It had been a normal day for pensioner Liao Shuliang and his white spitz dog Tudo. Mr Liao, in his 70s, lived in a house near Dujiangyan in Sichuan province , and on May 12 he was at home making his bed and changing his sheets. Tudo - which means potato - started behaving oddly, snapping at his owner's legs and then running outside. Finally a puzzled Mr Liao decided to follow him out, precisely at the moment when the incredible earthquake struck and his house collapsed in front of his eyes. 'This dog saved my life,' Mr Liao later told workers from the Hong Kong-based, non-profit organisation Animals Asia Foundation. 'His life is as important as mine. I don't want to lose him but I am living in a tent and hiding him. I'm worried he will be taken away. Also, I can no longer get meat for him and so I have been feeding him rice and noodles, but I think he will become ill.' The foundation's main work is saving moon bears on bile farms in Sichuan and other provinces, as well as in Vietnam. Since bile for traditional Chinese medicine can now be manufactured synthetically it no longer needs to be extracted from bears, but many farms are still operating. The bears suffer cruel treatment, living in cramped cages that do not allow them to stand up or turn around, with tubes inserted into their abdomen. This leads to infection, pain and even death. Following the quake, however, the foundation also started to help the many dogs and cats who were left homeless along with their owners. The quake killed nearly 70,000 people with tens of thousands left homeless. Given the number of people buried and the poor hygiene conditions, the Sichuan provincial government decided to introduce a ban on all pets, and any dogs and cats found were killed. This was a tragedy for many families who had lost parents, brothers and sisters - their cat or dog was the only comfort they had. Still they were not allowed to take their pets into the tents set up by the government to provide temporary shelter. Mr Liao was living in a tent when he handed over Tudo to the foundation for safekeeping. The foundation, in the following weeks, saved at least 130 dogs from an uncertain end. The idea is for the foundation to look after the animals until the owners have more permanent accommodation and can collect the animals again. Mr Liao also brought along a dehydrated cat in a plastic bag, which belonged to a neighbour of his in the camp, as well as a tiny tabby cat, both of which needed urgent medical attention at the foundation's hospital. Since the foundation was used to working with bears that arrive in terrible conditions from the farms, it was able to quickly accommodate the dogs and cats. Mr Liao's story is one that has a happy ending. Two weeks ago, he and some of his relatives returned to Animals Asia to collect Tudo, who ran around, ecstatic with relief, before allowing himself to be picked up and cuddled.