The Reputation of Dogs 狗的名声
Many Westerners don’t understand why Chinese people eat dogs. After some of them have studied Chinese, they realized that the word “dog” is used in many derogatory expressions. Some of those expressions are “a running dog”, “stinky dog droppings,” or “like a dog who bites on the strength of its master’s power.” This last one describes a person who takes advantage of someone else’s strength to bully others．Why do dogs have such a bad reputation in China?
My guess is that for hundreds of years in rural China, dogs have been used to guard houses. The more they bark at the sight of strangers, the more generous their owners are in rewarding them. That in turn makes the dogs even more aggressive. In the old days, a scholar visiting a village would knock on the door of a farmer’s house, hoping to be greeted with hospitality. Often, to his dismay, he would be greeted by a barking dog that would sometimes bite him. The scholar would be scared and run back home and, out of anger and frustration, coin phrased to curse dogs.
That’s a very imaginative story! However, it seems that people have begun to like dogs in recent years.
You’re right. As people are becoming more and more affluent, the role of the dog has changed from a sentinel to a favorite pet. Nowadays, a lot of people are breeding dogs as pets and for sale. Many others still dislike dogs because dogs have invaded the already very crowded human space. Chinese cities are densely populated and a lot of people live in pigeonholes in high-rise apartment buildings. Usually, over 100 households share a couple of elevators or the same flight of stairs. Imagine the elevator door opening and a dog running out and barking at you. Would you still consider dogs lovely if you had to face that every day? To look after the dogs properly, the owners have to walk their dogs everyday and, they end up leaving dog droppings all over the place. In this case, “stinky dog dropping” become a reality and not just a curse. You can step on them any time of aren’t careful. That’s why more and more people feel offended by dogs. Unfortunately, some dog owners don’t seem to care about all these problems.
I heard that some people are so frustrated that they put poison on public lawns to kill the poor dogs. Recently more than 50,000 dogs were rounded up and killed in a county in Yunnan Province. In Beijing, more than 70,000 people were bitten by dogs during 2006. Reports of rabies throughout the country have increased sharply.
It’s unfortunate that dogs become responsible for the bad behavior of their owners. In fact, none of the derogative expressions related to dogs actually apply to the dogs. They really refer to people. In this sense, dogs have a chance to finally get back at the humans.