Dog-gone on hol­i­day

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - PETS -

FOR Yunqi (which means for­tune), a 10year-old Labrador-Beauceron mix, go­ing on hol­i­day with his own­ers is noth­ing new.

He was born on April 9, 2003. His owner Ivan Len, an English lan­guage in­struc­tor, adopted him in June the same year, af­ter find­ing out about him from an advertisement in the lo­cal news­pa­pers.

“He was born in a vil­lage not too far from ours,” says Len, 47, who lives with his part­ner Lau­rent Cor­ric in Chaingy, a twohour drive out of Paris.

It works in Yunqi’s favour that there are dog-friendly ho­tels (and restaurants) in Europe. “He goes on hol­i­days all over Europe with us and, nat­u­rally, stays in ho­tels with us,” says Len, in an e-mail in­ter­view from Chaingy. So far, the three of them have va­ca­tioned to­gether in the Benelux coun­tries – Bel­gium, the Nether­lands and Lux­em­bourg – as well as Ger­many, Spain, Switzer­land and An­dorra.

Al­though Yunqi is a large dog that com­mands at­ten­tion, he is as gen­tle as a lamb. The Labrador is known to be en­er­getic, happy, friendly, love­able, ex­tremely pa­tient with chil­dren of all ages and easy to train. And the Beauceron, an old French breed of guard/herd­ing dog, has a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing very ac­tive. It seems Yunqi is the best of both breeds which share the com­mon traits of be­ing loyal and gen­tle.

“We no­tice this con­sis­tently – that he’s gen­tle with kids. He’d let them touch him, poke and prod him, and he doesn’t flinch. He is also a very de­mand­ing dog, and knows his rights and en­ti­tle­ments,” says Len.

From the time Yunqi was a puppy un­til re­cently, they used to go on long walks – last­ing at least two hours – to­gether ev­ery sin­gle day, re­gard­less of the weather and sea­son. “But as he’s get­ting on in age, we go for an hour’s walk in the morn­ing and a half-hour one later on in the day.”

Yunqi’s thick, lush coat is brushed daily. When­ever he has a bath, he is thor­oughly blow-dried. “He’s very pa­tient with the hairdryer,” says Len.

The pam­per­ing does not end there. He is the happy re­cip­i­ent of whole­some, home­cooked meals that are fit for hu­mans; Len cooks an ex­tra por­tion for him. “He gets his share of our meals, not left­overs. He eats as we would but mi­nus the spices. His favourite hu­man food is nem (fried Viet­namese springrolls).”

Yunqi gets his daily tub of yo­ghurt as well. At a cer­tain time each evening, he would nudge his own­ers, as if to ask for the healthy treat. When he has licked the last dol­lop from the tub, he would promptly “dis­pose of” it – tak­ing it in his mouth and drop­ping it into the waste bin.

yunqi en­joy­ing the beach in Greno­ble last de­cem­ber, with his owner Ivan Len. — Photo by Lau­rent Cor­ric

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