Our new flatmate

Since last week we are three at home. Please meet our new flatmate, her name is Nico:


Nico is a 6 year old female Golden Retriever and yes, she’s fat. She weighted 40 kg when we brought her home on May 11th, now she has already lost 2 kg. We are rationing her food and taking her for walks 3 times a day. Nico used to belong to C. but when he moved out of his previous flat she was adopted by his friend. Now this friend is sick and couldn’t take care of her any more, so we took her in. We think this friend didn’t really take her out to walk and she was eating way too much.

I’ve had dogs in Spain before but always in our countryside cottage or in my parents’ house, which has a garden so the dogs were always outside. I had never had a dog inside the house before. I think a flat is not the most appropriate place for a big dog, but Nico is such a couch potato. During the day, when we are working, she just sleeps. She doesn’t break or bite things so it is not so bad. The only problem is that my living room will never be clean again. The floor is always full of blonde hairs, footprints and dog saliva, no matter how many times I clean.

Nico doesn’t like exercising, not the least bit. She’s so lazy! When we go for a walk she is tired after 1 minute and wants to go back home. But she has to exercise so we force her to keep going. Sometimes the only way to make her walk is bribing her with food! She is always hungry, and not just because she’s on a diet. I’ve read on the internet that golden retrievers can’t control themselves, if you let them they will eat until they explode (so they are like goldfish!). This afternoon, after she had eaten a small chew bone and a bowl of dog food, I was eating a carrot. She came by my side and put her head on my leg, looking at me with big eyes. I had to give her half the carrot.


The worst part is when it rains, she gets all wet. Even if it’s not raining at that moment but the floor is wet, her legs and tummy fur will get all nasty. So C. bought a dog raincoat and dog shoes on Taobao. Yesterday we took her to the pet store for her weekly shower and when we went to pick her up we tried the raincoat and the shoes, with the help of the store staff.

The raincoat! With little rainproof pants!


Putting the shoes on was quite an adventure and the result was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. I had seen dogs with shoes before, but I had never seen a dog wearing shoes for the first time (if you have never seen it, you can check this video). I was almost crying with laughter.

Putting the shoes on.

This lady was in the pet store and judging by her face she also thought our dog wearing shoes was very funny!


After walking a little bit inside the store and getting used to the shoes, we walked back home. But it is very difficult to put the shoes in the right place, they kept slipping. So we gave up.

Not before taking a picture first.


Being a foreigner, you always feel a little bit like a star in China. Well, since I have a dog I am even more famous in the neighbourhood. Having a dog is an excuse for small talk and people will just come up and say anything about my dog (for example that she is fat, haha). But some people are also scared of her, as big size breeds have started to be popular just recently (in some cities there are even regulations about how big your dog can be). In Spain I don’t think anyone would be scared of a golden retriever (that is like being scared of a huge teddy bear!).

The security guards in our compound all know me now, if they were not aware of me before. I think they secretly call me “the laowai who can’t control her dog” (as sometimes she doesn’t want to walk and I would just follow her back home). On Saturday afternoon they found out I can speak Chinese besides “nihao” and they were delighted. They asked me the usual questions: Where are you from?, how long have you been in China?, how much does your dog weight?, your Chinese is so good!