“Sylar changed my life, so I will give it back everything I have,” Zhou told China Daily. In an interview, Zhou revealed that after his parents divorced during his childhood, he became a rebellious kid and spent his days in internet cafes playing games, drinking and picking up fights. “That life lasted for more than a decade,” he shared. When he failed to find happiness in computer games, Zhou sought the companionship of a loyal friend. “I heard that dogs were loyal. No matter how poor their owners were, they will still be with them. That’s why I decided to have a dog,” he said. According to Zhou, he felt he regained the love he lost in his childhood after Sylar became a part of his life. He considers Sylar more of a family member than just a pet. Zhou first learned to train Sylar by watching YouTube videos of professional dog trainers. Using the techniques he learned, he was able to teach Sylar tricks such as doing high-five, play dead, walk like a human and leap on tables. As a proud owner, Zhou would shoot videos of Sylar’s tricks and share them online. Sylar’s videos became a hit and the smart pooch eventually became an online star, earning hundreds of thousands of followers and racking up millions of views on social media platforms. Sylar’s growing popularity also encouraged Zhou to open a dog food and toy store on Chinese e-commerce platform Taobao.
Using the money he saved up from his online business, Zhou rented an 8,600-square-kilometer courtyard in a rural area of Shunyi district and built the dog mansion worth half a million dollars last year. “I never view it as something great, it’s just what a father should do. Without my dog, I might be still addicted to smoking, playing games all day and squandering my lifetime,” Zhou said. Sylar usually spends its day swimming before relaxing in a room with a small bed, a tent, and an air-conditioner in the “luxury dog villa” that its “father” built. “Before I had Sylar, I had nothing to live for,” said the 31-year-old who lives in a 15-square-foot apartment without an air-conditioner. “He gave me a purpose.” His girlfriend, Liu Wei, currently helps him run the dog mansion with a staff of 10 people, NDTV reports. Liu said Zhou “was lazy and spent most of his waking hours playing video games. He’s now enterprising and conscientious.” Sylar’s mansion was opened to the public in May so other dogs can experience the luxuries Zhou’s beloved dog had been enjoying for about a year now. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giksKw0n3Hg For a fee, dogs can sleep in air-conditioned rooms with giant pillows and personal backyards. They can also take a medicinal bath in the spa for 175 yuan ($26) or get a soothing oil massage for 400 yuan ($58).
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