What A 63 Year Old Retired School Teacher Can Do for 1500+ Dogs and Cats

A run-down yard in the Dongli District of Tianjin named “Common Home” (共同家园) is home to more than 1500 stray dogs and cats. The individual who took all of them in and cares for them is a 63 year old retired school teacher.  Her name is Xiaoyun Yang (杨晓云).


In 1995, Ms Yang witnessed a kitten being thrown into a river just because the owner was not able to get the kitten sold at a desirable price.  She couldn’t watch the kitten drowning, so she went into the river with a rope tied around her.  She saved the kitten and was pulled ashore by her son.  That was Ms Yang’s first rescue, and she has not stopped rescuing and sheltering stray animals since. She started with taking the animals into her house, but she very soon ran out of space. She then moved the shelter to a garage in her community.  It, however, didn’t take very long for the rescued population to again grow beyond the garage’s capacity.  In 1999, Ms Young rented a small bunglow with a courtyard in the Xiqing Da’nanhe area, and “Common Home” was found.

In the following decade, “Common Home” has had to move ten time due to various reasons.  It has also had to relocated to different areas throughout the city.  To fund “Common Home”, Ms Yang sold two of her properties in the city.  Her son and only child disagreed with how much she was sacrificing to rescue the animals and moved away.  Some years later, however, he had a change of heart.  Now, he and his wife are both strong supporters of the shelter and help however they can.

After all the struggles and hardship, “Common House” is now home to more than 200 cats and over 1000 dogs. People in the city have slowly found out about “Common House” and what Ms Yang has done for the animals.  Ms Yang has become somewhat well-know for her compassion and amazing work. More and more strays and unwanted pets continually find themselves in “Common Home”.  Adoption is highly welcomed in Ms Yang’s shelter, but she is always very cautious with would-be adopters. Ms Yang says that there have previously been dog traders who have tried to “adopt” dogs from her.  Fortunately, Ms Yang was always able to see through the fraud.  Those experiences have taught Ms Yang to always exercise extreme caution when it comes to the adoption of those in her care.

Everyday, Ms Yang gets up at 5am and works all day until 10pm.  She eats only one meal in throughout the day.  When caring for such a large number of animals, every single task becomes a long and complicated process.  The animals usually have 2 meals a day, and it takes 8 hours out of each day for Ms Yang to prepare these two meals.  A lot of the animals in  “Common Home” are either disabled or sick, many of which are in need of intensive medical attention.  Ms Yang has never turned her back on any of them. With her very limited resources, Ms Yang tries her best to provide them with the best care and treatment possible. After many years of experience in caring for sick and injured animals,  Ms Yang has learnt many basic veterinary skills and has the know-how to successfully treat minor illnesses.

Most of the dogs are sick, many of which require intensive medical attention.

Ms Yang was one of the activists who stopped some of the many “meat dog trucks”. She paid dog and cat meat traders to save the animals from been slaughtered for food. She didn’t even negotiate with the traders, because she was afraid that the animals would be killed if she didn’t agree to their first asking price.  Meanwhile, she continues to bear criticism from people who doubt and question her intentions.  Some have even accused her of “animal cruelty and trade”.  It is not easy to rescue stray animals in China, and it sometimes makes her feel very helpless.

Fortunately, there are caring people who are regular volunteers at the “Common Home”. Help and donation from volunteers and other loving individuals are the main sources that are keeping the shelter running. However, a shelter with over 1200 dogs and cats runs on a heavy budget.  Common Home’s current annual rent is over $4,700 USD.  Food and medical supplies cost more than $6000USD each month.  Aside from a continual shortage of funds to just keep the animals alive, the shelter is also desperately in need of a new location. The current site is under the city’s demolition plan, and she must soon find a new place for all of the animals.

Ms Yang collects a lot of wood.  She will make a fire in a firepit, and this is the only way that she can afford to keep the shelter warm in the winter for the animals
Volunteers provide not only physical help, but also heart-lifting support for Ms Yang. 
Ms Yang making steamed corn bread for animals.  This is what she can afford to provide for all of the animals in the shelter. She makes two meals a day for the animals
This may not be the nicest and cleanest shelter in the world, but it is a safe oasis in a dangerous world where all of the animals are loved and cared for
Love, affection and trust from all her animals are what put a smile on Ms Yang’s face everyday.
Volunteers feeding steamed buns to the dogs, It’s always a special treat for all of the animals when volunteers come and visit 
Special treat time — hotdogs!!
Ms Yang tries to treat the animals with something special on the weekends
Ms Yang keeps the contact information of the volunteers in her notebook. She also likes to write poems.
More than 1200 homeless and abused animals are under gentle care of these hands
Ms Yang’s health is not in a great shape and she coughs a lot
 It is not easy to rescue stray animals in China, and it sometimes makes her feel very helpless.
Ms Xiaoyun Yang, a portrait that she took back in 90′
Dinner time
The animals don’t get to go out of the shelter very much.  The outside world is not safe for them
Dogs enjoying a lazy afternoon in their cozy spot. This may not be the nicest and cleanest shelter in the world, but it is a safe oasis in a dangerous world where all of the animals are loved and cared for
Ms Xiaoyun Yang, and two very young high school students who are regular volunteers in the Common Home
Photographer: Xiaomin Wang & Jiangwei Zhao 王晓明,赵建伟

Please also read: A Phone Conversation with Ms. Xiaoyun Yang, Tianjin Common Home for Stray Animals

There are the things you can do to help Ms. Yang and her animals:

1. SHARE AND JOIN! Share Ms. Yang’s story with as many people as you can. Join and share our FB page to let more people to learn the truth about animal rights movement in China and keep a growing number of people involved in the cause.
2. PUBLICITY! Write to as many public media outlets as you can in your country! Mainstream media outlets, animal rights and welfare organizations, celebrities…anyone/anything you can think of that might take this story into the spotlight! Ms. Yang needs the protection that can only be afforded by an increasingly public profile.  Any and all help to get her name, mission, and work out into the world by the media or other publicity is desperately needed.  She is very likely in life-threatening danger due to the countless conflicts and run-ins that she has had with the vicious and ruthless meat traders.   They have already threatened and menaced her multiple times in response to her rescue efforts.  
3. SIGN THE PETITION! Please sign all of these petitions http://wgapc.wordpress.com/petitions/ and share with as many people as you can! We need your help to make the Chinese government to establish Animal Cruelty Laws.
4.  DONATE to Ms. Yang. Donation Information for Common Home
Direct Bank Wire Transfer to Ms. Yang 

Bank Name: Commercial Bank of China (中国工商银行) 

Bank Account City: Tianjin (开户城市-天津)

Bank Account No.: 0302845001009282956
Account Name:  Ai Yun YANG (杨爱云) 

Xiaoyun Yang’s Cell Phone: 13164073263

FACLC obtained the above information from Ms. Xiaoyun Yang herself.
Please be aware that Ms.Yang does not have any other bank accounts or contact numbers aside from what’s listed above.  

(Recently, a local TV station called “City Report 60 Minutes 都市报道60分” did an interview with Ms. Xiaoyun Yang in the name of raising awareness of and some funds for the Common Home.  It turned out to be an utter shameless scandal — The phone number that the City Report provided to the public does not belong to Ms. Yang or anyone that associates with her or the shelter. Consequently, Ms. Yang has never received any donations since the story went live on TV. The City Report has not yet responded to Ms. Yang and many volunteers’ questions.)

Donation Via WGAPC 

For your convenience, as well as minimizing the cost of international bank transfers, you may donate to Ms. Yang through WGAPC. All the fund collected will be wired to Ms. Yang directly, and will also be fully and publicly accounted for on WGAPC Facebook page.

Please please feel free to contact me if you have more ideas or resources to help Ms. Yang in her incredible life’s work. 

12 responses to “What A 63 Year Old Retired School Teacher Can Do for 1500+ Dogs and Cats

  1. This wonderful lady is amazing . her devotion for helping the dogs is worthy of the highest honour. 'notodogmeat.org ( fb + Twiter ) wish to connect with her and try help for a better future for the dogs in China. Please if anyone has a direct contact – thank you ~ johnx

  2. Hi John, thank you so very much for your support! I've actually just got off the phone with Ms. Yang, and I added her donation and contact information in the article. Please keep me posted and feel free to let me know if you need any help! Thank you again! -Lucy

  3. I wish China supported this awesome woman more. Is there any way to support other then the above bank? I'm sure there are plenty of animal lovers in the US that would support this Angel and her babies. I would love to come see her in China. She definitely needs support to get a new home for these babies that's safer and larger then what she has now. Much love for Ms. Yang!

  4. Oh, I felt so pitty for her to help so many dogs, and the way she lives so poor !! I had to cry , we in Europe can live so welthy, nver have to live this way ! I like do donate to help her ! And will pray for her, she need more comfort and the dogs to more a place aside i nice cages example ! I want also to seth up something here in Belgium to get things for the dogs, like blangets and so ! Life can be so awefull when we hase to see suffering !

  5. This woman is a saint in my eyes. She has done more than what many other will do in church. She is a blessing, a true saint. God bless her and God help me succeed in my career or by winning the lotto so that I can help people like her big time <3

  6. I cried as I read this story. I can only imagine the adversity she has had to endure. Ms Yang…it’s people like you that renew my faith in humanity. You are an amazing person. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  7. What you are doing, takes a truly special person. You have my utmost respect, and admiration. If only the world had more people like you. I can only imagine how difficult it has been to love and care for all those animals, in the face of such adversity. Thank you Mrs Yang from the bottom of my heart.

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