Mr. Ma has been a street cobbler for more than 40 years. The 59-year-old cobbler became paralyzed in the lower part of his body after suffering a major sickness when he was a child. He relies on a shabby homemade wheelchair for moving around. Every day, he needs to spend an hour each way to travel the 1 km distance between his house and his cobbler's stall. Luckily, he is helped by a big brown dog, in spite of rain or shine.
This big brown dog pushes Mr. Ma's back gently, to help him move forward.
Residents in the neighborhood know about Mr. Ma and his devoted big brown dog. The big brown dog not only helps Mr. Ma look after the stall, it also helps him warm his feet when the weather gets cold. Whenever they have to go uphill, the big brown dog seems to exert itself to push Mr. Ma forward; this is a scene that the local residents witness daily.
Mr. Ma's big brown dog does not look any different from other street dogs. It has no name, but whenever Mr. Ma utters "hey", he will come to him immediately. The big brown dog's mother was also a big brown dog. The mother was with Mr. Ma for more than 10 years but passed away shortly after giving birth to the big brown dog.
Mr. Ma says proudly: "The dog is very smart. It is even smarter than those guide dogs seen on TV.”
His meager income is sadly not enough for his own living expenses. Often, he has to go hungry, and when he cannot stand the hunger, he will eat some persimmon fruits that he keeps under his bed. Sometimes, his neighbors will give him some food. He also ate leftovers that were kept for over three days before.
The big brown dog understands Mr. Ma's living conditions, so it never begs him for food. Instead, it looks for food outside itself or eats food given by the neighbors.
Mr. Ma is feeding the big brown dog with some biscuits.
When Mr. Ma is working, the big brown dog will sleep quietly at a corner. It never annoys his customers. When the customers are gone, it will go over to Mr. Ma, wag its tail or nuzzle up against him to show affection.
Once, there was someone who wanted to pay to buy the big brown dog but was refused by Mr. Ma. He just will not sell, whatever price it is.
Mr. Ma never begs for money. Even though he is poor, he still wants to earn his own living. And with the company of the big brown dog, he is always able to stay motivated.