25.4.16

Sterilization Of Some New Strays We Discovered

It is ironic, and sad, how an uneventful day is not a norm in the rescue line. There is hardly a day that we go on our rounds and don't find another of our street dogs in need of help.

Brown, unsterilized male with left eye bugling
This time, it was 17 dogs, 2 of which are mere puppies. The puppies look only to be about 2 months old and we worry about their survival in the large construction area that we found them in. 

This is where they live



Besides the puppies, 1 of the adult dogs is also a cause of concern. This particular adult dog is a brown, unsterilized male. His left eye appears to be bulging from the socket. The eyeball can still move, though we are not sure if he can still see with it. We will be taking him to the vet tomorrow (Wednesday) to have his eye checked out and to get him sterilized. The area in which he lives is full of heavy machinery and construction debris so it is possible he may have found himself on the pointy end of one of these and hurt his eye. We can't take in any more dogs as we don't have any available foster spaces, but the least we can do is to sterilize him before returning him to his "home" so as to control the stray population. 




Please help me get sterilized and have my eye checked

The puppies are still too young to be sterilized so we will leave them be for now and hope that they will quickly learn to navigate the dangers of their home. Once they are old enough, we will also send them for sterilization. For now, we will focus on the adult brown dog's medical needs and sterilizing the other adult dogs.

If you can contribute towards the vet bills, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg.



20.4.16

Update On Lil’ Pumpkin (the TVT girl in the drain)

Pumpkin, the dog we rescued from the drain last weekend, is still warded at the vet.

6 years old but hardly any teeth left
Watch her rescue video https://youtu.be/AMaU8Han0SU

The vet did an ultrasound and found that the poor girl has chronic pancreatitis. The results of her blood test show no other areas of concern besides her pancreas. Her appetite is poor but her condition is otherwise stable for now. Her wounds are cleaned twice a day so are now free of maggots. Her paw with the missing toes are not doing so well though. The bones are showing and the vets are considering amputating the paw. We are devastated with this piece of news and are hoping that there is some other alternative procedure that can save her paw, such as skin grafting.


Paw with missing toes and bones revealed
Her wounds are very deep. The maggots had burrowed through and came out from new holes under her flesh. 



Pumpkin will remain at the vet for another week or so, so the vets can monitor her condition and decide what can be done about her paw. Her left hind leg seems injured too as she doesn’t bear weight on it. If she continues to not use her left hind leg, an x-ray would need to be done to check for fractures because a visual check shows nothing.


Pumpkin, holed up at the vet
We need help with her vet bills and are also looking for a foster home that Pumpkin can continue her recuperation in once she is discharged from the vet. Pumpkin has spent her entire 6 years of life alone. She has no friends and no factory to live in. She lives in a drain under the bus stop and spends her time hiding from other dogs lest they pick on her. It’s time we showed her what love and friendship mean.



If you can help with the bills or foster Pumpkin, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg.

17.4.16

EMERGENCY

Our weekly feeding rounds are hardly anything but routine, and this feeding round was no different. This time, it was an injured, limping dog which turned our feeding round into a rescue frenzy. 

Lying in a deep drain

When we first noticed her limping, we tried to get closer to check her injuries but she ran from us and jumped into a deep drain to hide. She lay in the drain with her eyes closed. We used a torch to shine but she didn’t even respond to the light. She looked weak and we knew we just had to get her to the vet asap. 

Photo of Pumpkin taken half a year ago

This girl is no stranger to us. We have been feeding her for the past 4 years and call her the TVT girl. TVT is a form of sexually transmitted tumour in dogs which can be malignant  She is a small-sized dog, and very wary of humans. Even though we had been feeding her for so long, she never once let us near. We had to leave the food behind and walk away before she would come out to eat. 2 years ago, she contracted TVT. Her vulva was swollen and bleeding. We could not trap her to help her, so we could only monitor her helplessly. We expected her to get weaker from the disease, hoping that we could get her to help before it killed her. Miraculously, she recovered from it all on her own after almost 6 months. 


Volunteer Val and a worker in the drain, trying to use a long plastic pipe to prod her out

This night, watching her hide out in the drain, we just knew we had to get her. So a rescue team of 4 of HOPE's volunteers and 3 Bangladeshi workers was formed. We tried to block both ends of the drain, but fear had her rushing past us into a connecting drain which ran under the road. The drain was filled with dirty water that was higher than ankle height. It was dank and dark, and narrow that only a dog can stand in. A petite human would have to lie on their belly to leopard crawl into the space.

The amazing rescue team, after 5 hours and a precious life saved!
(Volunteers : Lemond (shirtless), the hero who crawled into the drain tunnel, Val & Jozelle on the far right. Pumpkin in the cage on the left)

Again, we blocked off both sides of the drain. With our torch, we could see her nestled right in the middle of the drain. We could not get in so the workers found us some long plastic pipes to push into the drain, hoping that we could prod her into coming out. However, the pipes were not long enough to reach her. 

We tried various methods for the next 4 hours but to no avail. At this point, we were at our wit's end. If we did not get her out soon, we didn't know when she would come out on her own, or if she would even be able to come out at all before she succumbed to whatever injuries she had. Lemond, one of our male volunteers, offered to risk getting bitten and leopard crawl into the drain. We were worried that Lemond would get stuck in the narrow space, or suffocate due to the lack of oxygen in the tunnel, but he insisted that he just had to try.

Using a net to block the drain tunnel, with volunteer Lemond crawling in from the other end with a plastic pipe to prod her out

We then blocked off one end of the drain with a net and had 1 volunteer and 1 worker stand quietly in wait, while Lemond went in the opposite side with a pipe to push her towards the netted entrance. After crawling and pushing for 20 minutes under the road, she finally came out the other side and we quickly pinned her down with the net. A crowd had gathered to watch the rescue mission and everyone, including the workers, were elated that we had finally got her. 

At the vet, cold, scared and trembling, Pumpkin was feeling terribly sorry for herself

Bleeding badly from 2 missing toes; possibly from a machinery accident
At just 6 years old, life has been so hard that she has hardly any teeth left, which is why her tongue sticks out
We rushed her to the vet at 4am. Emergency consultations are expensive, but we had little choice as we could smell the rotting flesh in the van and we knew she would have maggots which would need to be extracted.

We finally got a good look at her at the vet. She was a small girl, estimated to be 5 to 6 years old. She was wet and shivering, probably both from fear and the cold. 2 of her toes were missing from her left front paw and the bones were showing through. We do not know how she might have lost her toes as she did not show any signs of being in an accident, no signs of impact or abrasions from being dragged. She also had 5 huge puncture wounds which were filled with maggots. The vet thinks the maggot wounds are about 3 to 5 days old and we did not see any obvious wounds when we fed her last weekend. She must have gotten attacked by dogs in the last week and received the puncture wounds, which then festered quickly in the dirty environment these strays live in. Pumpkin is a loner, she wanders on the streets and doesn't belong to any factory. She doesn't have a home, she doesn't have doggy friends.In fact, when she sees dogs approaching, she often hides in the drains and hope they don't see her or pick on her. 

Her maggot wounds were deep 
Maggots had burrowed into her flesh and made new small holes on her
More maggot wounds 
This is the sad reality of the life of our street dog. They only get saved when they already have 1 paw in the grave. Besides her injuries, the vet said she hardly has any teeth left! She must have been surviving on stones which wore her teeth down. This is hardly new to us as we have picked up many other dogs who showed the same signs of worn and broken teeth and stones in stomach. 

Toes missing and her bone revealed
Poor Pumpkin, looking worried and confused
Injured under the paw as well 
After 6 years of life on the streets, full of whatever challenges and horrors that we may never know, she is finally safe. She was mildly sedated and her wounds were cleaned but she is not out of the woods yet as the danger of septic shock is still very real. No longer the TVT girl, we now call her Pumpkin (organic of course).

We need help with Pumpkin's vet bills, and will also need a foster home for her to recover and rehabilitate in once she is discharged. If you can help contribute towards her vet bills or can foster Pumpkin, email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg. Pumpkin has overcome all odds to be saved, now we hope someone will give her the chance to see that there is a good life beyond the pain and hardship of the streets.

13.4.16

R&R (Rescue & Rehabilitation)

At HOPE, our top priority when we rescue dogs is to find suitable and comfortable living environments for them. We don't have a shelter to call our own; so before rehoming our rescue dogs, we always try our best to find foster homes for them. But despite our continuous appeals, there are never enough fosters.



Three of our dogs had to be placed in commercial boarding while we continue to search for homes for them. Kimmy, Cody and Blake were the dogs that had to be put up in a commercial boarding place due to our lack of fosters. This did not mean that we gave up on them. Our volunteers would walk them 3-4 times a week to ensure that these dogs get enough exercise and fresh air.




We engaged the services of trainer Vivien Chin from Rao Canine to teach our volunteer dog walkers about the proper techniques to use when walking our rescued doggies at boarding. They learnt how to deal with issues such as tugging on leash and dragging, minimizing over-excitement, discouraging the dogs from jumping to greet humans, and how to walk beside the handlers. Through this, we hope that the dogs will become better behaved, to increase the chances of them being adopted.











We feel that it is extremely important and relevant to do this as it imparts the correct knowledge and skills to our volunteers who help with training the doggies. In training our dogs, we emphasize positive reinforcement. We ensure that the dogs are being encouraged to exhibit good behaviour, instead of punishing them for bad behaviour. After all, we believe that rehabilitation is a big part of our rehoming work. It's really not true that strays usually behave badly and are harder to train than other dogs. With the right training, encouragement and some patience, strays also can be taught to exhibit good behaviour.


Of course, the main aim of any training is to increase the chances of our dogs getting adopted. We have seen for ourselves how happy these dogs are when they are put in a home environment; they would eat at peace without fear of their food being snatched, they would play with our volunteers, and they would even smile for the camera. All of this is rare behaviour that we hardly see when our dogs are placed in a commercial boarding place. And until we can find a good home for them, we will not stop.

To adopt a rescue dog, please visit our Adoption Page.


6.4.16

Babu the Mr Friendly (Updates)

Although Babu might be the unluckiest dog we have rescued (time and time again), this is a happy update.

The external fixator is still in his right front leg

Read about his first accident here.
Then click here to read about his homecoming after a battle with distemper.
And read about his second accident here.

Babu went for his vet review this week. He's doing pretty well! He has put on some weight (he now weighs 22kg). He's probably feeling less pain and getting more comfortable, so he's been eating well.

Mr Friendly Babu at the Vet



Everything is going as expected in Babu's recovery. Babu did not seem to feel pain when the vet checked his wounds and pressed on the surgery site. However, the surrounding skin has become inflamed, due to infection caused by dirt and dried pus. The vet prescribed Babu some antibiotics to help fight the infection. The area will need to be cleaned twice a day with diluted saline, and ointment applied around the holes where the fixator is. Hopefully, Babu will fight off the infection soon!

In another 2 weeks, Babu will go back to the vet for the next review. This time, he will be assessed to see if his external fixator can be removed yet.

Sweet Babu loves the outdoors and can't wait to go out!





And here's some good news: Babu will be available for adoption, once he has recovered fully! He is super chill and laid back, absolutely loves the outdoors, and is super human-friendly. This little social butterfly will happily approach and greet every stranger that passes him by, like a public relations officer! He is also a total pro at ignoring cats – they can strut about right in front of him, up and down, and he will remain totally unfazed.

We're so glad that Babu is recovering well after his second major accident. We would like to say a big THANK YOU to Babu's foster for being so attentive, for taking such good care of him, and for fattening him up! We'd also like to thank Babu's previous 2 fosters, who took him in when no one else did.

Sooo handsome, Mr Babu!

If you are interested in adopting this feisty fighter, email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg!

28.3.16

Discarded During Spring Cleaning

On our monthly visit to check on the fish farm dogs, to apply Frontline and deliver food, the worker approached us for additional food portions for two new dogs. We were surprised by the news and more so when he told us that Jubilee's owners had left them there. We recalled our previous conversation with Jubilee's owner and remembered that he had a French bulldog.

For those who don't remember, Jubilee was so named because he was abandoned at this same fish farm while the nation celebrated our Golden Jubilee. Read Jubilee's story here.

We were appalled! What was up with abandoning dogs during festive periods? Did the owner think that they could sneakily drop off their dogs while everyone was out celebrating and not be caught? We just could not fathom the thought of how someone can repeatedly abandon one's own dogs. We decided to call the dogs Ah Huat and Ah Cai, hoping that, like Jubilee, a "lucky" name would grant them a luckier hand in life.

Ah Huat, the male French Bulldog
Ah Huat is a French Bulldog, estimated to be about 6 or 7 years old. Ah Cai, a black local crossbreed, estimated to be only about 6 months old. Both dogs are male and have become a bonded pair, probably because they used to live together and now only have each other.

This is their home until we can afford to send them for a full medical and get long term fosters / adopters 

Ah Huat & Ah Cai's home for now 
Ah Huat and Ah Cai (in background)
Ah Cai (a male, local crossbreed puppy)

One of the other fish farm dogs had died over the Chinese New Year period, having been bitten by a snake while the workers were away. By the time the workers returned, it was already too late. Ah Huat and Ah Cai are too domesticated and we worry about them having a run-in with snakes or even the existing pack of strays on the farm. Thankfully, the workers who were also worried that they may be attacked by the strays for intruding into their territory, locked them up in an area at the back of the farm to keep them safe. However, the enclosure is little more than a filthy alley that is exposed to the elements and is crawling with rats and other pests. The dogs have also taken to sleeping in an old cupboard in the alley and we worry that they may have heartworm, just like Jubilee had. 


We will need to send them to the vet for a full medical checkup and sterilization as soon as possible and will need help with their vet bills. They will also be up for foster or adoption. Ah Huat and Ah Cai are a bonded pair so they will need to be fostered or re-homed together. Therefore, they can only be adopted out to families living in private apartments or landed housing due to the single dog HDB rule.


If you can contribute towards their medical bills (they need full medicals and to be sterilized), or foster or adopt both of them, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg. In the meantime, they are still roughing it out at the fish farm. 


Written by: Sam