The 31-year-old’s favorite thing to do in the morning for the last two years is to go to the farm beside his house and watch nearly 200 dogs running frolicking there.
The farm in Katy 2 Village in Krong Buk District is now worth dozens of billions of dong (VND1 billion = $43,573) and generated revenues of more than a billion in just the first two months of this year.
It attracts the animal lover’s attention and has become a hot tourist destination
Tien says he became a dog breeder by chance. In 2016, when he was a street vendor, a friend told him that a relative was preparing to go abroad and wanted to sell a husky for cheap.
The weather in Dak Lak suited this breed, and raising it would also be easy, his friend has assured him.
So Tien bought the dog. After two months it gave birth to three puppies, which he sold for a total of VND27 million (over $1,100). But a week later the puppies died, and he had to run around to buy huskies to replace them.
For the next few months he researched online into how to raise dogs. Sensing he had gained enough knowledge, he borrowed some money and bought two purebred puppy huskies for VND70 million.
He used to feed them with just rice and bone broth but later he added milk and calcium supplements when they were young. As they grew older he fed them chicken, beef, vegetables, eggs, and other foods.
As they grew older, the two dogs delivered 16 puppies and which Tien later sold them for VND120 million. But again all 16 died within a few weeks.
He recalls he was distraught at losing the puppies and the fact all his efforts and spending had been in vain.
He left three mother dogs unattended, leaving them to fend for themselves.
Le Kieu Loan, 26, his wife, encouraged him saying he should keep trying and would succeed one day.
She often waited for her husband to fall asleep, then quietly took care of the mother dogs, without complaining.
This was not the first time he was going broke.
After the fiasco with the dogs, he decided to head to Saigon to a professional dog farm and work as an apprentice to learn about the business.
He paid close attention to how to care for the animals and prevent illnesses. In 2017 his dogs gave birth to seven healthy puppies, which he sold for VND49 million ($2,100).
Seeing the potential, Tien began to expand his business.
The couple sold their wedding rings for VND80 million and used the money to build a dog farm.
He built 50 kennels and a small hut next to it so he can easily take care of the dogs. By mid-2018 the number of dogs increased, and he hired workers, including people with disabilities, to take care of them while he focused on sales and expansion.
That year the farm’s revenues reached VND1 billion for the first time, and Tien was able to pay off all his debts. By 2019 revenues doubled.
Now it has about 200 dogs of various breeds like Alaska, husky, samoyed, poodle, akita, and shiba, and allows tourists to visit, take photos and learn about pet dogs.
Besides selling puppies, Tien also sells dog cages and provides services like bathing, blow drying and breeding dogs and others.
Vu Minh Cuong, vice chairman of the Krong Buk District Youth Association and chairman of the district youth start-up club, said: “Tien’s farm is known to many people and is considered a reliable source of supply of dogs in the national market.”
Tien has won awards and honors.
“In 2020 [he] was awarded the title of Good Young Citizen Award at the provincial level for giving scholarships and providing financial support for building houses for seniors living alone,” Pham Trong Luyen, head of Katy 2 village, says.
He says: “I want to export dogs to foreign countries and teach this model to young people who want to start a business. This is a new vocation with a good income if you work hard.”