Ashes of 'tour guide' dog will be scattered on Ping Chau pier, beach

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 02 May, 2011, 12:00am


The ashes of Ping Chau's renowned tour guide dog will be scattered on the beach and the pier where he roamed and greeted visitors for more than a decade.

Wong Tsai, who frequently met visitors at the pier and accompanied them on walks around the island, was diagnosed with bone cancer, which debilitated him so much he could barely walk. A vet at the SPCA in Wan Chai put him down on Saturday.

The dog would be cremated and the ashes returned to the villagers of Ping Chau, said Dr Jane Gray, chief veterinary surgeon at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

One of the owners of the Ping Chau Store said Wong Tsai was a loyal and friendly dog. 'We might scatter his ashes on places he liked to hang out at, for example the beach. Or we will put it near the pier, as he often waited for arriving visitors there,' she said.

Few people remember how he started his tour routine, but Wong Tsai had been greeting visitors and showing them around the island for more than a decade. His status as the local mascot was recognised by the government. An Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department brochure dubbed him the 'friendly local guide' of Ping Chau.

He was born and raised on Ping Chau and is its last permanent resident as the island has had no full-time residents since 1971. Wong Tsai's owner was Mo Shui-ching, who ran a store on the island and died in 2009. Before Mo died, he signed a letter of consent permitting the SPCA to euthanise the dog if he developed an incurable and painful disease.

The society had been keeping an eye on the 20-year-old free-roaming dog since he developed a non-malignant lump on his left cheek in 2009.

During the Easter holiday, a policeman noticed he had a serious limp and notified the SPCA, which sent a team to check on him and found he had bone cancer which had crippled his right hind leg. He was then taken - for the first time - off the island to the SPCA headquarters in Wan Chai, where he was treated.

The Ping Chau Store owner said villagers always wanted Wong Tsai to die on the island, as he was born and spent all his life on Ping Chau. 'Dogs really understand human feelings. Usually when the owners pass away, dogs will follow them shortly afterwards,' she said.