Wang Yanfang feeds stray dogs at the sanctuary

Despite numerous bites and scratches, Wang Yanfang and the other volunteers still see the dogs as their children. (All photos: CCTV/Facebook)

In China, it's not easy being a four-legged creature. Many cities have a "one-dog" policy that not only limits the number of dogs that a household can have, but also their size. Dogs must weigh less than 5 kg (about 11 pounds) to be kept as household pets. Any more than that and they must be sent to the local shelter, where they will likely be euthanized. Dogs that don't go to the shelter wind up on the streets.

Six years ago, animal-lover Wang Yanfang started a dog sanctuary in Weinan as a way to keep these dogs out of shelters and off the streets. Since then, the 60-year-old has been joined by four other volunteers — all women in their 60s and 70s who get up at 4 a.m. every morning to cook for, clean up after, and groom more than 1,000 stray dogs. Yanfang's doggie shelter is supported solely by donations, and these five women who make sure that the dogs are cared for on a regularly basis.

Another volunteer feeds the stray dogs

According to Yanfang, each of the women have been scratched and bitten on numerous occasions by dogs that were less than tame, but that hasn't deterred them. 

When asked why she dedicates so much of her time to a bunch of dogs, Yanfang told Tencent News, "They're like your children, you can't bear to be apart from them, or to lose them."

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5 elderly women take care of 1,300 stray dogs in China
Sixty-year-old Wang Yanfang wakes up at 4 a.m. every day to feed, groom and care for the dogs.