St. Joseph's Home - Animal Assisted Therapy

Just because they are special-needs dogs doesn't mean that there is nothing they can do to give back to society. It just means that what they give back is something a little special that only they can give.

SiDa & Harper

It was Sida's first visit to St Joseph's home as a therapy dog but Harper is already an old pro at this. Both of them did very well as expected, bringing smiles to all at the home, patient and staff alike.

SiDa working her charm on the residents and they relate well to her as they too, are wheelchair users. 

SiDa makes an excellent therapy dog as she loves people and affection 

Therapy animals are a source of joy and comfort to the people who need them. Special-needs therapy animals like Harper and SiDa can give even more than that. Many of the elderly at St Joseph's home are wheelchair users. Seeing how our own wheelie-users, Harper and SiDa, still have that lust for life can help bring that same spark of life back into their eyes, more so than any other dog.

Harper keeping an elderly resident company

Special-needs dogs don't think they are special needs. They live and love the way all dogs do - like there is only one life to be lived to the fullest. This is the lesson that they teach and it is one that people like those in St Joseph's home can take to heart. It does not matter if you are old or in a wheelchair. Life is for the living so wheel yourself out there and smell the roses. And if you find yourself struggling at times, Harper and SiDa will be there, rolling right by your side, reminding you that you are not alone.

Harper, proud and delighted to be bringing joy to the residents 

The amazing dogs who volunteer once a month with their owners. (L to R : Lassy, Happy, SiDa, Harper, River & Ollie in front)

Written by: Sam


Feed Our Strays - Appeal for Food Donation

Our food bank is running low.

Every Saturday, for the past decade, our dedicated volunteers have been distributing canned food and feeding the strays in factories and construction sites in a particular industrial estate.

We really need your help to continue with our stray feeding sessions. Life can be hard, but it's even tougher for our strays who are exposed to the elements. The least we can do is fill their bellies.

And, while we are not a cat rescue group, we do ask that you send us some cat food too. We've come across stray cats during our feeding sessions, so we try to do our part to help them too. Although these poor cats will eat the dog food as well because they are often starving.

You may contact our pet food shop partners and order through them, or use your own pet food suppliers.


Call: 6265 8510 / 9661 6103 (Peggy)

Nature's Gift Canned Food (700g) - any flavour will do, the strays are not fussy.



Click here for more detail.

It is only with your support that we can continue our rescue work. Thank you!

Written by: Cindy


Why Kopi?

We had our previous dog for 15 years, so we were very sad when he passed on. But we did miss having a dog, so we started looking at various adoption sites.  We knew what we were looking for – an older dog, good with children, who really needed a home.  

We saw Kopi on the Hope Dog Rescue site, he’d been rescued from a factory, and thought he was a very handsome dog and his profile fitted what we needed, so we arranged to meet up.  

An extremely handsome Kopi 

He was a charmer from the off, easy going and relaxed when our children made a fuss of him and we knew we would want to adopt him so we arranged a proper home visit.  

Don't I look good in black? 

We're sure Kopi could learn to live with such comfort 

When he came to our house he was immediately at home, visiting all the rooms and enjoying a sniff round the garden, so we went ahead and signed the papers and notified AVA that Kopi was our dog.  

Watching squirrels

That's a lovely drawing of me, by my sister

Now, some months later, Kopi has really settled down with us. His easy going personality and intelligence shine through. He absolutely loves his soft bed and being wrapped in a blanket, but also baking himself in the sun on our drive and going for walks, but mostly coming back to our house.  

Playing hide and seek!
Snuggling during a thunderstorm - he loves anything soft!

We look forward to many happy years with our handsome Singapore Special.

Finally, a family of my own 

Written by: Suzy (Kopi's mommy)


A renewed HOPE

It’s with great joy that we make this announcement … Matthieu has been adopted! For those of you who’ve been following Matthieu’s story with us over the years, you’ll surely share our joy.

Matthieu, when he was first rescued in 2012

At the ripe old age of 15+ years, Matthieu is our oldest and longest-staying resident. He had been waiting for a forever home for the past six years. Like many of the dogs cared for by the fosters of HOPE, Matthieu has special needs. When he was about 10+ years old, Matthieu was found badly injured and paralysed from the waist down, close to starvation.

Matthieu at the vet in 2012

After being treated for his injuries and discharged from hospital, Matthieu was taken into a temporary home where he was showered with love and affection for the first time in his life. Several animal lovers also contributed time and money to help improve Matthieu’s quality of life. One ordered a walkabout harness from the States to help volunteers support Matthieu’s body while he exercised. Another sponsored a customised wheelchair – specially imported from Thailand – to help Matthieu with his mobility.

On the road to recover in the early days 

In addition to the wheelchair, Matthieu also attended twice-weekly hydrotherapy sessions to improve his mobility in the early days but stopped after he suffered a slipped disc. He has been having weekly massage as well, thanks to a kind and generous sponsor, Cynthia. Over the years, we have seen his renewed confidence and improved self-esteem that really touched us. And through it all, he has remained sweet and charming. 

Despite all these improvements to his life, we didn’t have high expectations of Matthieu getting adopted. After all, he had several strikes against him – he’s aged, handicapped, and he’s also black (unfortunately, many people still have biases against black dogs).

This is why we were overjoyed when one of our longtime volunteer of HOPE, Flora, stepped forward this September to open her home to Matthieu. It was more than a kind gesture – it was a miracle. Even though we have seen many adoptions, it never fails to touch our hearts each time someone agrees to open their heart and home to an animal friend. Each time a special needs dog finds a home, it feels like we’re witnessing a miracle.

Matthieu and his one true love, Flora 

At HOPE, we truly believe in miracles. That’s why our small group continues to have the highest number of special needs dogs [among other dog shelters in Singapore] because we believe these paralyzed dogs will someday walk again; that they will one day get adopted and find their forever home. And indeed with Matthieu and Flora, our faith has been tested and proven sound. But maybe, just maybe, it shouldn't be so surprising. As the American writer Willa Cather once said, “Where there is great love, there are always miracles.”

Written by: Vanessa


In May 2016, after my previous dog passed away from cancer, I looked around for a suitable dog rescue organization to offer my help.

Then, in Sep 2016, I saw HOPE's Facebook post in search of a volunteer  to walk a special needs dog. I decided to try it out, and thus, began my journey to meeting Matthieu.

I remember vividly the day I met Matthieu. It was on 30 Sep 2016. We met for the first time, and had our first walk together. Matthieu was chilled out and relaxed with me. By the second visit, he rolled on his back, wanted belly rubs, and gave me high five with his paws.

Matthieu & Flora 

Since our dog-walking days together, Matthieu has had walking  difficulty.  I visited him as much as I could, followed him as he went from one foster to another. Poor old man, he had no place to call his own. I didn’t want him to feel alone and abandoned. I wanted Matthieu  to know there will always be a familiar face, and a friend that he can count on. Together, we went on Diaper Club outings, and the much dreaded vet visits. Once when he had nowhere to go, I fostered him for three whole weeks. As regularly as I could, I visited him and tried to  make him happy. Then again, how can he be happy without a real home?

The king on his diaper club outing 

True love <3

And so, a month ago, I adopted Matthieu. I didn’t want him moving from one commercial boarding to another. He is an old man at 15+ years, and I really want him to have a home of his own. I do not want to live with the regret over knowing that this old buddy of mine may pass on without knowing what a real home is like.

Some things in life are just meant to be <3

The adoption was finalized on 30 Sep 2018, exactly two years since I  met Matthieu. Matthieu now proudly wears his collar, and has his very own tag. I am setting up in a new place soon but it's not ready yet.  In the meantime, I am only too happy to take full responsibility for  Matthieu. Gradually, I will ease him into his new home.

Matthieu can now truly enjoy his golden years, and live a life fit for a king.

Written by: Flora Yee 


Blake says YEAH!!!!

In the five years that Blake has been with us, we’ve always wondered why Blake, who is such a sweet spirit, hadn’t found his forever home.

Life wasn’t easy for Blake. At just six months young, we found him in excruciating pain when he was still living in a vacant factory with his siblings, under less-than-ideal conditions.

While waiting for a forever home, Blake spent most of his formative years in commercial boarding, until he met Cherlyn, who was volunteering with HOPE.

Our young volunteer, who’s always had a soft spot for black dogs, offered to foster him during her school holidays, where she could cope better with the hours. It was also during that time that they further bonded. And after school began, and after her exams ended, Cherlyn decided that it was time Blake would be under her care for good.

As Cherlyn is still studying and has no means of an income, HOPE waived the adoption fee and basic obedience course fee for the both of them. We are so glad to see they are both adapting well to one another one.

This is the life he waited 5 years for!! 

The look of LOVE

Thank you so much, Cherlyn; we are so grateful to you, for giving Blake a forever home.

Now, on to our next oldest resident, Matthieu, who is an absolute sweetheart; we hope he too, finds his forever home soon.

Written by Cherlyn, Blake’s new BFF:

They say dogs choose their owners, it happened to me.

I first saw Blake about 2 years ago and he was definitely a hi-bye dog because at that point of time, he was staying at boarding. And him being a shy and timid dog, I didn’t really interact much with him because he always shuns away when strangers approach.

When I first took him home, he didn’t listen to anybody in the house except me because I was the only one he knew. All he did was to hide in a corner and come out during meal times. Even then, he didn’t really trust us although he wasn’t aggressive or anything. If anyone tried to hug him when he’s lying down or as long as when his paws are not on the ground, he would immediately jump up and run away / go back to his corner.

I think after months, he has gotten used to me annoying him every day, like flipping him over like BBQ meat or rolling him off the bed when he doesn’t wanna wake up. Hahahaha.

He’s definitely a gentle giant in that “humongous, black, scary dog” and I hope he loves his new life with me.


Update on Benji the Schanuzer

2 years ago, we helped an elderly couple treat their equally senior pup Benji for a massive tumour in his leg (Read the story here). While the tumour turned out to be a non-metastatic type, given the size of the growth, the vet had warned that it may recur. And recur it did. Just a few weeks ago, we were contacted once again to help as Benji's family had noticed a lump growing on the same site

The vet advised surgery as soon as possible lest it grows as quickly as it did the first time. Given that this is a recurrence, should the tumour grow again to the size it did, Benji may lose his leg this time. So, rather than wait to gather the funds, Uncle and Auntie Soh decided to go ahead with the surgery, borrowing some money from their kind neighbour.

Benji is a happier, tumour-free dog after the surgery so it was all worth it. However, Uncle and Auntie Soh now owe almost $2000. 

Benji still needs to go back to the vet to have his dressing changed every few days and he will also need to be put on a special diet for the rest of his life. We would like to help Uncle and Auntie Soh keep Benji healthy and happy for the rest of his days. We do not know if the tumour will recur again but Benji is taking it one dog-day at a time. For now, we are appealing for funds to help Uncle and Auntie Soh pay for Benji's vet bills.

If you can help with Benji's vet bills, please email us at hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg to find out how to pay directly to their vet. Any amount will go a long way to help Uncle and Auntie Soh, and Benji!

Written by: Sam


Remember Benji?

It was 2 years ago when we were first made aware of Benji, the Schnauzer. Pam, a neighbour to Benji's family, contacted us when she noticed a fast-growing mass on Benji's front leg. Benji's elderly caretakers, Uncle and Aunty Soh, who love him very much, did not have the means to take Benji to the vet, so Pam approached HOPE, hoping that we would be able to help. HOPE took Benji to the vet and helped with the bills. Read the story here.

The mass on Benji's leg turned out to be grade 1 soft tissue spindle cell sarcoma. These tumours normally do not spread and if removed, tend not to recur. However, given the size of Benji's tumour, the vet had warned that a recurrence might be a possibility in Benji's case. Benji was further treated for kidney stones and sent back to his family. He had to be on a special diet. 

It has been 2 years since we have heard from Pam or Benji's family, and we had hoped that no news is good news. Unfortunately, what the vet feared might happen have come to pass. Pam contacted us and told us that a lump had reappeared on the same leg. Edmund, Uncle and Aunty Soh's son, had brought Benji to the same vet as before, where the vet advised to have the lump removed immediately before it grows any bigger, given the speed at which it grew before. Otherwise, they risk losing the leg if the lump grows to the size it did before. The vet also advised dental cleaning, which they had put off 2 years before due to the cost of the surgery. As the vet had advised urgency, they went ahead with the recommended procedures as they did not want to waste any more time and put Benji's leg at risk. Poor Benji also had 24 rotten teeth removed!! In total, the procedures cost $2000/-.

Aunty Soh herself had recently undergone heart surgery and only just been discharged. She is no longer working due to her condition. Uncle Soh was also involved in a motorcycle accident so the family has had alot to deal with recently. Yet, despite all this, they have not neglected Benji and are concerned about his health. We cannot turn a blind eye after seeing their determination to care for Benji despite their own plight.

A huge mass on Benji's leg

Please help Uncle and Aunty Soh save Benji's leg to allow him a good quality of life in his golden years. To find out how you can help with Benji's vet bills, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg.

Written by: Sam