In case you didn't already know, it's World Animal Day on 4 October! And we at HOPE would like to dedicate this post to all the dogs out there.
Dogs have an endless optimism and unadulterated joy that we humans can only wish we had. Many a time we have seen strays with horrific injuries and scars that tell stories of immense suffering, expecting them to be tired and spiritless, only to have them bound up to us in joy despite their pain.
Mookie living happily in his factory
The loyalty of dogs is also something from which humans could learn a thing or two! Many of you may have already heard the story of Hachiko. Hachiko was a one-year-old puppy when Hidesaburo Ueno adopted him. Every day, when Ueno returned from his work as a professor at the University of Tokyo, Hachiko would come to the train station to greet him. The two of them would then travel the rest of the way home together. This daily routine went on for a year.
However, their happiness did not last long and in May 1925, Professor Ueno suffered a cerebral hemorrhage at work and died. He never returned to the train station where Hachiko was waiting. Although Ueno and Hachiko had only spent a year together, Hachiko continued to wait faithfully at the same spot at the train station each day for the next 9 years. Eventually, he grew sick from cancer and died on the streets near the train station. Even if you're not a dog person, you can't help but be moved by Hachiko's fierce loyalty and unwavering optimism and hope.
Hachiko's story is not unlike our very own Harry's. Harry was a dog that lived on the 6th floor of a factory building. His home was the space under a truck in a tiny workshop. The people there neither treated him well nor loved him, but still he thought of them as family, choosing to live at the factory for years despite not being fed nor cared for. Finally, some months back, a new tenant moved in a few units from where Harry lived. They took pity on Harry and got him help. Now Harry has a new home where he is being cared for, for the first time in his life.
Harry - his very first walk on the sand
Café, one of the Coffee Pups. Now named Riley, he is enjoying life in his new home
Bailey, another Coffee Pup, previously known as Mocha. Now enjoying life as a little Princess!
A rescued street dog, Furry.
Dogs that have been hurt emotionally or physically by humans have also shown an enormous capacity for forgiveness. In a magazine published by a no-kill shelter in America, one article told the story of Roxie, a German Shepherd with a broken leg, abandoned in a box by the side of a highway. She was eventually adopted by Francis Battista, who wrote that "there is that sadness deep inside her that I will never be able to cure... she had a first family and people to whom she was devoted in the way that only a dog can be, but she was abandoned. Even though they left her to live or die by the side of a highway, Roxie still waits for them in the quiet of the evening. She could never in a million years begin to understand such betrayal, because it isn't in her." Despite the betrayal, she continued to trust our human species. Although she had developed separation anxiety and tore the house up when left alone, Roxie was learning and was clearly ecstatic to have a home once again.
All too often, we also find dogs that show clear signs of human abuse. Although they are frightened at first, it isn't long before they warm up to humans again, and display a level of trust in us that not even old friends would have for each other. It continues to baffle us that animals who have known such suffering at the hands of humans can be so quick to forgive us.
If you have a dog at home, you would definitely know how amazing dogs can be. Think how often your dogs forgive you leaving them alone for hours, days, and sometimes for weeks, with no stated reason. We don't know what they think about when we're gone, wondering where we are and when we'll return, but one thing's for sure - they are always genuinely happy to see us again, every time we return. Their capacity for hope, loyalty, forgiveness and love for their owners is something that us humans can never match.
We are truly blessed to have such amazing creatures in our lives, and if you have a doggy companion, remember to show some love to them this World Animal Day! Now go out and kiss a dog; they are born to be loved!
Written by Elena Lin
Written by Elena Lin
They mean the world to us! (Quotes from our volunteers)
Dogs are loyal and faithful regardless what you do to them. They see the good in you and discard the bad. . . .Justina
I love dogs as they are the most responsive and amazing creatures on earth. They love you unconditionally. -. . . .Lisa
Dogs are good friends, not snobbish or proud. They would never despise you, regardless of whether you are rich or poor, ugly or pretty, tall or short. The love you just the same. . . . . Patrick
I love dogs because dog are simple animals. They won't harm me , won't bluff me or laugh at me. In this world only human abandon dogs; dogs never abandon humans ... .. Mandy
I love dogs because they are loyal, do not bear grudges, and they say "thank you" without being taught. . . . Mulyaty
No need to second-guess them, no need to read between the lines, no need to tread carefully around them. What you see is what you get - Sincere Doggies! . . . . Chiew Guat
Dogs never ask us for much, yet they give so much in return.. All they need is love and care - and they'll shower you manifold with respect, understanding and true loyalty. . . . Jo-Ann
A dog is a creature with all the best character traits of humans, but in a much cuter package. . . . . Elena