12.8.16

Keep Your Dogs Leashed

We sometimes see pet owners walking their dogs - unleashed. We can probably guess what's going through the owner's mind.

"I'll just let him run around for a bit."
"He needs some freedom."
"She's walking right next to me anyway."
"He won't run off, he's so well-trained."
"Should be fine..."



But the reality is, you never know what's going to happen. Dogs can be just as unpredictable as children. Even if they're very well-trained, an unexpected bird or cat could suddenly tempt them to step off the kerb and into the path of oncoming vehicles.

We've seen people walking their dogs off leash, when another dog approaches. Their dog dashes off to check out the other dog, and call as they might, their dog doesn't respond. He's busy sniffing the other dog and playing. It might seem amusing, albeit frustrating, at first, but that sort of situation can be dangerous. What if the dogs fight or attack each other? How will the owner be able to pull it back? It's going to take a while to run after your dog. What if the dog bites the other dog? What if it bites a person? In these cases, who will take the blame - the dog or the owner? You or the other party, for making your dog dash off to them? Did you know that your dog may risk being put down if he bites a person / dog? Would you forgive yourself if your dog was put down due to your irresponsibility?

Walking a dog off-leash is a common way for people to lose their dogs, especially a newly adopted dog. Some rescued dogs may be skittish and nervous, especially if they haven't gotten familiar or bonded with their new owners. The slightest provocation (a skateboard or bicycle zooming past, a crying child) could spook them and cause them to bolt. Not everyone is lucky enough to recover a lost dog. If an owner decides to walk their rescued dog off-leash and it bolts, that's a life they meant to save, but lost instead.



In Singapore, it is illegal to walk dogs off-leash. The penalty for breaking this law is a fine of up to $5,000 for the first offence, and up to $10,000 for subsequent offences. Not many people are aware of this; but if they are, a lot of them continue to flout this rule despite the costly consequences! Money aside, organizations like HOPE also put in a lot of time and effort to rescue a dog. It's emotionally and physically draining to trap and save a fearful injured dog. All that effort could go down the drain in an instant, due to an owner's overconfidence, or a momentary lapse in judgment.



All dogs adopted from HOPE must never be off-leash in public, except in stipulated areas such as dog runs, dog cafes, etc. If owners are taking their dogs to the beach/cycling/running, they should keep their dogs on a long / training leash. Even if a dog has passed its Basic Obedience Training or other advanced training, even if a dog always responds to being called, he must always be leashed in public.


A dog definitely appreciates the freedom and the joy of running off-leash, and we encourage owners to give their dogs this opportunity as often as possible, but please bring them to one of the several dog parks or dog runs that Singapore has to offer.



If you're looking for ideas on where to take your dog for his next off-leash outing, check out the following places.

Dog runs
- Bishan Park
- West Coast Park
- Sembawang Park
- Katong Park

Doggy swimming
- Sunny Heights: 110 Turf Club Road Singapore 288000

Cafes
- Ah B Cafe: Within Sunny Heights, 110 Turf Club Road Singapore 288000

4.8.16

Updates on Benji the Schnauzer

His biopsy results are finally out.

The biopsy shows that Benji has grade 1 soft tissue spindle cell sarcoma. Generally, these tumours are locally invasive (causing a problem where they grow). Grade 1 tumours usually do not behave aggressively and spread to other organs, which is fortunate for sweet Benji.

Poor Benji and his terribly swollen front leg

Another blessing is that grade 1 turmours seldom recur after complete surgical removal. However, given that Benji's tumor is very large, and close to many important structures in his limb, the vets do fear a possibility that it might recur. We are keeping our fingers crossed that after this removal, Benji will go on to live a healthy happily-ever-after with his family.


X-ray of Benji's front right leg

Debulking the tumour will definitely provide Benji with greater comfort, considering he has lived with this huge mass for more than half a year. His heart and blood test results are good and thus, he should be a good candidate for the surgery.

Benji’s surgery will take place tomorrow (Friday) afternoon.

We thank everyone for offering to help him in more ways than we could ever think of. We are very grateful for that. The surgery cost is expected to be about $1800 to $2000, depending on the number of days that he needs to stay at the vet because Aunty Soh might not be able to clean his wound or manage him after surgery. So once again we appeal to your kindness to please help Benji with his surgery bills.

To help with his vet bills, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg

29.7.16

Benji The Miniature Schnauzer

We were made aware of Benji's plight by a neighbour, Pam, who noticed that a lump on his leg had grown to a size that made his leg look as if it were swollen. Benji, a sweet-natured 9-year-old miniature schnauzer, once belonged to the daughter-in-law of the elderly couple, Uncle and Auntie Soh, who now looks after him. When the marriage soured, the daughter-in-law no longer wanted Benji and had even wanted to put him down. Fearing for his life, Auntie Soh swooped in and took him in, though she and her husband knew little about dogs. 

We received this photo by email and immediately agreed to help

Despite being in their late 60s, both Uncle and Auntie Soh are still working so that they can provide the very basic necessities for Benji, like food. They even, conscientiously, take Benji for his yearly vaccinations. Auntie Soh walks with a limp. Though her legs hurt, she never fails to take Benji out for his walks, once in the morning and another time at night, because she says he loves his walks. To save on grooming costs, she bought a shaver many years ago just so she can shave him herself. But now, the shaver has grown dull, and she says she will need to get another one soon. Benji eats Pedigree kibbles in the morning. In the night, Auntie Soh rushes home so she can steam some pork and rice to feed him. Benji's harness is very old and his leash is made up of a tattered leash and a rope tied together, yet we can see how much Auntie Soh clearly loves Benji. We were so touched that we gave her a new spare leash that we had on hand. She was so happy and offered to pay for it, even though we know she is not well-off. 

Sweet Benji at the vet with Aunty Soh

His teeth are really bad but this would have to wait as the lump on his right front leg is of greater urgency

We went to the vet last night as scheduled. The whole family, and even Pam, turned up for moral support. The vet saw the lump and warned that it did not look good. It had grown very large and very hard over the last 6 months. Thankfully, it does not seem to be causing Benji any pain or significant discomfort and he was still very happy and active. Thinking that, if it were cancer, it might have spread to his chest, an x-ray was done. If it truly had spread to his chest and bones, then the future would look grim as little can be done. Thankfully, the x-ray results did not show any metastasis. Benji is still not in the clear, though. A biopsy was done and the results expected in 4 days. For now, his wound is stitched up and will need to be kept clean. Kind neighbour, Pam, will check in on Benji regularly to ensure that his wound remains clean and uninfected. She will get Benji an e-collar if required, until his stitches come out in 10 days. 


Poor Benji, such a brave boy. Look how huge the lump has grown to. It's almost the size of his head! (Oh, that's the new leash we gave him.)

Regardless of the biopsy results, Benji will require surgery. If it were cancer, then his whole leg will have to be amputated to prevent it from recurring. If it were benign, then only the tumour will be removed. All we can do now is wait with bated breath for the results. No matter the result, surgery will take place next week. Costs, depending on the surgery, will be around $1.5k-$2k, including a 3-5 day stay as Auntie Soh may not be able to adequately care for Benji during his recovery. 


Poor Benji looks like a wounded soldier with bandages and stitches

Aunty's grooming is pretty good!

Except the shaver is dull so poor Benji ended up with bald patches

Seeing the love Auntie Soh has for Benji, we really want to help them out. Yesterday's vet bill amounted to $790, and we need a further $1.5k to $2k for Benji's surgery next week. We would also like to buy Benji a new harness, shaver and a better brand of kibbles. If possible, we would also like to pamper him with a proper grooming session after his surgery! If you can help with any of these, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg.


Don't worry Benji, we'll do our best to help you.

24.7.16

Adopt Baby Alyssa!

Alyssa was one of 5 new puppies we used to feed at an industrial site. Their mother had given birth there, and the workers were kind enough to let them stay, and they even fed the dogs with their own food!

Yet, we were constantly worried about her siblings and her. They're so young and inexperienced with the dangers of industrial traffic. Puppies are incurably curious, fragile, and helpless. Living in an industrial estate was a recipe for disaster, an accident just waiting to happen.

And of course, as always, it happened.

Accidents, deaths - they don't surprise us any more. But every time a worker calls us, "Dog no move!" It never fails to cause our hearts to sink, and our stomachs lurch with dread. This time, the worker told us that they had found one of the five puppies holding her leg at a weird angle, with a suspected break.

Her fractured bone has fused back although she will need strengthening exercises


We brought her to the vet and did the usual X-rays and tests. Thankfully, it was not a complicated issue and the vet fixed her up with a cast in no time. We named her Alyssa, and found her a foster home where she could rest while she healed.

Alyssa at the vet, when she was first rescued

This cutie pie is very well-behaved for a puppy this young, can be left alone while you're at work. Independent and no separation anxiety

During one of Alyssa's reviews at the vet, they remarked that her foster had done a very good job in protecting the cast and keeping it clean. Alyssa's leg is healing very well, much better than expected in fact. But the thing is, she's at the age where they grow really quickly. So it's likely that we would need to change her cast, if she outgrew it. So far, that hasn't happened yet, thankfully. It would cost another few hundred dollars per change of cast!

But that just reminded us that she's just a baby! Can you even imagine such a little baby in so much pain? It's heartbreaking.

Making herself comfortable at the vet when she went back for a review

What is worse is that her 8 weeks of recovery time is almost up. And if we don't find her a real home in the next few days, she will have to return to the industrial site where we picked her up. She's already accustomed to living in a home environment; it would be unfair to put her back on the streets. Furthermore, after her cast is removed, she might need to go for hydrotherapy for rehabilitation. It's in her best interest to find an adopter quickly. And we're sure that anyone could love her. She is the ideal dog in so many ways.

This is pretty Alyssa as she is today, still waiting for a home.


Alyssa has already been trained to do her business outside, and despite being only 4 months old, she already knows how to hold her pee and poo until you bring her outside. She's so sweet and intelligent, and is such a well-behaved dog! She absolutely loves humans and is friendly with other dogs too, although she will avoid some dogs if she doesn't like them. She is very non-confrontational and calm. She's playful, like all puppies, and loves playing on the grass. However, she's also great on the leash and not too high energy.

Baby Alyssa loves grass! 

Really, she is perfect. There's not a flaw in her character! 



Please adopt Alyssa so she does not need to return to the streets! Give her a chance. You might be surprised at how easily she will fit into your life. To adopt Alyssa, email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg.

Alyssa is a female, local crossbreed. She is about 4+ months now and her cast has just been removed. 

Basic requirements to adopting baby Alyssa :
1) she will need hydrotherapy for a while
2) home cooked meals
3) 2 walks a day

That's really not too much to ask for, is it? 


*Video was filmed a month ago. She has grown slightly since.

21.7.16

Mr. Aziz (A kindhearted Muslim uncle)

Matthieu and Harper have one other thing in common besides being dogs in wheelies. They owe both their rescues to the same man, Mr Aziz.

Mr Aziz is a worker on Jurong Island where Matthieu, Harper and Duchess were rescued from. Duchess, now known as Dutch, lives in Scotland with her family. 

Matthieu was rescued in late 2012 when Mr Aziz contacted us about an injured dog. Matthieu was one of the strays whom Mr Aziz had been feeding for a few years. One day, Mr Aziz found an injured Matthieu cowering under a truck. At his wits' end, Mr Aziz contacted us to help Matthieu. Read about Matthieu here.

Matthieu and Mr Aziz catching up
Harper was found about half a year later. Unlike Matthieu, Harper was not a stray that was familiar to Mr Aziz. After all, she was little more than a month old when Mr Aziz found the little puppy dragging her hind legs behind her, trying to get around. Read about the little spitfire who refused to give up here.

Harper thanking Mr Aziz for saving her

Since their rescues, Mr Aziz and his family continues to visit Matthieu and Harper twice yearly at their foster home. Matthieu, having known Mr Aziz for a few years before his eventual rescue, recognizes Mr Aziz and is always elated when he visits. Although Harper had not formed the bond that Matthieu and Mr Aziz have, given how young she was when she was rescued, she has still come to love Mr Aziz's visits and always comes up to him happily for pats during these visits.

Harper (foreground), Matthieu (centre) and the resident dog (background)

Mr Aziz is a Muslim. Dogs in Islam is a controversial topic. Though the scriptures does not explicitly ban dogs, many in the Muslim community view dogs as "unclean" and tradition prohibits contact with dogs. Tradition does not stop Mr Aziz from continuing to care for and feed the strays around his work site though. He does not view these dogs as "unclean" beings to be avoided, but rather as fellow living beings who need help. 

Mr Aziz and Baby Harper chilling

Prior to Matthieu's rescue in 2012, Mr Aziz used to buy 10 loaves of plain bread to feed the strays. Since then, HOPE have been supplying about 100kg of kibbles a month to Mr Aziz to feed the strays still living on his work site. There are about 20 strays that are in Mr Aziz's care. 

Mr Aziz proves that kindness transcends all cultural, religious and social barriers. If you would like to help so that Mr Aziz can continue to feed his dogs, you can do so by providing us with the food to supply him with. Mr Aziz needs BARK kibbles and these can be purchased from our regular pet food supplier :

PET HQ
Blk 221 Boon Lay Place
#02-112
Boon Lay Shopping Centre Singapore 640221
Tel: 6265 8510 / 9661 6103 (Peggy)

Written by: Sam

12.7.16

Babu's Fairy Tale Ending

Until recently, Babu was the unluckiest dog we knew.

We first met Babu in May 2012, when he had been involved in a hit-and-run accident. Before we rescued him, Babu had suffered almost a week with a broken leg and several serious abrasions that had gotten infected. He had to undergo surgery twice, to fix his broken leg. He was recovering well in a foster home after the second surgery, when his wound reopened and he had to return to the vet to be stitched up again. But Babu has a really strong and enduring personality, and he remained hopeful throughout all of this.

Barely a month later, disaster struck. Somehow, Babu had managed to catch distemper, one of the deadliest diseases for dogs. Babu spent a very long time in isolation at the vet, fighting for his life. The disease took a heavy toll on him. He lost his appetite, most of his weight, and even his indomitable spirit. He sorely missed his family, a group of kind foreign workers who took care of him at the factory where he lived. His family missed him too.

Babu, happy and contented in his forever home

Finally, at the very end of June, 2 months from his car accident, Babu was cleared by the vet to return home. He had beaten distemper. In fact, he was the first HOPE dog to ever survive the disease, although he had sustained some lasting neural damage; Babu's teeth will chatter for the rest of his life. Despite it all, Babu really is a tremendous dog. You cannot help but admire his strength and sheer will to survive.

Babu was also the first dog to return to a factory, instead of being placed into a foster or forever home. Nobody was happier than he was, except maybe the factory workers who were eagerly awaiting his return. They had gone out of their way to prepare for Babu's homecoming, installing conveniences and luxuries such as fans and a kennel in his living space. We felt sure that Babu was in good hands... until we met Babu again two years later.

It was February 2016. Imagine our dismay when we received a call from SPCA, telling us that they had Babu, injured from yet another accident. Babu's caretakers, being foreign workers, must have returned to their homeland after their contracts here had expired. Babu must have been so heartbroken and went out to search for them, getting hit by a car in the process. 

And so, nursing another badly broken leg, Babu was left in our care again. This time, his injuries were worse. His surgeries were more complex. His recuperation time was longer, and he required several follow-up visits with the vet. Babu was placed in a foster home, where he could be well cared for in his arduous journey to recovery.

One external fixator, two months, three surgeries and countless hydrotherapy sessions later, Babu was back in action. He could walk on all four legs again, albeit with a limp. He will continue with hydrotherapy rehabilitation until he rebuilds the muscles in his leg. We just have to keep moving forward, one step at a time.

Babu having hydrotherapy

Slowly but surely, his charm and irresistible personality won over the hearts of his foster family, and even the resident cat. They decided to adopt him, and make him a part of their family for good. Finally, after years of hardship and pain, Babu got his fairy tale ending.

His teeth chatter (after effects of distemper) and he walks with a limp, but to us and to his new family, Babu is absolutely perfect. Despite all the struggle he has gone through, Babu is so laid back and friendly that you can't help but fall in love with him. He is very popular in his new neighborhood, and kids love to come over to hug him. Even people who were previously afraid of dogs now look forward to seeing him.

For Babu, dreams do come true

We are thrilled that Babu has found his happily ever after. We would like to thank everyone who has contributed to his vet bills over the years, friends who sponsored his hydrotherapy, and all of you who never gave up on him. We are so grateful to Babu's family for adopting him, and showing us that dreams do come true.

1.7.16

What is Project ADORE?

Did you know that more than 80% of Singaporeans live in HDB flats?

Residents of HDB flats need to be a bit more conscientious in pet care, compared to those who live in private properties, in order to minimize complaints. For the dog's well-being, owners have to make sure that their dogs get enough exercise outside the house. Depending on the breed, this could entail several long walks a day. We know that not everyone has enough spare time to keep going on walks, and that's probably one of the many reasons why the HDB has certain regulations regarding permitted dog breeds.

Until recent years, the list of dog breeds permitted in HDB homes included only small-sized purebred dogs. Unfortunately, most of HOPE's rescues are local crossbreeds, Singapore Specials - crossbreeds that are usually medium-sized. So we were absolutely thrilled when the Ministry of National Development (MND) and the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) started Project ADORE.

Mary is HDB approved under Project ADORE and still waiting for her forever home

Project ADORE (ADOption and REhoming) gives local crossbreed dogs the opportunity to be adopted into families living in HDB apartments, even if they do not belong to a breed from HDB's pre-approved list.

To qualify for HDB adoption under Project ADORE, a dog has to:
  • Be a local crossbreed/“Singapore Special”/mongrel
  • Be at least 6 months old
  • Be sterilized, vaccinated, and microchipped
  • Be medium-sized at most, with a maximum weight of 15kg and shoulder height not exceeding 50cm
  • Undergo compulsory Basic Obedience Training by AVA-accredited trainers

A microchip is about the size of a rice grain, implanted in the back of the dog's neck

Using a microchip scanner, you can scan the dog's microchip number

This local crossbreed is 47cm in height, making her approved for HDB living

This is how you take the height measurement, from the shoulder down

The dog's potential owner will have to:
  • Pay an adoption fee ($350) to HOPE. This covers a full medical checkup for heart worm, tick fever, kidney and liver functions, microchipping, vaccinations and sterilization.
  • Sign an adoption agreement with one of the affiliated organisations: SPCA, Action for Singapore Dogs (ASD), Save our Street Dogs (SoSD). HOPE's partner organization for Project ADORE is SPCA. Adopters will be required to pay a $25 admin fee to SPCA.
  • Apply for an AVA license to certify that their dog is sterilized ($15 per year)
  • Sign the Code of Responsible Behavior (CORB)
  • Sign up for a Basic Obedience course with one of the trainers on SPCA's accredited list ($250)
        Most street / rescued dogs are ear-tipped or ear tattooed during their sterilization. This is to identify that they have been sterilized. (This dog's left ear has been tipped / clipped).


        The goal of these criteria is to keep dogs, owners, and neighbors happy, healthy, and safe. To date, hundreds of local crossbreeds have been adopted out to families living in HDB flats. We're glad that Project ADORE has given so many rescued dogs an opportunity at a happy life.

        So, if you are one of the 80% of Singaporeans who live in an HDB flat, and are thinking of getting a dog to complete your family, why not consider adopting one of our local crossbreeds under the Project ADORE scheme? All the successful Project ADORE owners will happily attest to the fact that "rescue" is definitely the best breed, and you will not regret having a local dog in your HDB flat!

        View our available dogs here.