Following the advice of a local auction company, the head of a Beijing animal protection association appealed to Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin Thursday asking him to consider choosing a Chinese name for his new dog in hopes of gaining his endorsement for future Chinese animal rights campaigns while at the same time holding a creative fundraising event.
After Putin received a pet Karakachan puppy during his visit to Bulgaria on November 13, he invited Russian citizens to help him choose a name for the native Bulgarian watch dog, according to the prime minister's official site.
After reading the news, Zhao Xiaokai, the manager of Beijing Jiashikai Auction Company asked Lu Di, 80, the director of China Small Animal Protection Association to write a letter to Putin, suggesting he pick a Chinese name for his two-month-old puppy.
Zhao's company organized an auction for dinner with Argentinean football legend Diego Armando Maradona which pulled in 200,000 yuan ($30,122.75) for charity this month.
"Although the dog has nothing to do with China, we are just hoping to get in contact with Putin who loves dogs," said Lu.
Lu, a former Peking University professor and secretary to Mao Zedong, registered her grassroots association in Beijing in 1992 after visiting the US and contacting animal protection organizations there in 1988.
As organizer of Animal and Civilization, an international summit slated for early next year, Lu is hoping to attract interest from high-profile animal lovers such as Putin to the summit and speak on animal rights and protection.
In the absence laws protecting abandoned animals in China, Lu has organized the summit for March to coincide with the Two Sessions in order to further influence lawmakers.
Her association takes in about 50 abandoned animals every day such as dogs, cats, pigeons, rabbits and monkeys, which in addition to her 1,000 adopted animals, costs about 150,000 yuan ($22,592.06) per month to care for.
In order to raise money, Animal and Civilization hopes to name Putin's puppy via charity auction.
"If Putin agrees, the winner of the bid will have the right to give a Chinese name to his dog, and the money will go to assist the association to rescue more animals," Zhao told the Global Times.
Although Lu said she was unclear as to how Zhao will carry out the auction, she feels that animal rights in China still needs greater attention.
"We hope to get Putin's reply," Lu told the Global Times.