New home is not to be sniffed at

Retired working dog Si Yan settles into his new life after 11 years of service preventing illegal and banned items from entering the country.
Ti Gong

Xu Jie (left) and her husband Fan Xiaoyu (right) pose with their children and the new member of their family, sniffer dog Si Yan.

Retired sniffer dog Si Yan (Four Eyes), who was put up for adoption last month, has been warmly welcomed by his new family.

“We were surprised and ecstatic at the news that we can adopt Si Yan,” said 38-year-old Xu Jie. “It’s so unbelievable and before we saw him with our eyes we searched many pictures of him online.

“Both of us love dogs and we have raised dogs for a long time. I have had a dog since I was in high school.”

Xu’s husband, Fan Xiaoyu, is an ex-serviceman who had experience with working dogs when he was in the military.

“We don’t mind if he’s old or not,” Xu said. “Or it can be said that because he is old, we are more willing to adopt him and give him a good environment to ensure he can spend his remaining years in happiness.”

The couple were selected from more than 120 applicants after officers from the entry-exit inspection and quarantine bureau visited their home.

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Si Yan is ready to have meal at his new home.

Xu already has 14-year-old Tao Tao, a soft-tempered female who now gets along well with her new friend.

Xu said Si Yan had adapted well to his new environment after a walk around the neighborhood and a good sleep.

“But he still tried to sniff our cases and we told him ‘no, no, now you don’t need to do that.’ He deserves a serene and comfortable life in his later years,” Xu said.

When the couple, both secondary school teachers, are at work Xu’s mother takes care of Si Yan and makes sure he gets enough exercise.

The American Cocker Spaniel started work at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport in 2006 and was sent to the city’s international mail exchange center in 2012.

In his 11 years of service, he has helped quarantine officers sniff out turtles mailed from Japan, rare succulent plants and ivory products so well wrapped they would otherwise have been hard to detect.

Last year, Si Yan and his fellow sniffer dogs detected 27,168 batches of banned items, accounting for 43.9 percent of the city’s total of intercepted goods.

In 2016, he was named a five-star detection dog, the highest honor.

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The adoptive family carries Si Yan and his "private belongings" to their home.

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Si Yan being kissed by his new father Fan Xiaoyu.

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