Chai Tian's journey also reignited hope in my sick friends and family, encouraging them to face life with positivity and optimism.
In healing Chai Tian, we healed each other.
Yet, Chai Tian won't live forever. With its inevitable departure, the Tactical Geek team resolved to make a lasting impact.
We initiated the "Chai Tian Love Donation Project," creating a logo depicting Chai Tian post-illness. Collaborating with a well-known online influencer (@狗娘娘, tentatively on Weibo ，link: https://weibo.com/u/2327601621), we committed to actively supporting stray animal rescue efforts.
Proceeds from Tactical Geek's sales – 1% – will now convert to dog food donations for @狗娘娘's rescue shelter. Whenever possible, we aim to extend our support in other forms.
Countless adorable souls like Chai Tian roam the streets, with many incredible rescuers fighting against the odds. Our efforts may be small, but we aspire to help more angels like Chai Tian find and return love.
For love's spread is vital to this world, as is the presence of dogs.