I Belong Series: Meet Shirley, Sourcing Director, PetSmart Shanghai Office

As we begin to celebrate the Chinese New Year and the Year of the Ox we're excited to introduce Shirley! She works at the PetSmart Shanghai Office and has been part of the pack for almost 2 years now. She shares her story of Belonging with us and how she'll be celebrating the new year. Check it out below!


The Belonging Program’s “I Belong” Series harnesses the power of empathy through storytelling. This series is intended to give associates a greater sense of understanding, a bridge to gain new perspective, and a way to build connection to each other. To learn more about the “I Belong” Series or to submit your stories, please visit our new Belonging Fetch Page.




Meet Shirley | Sourcing Director, Shanghai


Chinese New Year is the festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the lunar calendar. In China, we assign an animal to represent the year- it will be the year of the Ox in 2021.


Traditions to celebrate the festival in China vary a lot from city to city. We all have in common is to decorate the house with New Year wishes in traditional calligraphy and to have a big family dinner on New Year's Eve, which will be 2/11/2021 this year. From the city where I was born, Shanghai, we usually must have meatballs and egg dumplings for the family dinner as meatballs indicate family reunion and egg dumplings represents gold. We also commonly have Chinese Rice Pudding made from eight ingredients. Eight is a lucky number in China. We believe by eating the pudding, we will have health, fortune, and happiness in the new year to come.


On the other hand, my husband was born in the Huan province, about 700 miles away from Shanghai. They have a very different menu for the family dinner- Jiaozi must be on their table. It is a tradition that the whole family shall make the Jiaozi together while watching celebrations on TV. And, they are not allowed to throw away the food leftovers until five days later- or they would be throwing off the good luck.


Marrying a man from a different city allowed me to see the diversity among people, even if it is something as simple as what we eat for celebrations. It has helped me be a better associate for PetSmart and value the people I work beside. United Together, our value, reminds me that we shall respect the differences and be joyful in our common interest. Chinese New Year reminds me to keep learning new tricks, like making Jiaozi, because it matters to my family and me. Every day at PetSmart, I learn new tricks, because it matters to the people I work beside and me. I hope all of you can have a healthy and prosperous year of the Ox!