Furry, caged lies dominated the market.
Rather than being a bonding experience, it turned into a battle of tears.
She didn’t ask for or buy this.
The police looked at her like she was stupid, which made matters worse.
She had no idea what to do next.
For Janice, living abroad was a unique mixture of good and bad experiences to connect with her Asian heritage.
Her current stint as an English teacher in Shanxi province, China, was unlike any other job she had held down before.
The mixture of new cultures and cheap living would keep her there for a couple years.
But there was one important thing missing.
Her New England roots called to her in many ways.
Growing up in the countryside, she had always been around pets.
So, now, her one-bedroom apartment felt so small and lonely.
She hated it. The solution?
It was time to get a dog.
But she had also heard some terrible horror stories about pet markets.
Sick animals pumped up with antibiotics, factory-like breeding, and horrific cage conditions were just the tip of the iceberg.
But when she walked into the actual “pet market”, she felt like she would throw up.
There was no describing the sights and smells.
There was no question on what she had to do next.
Yes, she might be surrounded by ragged animals, but that’s what tugged at her heart the most.
She wanted a dog, and this was her chance to actually rescue one.
There, out of the corner of her eye, she saw a moving lump of white fur.
She looked closer and couldn’t believe her eyes.
It was a batch of white puppies.
Their unique appearance immediately called to her.
After a quick, excited search on her phone, she found the closest breed was a Japanese Spitz. These were rare indeed!
The price tag was a mere two hundred dollars.
Now it was time to scam the scammer!
She internally grinned as she handed over the cash to the oblivious seller and scooped up one of the pups.
The next few weeks and months unfolded exactly how she imagined.
It was glorious.
Her beautiful snowball was perfect.
But then she noticed something odd.
It would be the start of a hard lesson.
“Elsa” the pup grew quickly.
Her long, slender body was covered in thick fur.
But Janice noticed she never barked … ever.
She was the quietest dog she had ever been around.
The little girl was also a very picky eater.
Then, one day, she refused to eat anything Janice put down.
Maybe she had a stomach infection?
Maybe growing up in those terrible market conditions had damaged her throat.
There was no getting around it now – she had to take Elsa to the vet and find out once and for all what was going on.
The news would be shocking.
The expensive visit immediately started with a very confused vet tech.
His brow furrowed through the entire examination.
He even called in his boss.
They spoke back and forth in quick Chinese, with Janice barely understanding a word.
But it was the blood work and DNA that would give her the truth to Elsa’s odd behavior.
She held the paper in her hand, trying to read the complicated Chinese character text.
But when the vet pulled out his phone and translated, Janice’s jaw dropped.
She looked between the paper and her pet in utter disbelief.
It wasn’t a Japanese Spitz.
She had been raising a fox.
Her heart sank as she finally understood the strange behavior – or in Elsa’s case … her completely natural behavior.
Janice thought she had scammed the pet scammer.
But she was the one that had really been duped.
There was only one thing she could do, and it would be so painful.
A tiny urban apartment was no place for a wild animal.
Aside from notifying the cops to the situation, there was zero way she would hand Elsa over to any old zoo.
It was months of careful interviews and plenty of research.
In the end, she decided on one large organization that treated their animals fairly well.
But there was one condition they promised to honor … that they immediately broke.
Janice felt her heart shatter as she looked through the wire fence where Elsa was now playing with other foxes.
The plaque that showed the pack’s info now included the new anonymous donation of “Mei Mei” which meant little sister.
They had changed her name.
Her little white puff ball looked up at her.
Janice wasn’t sure if there was recognition there or if her past pet was just looking around at the gaping crowd.
But as the little girl jump and ran about, Janice slowly made peace with the situation.
She looked very happy, and that’s all she could ask for.
Janice didn’t think that was supposed to be a happy feeling; it turned out to be so sad.
The vet explained to Janice that it was illegal to own a fox as a pet and that the best course of action would be to rehome Elsa in a zoo.
Janice was devastated but knew it was the right thing to do for Elsa’s well-being.
As Janice drove Elsa to the zoo, she couldn’t help but feel a sense of sadness wash over her.
She had grown attached to her pup, and the thought of never seeing her again was unbearable.
When they arrived at the zoo, Janice handed Elsa over to the caretakers, tears streaming down her face.
As she drove home, Janice couldn’t shake the emptiness that had settled in her chest.
She had lost her beloved pup and wasn’t sure how to move on from this heartache.
Over the next few days, Janice struggled to find joy in her everyday life.
She missed Elsa’s wagging tail and playful energy, and the void her absence had left was palpable.
As she walked home from the zoo, Janice couldn’t help but feel a sense of emptiness.
She had grown so attached to Elsa, and now she was gone.
She sat down on the front porch and cried, wondering if she would ever find a pet as unique as Elsa.
It took her such a long time to finally get a pet, and she was taken away quickly.
Despite the sadness of their separation, Janice felt a sense of peace knowing that Elsa was living a happy and healthy life in the zoo.
It was where she belonged.
She knew she would always cherish the memories of their time together and vowed never to take another wild animal as a pet again.
Janice was devastated. She had no idea what else to do with a fox and knew it was illegal to keep one as a pet.
She consulted with the vet out of concern, but he told her the best option was to rehome Elsa in the local zoo.
Janice was heartbroken as she said goodbye to her beloved puppy, but she knew it was the right thing to do.
Elsa would have a much better life in the zoo, where she could roam freely and be cared for by professionals.
One day, Janice visited the zoo to see how Elsa was doing.
As she walked through the exhibits, she couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride as she watched her pup happily playing with the other animals.
Elsa seemed to have adapted well to her new home, and Janice knew she had made the right decision by rehoming her.
After a few weeks of grieving, Janice decided that it was time to open her heart to another rescue puppy.
She spent hours researching different shelters and rescue organizations, looking for the perfect furry companion.
She almost gave up all hope until she eventually found a sweet little terrier mix with which she fell in love.
He looked just like Elsa.
She named the new puppy Charlie and gave him all the love and attention he deserved.
Charlie quickly filled the void left by Elsa, and Janice was grateful to have him in her life.
Finally, she found a little terrier mix named Charlie at a local animal shelter.
Charlie was a lively and playful pup, full of energy and curiosity.
Janice knew as soon as she saw him that he was the one.
She brought Charlie home and spent the next few days getting to know him and helping him adjust to his new surroundings.
Charlie was a quick learner and soon became the center of Janice’s world.
As she watched Charlie grow and play, Janice couldn’t help but think about Elsa and her life in the zoo.
She hoped she was happy and well-cared for and would always be remembered fondly by Janice.
Despite the heartache of having to rehome Elsa, Janice knew that she had made the best decision for both of them.
And as she looked into Charlie’s happy, wagging tail, she knew she had found a new furry friend to love and care for.
Perhaps all this had happened for a more significant reason.
Despite his mischievous nature, Charlie was a lovable and affectionate puppy.
He was always happy to see Janice and never failed to put a smile on her face.
He was also more interactive than Elsa, always wanting to play and explore.
Janice enjoyed taking Charlie for long walks in the park and playing fetch with him in the backyard.
She also taught him some basic commands, such as sit and stay, and was proud of how quickly he learned.
As the weeks passed, Janice and Charlie became best friends.
They were inseparable, and Janice couldn’t imagine life without her beloved rescue puppy.
She was grateful every day for the joy and love that Charlie brought into her life.
One day, Janice and Charlie were walking when they came across a group of young children playing in a nearby playground.
Charlie was immediately drawn to the children and ran over to join in the fun.
The kids were delighted by Charlie’s playful antics and invited him to play with them.
Janice watched as Charlie chased after a ball, wagging his tail happily.
She knew he was the perfect companion for children and decided to consider becoming a therapy dog when he was older.
Charlie was a dog with a purpose.
As the years went by, Janice and Charlie grew closer and closer.
They were always there for each other through good times and bad.
Charlie brought so much joy and love into Janice’s life; she knew she would always be grateful to have him by her.
And so, Janice and Charlie lived happily ever after, enjoying every moment they spent together and making memories that would last a lifetime.
Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination.
Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.