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From Meng Li’s narrative, Zhang Zian understood that although Meng Li had never raised a c.o.c.ker Spaniel before, he had at least been in close contact with one for a long period of time. Meng Li was familiar with c.o.c.ker Spaniels’ habits, he had affection towards them, and he wasn’t making his decision to raise one because he wanted to appear different than other pet owners.
Zhang Zian opened the display case and held up the only c.o.c.ker Spaniel in his shop.
It was an American c.o.c.ker Spaniel in three colors—black, white and brown. It had distinguished features. Parts of its forehead and cheeks were in brown, while its nose, mouth, head, neck, and chest were in white, and the rest of the parts of its body were black. It was covered with long fur, and its two big, long ears were drooping and covering the sides of its head. If a puppy of c.o.c.ker Spaniel was pure brown, it would be easily mistaken for a Labrador puppy, but this tri-color c.o.c.ker Spaniel was very unique. It was very lively and energetic. As soon as it left the display case, it was struggling, trying to jump out from Zhang Zian's arms.
At first, Zhang Zian worried that Meng Li was looking to buy an English c.o.c.ker Spaniel. But from his narrative, he knew that the host family in England was raising an American c.o.c.ker Spaniel because the fur of an English c.o.c.ker Spaniel was shorter and would not be hooked by thorns or gra.s.s frequently.
Zhang Zian put the c.o.c.ker Spaniel on the top of the display case and pressed it gently so that it wouldn't run away so that Meng Li could observe it conveniently.
"You are looking for an American c.o.c.ker Spaniel like this one, right?" he tried to confirm with Meng Li.
"Yes, that's the one I’ve been looking for. How much is it?" Meng Li replied affirmatively and reached into his pocket for his wallet.
Zhang Zian stopped him, "Wait a minute. There are some things I must tell you in advance—do you know why this kind of dog is rarely seen in China?"
Meng Li replied quickly, "Because it needs large amounts of exercise and needs company—but it's okay, I will try my best to keep it company. And when I'm busy, I can have the graduates I am tutoring walk it for me."
Zhang Zian thought to himself, those students didn't go to graduate school to walk dogs for you.
He felt lucky that he didn't agree to Professor Wei Kang’s request. If Professor Wei Kang were his tutor, would he also end up picking up dog sh*t every day?
"What you're saying is just a minor reason. It’s true that c.o.c.ker Spaniels need large amount of exercise, but so do other breeds of dogs." Zhang Zian corrected him and lifted one side of the dog's ear and said to Meng Li, "Come over to smell it."
Meng Li hesitated for a moment. He bent down and approached the dog to sniff at its ear.
"Is there some kind of smell?" he stood straight and said uncertainly.
"Yes." Zhang Zian put down its ear, "Because its ears are always drooping, its cochleae are very damp and are susceptible to strange smells and mites. A special ear cleaning liquid is needed for cleansing and disinfecting its ears oftentimes—which means you have to do it once every two days or once every day. Many people are dissuaded from raising such dogs for this reason alone. Had you never cleaned ears for Julie when you were in England?"
Meng Li frowned and reflected, "I’ve seen people cleanse its ears several times, but I didn't know they need to be cleaned every day."
Meng Li explained further, "I usually just took Julie for walks in the morning and in the evening. When it came to shower or for tr.i.m.m.i.n.g fur, the host family was responsible for those... But don't worry, I can have my graduates take such tasks, which can be added to their credits."
Zhang Zian thought to himself, graduates were so useful and even better than casual workers nowadays? Was Meng Li a victim of injustice while he was at gradua
te school and now seeking revenge when he had the chance at work?
"Apart from the above reasons, c.o.c.ker Spaniels have another rather serious potential hazard." Said Zhang Zian, "They have genetic defects."
"Genetic defects?" Meng Li became quite serious, because even the "omnipotent" graduates could not do anything about problems like that.
"The famous case about genetic defects are those of Scottish Folds. It is well known that the bones in the hind limbs of Scottish Folds are susceptible to abnormal development." Zhang Zian caressed the head of the c.o.c.ker Spaniel softly. It stuck out its tongue to lick his wrist. "The genetic defects of c.o.c.ker Spaniels lie in their eyes—they have higher chances of getting cataract than other breeds."
"Cataracts..." Meng Li could not explain his feelings hearing this—he was worried but also was relieved. Comparing to the genetic diseases in Scottish Folds’ bones that were incurable, cataract did not seem like a severe disease.
"Yes, cataract." Said Zhang Zian certainly, "Many people cannot accept that after purchasing the pets, they will have to prepare another budget to cure diseases for them, especially when the chances are high that their pets will get the diseases. Removing cataracts is a small surgery to humans, but it is a major surgery to dogs. Dogs have bigger crystalline lenses than those of humans, and are more sensitive. Under poor hygiene situations, the operative incisions of the dogs will become infected, inflamed, or ultimately lead to blindness. If you plan to buy this c.o.c.ker Spaniel, you must take this possibility into consideration."
"Oh." Meng Li didn't speak for a long time.
Zhang Zian caressed the fur of the c.o.c.ker Spaniel and waited patiently for Meng Li’s decision. In fact, though the possibility was high that c.o.c.ker Spaniels would get cataracts, it seemed like a lower possibility compared to the 100% chance that Scottish Folds will get bone disease. Scottish Folds were very adorable, and even knowing that the cats would bring them pain and torture, people kept buying them, hoping their cats wouldn’t have the disease. But c.o.c.ker Spaniels were not that lucky...
When he saw the c.o.c.ker Spaniels at the Pet’s Home breeding base, Zhang Zian thought that Sun Yinian was out of his mind to bring in such unpopular dogs...
Meng Li didn't care about the money for curing the disease, he just worried whether it was curable and whether there would be any long-term effects.
"Will it definitely get the disease?" he asked.
"Not necessarily." Zhang Zian gave his advice, "This one is 4 months old. If you are worried, you can come back 2 months later."
"Why 2 months?" Meng Li asked. "Is it because winter is suitable to perform cataract removal surgery?"
"No, I didn't mean that." Zhang Zian explained, "It can be ascertained whether a c.o.c.ker Spaniel will ever get cataracts when it's 6 months old. So, if you don't want to take the risk, you can come back in 2 months, and by then you will know whether it needs surgery or not."
Zhang Zian understood Meng Li’s hesitation. No one wanted to buy a sick dog. Not only would people have to spend extra money, but they didn't feel well seeing their pets get sick. c.o.c.ker Spaniels had the possibility to have cataracts, of which the symptoms would show when it was 6 months old, and experienced veterinarians could make a definite diagnosis easily. If people really wanted to buy c.o.c.ker Spaniels and worried about their genetic diseases, they could try to buy puppies over 6 months old.
Meng Li was deeply astonished by Zhang Zian’s honesty and understood further why Professor Wei Kang would recommend buying pets at his shop.
"If no one buys it when it is confirmed it will have cataracts two months later, then how are you going to deal with it?" Meng Li asked tentatively.
"I will only sell it after its disease is cured," Zhang Zian answered without hesitation. "I will have the owner of this clinic to give me a discount on the surgery. When I bought it from the pet breeding base, I had prepared myself for its disease, and I also told the veterinarian here—because that breeding base belongs to her family!"