Cassie’s Baby Steps To Recovery

Three weeks ago we managed to save another severely injured stray dog, Cassie, and boy were we thankful we got to her in time to get her treated. The volunteers who were involved in the rescue couldn’t help but feel an extra tinge of agony seeing the terrible shape she was in – protruding ribs and bones, a gaping maggot infested wound right down the side of her neck, the fear and sadness in her eyes.

When we arrived to visit, she was in the midst of trying to tear off her bandage
Good news is, she’s been able to spend most of her days resting now with less worries on being attacked by other strays and is well on her road to recovery! Slowly, but surely. Although she’s still skin and bones thin, she seems to be eating pretty well with a little coaxing, as she still seems fearful when approaching food especially with people watching her. She will usually only eat when she thinks  no one is around. Guess that’s how it’s like with living life as a stray, constantly on the lookout for potential attacks. But with much TLC and cooked food that she seems to enjoy very much, we’re hoping to see Cassie in a better shape and less of her bones real soon!

Her wound is so much better and is a healthy colour
Cleaning her wound
Like any other pet dogs, strays aren’t much different when it comes to craving for human love and affection. She is terrified of coming out of her cage and attempts to take her for walks to pee / poo have stressed her so much that she panics and tries to bite (out of fear) and will have diarrhea from the time she leaves her cage. That’s how deep are fears are. All you need to do is touch her with one finger and it shocks her so much she jumps right out of her skin! The fear in her eyes are permanent, she doesn’t dare to relax until you have closed the gate to her cage and walked off.

Bandaging it up
Cassie can be discharged any time. She has been staying at the vet for quite a long while. What she needs is a loving, patient home environment when she can slowly learn to trust and gain confidence.
To foster Cassie, her foster needs to clean her wound daily and change her dressing. Cassie is fine with the change of bandages as long as your actions are slow and it doesn’t shock her. She is terrified of anything around her neck so going for walks right now is not possible. The foster needs to try paper training her and building her confidence.

Deep down in her, she longs for someone to trust and love her so she can love you in return. She is actually a rather sweet dog; all she needs is someone to show her love.

Will you foster / adopt Cassie and help lift her spirits? Cassie comes from the same area as Cody, and both are equally timid because from where they came from, they never had human contact.

To foster / adopt / help with vet bills, please email : hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg 


Updates on Cody

It has been almost 3 weeks that Cody has been at the vet.  He was among the few "lucky ones" that was picked up from an estate that had a high culling rate. He was “fortunate” to have an open wound injury and thus was taken to the vet. He could have been the one that you have made numerous calls to the authorities to trap and cull. In the area where Cody came from, 16 dogs had already been trapped and probably culled from residents’ complaints. 

When we rescue an injured stray, the normal practice is to treat and release them back to where they originally came from, after the dog has recovered fully. During their stay at the vet, we will also spay or neuter them, ear-tip and vaccinate before they are discharged. We will only keep them under our care if they can no longer survive as a stray, such as an amputation, or a very old and sick dog. We would love to keep every dog we rescue, but HOPE does not have a shelter, neither do we have the funds to upkeep so many dogs. (We have 18 at the moment).

Cody is a male local dog, estimated to be about 3-4 years of age. Like most stray dogs, he gets really frightened and fearful over the slightest sound or touch. While we were waiting at the vet, even when a tiny Jack Russell Terrier barked out of agony at the clinic and not at him, he tucked his tail and hid in a corner trembling.

Bad skin
Curled up in corner at the Vet

In the consult room, he curled up in a corner while waiting for the vet to see him and the vet commented that poor Cody had such a low self-esteem and that he looked as if he wanted to hide and disappear from the face of the earth.

Protruding ribs

Terrified at the Vet
Releasing him back would mean Cody may get attacked by other dogs again because he is so fearful and timid. It would also mean risking him getting culled by the authorities rounding up strays in that area. What are we to do? Treat him, release and risk getting trapped and culled? Or to have ignored his injury, let his wound fester and die a slow painful death? Sounds like a terrible question to ask, but in reality, that’s what we face with every rescue, almost every other day.

His wound is recovering very slowly
Cody’s wound needs another week or so to completely close up. If you able to provide a permanent home for Cody, please email us and save his life. Email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg


Updates on Bobby and Ah Mei

Bobby’s Surgery

A few days after Bobby underwent an extremely painful surgery, he is faced with another setback. Poor Bobby, it feels as if he is never ever going to get better.

After his surgery, he was in slightly better spirits. He still whined from his painful surgery, when he shifted in his cage, but he did feel better for a few days. During that time, he had already started to eat and had a much better appetite. Our volunteers took turns to visit and spend time with him, cooking salmon (Bobby’s favourite) to reward him for being such a brave doggy!

His scrotum is still very sore and swollen after surgery. An opening was reconstructed in his scrotum to allow him to pee from here. 

Two vets had operated on him, with the surgery lasting almost 3 hours. They removed a huge tumour, about the size of a sea cucumber; you can imagine how huge the mass was and how painful it must have been for him. No wonder he lay in the cage without moving for so many weeks. The mass has been sent off to be tested for cancer and we will know the results in a week or two. The vets did tell us not to be too hopeful as the mass had grown quite a bit from the time he was warded and that wasn’t a good sign.

The vet mentioned that when they carried Bobby to the operating theatre, lots of blood had gushed out from his penis. That convinced them that there were no other options and they had to carry out the surgery, known as a urethrostomy and could not wait for him to get stronger. Bobby’s penis was amputated and a new opening in his scrotum was reconstructed for him to pee. The following day after his surgery, he had actually lifted his head to look at the volunteers when they came to see him. He had never done that before.

He was to stay at the vet for a few more days, to be observed for complications.

Still skin and bones

Today when we visited, the vet didn’t have very good news for us. Bobby’s surgical area was badly infected and he wasn’t peeing. Perhaps it was just too painful to pee so a urine catheter was inserted to make it less painful for him.

Instead of being able to be discharged to a home foster soon, poor Bobby would now need to extend his stay at the vet. That also means more medical bills. Bobby’s spirits are low and it feels as if he doesn’t have the will to recover . . . he doesn’t have anything to look forward to.

Once again, we pray that Bobby will pull through yet another difficult and painful period, and that he will find a foster and leave the clinic soon as he has been cooped up in the cage for a long time. A home environment, lots of love and home cooked food would do him a whole lot of good.

Will you foster / adopt Bobby? He is very sweet, docile and undemanding. He spends his days sleeping. The factory workers have been asking when Bobby will be going back to the factory. We hope to be able to tell them that he has found a loving forever home, a family who will dote on and spoil him for his remaining years. To foster / adopt Bobby or help with his vet bills, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg

Ah Mei’s Updates 

Ah Mei will be discharged today. The vet diagnosed her symptoms as colitis and Ah Mei will be discharged with medications. She will need to be on a strict bland diet for a week before slowly introducing new foods to her again.

Ah Mei will be in foster care as her eye lid is also slowly recovering. We hope Ah Mei will live a healthy and happy life from henceforth. 

Thank you for reading our blog posts and supporting our work. 


Sweet Ah Mei Has Been Warded Again

After staying for 3 weeks at the vet for an eyelid reconstruction surgery, Ah Mei was discharged. However within a week of discharge, Ah Mei started having bloody diarrhea, and a few days later, vomiting and inappetence. She became lethargic and we were getting concerned as the recent episode of Bentley’s death was still freshly etched in our minds.
Sweet Ah Mei (taken last week when she was discharged)

Our volunteers, together with Ah Mei’s foster, took her to the vet in the morning where Dr Ly suspected that Ah Mei had Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and suggested running some tests to confirm. Blood tests and an ultrasound scan were done on her abdomen where results showed that her colon, spleen and big intestine was inflamed. Ah Mei also had a temperature of 40deg and was immediately warded to be put on drip, to be monitored for 48 hrs and sponged with cold water to bring down her temperature. Dr Ly mentioned that Ah Mei was susceptible to seizures if her temperature was not brought down. Poor Ah Mei, back at the vet in such short a time.

Ah Mei running a temperature and feeling really down
It’s interesting because as a stray living on the streets, these dogs ate whatever they could find and factory workers fed them junk food such as roti prata, fruit cakes, curry rice etc and when they start living in a clean home environment, they show adverse reactions to certain food. IBS can be caused by stress, anxiety or diet intolerance.

We pray that sweet Ah Mei will recover and get well again.

If you would like to help with her vet bills, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg Thank you


Poor Bobby’s Condition Is Deteriorating

We apologize for the delay in providing Bobby’s updates. As usual, we have been overwhelmed by rescue work and where Bobby is concerned, there has been not much change in his condition since he was warded almost 3 weeks ago, although he isn't getting any better either. He has been literally lying in the same position, motionless and emotionless, standing only occasionally to eat, drink or pee, as if waiting for death to overcome him. As a result, he now has terrible bed sores, especially since he is just a bag of bones.

Bobby in the position as we found him 3 weeks ago

Three weeks ago, a factory dog whom we named Bobby was rushed to the veterinary clinic. He was in terrible shape when we found him – maggot wounds, fleas, ticks and dirt were found all over his battered body. It was a terrible sight. He is still flea infested.

Look at the colour of the water!
Poor Bobby's body was covered in scabs and dried blood 

For many who have seen Bobby, they usually say he is rather emotionless. For those closely bonded to dogs, they say that they feel Bobby’s deep sense of sadness. It’s as if nothing you do for him in this life will erase that sadness embedded deep in him. That’s such a sad thought considering we feel it’s our job to rescue a dog, turn their life around and make them happy. He lies in his cage, showing no emotion, as if numb to the years of pain he has suffered. His eyes don’t even move to look at you. He is terribly detached.

When we visit, Bobby has no reaction to whoever that sits beside him. On the rare occasion that he tries to move, his limbs seem to have no strength in them. When he finally does stand, his legs slide apart and he struggles.

His old wound had somewhat healed
Rather than keeping on his brown coat, the vet had advised us to shave off his coat as he had lots of fleas. The shaving was done over 2 days, a week apart, as each shave lasted almost 2 hours and Bobby was starting to feel pain and get upset. Finally after shaving, today our volunteers took time off from work to bathe him as he will be undergoing a surgery soon and needs to be clean to minimize infection. Bobby lay motionless as we bathed him and after he was clean, not only did we notice more sores, we also noticed that he had lost weight and had become even more of a skeleton. He is also a white dog! Not brown as we had all thought.  

Helping him to stand
As for his appetite, he doesn’t seem to finish his food, despite the volunteers delivering home cooked food to him on a daily basis.

Look at his swollen penis

Few days ago, the vet had a word with us. She said that she had noticed Bobby crying in pain when he pees. All of us know how tough dogs are and how high their tolerance for pain is. For him to cry in pain, we would imagine that pain to be quite intolerable. When we first rescued him, his penis was swollen to almost three times the normal size. From then till now, the swelling has gotten slightly worse and he now drips blood. The vet now suspects a tumour. This painful condition could be the cause of his lack of emotions and appetite. She had suggested a penile amputation and we had thought long and hard for 3 days before agreeing to it.

Unfortunately for Bobby, there are no other options. When he pees, not only does it cause him severe pain, the pee also flows backwards and doesn’t come out entirely, thus causing infection. If we opt not to operate, he will continue to live in pain till death overcomes him. If we operate and amputate his penis (about 10cm), the vet will then reconstruct and create another opening for him to pee. Once he recovers, he will then be able to look and pee normally. There is a high risk that Bobby may not make it as he is very thin, old, weak, has tick fever and a heart murmur but sadly, it’s a risk we have to take. His surgery takes place on Wednesday afternoon. We pray that he makes it and that it will take away all his pain and he will be a happy dog once again.

Nice and clean and back to his usual position
The surgery will take slightly more than 2 hours and cost about $2500. We have promised Booby that as soon as he is ready to be discharged, we will find him a home where he experiences love and be surrounded by people who care. It’s the least we could do for him.

If you would like to adopt Bobby, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg. He would require a family that would not leave him alone for long hours.

If you can help again with his vet bills, Bobby and us would be truly grateful. 

Story and photographs contributed by Ong HK, Lisa, Michelle and Velda. 


Tough Luck

Life is tough for strays, especially in an area where there are vast developments of construction of buildings. With development and modernization, these poor strays have their homes snatched away from them. The result? Either the construction management engages the services of a pest control company to terminate all the strays and “clean up” the environment, the new residents are displeased with the strays spoiling their expensive property’s  image and complain to the authorities to have them culled, or these strays migrate to new territories because they have been made homeless by humans.

What happens when these strays move to new territories? They get attacked by existing packs who occupy that territory that they have just “invaded”, they get into fights. Why, you may ask, after all they are all fellow strays, shouldn’t they live together in harmony and stick together as a group? Firstly, dogs are pack animals. The existing dogs may already have their own packs and may not want to accept a new dog into their pack. The existing dogs may not accept the new dog into their territory and if the new dog even crosses an imaginary boundary, he will be attacked. Sometimes, even after they submit / surrender, the dogs continue attacking them and then leaving them for dead . . .in cases like Cassie. You may think these dogs are nasty. We think they are just trying their best to survive in a land where abuse is common, food is scarce and they are constantly on the run for survival.

With feeders and animal welfare groups not sterilizing these dogs, they reproduce too quickly and in some opinions, become a menace to society, a public nuisance. When that happens, the Authorities engage the services of dog trappers to cull these dogs. The price on their heads are high.

Cody and Cassie come from the same area where they lost them homes to modernization and their homes are now considered high culling areas. All they did was to go in search of food and they were attacked by other packs of dogs. Fortunately, Cody’s wound isn’t as bad as Cassie’s, but a wound, nonetheless. We had initially thought he had contracted TVT but the rest of his private parts were not affected. His wound was likely caused by a dog chasing him and he couldn’t run away fast enough. Poor Cody.

When we first trapped him and took him to the vet, he was scared and a little defensive, we understood to give him space and time. He was in pain and in an entirely new environment. Now, having been at the vet for a while, Cody is now friendly with humans and he is receiving treatment for the wound.

Cody will be released when he is ready to be discharged. We feel sorry that we cant keep him. If you didn't already know, we have 17 dogs in our care, some of which have waited 2 years for a home, so there is no way we can take in more dogs. Besides we have a high number of special needs dogs which we may be fostering for quite a long term :-( So poor Cody will be released when he is well, in about 7 to 10 days time. If you can adopt him, please do because once he is released, he will also have a price on his head.

He is male, a local crossbreed, estimated to be about 2 to 3 years old. A bit shy but alright with humans. He will be sterilized and ear-tipped before his release.

From this area, HOPE has rescued Cassie and now Cody. There were 2 other badly injured dogs in the same vicinity. Initially we could not rescue them as we had our hands full. Unfortunately after we had settled our rescued dogs and went back to search for the two injured dogs, they were no longer sighted. They may have passed on from their injuries or trapped and culled by the authorities. Such is the sad life of a stray. Here today, gone tomorrow. 


Oscar Had A Fit

Oscar was sent to the vet yesterday (Tuesday) as his foster informed us that he had a seizure in the wee hours of the morning, lasting for almost 4 minutes. After the episode, poor Oscar was extremely disoriented and it took a while before he regained composure.

In the recent weeks, Oscar had been having slight vomiting and diarrhea on and off but it really wasn’t cause for concern. What was more worrying was that he often behaved as if he didn’t recognize his foster family or people that he had seen on a regular basis. He would bark at them as if they were total strangers. Oscar would also occasionally fall for no reason and we reckoned it was perhaps a brain issue, rather than a motor coordination issue.

Oscar is estimated to be less than 3 years old but life has been hard. He has indeed come a long way, and his skin looks almost perfect, considering what he used to look like. We thank his foster, Bron, for taking such wonderful care of the little one.

From all that scratching
Some red patchy skin on his jaw 
The vet had checked Oscar and took his blood pressure – all seemed normal and he was bright and alert again. There wasn’t very much that the vet could do except to ask us to observe his behaviour and to give us medication should he have another seizure.

Oscar had his blood pressure taken 
If he gets seizures again and it becomes more regular than it would be recommended that Oscar undergoes a MRI, bearing in mind that a MRI scan will only pick up abnormal growths.

We pray that Oscar will be fine and that his seizure was just a once off.

We often joke amongst ourselves that HOPE seems to have the highest numbers of special needs dogs . . . but isn’t that why they needed our intervention? ADOPT OSCAR? He is small sized, sweet, charming and HDB approved.