Rusty, Left Behind In A Vacated House

Someone had informed us that a dog was living in a vacated home, all by himself.

According to the source, the dog had been left in the backyard, which offered little shelter from rain or heat. Did this poor little dog have food? Apparently, according to the source, there were kind people, and occasionally, the owner, who gave him food through the bars of the gate. 

There was a note on the back gate:


We sent the info to our volunteers, who rushed down to look for this dog as soon as they got off work. At first, we had trouble locating the house, because the dog was in the backyard and you couldn't see him unless you walked along the drains at the back of all the houses.

So we asked around the estate, and finally managed to find the right house.

When we saw him, he was lying in the backyard. It was raining, and he was wet. He was staring quietly at the gate, probably still waiting for his owner to return. Our hearts broke. The dog barked when he saw us. He was afraid and confused.

Scared and all alone

Watch the video of Rusty being home alone.

Sources told us that he had been living there alone for many months now. The only other thing in that backyard was a small water bowl. In this heat, any water in that tiny bowl wouldn’t have lasted a few hours. That note was also tied to the back gate. The note could have easily been missed but thanks to the source who was alert and noticed otherwise this poor dog may have been left there even longer.

We called the number on the note, and the man who answered gladly and immediately agreed to give us the dog. Because he "had no time for it".

Standing in the rain at the backyard, hoping for someone to save him 

He met with us that night. As he cheerily handed the dog to us, along with a half-eaten packet of kibbles. He said that the dog was 4 years old, a male poodle, and they didn’t want him anymore. We asked if the dog had been fed dinner. He didn’t know.

It was a quick exchange. We were glad to take the dog, and he was glad to be rid of it.

In the car, the dog was overjoyed with all the attention and affection he was receiving. He was rolling around in the back seat of the car and purring all the way to our volunteer’s home. There, he drank a lot of water and gobbled all his food down. He wasn’t skin and bones as we anticipated, thanks to the people who fed him. But he was rather dirty. He had poo all over his rear, and was all smelly from being damp and constantly being in the sun and rain.

So after he was done eating (obviously he hadn't been fed dinner yet), we bathed him. He is very sweet and craves being petted and loved. Despite his long period of neglect, he shows no aggression, and is a very nice boy.

Nice & clean after a good bath and blow dry

Today, we took him to the vet for a full medical check up. Unsurprisingly, he hasn't been sterilized yet, but he will be when he is ready. His ears are currently quite smelly from an ear infection, and his nose is red and sore, possibly from pushing the gate and trying to get out of the house. Apart from that, he seems to be in good health. His blood test results were all good, and he tested negative for heartworm and tick fever. He weighs 6.1kg. We named him Rusty.

Safe & happy from now on! 

Now, we are in urgent need of a foster home for Rusty. We don't want to put him in commercial boarding and leave him alone again. He needs some guidance as no one has ever taught him how to behave. He isn’t badly behaved but he is highly excitable, which is understandable because he has been living alone in an empty home, without any stimulation, for many, many months. He jumps a lot, and his foster will need to discourage this habit lest he hurts his back.

If you can foster Rusty, please email us immediately at hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg

Update On Cammy

Early this morning, Cammy was transferred to our regular vet to undergo an emergency surgery. The vet said there was only a 50% chance of success, so we were all waiting anxiously on the edge of our seats.

A very sweet girl. Cammy patiently waiting for the vet to see her this morning. Can see from this photo how bloated her stomach is

We've just had news from the doctor. The surgery went well, but the next 48 hours are crucial. Dr. Tan said we brought her in just in time. Had we not rescued her when we did, she would have died in a day or two.  

Cammy's bladder was ruptured. Ultrasound scans showed holes and leaks in her bladder. That's why we saw her straining to pee, but nothing came out. The pee was leaking into her stomach cavity. 1.8 liters of fluid was drained from her tummy last night. Another 1.5 liters was drained today, and Cammy's bladder was stitched up during the surgery.

Still groggy after her surgery

Cammy's internal organs were red and there was a lot of inflammation. As urine is acidic, there might have been some organ scalding. The vet has flushed everything, and will continue to observe Cammy. If she doesn't improve, there might be an infection.

The hole in her bladder was not a clean tear. It was a jagged wound caused by blunt force trauma. One possible cause of such bad trauma would be a traffic accident. We ruled that out, because Cammy has no abrasions on her body to indicate a car accident. Falling down could also cause trauma to internal organs, but how hard or how far would she have to fall to get hurt so badly?

The most likely reason for the tear in Cammy's bladder, according to the vet, would be from someone kicking her, hard. Who on earth could have been so wicked to kick her so hard? Cammy is totally not aggressive at all, she's just a sweet, helpless dog. 

When we called her, she summoned all her energy to lift her head and look at us

We will need to monitor Cammy closely over the next 48 hours. She's very weak and in a lot of pain; hopefully she does not develop an infection. Her blood test results were horrendous. We don't know when her kidney and heart will go back to normal. We will do another blood test tonight, and then again every 3 days.

We hope that karma will catch up to the one who did this to Cammy.

If you can contribute towards Cammy's vet bills or foster her when she is discharged, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg


We Let Her Down

We often wish that our Saturday nights would be normal; feed the street dogs, distribute food to workers, pat some dogs and go home. It is our greatest fear when we can’t find our regular dogs, dogs that we've been feeding for years. 

Tonight, it was another emotional night for our volunteers. We couldn’t find Cammy. Cammy is Mathilda’s sister and she lives in a vacated factory with her mother. Almost a year ago, we had taken Mathilda and her brother, Tommy, when the factory workers moved out. We could not take the entire family but we promised Cammy and her mommy we would come back for them soon.

Waiting for death to overcome her

We let them down.

It’s been almost a year and we have not been able to rehome Mathilda, and so we do not have space for Cammy and her mommy. Cammy is sweet like Mathilda and her mommy. In fact, the entire family are extremely human friendly. Each week when we visit, Cammy runs out from the vacated factory as soon as she hears our cars pull up. She then lies on the ground, asking for belly rubs. Even though she is hungry, she would rather get her pats and affection first.

Searching for Cammy

Today, she did not come out.

Our initial thoughts were that she could have been caught by AVA but after a search around the empty factory, we found poor Cammy lying in a puddle of water. It had been raining and she was shivering. When she saw us approach, she tried to stand, vomited, wobbled and collapsed. She was very weak and wobbly on her legs and her stomach was terribly bloated. She wasn’t her usual self. We tried to carry her and take her to the vet but she kept walking away from us. We saw her straining to pee, but nothing came out. All she wanted to do was hide under a lorry and wait for death to overcome her.

As she walked away from us and jumped over a drain, she fell into it and didn’t have the energy to get out. A volunteer, Jozelle, immediately climbed into the foul smelling drain to carry poor Cammy out. Cammy then hid under a truck and lay there gasping for air. As we prodded her and tried to get her out, she moved and hid under another lorry. After a short chase, we managed to get her and rushed her to Emergency. She was seen immediately as we thought she was suffering from bloat, which can be fatal. However, the x-ray showed nothing but fluids in her abdomen. Cammy was immediately put on drip to stabilize her as her heart could stop beating any moment or she could go into seizure. The vet then did a needle aspiration and we were shocked with the amount of fluids drained out of her abdomen, 1.8litres of fluid. Imagine how she was feeling; we likened it to drowning. The vet said it could have been just a few days to get to this stage and we believe so, as we had just played with her last weekend. Had we not rescued her tonight, she would have eventually “drowned” in all the fluids, slowly and all alone, under that lorry.

Look at how bloated her tummy is
Draining the fluids from her abdomen

Her blood test results came out later and that put us in greater shock. Cammy had severe dehydration, heart and kidney failure.

How could she have gotten so seriously ill when we saw her well and happy last week? More tests needs to be done but as emergency charges are rather expensive, we decided to wait till morning. For now, she is on drip in the emergency room. We tried feeding her but she isn’t eating.

Eyes that no longer hold hope

The vet has told us that she may not make it through the night, that her heart could stop beating anytime. How sad that strays often live and die alone. We let Cammy down. We said we would come back for her and find her a home, but we never did and now it’s probably too late. What’s sadder is that now mommy is left alone behind in the empty factory.

It’s been a long and emotionally draining night but sleep is the furthest from our minds. Tonight’s bill was $1200. Each time we say we won’t be rescuing any more dogs because we simply can’t afford it, but each time we look into their desperate eyes, pleading for help, telling us that we’re their only hope, we cave in.

Heart failure. Kidney failure. These are words often used on senior dogs. Cammy is 2 years old.

If you can help us with Cammy’s bill, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg

Exhausted, we hope that our phone doesn’t ring in the wee hours of the morning because that would only bear bad news. 


Pet Abandonment

He might be only a part of your life, but for him, you are his everything, the only person in his whole life. Amos was abandoned and a member of the public saw some people kicking him around like a soccer ball. 

Dogs are by nature domestic animals. They've been bred to be companions for humans. Even feral stray dogs, who have lived their entire lives on the streets, struggle hard to survive.

There's no question about it, abandoned pet dogs will never stand a chance. They know nothing about living on their own. How will they survive even a day? Where would they find food and water? Do they know how to cross the road safely without being killed by a car?

Charlotte, so pretty and yet was abandoned and tied at a multi-storey car park.

Calrose was blind and abandoned on the streets. Fortunately, he didn't get into any traffic accidents.

Benji was discarded during the Lunar New Year spring cleaning and fortunately picked up by HOPE

Unfortunately, abandonment of pets in Singapore is easy. More often than not, microchipped dogs are not registered, so their owners cannot be traced. In cases where the microchip is registered, authorities would simply return a "lost" dog to its owner, with no penalty. This is what happens even when we see obvious signs of neglect – the dogs are returned to their owners be abused and abandoned again.

Laws on pet abandonment are seldom enforced. Very often, perpetrators get away scot free and unpunished. When they are questioned, many of them claim that their dogs accidentally slipped out of the house, or they'd blame someone for carelessly leaving the gate open. They pretend to take the dogs back, but then they just turn around again and abandon their dogs somewhere else. When they start thinking of a dog as garbage, they'll never stop thinking of ways to throw it out.

Cotton was found in this state. No one would have guessed she was a Maltese and was probably abandoned because she suffered from seizures. 

Sunny, a senior Shihtzu was found abandoned in an industrial estate 

Walter, abandoned and tied overnight at a park bench and discovered by joggers in the early hours

But dogs are not objects, to be bought and thrown away. They are living beings, with feelings just like us. They love their owners unconditionally, trusting that their owners will love them too. Their owners are everything that they will ever know, from birth to death. All their experiences in the outside world - at the beach, in the park, at the groomer and at the horrible vet -. they share with their owners. You have a life outside of them, you have friends and colleagues, countries to visit, places to see; but to them, you are their whole life.

Please, help us to ensure that all dog owners continue to be responsible for their pets. If you know someone whose circumstances really make it impossible to keep their dog, advise them to let go of their pet in a humane way by finding them a new home. It’s easy to ask around through social media. With just a little bit of effort, you can save someone's pet. You may also approach animal welfare groups for help in the rehoming process.

Prevent pet abandonment. Don't throw life away.


Pet Shop Boys

Who doesn't love a happy ending? Everyone does, especially our dogs! The joy and happiness when each of them finds their "happily ever after" is the most rewarding feeling a rescue can have.

When we rescued Jerry, Walter and Blake, we wanted nothing but the best for them. As we were unable to find fosters to provide them with a home environment, we had no choice but to put them in a commercial boarding shop, a pet grooming shop. All of them were afraid, nervous and scared of the new environment they were put in. But after time, the 3 of them became tight-knit friends. Other dogs would come and go, but they knew that they could rely on each other for companionship. And to us, they became known as the pet shop boys.

Blake and Cody (background) 

In the shop, they were provided with shelter, food and daily walks from the volunteers. Our dedicated volunteers would make their way down to shop to deliver food and bring them for their walks on a daily basis regardless of circumstance. We are very grateful to the sponsors and volunteers who put in effort to make sure that the pet shop boys were never forgotten and that they got all the care they needed. Eventually, our efforts paid off.

Sweetheart Blake being goofy

We first bid goodbye to Jerry from the shop. Jerry was initially adopted as a puppy, but given up when he grew out of his cuteness and the owners had to relocate overseas. In the shop, he was the most goofy, lovable, silly and forgiving pup. He didn't care about other dogs' aggression or ferocity; all he wanted was to play... and eat. As big as he is, he would walk all over you out of excitement. And it was because of his size that it was difficult for the volunteers to handle and hold him during walks. But he was indeed a gentle giant, gentle at heart. He stayed at the shop for about a year before a kind and good family fell for his lovely character. And now, he's living with a family he can call his own! We are very grateful to Ellery who was willing to give Jerry the home he deserved; thank you! Oh the elation when the adoption was confirmed. We were beyond happy!

Blake going for his daily walks with our volunteers

Next was Walter. The poor boy was found tied to a bench in a park in the wee hours of the morning, without shelter and all alone. Although he was sterilized and in relatively good health when we found him, his owner was never located. When we tried to socialize him with other dogs as well as other people, he would be excessively alpha and occasionally aggressive. Although the shop was a good place for him to learn how to socialize with other dogs, he was still afraid of strangers and would snap at them when they tried to pat him. Since we couldn't find any fosters for him, he was never able to stay in a home environment. But a breakthrough came when we brought him to a play session at an apartment to socialize with other dogs and people and we came to the realization that he was the perfect dog in a home environment! He had great playing etiquette with other dogs and was able to learn to socialize with new people! After more than a year of being boarded at the shop without a single inquiry for adoption, like a miracle, a family fell in love with him during an adoption event and couldn't take their eyes off him ever since. The volunteers always knew that Walter was charming, but we hoped other people could witness his charm too. And there they were, the daughters, and then the mother, and finally the father! Walter went off to a loving home after more than a year of boarding! Thank you to Winnie and family for being patient and understanding with him, and for giving Walter a chance to be the pet he always was deep down.

Handsome Blake still waiting for his forever home 

Now, the only one left in the trio is Blake. The poor boy was found with fish hooks in his legs and was in extreme pain and fear when we rescued him. No one, especially a sweet dog like Blake deserves such cruelty! Even after rescue, Blake was fearful and insecure. Now, almost two years later, Blake is a changed dog. He is confident and sociable, although he is slow to warm up. At the boarding shop, he now has a new best friend, Cody, another of our rescues. 

We hope a miracle can happen for Blake and Cody, for them to find a loving home like their pet shop brothers! Both are sweet and gentle. Just take the time to get to know them! Although they can be a little shy and fearful at first, all they need is a little time, space and understanding and they too, can be your best friend forever. Please give Blake and Cody a home!

Written by Adeline Pang


Crystal's Updates

Crystal, the amazing 21-year-old dog, has actually been doing pretty well since we rescued her 2 months ago. She seems rather happy, and has gotten stronger and more steady on her feet. Since she has no teeth and can't eat solid food, Crystal is syringe-fed 4 times a day.

3 days ago, she stopped drinking water. She didn’t even want any of her favourite goat’s milk. In the end, she had to be syringe-fed liquid. Last night at 3am, Crystal started vomiting and having diarrhea. This happened 4 times in one night, so she was brought to the vet in the morning.

Crystal's temperature was 36 degrees Celsius, which is very low for a dog. The normal temperature is 38.5 degrees. Her low temperature could possibly be due to anemia. When a dog is anemic, its temperature tends to drop. Crystal also has a big wart on her shoulder that has been growing and constantly bleeding, so we asked the vet if it was skin cancer. Luckily, it’s just a wart.

A wart on her left shoulder

The vet tried to draw some blood for a blood test, but Crystal was too dehydrated. So the vet put her on a very slow drip over the next 2 hours to get her hydrated. Even though Crystal is so dehydrated, we can't put her on a fast drip because her heart might not be able to take it. Crystal already has a whopping heart murmur, which is so bad that the vet likened it to the sound of a washing machine! That's also why we are not going to ward Crystal at the vet - we don't want to stress her out.

Drip line left on her arm for the following day's drip

Tiny Crystal exhausted after her vet visit
After the drip, the vet finally managed to take some blood from Crystal for a blood test. The results showed that her kidney readings have elevated to twice that of her previous results. Her kidney readings were already very high 2 months ago, and now it’s gone to double of that! One of the possible causes is Crystal's dehydration. Because of her kidney failure, Crystal's blood pressure was also extremely high. That could be causing her some discomfort, which may be why she keeps pacing and not sleeping well.

Crystal also got a subcutaneous injection today. In total, poor crystal stayed at vet today for 3 hours. As she is still very dehydrated, poor Crystal will be back at vet tomorrow for another slow drip from 11am-4pm.

Having her blood pressure taken

Instead of keeping Crystal warded, we're planning to bring her back to the vet every other day for her drip and subcut, to keep her hydrated. At this point, we're doing everything we can to make her happy and comfortable. Here's hoping that Crystal doesn't start feeling pain.

If you would like to help with Crystal's vet bills, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg.


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.