26.4.13

A Shameful Story

Our unbecoming society is raising quite a few eyebrows among our animal-loving comrades. If we ran a survey on the number of abandoned dogs in Singapore and the reason they were abandoned, we’d probably be mortified by the results. As it turns out, we are tasked to save yet another pet dog from an irresponsible family. 

If you’ve been married before, or if you have a soft spot for romance films like I do, you’d probably gush over the familiar statement “I’ll be there for you in sickness or in health” reiterated by the lead characters in the show.

This was when we first found her. Dirty, unkempt, exhausted

Have you ever asked yourself whether you would pledge the same to your doggy pals? Or would you turn away when they are in agony? Would you spend your savings treating your dog, or would you rather spend them on material goods?

Imagine the period of neglect for poor Cotton to get to this stage! Almost a year!

Her fur was so badly matted

How did she even manage to walk??

Sadly, abandoning a sick dog is nothing new in today’s society. And Cotton has fallen into this unfortunate category.

Cotton is a Maltese, not a Sheepdog

A lady reported that she saw Cotton wandering aimlessly in the Ang Mo Kio estate. At the time of discovery, Cotton looked extremely disheveled, distraught and exhausted. Her tear-stained face, overgrown fur, and long nails were indications that she had probably been neglected or roaming the streets for a period of time.

Badly matted fur


As with our procedures for lost dogs, we instructed the lady to put up posters around the vicinity and to report the case to the relevant authorities, just in case the owners have already lodged a report about their missing pooch. AVA and SPCA both came back with negative reports – no one seemed to be looking for her.

One night, a man called close to midnight to say that he thinks Cotton could be his dog. According to him, his daughter had been too carried away playing with her friends that she had forgotten to bring Cotton home. By the time they returned to the site where her daughter had left Cotton, she was nowhere to be found. It took him three days before he contacted us.


When we probed further on where his daughter had left Cotton, he replied furtively saying, “Around Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4.” For some strange reason, he refused to disclose the exact location, i.e. the Block Number, which we asked for several times. He then started asking us if we knew Cotton’s microchip number – of course we had her microchip number – and wanted us to recite the number to him. Given that he was acting out of the norm, we refused to reveal Cotton’s microchip number. Instead, we asked him to tell us the number but he said he didn’t have it on hand and would need to check before getting back to us.

He never called again after that.

Five days later, we decided to make a trip down to where cotton was first found in hope to gather some clues on the identity of Cotton’s owner. We found a “Missing Dog” poster with Cotton’s photo on it, and contacted the phone number listed on the poster.

Sweet Cotton, with Hope in her eyes, despite having been abandoned

The lady who answered our call refused to speak with us and frantically brushed us off by asking us to call back later at night after her husband returns home. Her reaction roused our suspicion further as her behavior is unlike any pet owner who is trying to locate a missing pet. How can anyone be so passive, unconcerned and disinterested when someone on the other line is desperately trying to reunite you with your dog?

Exhausted from having roamed the streets for a long time

Undeterred, we called again later in the night but no one answered our call. In fact, the family did not even bother returning any of our calls. This leaves us to wonder why the family would even bother putting up posters around the vicinity when they are obviously disinterested in reuniting with their pet. Were they truly intending to find Cotton or was it just to mask the fact that they have abandoned their dog and they didn’t want to look bad? Did their daughter really forget to bring Cotton home, or did they conveniently throw her out and wanted to check if we had the microchip number for fear that we will report him to the authorities?


I know you may find our deduction pretty crazy or even self-serving but we have dealt with so many senseless excuses, atrocious comments, and appalling behaviors from people that are truly beyond belief. These people have such unparalleled creativity to whip up the “best” stories ever that leaves you to wonder how much time they must have spent to plan each and every move.

Why didn't you want me? Did you know i was very sick with seizures while roaming the streets?

You may ask: “Why are you guys so cynical? Why can’t you people empathize with people?” Sure, everyone has a “reason/excuse” for abandoning a dog whether it is legitimate or not. So where do you draw the line? And how can we not get frustrated when a life is at stake? We are not dealing with stuffed toys.

We managed to find a temporary foster for Cotton. While at the foster’s, Cotton had seizures on a daily basis with each episode lasting more than a minute. It pains us to see her undergo so much suffering at such a young age. Cotton is barely two years old. How can a family abandon an ill pet when they need them the most? Long term seizures if left untreated will result in permanent brain damage! What if she had a seizure while crossing the road?


We took Cotton to see a senior vet. The vet ran a blood test and did an x-ray on Cotton but could not nail down the actual cause of the seizures. In general, seizures can either be due to genetics or a growth in the brain. The only way to find out if she has a growth in the brain is to undergo a CT scan, which would cost around $2,500. We don’t have the finances for that at the moment, so we settled for medication instead.

At the vet

The good news is that the seizures seemed to be under control after medication, and Cotton has not had a recurrence in two weeks.

Pretty Cotton as she looks today

Cotton loves outings and car rides

It is so heartwarming to see Cotton finally able to lead a normal life, and to enjoy every moment at home with her fosters and their dogs. However, Cotton is in need of a new foster or a permanent home. The current fosters are unable to keep Cotton any longer because HDB is knocking on their doors on an almost daily basis. With HDB’s latest visit, Cotton needs to be out of the foster home in 3 days’ time. Cotton cannot possibly live in the kennels or pet shop as she needs to be fed medication regularly.

If you would like to foster or adopt Cotton or help with Cotton’s vet bills, please email Fiona@hopedogrescue.org.

Cotton is still under vet’s review at the moment and she would need to visit the vet fortnightly. She has most likely been caged up in her previous home, so she is learning to be paper-trained.
Cotton is a female Maltese who is barely two years old. She is an extremely easy-going and friendly pooch who has just started to lead a normal life. Please give her a chance to be part of your family.

Note that preferences would be given to interested families who have a person at home to keep Cotton’s health in check.

Thank you Suzalini for helping Cotton.

URGENT: Foster / adopter needed for Cotton immediately.

If you can help with Cotton's vet bills, please email Fiona@hopedogrescue.org

Written by Claire Chai. Photo Credits: Leslie Kok

22.4.13

Bukit Batok Dogs (BB Dogs)

Most of you would have read about the Bukit Batok (BB) Dogs. They have been living in the forested area along the Bukit Batok MRT track for the past few years. The general populace mostly ignored them, and because no one made any effort to sterilize, the stray population grew. This made the pack stronger and things slowly got out of hand.
There are many factors that contributed to current circumstances. Firstly, the town councils and feeders should have sterilized them before they reproduced and grew to such a large population; their mistake is that they ignored the situation till it got out of hand, and are now trying to solve things by curbing the population.
Dogs playing and minding their own business
Another is irresponsible feeding. People, who feel sorry for the dogs and want to feed them, throw packets of food on the ground near the forest. This encourages the dogs to leave the forest to eat and to also look for more food. Day by day, they get braver. At the same time, these people who think they  are doing the dogs a favour by feeding them, do not realize that they have in fact done something really selfish. The food that they throw along the slope but do not clean up after, cause a mess, leaving other people to blame the dogs for causing this problem, therefore a nuisance to the community. They believe that if it weren’t for the dogs, there wouldn’t be waste and food discarded along common property, left to rot. This is a perception that we should change. If people want to help, they should feed responsibly. If you feed a stray, always return to the spot and clean up any leftover food. Do not let the dogs get blamed for your mess.

Watch video of the dogs at the MRT station http://youtu.be/YUwHbWwAlAQ 

The forested area and the grass patch beside the escalator at the MRT station have become the dogs’ playground. With the appearance of the pest controllers who were hired by Jurong Town Council to forcibly remove the dogs, this has unsettled the dogs as we have encroached into their territory. By trying to remove them from their homes, we have disturbed their peace. Imagine if someone came into your house and tried to throw you and your family out, wouldn’t you be angry too? Wouldn’t you fight to protect your family and your home? 

We do not know how many dogs there are but having observed the site at various times of the day, we can see 3 adult dogs and 4 puppies (about 6 months old). These puppies will mature soon, go into heat and reproduce again, thus growing the pack. The puppies seem friendlier and less wary of humans; perhaps we can approach them if there is a same person to feed them regularly to build trust – then they can be caught, sterilized and rehomed.


The adult dogs however may need a while longer to be rehomed as they seem feral and not used to human contact, having lived in the forested area most of their lives. They may need some time to be rehabilitated, if at all. Not all dogs want to be rehomed; not all dogs can be rehomed. Some free-ranging dogs love their freedom and may never adapt to living in a home with a human family. For those that are feral, one possible solution is to sterilize them and return them to the forested area - the only home they know, their safe haven that we have intruded upon. After sterilizing the adult dogs and rehoming the younger dogs, hopefully they no longer pose a threat to the public because the pack size would have decreased. Thereafter, we could work something out with the feeders in that area. They can be taught to feed responsibly and everyone would then live in harmony. The dogs will be left alone in their forested home and the humans can continue living their lives.

See the dogs at the MRT http://youtu.be/ArAYD_xKPSw

We receive so many emails and messages every day asking us to do something about the situation, but what do they expect us to do? Boarding, rehabilitating and rehoming them take money and effort, we don’t have the funds to pay for their boarding and maintain them long term until they find homes. Living in the forested area, we suspect the majority of these dogs will also have heartworm, so a medical check for them would be a must. People have the misconception that we have a shelter that can endlessly store strays and homeless dogs, but unfortunately that is far from the truth – we do not have a shelter. With the recent rescue of the 7 Bukit Batok puppies, on top of the existing dogs we’ve previously rescued, our volunteers and fosters have their hands full as we have yet to rehome all of them.

Puppies looking at us (taken from camera phone at night)
People write in to complain on the pretext that they care for the dogs, complaining that we only helped the puppies, that we are too slow to react, that we do not care about the rest of the pack. My question then is, why do these people who are so quick to comment, not do anything themselves to help the situation? I have often come across many cases where people report strays or abandoned dogs to us, expecting us to react immediately, to take over the situation and rescue the dog. They think that they have done their job by just writing an email or calling us, hoping that by pushing the responsibility to someone else, they are relieved of that burden. And when we are too slow or too overburdened to do anything, we get accused of not caring.

If everyone made an effort to rehome ONE dog, the dogs would not be in the danger they are in today nor would they be deemed a public nuisance. These dogs are in their current position because of us humans.

Younger dogs playing and wanting to be friends http://youtu.be/Ggp2GWhnufs

We recently had a meeting with the town council, a government agency and another animal welfare group in attendance. The authorities have asked the animal welfare groups to help but to date no one has stepped forth. The sad truth is that the animal welfare groups are either running full house at their shelters, have too much on their hands or lack manpower to rehabilitate these dogs. There are too many abandoned dogs or strays that we are trying to help but we don’t have enough help from people. Strangely, SPCA was not involved in this incident; perhaps they didn’t think this was their responsibility as this isn’t a clear case of animal cruelty.

We have asked the town council to help by renting commercial kennels to house these dogs, while they can be rehabilitated and rehomed, but I am not optimistic that we will get what we asked for.

My wish is that all animal welfare groups in Singapore and even individual rescuers, commit to taking one or two dogs to care for. If the load were shared amongst a few groups, then the financial burden would be easier to bear.

Do not spend your time emailing complaints, asking people to do something when you are doing NOTHING. Only email us if you can commit to helping one dog – we will link you up with the town council. If everyone just takes one dog and help rehabilitate and rehome, these dogs will escape death. It is really that simple.

If you wish to help, please contact Fiona (fiona@hopedogrescue.org). Our promise is that we will take on more dogs as soon as we rehome all the 7 puppies we rescued recently.

Due to never-ending complaints from the public, this week the pest control will start trapping these dogs again because they can no longer wait. The situation is getting out of hand. We have been there to witness several run-ins between the pack and the humans, and it is not promising. Once caught, AVA will hold any trapped dog for up to 10 days, after which, we don’t know what kind of fate awaits them.
Do something before it’s too late.
 
Written by Elaine Quek for Fiona

19.4.13

More Than Just The Basics

All of us have a skeptical side in us. And I think it is good in a way because being a skeptic keeps us out of trouble most of the time.

While we have a good base of supporters, there are still many out there who are learning to build their trust in us. Some people are uncomfortable with us asking for help with vet bills; some are scornful of our policies for collecting adoption fees.
 
However, what they fail to realize is that rescue work is extremely exhaustive – physically, mentally, and monetarily. So what keeps us motivated, you may ask? It’s the roller-coaster ride you embark on with each rescue dog, from the moment you rescue them, to rehabilitating and supporting them, to finding loving homes for them, and to witnessing them grow into confident pet dogs surrounded by love and care from the families who have adopted them.

Lisa with Cooper (Cooper is available for adoption)
The happiest moments of rescue work is also one of the hardest parts of this process. Because this is when we have to say our goodbyes and goodbyes aren’t easy to bid. Although we are overjoyed that our dogs are in safe hands and are finally able to lead a normal, healthy life, saying goodbye is still a painful process our volunteers have to learn to cope with and to overcome.
 
Street dogs, on the other hand, are a lot harder to rehome. For one, they are not exquisite enough for dwellers of this material world; secondly, they need time and rehabilitating to adapt to a home environment. For these dogs, we often have to release them back to the streets after they have regained their health – see Fudge’s story.
 
Could we have done more for the dog? Definitely, provided we have all the funds in the world, or if we have a good piece of land like other rescue organizations, then why not? The truth is that we don’t. We have to rely on our partners / fosters, volunteers and supporters to help accommodate our rescue dogs at shelters, pet shops and homes. Even as we put our best efforts in every dog we rescue – regardless if we saved them ourselves or if they are given to us because they’ve been rejected by other rescue organizations – and emptying our pockets in the process, there comes a time for us to decide when to set them free, to make room for other needy dogs.
 
Talia is an example of a dog deemed unadoptable by our country’s biggest rescue organization, but have found a loving home through us.

Sherry with Emma the Schnauzer and Talia the Cocker Spaniel
The above-mentioned scenarios are just some of the fundamentals of rescue work. At HOPE Dog Rescue, we make it a point to ensure that some of our volunteers specialize in niche areas that could potentially benefit the dogs. For instance, Lisa is trained in Reiki healing and Sherry is trained in Animal Communication. “Reiki” is the transferring of universal energy in the form of qi (Japanese: ki) through the palms, which Reiki practitioners believe allows for self-healing and a state of equilibrium, healing the animals, while “Animal Communication” depends on using telepathy to communicate with animals.

These unique skill-sets have come in handy when we are out in the field on rescue missions, or to locate missing dogs. I know it may sound gimmicky to some of you, but if it has proven successes with people who practice them, there is no reason not to try it.

Need Animal Communication or Reiki for your pets? Sherry and Lisa can help!

 



If rescue work is a simple formula of assessing an animal’s age, breed and health condition, and imposing rigid timelines to determine whether or not a dog should live, it doesn’t do our society, supporters and most of all, our animals justice.

The irony is that large animal welfare organizations that we used to look up to as a child are the ones guilty of this. They’ve possibly passed the most number of death penalties not because they house the most number of animals, but because they run their association like a business.
Dogs that have little value to them are euthanized. Dogs that require more effort to rehabilitate are euthanized. Dogs with minor health issues that are treatable such as scabies are euthanized. Dogs that are senior to them are euthanized.
Why? Because to them euthanizing animals is the simplest, quickest and most cost-effective solution. And as a cover up, they use the same, old, overused excuse that these animals have been assessed by their medical team and are deemed unfit to live. Death is the solution to them.

People turn to us to extend help to these animals, not to euthanize them mindlessly over minor reasons. Supporters help us with vet bills because they believe their funds would go into saving these unfortunate dogs, so they get the chance to live healthily and happily again.

Rescue organizations are here to rescue, to provide aid, and not to issue death penalties. Rescue work isn’t just about doing the basics and raising funds publicly. Although funds (or rather affordability) do play a significant role in determining what we can or cannot do (there is no free meal in this world), it is only sustainable if it is driven by a team of passionate, committed and dedicated volunteers who believe in overcoming austerities to make the impossible possible.
To learn more about the work we do, refer to our interview with Pets Magazine clipped below. Lisa, Sherry, with our beloved rescue dogs, Cooper, Emma and Talia are featured in the interview.

Pets Magazine February and March 2013 issue
 
As I write this, Cooper is still waiting for a permanent home. Cooper is barely one-year old but has already undergone three hit-and-run accidents. The last accident crushed his hip bones, rendering his hind legs immobile. Today, thanks to the support from our volunteers and supporters, Cooper is able to walk normal after months of rehabilitation. Although Cooper can’t go jogging just yet, he is fit to go on long strolls. Activities such as swimming would definitely help with his full recovery.
 
 


If you would like to adopt Cooper, please email fiona@hopedogrescue.org  

Should you wish to engage the services of Sherry and Lisa, please feel free to contact us.
 
Written by Claire Chai
 
Thank you Pets Magazine for the feature.

18.4.13

India Cows

No, you didn't come to the wrong blog. I just wanted to share the plight of these cows and the wonderful work my friends in India are doing for them.  

To find out more about their work, please visit http://www.happyfoundationforanimals.org/projects.html 

The Radha Surabhi Goshala (www.radhasurabhi.com) is a goshala (cow shelter) for abandoned, injured and sick street cows, located in a small village called Radha Kund in Uttar Pradesh, India. The goshala is run by Ms. Sudevi from Germany with a few local helpers to assist her in the daily tasks of feeding and giving medical attention. Many of the cows that reside at the goshala have leg injuries and have learnt to balance or walk on three legs. There are also cows that are paralyzed and supported on specialized cow slings several hours a day to ensure they are upright to help blood circulation. With no medical knowledge prior to the goshala, Sudevi has learnt how to put bandages, clean wounds and straighten broken legs, as there are no vets in the vicinity. There are always between 40 and 50 cows under treatment or surgery. Sudevi doesn't want to refuse any suffering cow that is brought to her. Because of this, she receives between 1 and 3 injured or sick cows every day and the number of cows is always increasing. At present there are about 350 cows in her goshala. When the number of cows becomes too large for her to maintain, she gives away the healthy cows she can't care for to a nearby goshala where cows are also properly taken care of. The most special part of the goshala is the barn where cows who do not have much longer left to live, reside. The Maha-Mantra (sacred vedic texts) chants are played the entire day on a sound system and the cows leave their bodies listening to these sacred chants.

Mealtime




Sling

Happy Foundation For Animal Welfare : http://www.happyfoundationforanimals.org/

15.4.13

Adopt A Special Dog - Cooper

We’ve always thought about humans helping animals but what about the other way around? As the superior species - or so we’d like to think - it may come as a surprise that some dogs can sometimes provide a far greater healing touch than medicine. The stray dogs in our society have been marginalized to such an extent that people tend to think of them more as pests than see the potential for love and compassion that each of them hold. And young Cooper is one such pup. While he is still only 11 months old, he has gone through so much in his young life that he displays a maturity that belies his tender age and wisdom beyond his years.

Cooper with his scar from the past, waiting for his first hydrotherapy session 

His very first lesson 





Dogs of his age are typically frisky and difficult to get a handle on, but not Cooper. He’s calm, undemanding, and shows an almost uncanny understanding of the situation and acts accordingly. All this doesn’t mean he’s a dull dog though. If you ever have a chance to interact with him, you’ll see that Cooper is anything but boring. He has retained his puppy playfulness and gets on well with dogs of all sizes and people of course. Cooper absolutely loves people and the following is just an example of how much love and compassion he will bring to any family that’s willing to give him a forever home.


Cooper at Sentosa 

Recently, we met a friend whose child has autism, a disorder that leads to impaired social interaction and communication. And Cooper surprised us all when he displayed very understanding behaviour – the child screamed and stamped his feet but Cooper was unfazed. He just walked about, looking at him and the child who usually had very little focus suddenly started observing Cooper too and knelt down to try and pat him. As if instinctively understanding the difference in the child, Cooper stayed absolutely still and allowed himself to be patted and touched. We were amazed by Cooper’s calm, matured and understanding behavior – some adult dogs would not even have tolerated more than a few minutes of touch but Cooper enjoyed the attention for almost an hour.


Sweet Cooper 

The child then jumped onto the trampoline. We braced ourselves for Cooper’s startled reaction, expecting him to bark in fear or run for the nearest cover, but it never came. Even though it was his first time experiencing this, Cooper, instead of being startled like any other dog would be, simply walked away and laid down to observe the child. We were amazed by his calm reaction given how young he is.




Fiona has worked with special needs children for more than two decades, and she used to bring her dogs to school when they were younger. Over time, she realized that her dogs were making an impact on the kids – the children gradually changed from being selfish and self centred to become more thoughtful, empathetic and compassionate through their interaction with the dogs. Even the parents noticed that their kids had become nicer children.

As every parent should know, the way a child is brought up forms the foundation for the rest of his life. And nurturing a child to love animals from a young age is a good way to teach a child respect and compassion for all living things.




You can start with Cooper; a very special, special needs dog that understands special needs children. Drop us an email if you wish to meet Cooper.

fiona@hopedogrescue.org

Please note that Cooper cannot be taken for runs. Just short walks 3 times a day will make him a happy dog.

Written by Elissa Loi

9.4.13

Saving Angel

It was a scorching hot Monday afternoon when we carried out our very first dog rescue operation.

Armed with only a pet carrier, a pet surrender form and a list of questions for the owner, we were totally clueless about what we had to deal with or what to expect. Eileen and I arrived at a one room flat at Jalan Bukit Merah where we were told Angel, the eight year old Jack Russell Terrier was waiting to be picked up. A teenaged girl and two middle-aged ladies were already at the corridor outside the flat, signaling us to go over.
 
Angel, a female  8 year old Jack Russell Terrier (Photo given by owner)

Her nails were long and she had never been out of her home for the past 8 years
We walked towards where they stood and were shocked by what we saw. Inside the small dingy living room, there was clutter everywhere. There was a bicycle leaning haphazardly against the wall and numerous figurines of Chinese deities displayed across an altar and glass cabinets . Some of the furniture looked as if they have been picked up from the dumpster. There was hardly enough room to walk. The entire flat was covered with a thick layer of dust.  We also noticed traces of dried up paint, which was splashed across the main front door. From where we stood, newspapers can be seen strewn all over the spartan kitchen floor. We figured that the kitchen was Angel’s playpen as a large wooden board was deliberately placed across the kitchen entrance to prevent her from getting out. The floor had remnants of dog faeces and Angel’s dog bowl looked like it has never been washed. The air was stiff and the atmosphere dull with negative energy. The flat was in such a dilapidated state, the living conditions so horrendous it was unsuitable for humans nor dog alike.


As I was still reeling from the repulsive condition of the flat, the constant barking in the background snapped me back into reality. Little Angel was unhappy to see us as if threatened by our presence. She seemed to know what was coming and she put up a tough fight, flashing her teeth to show aggression and made several attempts to bite in a last-ditch effort to save herself from being nabbed. I could see through her eyes that behind the ferocious facade lies a timid but sweet-natured dog. Her behaviour was a helpless protest in desperation as she was extremely scared and vulnerable. We had been instructed not to take her if she showed signs of aggression. But I refused to give up on her. I decided to buy time and asked the owner routine questions concerning Angel in the hope that she might calm down. However, Angel was not keen on compromising. Just as we were about to give up, we decided to ring for help. Fiona suggested we take Angel for a walk, away from her owner. It worked. Angel eventually subdued and she was combing the ground with exhilaration, embracing the fresh breeze and the warm sun in her face. Angel knew little of the outside world as she has never gone beyond the boundary of the wooden board since she was brought home at four months old.

Bringing Angel out for a walk to calm down

So scared that her poop was green

After several minutes spent walking with Angel, we felt we were ready to take her away. We let the owner and her teenaged daughter say their last goodbyes. They both held on to Angel so tightly I did not have the heart to take her away. It was so heartrendingly painful and we left amidst tears. 
 
Funny how Fate has a strange way of making things work when one is left to its own devices. At least this is true for Angel. Her diet consisted only of Cesar, fed once a day. She was given some dog biscuits as an occasional treat. She has not been to the vet since her first vaccination at four months old. As such, she was never taken to the vet for the much needed yearly vaccination to inoculate her against potential deadly diseases. Despite the lack of care throughout the entire eight years of her life, Angel turns out to be relatively healthy upon thorough examination by the vet.
 

First visit to the vet in 8 years!


The vet checking to see if Angel was sterilized; she was not

Angel tried biting the vet

Beneath this cuteness,

lies a poorly socialized dog with fear aggression
Angel looked a lot happier and confident before we left the vet and it was hard to imagine she could be so difficult to handle just a little over two hours ago. She had a big grin on her face and was eagerly wagging her tail, as if asking to be taken out for more walks. Seeing her happy, smiling face brought about immense gratification and the affirmation that what we did was right for her. We left with a big grin on our faces too, knowing full well that Angel is in a safe place.

Written by Amy Lim
 
Note : Angel's owner had contacted us. She wanted to send her to SPCA but was hesitant as she knew what fate she would be faced with. We agreed to take Angel because we didn't think she deserve that fate. However, we do not have a foster for Angel and she needs to be in a home environment, with a patient, experienced and firm foster, who can help socialize her and teach her to be less fearful and aggressive. She has not bitten anyone yet. She is manageable if you know how to work around her and approach her in the right manner. However, we feel she can be rehabilitated; all she needs is a second chance. The fact that she never even stepped out of her kitchen for the past 8 years, tells you that she has never seen the outside world and will need some time as she learns and adapts.

She has just been sterilized and vaccinated. We feel extremely sorry for her and hope that someone will come along and be her Angel.

If you can help foster or adopt Angel, please email fiona@hopedogrescue.org

4.4.13

Jurong Town Council Kills

Updated on 5 April 2013. The New Paper

The New Paper 5 April 2013

3 April 2013. Between 7pm to 9pm, I had received this message on my mobile phone, sent by more than 15 different people, many of whom I didn’t even know. Jurong Town Council was “curbing the stray population” right next to Bukit Batok MRT. Fellow volunteers, Lily and Lisa, had just rehomed a dog together with me and we decided to head down to see if we could help the dogs in any way.



When we arrived and parked, we noticed 2 trucks from Star Pests Control at the car park across from the MRT station. We weren’t sure if they were the company engaged to curb the stray population, or was it pure coincidence that they were there. In any case, as we ran across the road towards the MRT station, we could hear many dogs barking, their barks were pitiful, stressful and fearful. Some had barked themselves hoarse while others sounded as if they were on the verge of losing their voices. I wondered how many days had they endured this distress of having humans encroach into their homes and trying to kill them.
 
 
I felt very sorry for them. They ran desperately from one end of the hill to the other end, trying to escape evil humans who had no patience with them, no compassion or heart. Instead of working with animal welfare groups to trap and rehome, they took the easy way out, engaged a pest control company to get rid of what they deemed as pests.

Onlookers watching the poor dogs run for their lives

More than 50 onlookers watched from the MRT station, mainly dog lovers who were there out of concern, and some passers-by, on the way home from work. Volunteers from various animal welfare groups were there. Some braved the steep slope with torches, entering the densely forested area to search for traps and to check if the dogs were safe from harm.
More friends and volunteers from HOPE rushed down. As it got later, the crowd thinned to just our volunteers and a handful of animal lovers. The slope was extremely slippery from the long grass and early downpour but Leslie, Shawn and my friend, Derrick (Voices For Animals), armed with powerful torches, scaled the slope and went into the forested area for the umpteenth time, refusing to give up.

Shawn making his way into the forest (Photo courtesy of Lawrence Chong)



We watched with bated breath as we caught the occasional flashes of light from the forest, and listened to the poor dogs bark in defense and fear. This lasted for almost 20 minutes when suddenly, it all went quiet and all of us on the ground peered up the slope. There was total silence then we heard Derrick call out – there are 7 puppies! Everyone got excited at the thought of being able to save these lives. Volunteers, Rina and Lisa, ran to the van to get boxes and towels to standby. Then we heard the voice again – I got the puppies, I am coming down! And then Derrick appeared with 7 puppies bundled in his shirt. Leslie and Shawn checked around that no pups were left behind, before they made their way down the slippery slope.
Derrick coming down the slope with the rescued puppies wrapped in this shirt (Photo courtesy of Lawrence Chong)
 
3 males and 4 females
They were dirty and muddy but the thought that they had saved 7 tiny lives made it all worthwhile. They were exhausted from the rescue. In all, it was almost 3 hours as we spent time climbing up and down different parts of the hill, trying to get close to the dogs.
 
 
The puppies were squealing in fright, never had they seen humans! But after being cuddled, they calmed down and eventually fell asleep.

The volunteers and onlookers each took a puppy home as it was almost 2am by then and the puppies had nowhere to go.
 

During the hours we were there, I overheard a lot of talk; people complained the dogs were noisy, they chased joggers, they came out to the HDB area, etc that’s why Jurong Town Council engaged a pest control company to get rid of the pests.
WHY?

There are so many animal welfare groups in Singapore, why can’t the Town Council approach the various welfare groups? Instead of “curbing the stray population”, they could have offered to trap them and hand them over to the various groups, whom I am sure, would be happy to help rehome these dogs. It takes a little more effort on their part, but isn’t it better than having blood on their hands?

I am very happy that we saved these seven little puppies, who don’t look more than 6 weeks old, and am grateful to all the people who helped save them, as well as foster them for the night.
I hope that people would come forth to adopt these cute little puppies, to free us from fostering them, and allowing us to go and try to save the others who are still fighting for their lives on top of that hill. The hill they call Home.
Sweet Success!!

And after all the excitement and joy, I realized that today is World Animal Stray Day. These puppies have had a change of fate. Adopt them. They have a bright journey ahead!
 
 
To adopt / foster these puppies, please email fiona@hopedogrescue.org or leskok@ymail.com
Note : Pardon this blog if there are typo or grammatical errors. It is 6am and I have not slept a wink yet.