Zhou Tianxiao, 31, had a $500,000 dog mansion built for his Border Collie, Sylar, in Bejing after the pup made him famous online and rich in real life.
“Before I had Sylar, I had nothing to live for,” Tianxiao tells The Washington Post. “He gave me a purpose.”
Tianxiao adopted Sylar four years ago after a friend urged him to check out puppies for sale. When Tianxiao locked eyes with Sylar, “It was love at first sight,” he says.
Tianxiao spent the following months watching American dog trainers on YouTube and teaching Sylar everything he learned. Sylar learned to high-five, play dead, walk on his hind legs and leap on tables.
Tianxiao would film his pup performing these tricks and would upload them to Meipai, a Chinese video site.
Viewers couldn’t resist the pup effortlessly executing tricks set to music by Lady Gaga--and soon enough, millions of viewers were watching Sylar and Tianxiao online. Soon, Sylar had almost 800,000 followers on social media.
Sylar’s fame propelled Tianxiao to open a dog food and toy store on Taobao, a popular Chinese e-commerce website, an endeavor that would help Tianxiao achieve enough financial security to afford a new life.
To properly thank Sylar, Tianxiao bought and renovated an old warehouse in Shunyi, an upscale Beijing suburb, that sits on a two-acre lot. The mansion has a spa, a trampoline, an indoor pool, two huge portraits of Skylar and a party room.
Sylar’s mansion was opened to the public in May--where canine visitors are encouraged stay the night and use the spa facilities for a fee.
Tianxiao is not alone when it comes to loving his pet. According to the German market research firm Euromonitor, pet care is expected to sustain double-digit growth in China during the forecast period.
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