With her 13 multicolored dogs dressed in mini Christmas costumes and happily barking aboard her fancy motorized tuk-tuk, Nguyen Thi Kim Quy goes almost unnoticed in the middle of Hanoi’s busy streets.
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The 71-year-old retired hairdresser devotes her retirement to saving homeless dogs so they don’t end up on the plates or under the bats of the Vietnamese, setting aside a large part of the monthly allowance her relatives have paid her. .
Five million dogs are eaten every year across Vietnam, where dog meat is a delicacy. But the Southeast Asian country – which is only ahead of China in its consumption – is gradually trying to eliminate this practice.
“It would be dramatic if they were sent to the slaughterhouse. I really couldn’t stand it, says Nguyen Thi Kim Quy to AFP. “Eating dog or cat meat is a crime to me.”
According to her, the culture is slowly changing and more and more Vietnamese are adopting dogs as pets.
“I think people in Hanoi are becoming more sympathetic to pets and turning away from their habit of treating dog meat as a delicacy,” she said.
The pensioner gets up early to take the dogs out for a walk in the morning, and sometimes she’s still out on the streets after dark looking for strays.
She dyes the dogs’ coats and dresses some of them in Santa or reindeer costumes to create a festive atmosphere when the temperatures drop in the winter months.
His tricycle has become a popular attraction on the streets of Hanoi, prompting passersby to stop to take photos and post them on social media.
“They have bright smiles and sometimes they even give gifts to the dogs […] they really like these dogs,” she explains.
According to the pensioner, “pets bring peace, drive away sadness and difficulties”.
“For me, the dog is like a friend, a true friend […] If I could, I would (would take care of) all the abandoned and abused dogs”.