ELMO (Updates)

I cried, when Hope Dog Rescue broadcasted in FaceBook (FB) about the plea of Elmo. However, I was not a suitable fosterer in the initial stage as Elmo needed intensive care.

Elmo when he was first rescued

I followed Elmo's story on FB and had been praying for his recovery. Then Hope Dog Rescue issued a FB request for a foster for a 3 week period and I jumped at the chance. I pleaded with my family for support and my wish was granted.

Look at the sadness in his eyes when he was first rescued 
It was my first experience fostering a blind, deaf and ex-abused dog. My knowledge and experiences handling normal stray dogs at another animal welfare shelter did not prepare me for what was in store.

Fostering Elmo was indeed an eye and heart opener. I had to unlearn everything and start from scratch. Elmo and I had to learn to trust each other in all basic activities that we always took for granted. Elmo is special. He can't see, except for shadows from a certain distance and he can't hear, but can sense vibrations I guess.

Elmo (breed unknown)

I started Elmo on a routine. It was a good move, he got used to things pretty fast. And very soon he was able to anticipate our next activity. He is actually very adorable when he looks at you curiously, learning to predict the next move. He is easy going, loves hugs and yearns for human touch. He will run around me in joy whenever he senses me coming with his food bowl. He will sit and wait for his food and start drooling. The moment I place the bowl down, he will dash for his meal. Contented after his meal, he will want to play. However, if you leave him alone for about 15 mins, he will turn into sleeping beauty and start snoozing. Perhaps he isn’t very healthy and needs some time to build up his immune and stamina. Or maybe he is still catching up on lost sleep. Haha ... he's an easily contented boy. On several occasions he will even make funny noises to expresses his excitement, however he never barks. I reckon he didn't know how to.

Look how happy he is! 
Enjoying a day in CCK Park for HOPE's adoption drive
Elmo also doesn’t know how to open his mouth and pant like a normal dog so when he is hot, his body heats up and we need to cool him down with cold water or a cold towel on him. Poor Elmo, he had no idea how to behave like a dog. He is also slowly learning how to climb up steps. When we tug at his leash, he knows he needs to go up a step. Going down steps is slightly more difficult to teach.

Star Vista Plaza for the Appaws! Cesar Millan event
He even has fur growing back on his tail! 
I love to hear him whine whenever I bathe him .... somehow his whines and small noises he makes are music to my ears, it reminds me how much alive he is now and how close to death he was. His snores remind me of how beautiful it is to save a life.

Elmo is very special. I pray that someone "special" will adopt this sweet little boy and give him a forever loving home. He really is very easy to care for and doesn’t demand a lot from you. He is just contented with food, love and a home to call his own.  

Written by Amanda Loh (one of Elmo’s fosters)

Note from HOPE : Elmo is a curious little dog and he indeed has come a long way. Thanks to all his fosters, Michelle, Amanda and Josephine, he has learnt to behave more like a dog. He loves his food, walks and is slowly using his sense of smell to cope with life.

Fosters Amanda Loh and Josephine Goh
When we rescued him in mid November of 2013, he was a mere 8kg. Today he weighs a healthy 15kg and has little brown fur slowly growing. He looks like a very sweet kiwi fruit who now has a new lease on life.

Little Elmo on stage 
Would you be able to ADOPT ELMO and give him a permanent home, after all that he has gone through? He is rather easy to care for, once you understand his needs, movements and behaviour. He spends most of his days sleeping and his next best favourite is eating. He occasionally snaps but it’s not out of aggression, rather it’s from the fact that he cant see and is just being cautious or overtly excited.

We don’t know what breed he is but he is HDB approved and about a year old now.

Should you wish to adopt ELMO, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg


Say NO to Black Dog Syndrome

We've all heard that it's bad luck when a black cat crosses your path. And most of us don't believe it. We might even laugh at such an old-fashioned idea. Harry Potter fans would also be familiar with the Grim, a large black dog that brings death to those who have seen it. But nobody thinks that's real.

Why, then, are the adoption rates for black cats and dogs so abysmally low? At animal shelters, they are consistently being passed over for adoption, in favour of their less ominously-coloured peers. This happens all over the world. We've seen this happen firsthand at HOPE. We call this the "black dog syndrome".

Why does this happen? Is it superstition, or superficiality? Either way, we find this syndrome incredibly sad, and even a little bit ridiculous. We believe in equality. All dogs are gorgeous, inside and out. Old black local crossbreeds have the same unconditional love to offer as white pedigree puppies. You wouldn't treat a person differently based on the colour of their skin, so why does this happen with animals?

If you're looking for an addition to your family, give a black dog a chance. Most of our rescue dogs are black, because black dogs frequently tend to get into accidents in the night, when drivers can't really see them that well. We have several who are up for adoption, some of which have been with us for years.

Meet our black beauties, and perhaps you'll find yourself falling in love.

Our black dogs (or almost black) for adoption:

* Male, 2 years old, local breed
* Sterilized, vaccinated, microchipped 
* HDB-approved (Under Project ADORE)

A victim of hit and run, Alfie was hit by a speeding motorcycle and was flung to the side of the road. A security guard at a nearby factory saw the incident and called us. Alfie’s front leg was broken and had to undergo surgery. However he has recovered well from the incident and is fit as a fiddle now. Timid and shy, Alfie is a sweet and affectionate soul and is looking for a loving family to welcome him home.

Walks very well on leash, gentle and is alright with calm children. 

Read his story here and here.

* Male, 1 year old
* Sterilized, vaccinated, microchipped
* Not HDB approved

Blake's mother had died in a car accident not long after he was born, leaving him and two siblings to fend for themselves on the streets. A few months ago, Blake was found with two large barbed fishhooks embedded in his front leg, running a fever from the infection. We brought him to the vet where he underwent a surgery to remove the deeply embedded hooks from his legs, but he still has yet to find a safe home. He's not even a year old yet, but he's already been through so much.

Read more here.

HAPPY (has been with HOPE for 18 long months!)
* Female, 2+ years old, local breed
* Sterilised, vaccinated, microchipped
* Not HDB approved (tall and lanky)

Gets on well with other dogs and people. Happy was a victim of abandonment. She was tied to a bench on a very short leash before a passerby informed us of her predicament. Happy is the healthiest of all our rescue dogs, in perfect health. She is contented just playing in the garden and being the occasional gardener.

Read more about her here.

* Female, 1.5 years old, local cross, chocolate coloured
* Sterilised, vaccinated, microchipped
*HDB approved (under Project ADORE)

More of a dark chocolate colour, Marni used to live in a factory with a caregiver but sadly, he had to move to a new location upon completion of the project. Marni misses her caregiver but we promised both dog and caregiver that we would find her a very good and happy home. Marnis is extremely sweet, calm, affectionate, easy-going and cheeky! When she is happy, her whole body wags!

Walks very well on leash and is good with children.

Read Marni's story here.

MATTHIEU (has been with HOPE for 18 months)
* Male, 11 years old, local breed
* Sterilised, vaccinated, microchipped
* Doesn't have the use of his hind legs, moves about on a wheelchair, incontinent

Our favorite old man, Matthieu is pretty much a loner but gets on well with other dogs. Matthieu’s story touched, and broke, many hearts. His perseverance to survive was seen when he was injured and paralyzed from the waist down and yet survived by hiding under a lorry for two weeks. Since his rescue, everyone has been working hard to help Matthieu regain muscle tone in his hind legs. Matthieu has undergone more than 50 sessions of hydrotherapy and also numerous acupuncture sessions.

The hard work has paid off. He is able to WALK for at least 15 minutes unaided! Miracles do happen and it would be an even greater miracle if he found a home of his own!

Read more of his story here and here.

SASHA (has been with HOPE for 14 months)
* Female, 2.5 years old, local breed
* Sterilised, vaccinated, microchipped
* Not HDB approved

Sasha came to us with a huge gaping, maggot-infested wound on the nape of her neck. Despite her painful ordeal, Sasha preserves her fun-loving spirit and she is always up for some fun. Sasha is a fast-learner, obedient and intelligent. She is sociable and clicks well with children, dogs and cats. Her only pet peeve is being caged up.

Sasha is very affectionate to humans and loves being with company.

More of her story here and here.

* Female, 2 years old, local breed
* Sterilised, vaccinated, microchipped
* Doesn't have the use of her hind legs, moves about on a wheelchair, incontinent

Sida is a victim of a hit and run. She was trying to get away from an oncoming truck when it hit her. The back wheels of the truck rolled over her back, crushing her spine completely and leaving her paralysed. She has fought hard to survive this incident, and seems to be in brighter spirits. She loves human company and is very affectionate. Sida gets on well with other dogs.

Read her story here and here.

Please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg if you would like to adopt one of these darlings. You can also visit our adoption page here.


Clover (Yet Another Cat Rescue)

Every day we come across many cases of injured strays that are reported by members of the public, with even more cases of those that go unnoticed. For those that we hear of, how many of them truly receive any help at all? How many of them survive?  It is with the help of animal lovers that this cat managed to get the medical attention she needed.

Sweet Clover sitting at the void deck
Recently, a kind lady Jenny informed us about a cat that she saw limping around with an injured leg, and it only appeared during the nights.  We decided to help the cat and with the assistance of a professional cat catcher, we caught her after midnight and brought her to the vet the next day. Despite being injured, this cat was such a darling and so people friendly. We decided to name her Clover.

                                                              Watch how Clover was limping

Gorgeous Clover
Clover was really sweet at the vet. The Dr took her out and kissed her on her forehead and called her a darling! Clover was initially examined for a fractured leg as she was seen limping but as the vet examined her, drops of blood dripped onto the consult table. It was then that the vet realized that part of her paw pad was torn off which was presumably caused by stepping on something sharp, or perhaps her paw was caught in a drain cover / hole, and she may have hurt herself while trying to get out. The tear was deep and unforgiving on such a fragile body. Apart from that, she seemed perfectly fine. The vet cleaned up and bandaged her wound, and said that Clover will be good as new once her wound heals.

Torn paw pad
Clover at the vet
Swollen leg
As we were short on foster homes, we sent Clover to a cat boarding house for her to recuperate and allow us monitor her wound. As a community cat, Clover had also already been sterilised as part of Cat Welfare’s sterilisation programme. We thought the worse was over for Clover but the boarding house called us a few days later with bad news; Clover’s injured leg was now swollen.

It seemed like her wound had become infected despite having received treatment. The vet also noticed how her toes were in an awkward position, which may mean that more damage had been inflicted to her paws than we initially assumed. The vet suggested taking an X-ray of her toe to ascertain what exactly was wrong with it.

However, X-ray revealed that everything was normal and the swelling of her leg was most likely caused by the infection on her paw. Clover was warded at the vet for a few days till she was feeling better. During her stay at the vet, she was tested and found to have Feline Leukemia Virus, also known as FeLV, which can be transmitted to other cats. 

By a twist of fate, we managed to find Clover a foster just before her discharge.

Clover will be with the foster till the end of this week before she is returned to the HDB void deck where we found her. She looks to be about 2 to 3  years old, extremely sweet, friendly and affectionate. She allows us to carry, check and medicate her without any struggle. She doesn’t deserve to spend the rest of her life on the streets or under a block of flats.

If you have room for one cat, why not give Clover a home. Clover will be released this weekend as her paw is almost completely healed. If you can save her from the streets, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg Please bear in mind, should you wish to adopt Clover, she would need to be the only cat in the household, or to be with cats with similar FeLV.

Thank you!

Written by Yun Lu


Make A Kitten's Life Different

I found a kitten at my workplace near Thomson Road. She was under a car, meowing loudly for her mother. Some people had attempted to rescue it, but the kitten was so frightened that she kept hissing at them. The kitten's cry lasted for an hour before I decided to try to rescue her. It's extremely dangerous for the kitten to be under the car, as there were many heavy vehicles travelling within the compound. However, it took me quite a while to catch her, especially with the kitten's hostile behavior. In the end, I managed to tie a string around her neck and slowly lead her out.

After the rescue, I put her in a carton box in which I had left some water and cloth for her. My colleagues and I bought pet's milk and kitten food for her. Despite all the growling, she's a very sweet cat. She would only eat or drink if we feed her. All she wants is our attention. Even on the first day of her rescue, she would sleep on our thighs as we scratched her. Once we put her back, she would meow non-stop.

So tiny and sweet
However, my colleagues and I noticed that the kitten was limping. The kitten was dragging her right front paw. The first thing that came to mind was the possibility that I had hurt her when I was rescuing her. But when I touched it, the foot felt very soft, like jelly. Perhaps she was born like that, or perhaps she had injured herself from a fall.

At the Vet
My colleagues weren't supportive of keeping the kitten since she was a stray, and no one was willing to take responsibility of the kitten. I couldn't bring the kitten home as I had a pet dog at home, who would get jealous. Fortunately, my boss allowed me to keep her at the office as long as there was someone looking after her. I knew I had to find a place for the kitten as soon as possible as I was leaving the company and there would be no one left to take care of her.

I took an off day on the following day, but I made a trip down to my workplace to see how the kitten was doing.  I also brought my dog down as well to see if there was any chance for them to be friends. The moment I carried the kitten, she peed on me. Gosh, I hadn't even introduced her to my dog yet, but the kitten peed on me. I wrapped a towel around her while I fed her milk. And guess what happened next. Yes, after the small business comes the big business. It was poop. Ah, luckily I had the towel wrapped around her!

After cleaning up, I carried her outside to show her to my dog. And I finally understood why some people say cats and dogs can never be friends. Both of them went absolutely crazy. So the option to bring the kitten home is out.

I wanted to send her to the SPCA, but my friend stopped me as the condition of the kitten wasn't that ideal for adoption, and it was very likely that she would be put to sleep. So I googled other pet rescue teams, and the only reply I got was from Cherlyn from HOPE Dog Rescue. I told her the entire story.

She gave me instructions, whereby I could put the kitten in fostering homes. While liaising with Cherlyn, I received a call from my office, saying that the kitten kept jumping out of the box and that they had no choice but to release her. I rushed down to the company and took the kitten home. She was already so pitiful but no one would look after her. Luckily, Cherlyn told me that I could send the kitten to the vet before passing her over to the foster's side. I took the kitten home for a while and let her run freely in my bathroom. I was afraid that my dog would attack her, so I locked her in my parents' room.

I kept the toilet lid down and closed all the cupboard doors, but this kitten was so mischievous! She managed to find a hole behind the toilet bowl and disappeared inside! It scared the hell out of me when I thought she went into the sewage system. I meowed non-stop, hoping for her reply but she didn't answer. I called Cherlyn to ask if there was anything I could do. I tried all the methods - lure her out using food, wait for her to come out, etc. but there was no response at all and time was running out. I was afraid she might suffocate inside the pipe. Then Cherlyn called and gave me the number to the SPCA to see if they could help in such a situation. The SPCA gave me a number to call to arrange for someone to come over to rescue the cat.

While waiting for the person to arrive, I took a clothes hanger and poked it into the hole. Yes! Finally I heard the kitten's growling again, but I couldn't reach her. I tried using torch lights and cameras, but none of them could help me spot her inside the hole. Finally, the guy arrived. He was a contractor for the SPCA. Yes, he was a contractor, so there was definitely going to be a fee for his service. And yes, his charge was $130 for a successful rescue. The fee was way above my expectation. How could a contact of an animal welfare group charge so much? And why didn't the SPCA mention anything about the fee? At that time though, I didn't have the mind to care about the $130; I just wanted the kitten to come out!

After many attempts, the guy managed to get the cat out by spraying water into the hole, and that naughty monster climbed her way out! It was a great relief to see her again! After paying the guy, I made my way to the vet.

The entire saga was so energy-draining, but it was worth it after all, when I hugged her in my arms and saw the kitten falling asleep, feeling safe.

Cuteness magnified!

Though I couldn't keep her with me, I hope I can make a change in her life. The vet took an X-ray for her but didn't give a clear explanation on her right hand. It may be handicapped for life, or might heal after a surgery. Whatever the case, she's a lovely kitten that needs a home and TLC. Despite the entire saga, I'm happy to see her in good hands. No animals want to be born a stray. So what if it's a stray... it's still a life. The changes we make for her will make a difference in her life.

Written by Cheryl Wu

HOPE's updates:
The kitten has been adopted. The vet's diagnosis was that she has a dislocated shoulder, but the surgery is high-risk because of her young age so nothing will be done to the kitten for now. We would like to thank Francesca and Cheryl for helping with kitten’s initial vet bill.


Left Behind

Almost 11 months ago on 28 April 2013, we rescued Jerry, a one-month-old local crossbreed pup who had a broken tail. Jerry underwent a tail amputation surgery and he recovered with a foster within a month. We thought things would get better for Jerry when he was adopted by Francois, who later renamed him Farofa. Francois promised to take good care of Farofa.

Baby Jerry
Jerry when he was rescued
Jerry's broken tail

We visited Jerry in the first two months of being rehomed and he seemed happy and well adjusted.

Unfortunately, 10 months later, we got an email from Francois, telling us that his family would be migrating and would not be able to bring poor Jerry along. He gave excuses, claiming that local crossbreeds were not allowed in the country he was migrating to. We obviously knew it was a poor excuse, but we didn’t insist that he take Jerry along, in case he did not take care of him properly and we wouldn’t be able to intervene if that happens. Or if he decided to abandon Jerry in a foreign country. Hence, we took Jerry back.

Jerry as a young pup

Even after 10 months, poor Jerry didn't even know his name. He didn't respond to his original name, nor his new name. To make matters worse, he behaves like he has never gone on walks. He got very terrified out of his home, and becomes submissive and surrenders when another dog approaches. Instead of being a happy and confident dog, Jerry is instead very submissive, and unnecessarily so.

Jerry the charmer

What had his family done to him to make him behave this way! Jerry had such a lousy and irresponsible owner who inflicted such psychological harm on him. Yet, when his owner first wanted to adopt Jerry, he promised us the world, telling us he would love him and that he had grown up with dogs so he would be able to manage Jerry well. He even promised he would definitely take Jerry with him if they left Singapore because a dog was part of the family. Using such a rotten excuse about crossbreeds not being allowed in his country is something we can never forgive!

We are really sad that Jerry has to be housed temporarily in a boarding shop, as he has nowhere else to go. Because of his previous owner’s lack of care, he gets bullied and picked on at the pet shop because he has never socialized with other dogs and doesn’t know how to interact. He submits to any dog that approaches him until it leaves. It’s sad to see how Jerry behaves and that he lost his home and family overnight.

Jerry is currently about 11 months old, fully vaccinated and sterilized. He is on heartworm and tick prevention. When our volunteers went to pick Jerry up, his previous owner handed us a rusty feeding bowl for Jerry and a toy spider. Imagine, a rusty feeding bowl and a toy spider were his only possessions and it wasn’t even a dog toy! How sad it is when that is all he has in this world after 10 months as a supposedly beloved pet dog!

Would you adopt Jerry? He is a very sweet puppy who will learn to be stronger and more confident if he gets more exposure to the outside world. He loves long runs and is a bundle of energy. All Jerry needs is a loving home and someone to guide him. He really doesn’t deserve what is happening now and we pray for Jerry to be able to stay strong.

Gorgeous Jerry as he is today

Jerry (Male)
Breed : Local Crossbreed
Age : Estimated 11 months old (Tall and lanky)
Health : Perfect health, fully vaccinated, microchipped and sterilized
Remarks : Playful, handsome, charming with a high energy level. Jerry would make a perfect running buddy. He is extremely intelligent and a fast learner. Jerry is learning to walk on leash, shows no signs of aggression at all and gets on well with children and other dogs.

If you would like to adopt Jerry, please contact: hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg Not HDB approved.

Written by June Oh


Save Ram

It was during one of our feeding rounds when one of the workers, Muthu, along the feeding stretch came running to us. He was in a panic as one of his factory dogs had not been eating or drinking for the past two days. He had thought the puppy, whom he named Ram, had been bitten by a snake but he said, “4 people see many times, no blood”.

Ram is an 8-months-old male puppy, whom we sterilised 2 months ago as part of our stray sterilisation programme. Muthu was visibly upset and almost in tears as he told us his story. He had thought that perhaps the weather was too hot the past few weeks so he gave Ram a shower to cool him down but his condition didn’t improve. Ram lay listless on the cold concrete, unresponsive. Muthu even boiled warm milk with sugar, a concoction he used to drink as a child, to try and get Ram to drink but he refused. Ram could barely open his eyes to look at his friend Muthu.

Muthu making warm milk for Ram but Ram was too ill to drink
Ram's food was untouched
(Muthu buys 2 packets of rice for Ram and Tiger daily)

We deliberated on waiting till morning to take him to the vet as night emergency charges were terribly expensive but Ram didn’t seem like he could make it through the night so our volunteers decided to rush him to emergency.

Volunteers setting up the carrier for Ram - by then it was way past midnight
Muthu, Ram's best friend
Volunteers loading Ram into the van
The clinic performed blood work and tests conclude that poor Ram has tick fever and Parvovirus. Tick fever was unexpected as Ram has been on Frontline for the past few months. He did not have bloody stools yet but he had slight diarrhea and vomited once in the clinic.

Ram, feeling really down. He was diagnosed with Parvovirus and Tick Fever

The hospital did not have an isolation room so he could not be warded. However, he was put on drip for an hour before we took him back to the factory and isolated him from the rest of the dogs. It was 4am by then and Muthu and his friends were still waiting for Ram to return. We were touched by their love for these street dogs.

Watch Ram and Muthu : 

The next morning, our volunteers called up different vets to check for an available isolation room for Ram, so that he could get the treatment he needed. The bill for that one night alone was $900. The volunteers also took Ram's brother, Tiger, and a neighbouring dog, to the vet to be tested for Parvovirus as they too were not their usual active self. We are crossing our fingers that they don't have Parvovirus as well. We are also observing the dogs in the vicinity who may have come in contact with Ram. Next to Ram and Tiger’s factory, there are 8 other young dogs that often come over to play. They too will be tested for Parvovirus and if they test negative, they will be vaccinated immediately. 

Volunteer, Stephenie, with Tiger at the Vet

Taking the dogs to the vet to be tested for Parvovirus

Whilst in the midst of pandemonium, we received news from Muthu that he had found another 2 listless dogs. The pain and suffering seem never-ending.

Two more listless dogs

I thank all my dedicated volunteers who helped till 4am, sleepy, tired and hungry, they too were upset that Ram was so ill. It had been a long night, when we started our night feeding from 7.30pm and due to the unforeseen emergency, till 4am. We ended the night with a heavy heart, but such is the reality when you work with strays. They lead a sad life, susceptible to abuse, disease and virus.

Should you wish to contribute to the vet bills and support the work we do, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg 

Thank you for your support of these street dogs.