By Mao Weihua in Urumqi and Xing Wen
A military dog named Yanlong retired recently after eight years of service in a border detachment in Altay prefecture in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.
"Yanlong has reached the age of retirement. Comparing dog years to a human's age, it has already grown into a 64-year-old veteran," said trainer Tang Yanyi, a frontier guard who joined the People's Liberation Army in 2014.
He said Yanlong had participated in regular patrols along the border shared by China and Kazakhstan more than 700 times over the past eight years. Of all the dogs serving in the border detachment, Yanlong has served longest, marching nearly 9,000 kilometers.
All the border soldiers and the dogs have to suffer in the harsh conditions of the areas where they have to patrol — including the long winter freeze and clouds of mosquitoes in summer.
From June to August, the detachment has to patrol forests in which some 1,700 mosquitoes per cubic meter swarm the soldiers and their canine companions. Seven military dogs have died from mosquito bites. However, Yanlong overcame all the difficulties and became well-known for tenacity.