Against All Odds

Malcolm was the first surrendered dog case that I helped as a volunteer. 

Malcolm, on the day his family gave up on him

The first thing that struck me about him (a senior 10-year-old poodle), was that he seemed to be very easily following me and letting the vet handled him with no signs of distress, despite his very sad physical condition (overgrown nails, bald patches of hair, and crusty bumps all over his skin, which had turned black at some parts), and the fact that his family had just left him with complete strangers. I soon realized that Malcolm's quiet nature and lack of response was really him being completely disconnected with his surroundings, a result likely of absolutely no interaction and complete neglect from his former family. To the extent that at first we even thought he was deaf (in addition having very limited sight due to permanent cornea scarring, which could be prevented with care).

It was only when his foster (Grace) continued to talk to him and engage with him (despite us telling her that he is deaf– she never gave up!), that he started to react slowly, and we found out he could actually hear. With all the love, care, and devotion from his foster, his hair slowly started growing back (showing us that his real coat was red!), and he even learnt to follow some vocal commands.

Malcolm's journey was not a smooth one, as from the very first days at his foster's house, he began to show signs of extreme separation anxiety (understandable as he had been suddenly given up by his family at the age of 10, which also resulted in him being separated from another dog that he grew up with). His anxiety showed up from him howling all night, to following humans around all over the house and being unable to settle down when left alone and peeing anywhere whenever he was excited or nervous. Despite these challenges, his foster continued to guide and he slowly became more and more himself.  So much so that a few months later, when I took him to meet a potential adopter, he gave me a few affectionate kisses (licks) on my hand and cheek.  I almost teared up as I realized the quiet silent sad lost-in-his-own-world dog had now blossomed into a confident dog who was now interacting with his surroundings, being himself and showing his love.

Malcolm & volunteer, Sukriti 

While a number of people approached us, it took us a while to find him a suitable home, given his number of issues. Not everyone can afford the commitment, and Malcom has anxiety issues that require medical intervention. One day, destiny smiled on Malcolm, and while on a serendipitous evening walk with him, his foster walked into an almost identical looking red poodle (Momo) and his owner Margaret, and they got talking. Soon after, she wrote to us expressing interest in adopting Malcolm. It turned out Margaret and her husband (along with their dog Momo) were the perfect family Malcolm had been waiting for. We are so grateful for them to have opened their home to Malcolm, and so very delighted that he has found his forever home. Despite being given up, suffering from high separation anxiety and being almost blind, he fought the odds and has finally found his family to enjoy his senior years. A big thanks also to his foster, who showered him with so much love and the HDR volunteers that supported along the way.



Syncope is the medical term for fainting due to a lack of oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Fainting spells in dogs, as in humans, can be scary to witness. Signs of syncope are sudden collapse and unresponsiveness. Some dogs may cough or vomit before fainting and may even urinate or defecate. 

Fainting can happen for a number of reasons. Some breeds of dogs are more prone to fainting due to physical exertion, such as the flat-faced dogs like pugs and bulldogs, because the breeds have a short nose and airways which can restrict the amount of oxygen they breathe in. The good news is that many fainting episodes are not linked to any serious underlying diseases. Fainting episodes are not painful or distressing to the dogs and they tend to recover quickly after. However, any dog that experiences a fainting episode should be taken to the vet to rule out any serious underlying causes. Some of the more concerning health conditions that may cause fainting are heart disease, bleeding, and other respiratory conditions to name a few, which may have a worse prognosis and may require long-term treatment.

Dogs may also collapse for other reasons besides syncope or may be suffering a seizure which can be confused with a syncopal episode so it is imperative that you take your dog to the vet after any collapse so that they can be properly diagnosed and treated.


Senior Dogs Deserve Second Chances Too

Barely two months into the year, we have had two surrendered cases, both of whom are senior dogs (read about Alex and Caleb). The sad reality is that senior and/or sick dogs are often the ones abandoned and surrendered to welfare groups. While there are many reasons why a pet is being surrendered, we are still baffled by how some people have the heart to abandon their once beloved pet at a time when it needs them most. 



We know it all too well that taking care of senior dogs is no easy feat. Just like human beings, it is inevitable for dogs, too, to start having age-related health issues like failing eyesight and hearing, arthritis; or more serious issues like chronic kidney disease and dementia. Having said that, of course not all senior dogs are sickly and frail. Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle and going for regular checkups go a long way as well. 

The adoption rate for senior dogs tends to be lower than the younger ones—people often go for the latter because they are “cuter”, “easier” to train and they have more years to bond together. But hey, adopting a senior dog has its perks too! Senior dogs are literally what you see is what you get. They are generally calmer (i.e., lower energy level), trained most of the time and they make great companionship! Compared to adopting a puppy, we just need that extra bit of time, patience, experience and yes, money (for potential medical expenses). Family support is important too because it is after all a huge decision to welcome a pet into the family.

I have had the privilege to adopt a senior dog when he was 8 years old. We spent five precious years together and while I hoped we could have more time together, it’s something I will never exchange anything for. Looking back, I am glad he was with us during his twilight years instead of roaming the streets alone. I was often told how my family made a difference to his life but truth be told, he made just as much a difference to our lives too, showing us what unconditional love is.

Here at HOPE, it's no secret that we have a soft spot for senior dogs. Our current rescues and surrendered cases are minimally 8 years old. Do you remember their stories?







We encourage you to keep an open mind if you are thinking of adopting a dog. It is truly rewarding to know that these little things can change the life of a senior dog waiting for its second chance; waiting to be loved again. Feel free to drop us an email at hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg if you would like to find out more about our senior dogs who are looking for a home. 

Remember, giving a senior dog love and a home will make him the happiest dog on his final journey. ♡


Bloat in Dogs


Do you know about bloat in dogs? Unlike humans, bloat or Gastric Dilatation-volvulus (GDV) can be deadly for dogs. This happens when a dog’s stomach gets filled with gas, food or fluids and subsequently twists, cutting off blood flow to the abdomen and stomach. If left untreated, GDV can cause death.

The most common causes of bloat include ingesting large amount of food or water too quickly and exercising

immediately after eating. That’s why it is often recommended to avoid letting your dog play or engage in vigorous

activities an hour before and after a meal. Also, if you know that your dog has a tendency to eat or drink too quickly, it

may be a good idea to invest in a slow feeding bowl soon. 


Bloat may be more common in large or deep chested breeds but it can actually happen in any breed. A dog suffering

from bloat may display some or all of the symptoms:


Dry-heave / retch without vomiting any food

Distended abdomen

Display sudden anxiety, pacing, an inability to get comfortable or constantly moving around the room/house.

Guarding his belly or looking back at his belly

Position himself in a downward facing dog pose, where the dog’s back half is up and upper half is down

Pant and drool


Have a racing heartbeat

Have pale gums


So if you notice these signs in your dog, it is best to monitor and send him to the vet immediately if you are unsure.

After all, rather be safe than sorry!


Caleb, A Faithful Dog Deserving Better (Owner Surrender)


17, deaf, blind and homeless 

The meaning of “Caleb” is faithful, bold and brave and that is what we hope he carries with him as he lives out the last chapter of his life.

Caleb is our second rescue of the year 2023 and like so many before him, we were horribly dismayed at the state he was in when we got him. He was initially brought to the groomer for some sprucing up by his owners, and boy, what a long-awaited one it was. His fur was long and unkempt, he had visible rotting flesh and his nails were so long they curled sideways. The rotten smell emitted from him permeated the groomer’s shop so badly that she had to switch off the air con and open the doors for ventilation. Seeing the shocking state of neglect he was in, the groomer asked the owners if they would surrender the dog and they agreed. That’s when the groomer called us for help.

Is this a dog? 

Huge infected tumour on his paw

Gross neglect 

Another tumour just below his anus 

Badly decayed teeth 

Crusty, infected ears 


First thing we did when we got Caleb was to send him straight to the vet, give him a good clean up and a proper meal with plenty of pats. Poor Caleb is estimated about 17 years old and on top of the awful physical state he is in, he has a host of health issues too. One of his eyes was so infected until it got sunken in. He is blind in his “normal” eye. He has a huge tumour on his paw that is infected and pus-filled and another bleeding tumour just below his anus. Both his ears are infected and his skin has multiple flakes and scabs. The vet’s topmost concern is he has cancer and it might have already spread internally. 

Given the state he is in, one cannot imagine the amount of pain and discomfort he must have been in. Poor Caleb must be so used to living with pain that he barely flinched when the vet checked and prodded him. It was heartbreaking to see him confused, and scared. Given his age, he should be living out the last phase of his life in comfort, being loved and treasured by his family.

We understood that the owners adopted him from SPCA in 2018 or 2019. We emailed SPCA for verification 4 days ago but have yet to hear from them. The other question weighing heavily on our minds is why adopt Caleb if they are going to subject him to such gross neglect. He would have had a better quality of life being left at SPCA, albeit being kept in their compound 24/7. But at least, he didn’t have to go through the agonizing torment of being so uncared, leading to physical health issues. Only the owners know how long Caleb had been suffering in silence before they finally decided to take him to the groomer.


We had to shave him to check his body for sores / wounds plus he was so badly matted


Caleb is currently being put up at one of our volunteer’s place and we are looking for a foster for him. Ideally his foster should be someone who is able to be home most of the time as he cannot be left alone for more than 2 to 3 hours, able to prepare home cooked meals for him and administer medications for his various ailments. Foster must also be alert and reach us if he were to display signs of discomfort, bleeds from his wounds or stops eating altogether. We will then need to arrange for urgent medical intervention.

Despite all that he has been through, Caleb is a really sweet boy and enjoys been patted and having close contact with humans, which he was seemingly starved from. We are still totally flabbergasted at how anyone could have the heart and conscience to make this poor boy go through all the misery, which could have been very unnecessary if only the owners had made a kinder decision to give Caleb up when they weren’t able to care for him.

We are appealing for help for Caleb’s vet bills as due to the multiple health issues he has, we had chalked up quite a hefty sum as more than 10 different types of medications were dispensed for Caleb. Please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg if you are able to help.

Lastly, please raise an alert to the authorities if you happen to come across such cases of gross neglect. You might be the only voice our furry friends have and all it takes to save them from misery till death is a timely alarm from you.

We aren’t able to save every dog but we will do our utmost for each and every one that we are able to. Thank you for your kind support that enables us to continue working for the cause that we hold dear to our hearts.


Alex the Schnauzer

First family had him for about 10 years.

Second family saved him in October 2021 and he weighed only 4kg. Photo of skinny schnauzer was provided by second family. 

What a sad mess

Alex, when he was rescued by 2nd family. Photo from 2nd family.

Second family surrendered him to HOPE and he weighs 9kg. And so Alex came to us. 

Although he has gained weight, he is a big boned schnauzer and could afford to put on a bit of weight as his skull is slightly sunken. 

Nasal discharge

We have been asked, by taking in people’s dogs, we are encouraging them to take the easy route out. But our rationale is, if we don’t help, what if they chose to abandon them somewhere else or keep them at home while the poor dog may require medical care.

Taking nasal swab

Apart from being extremely unkempt, his nails were overgrown and his dew claw was almost imbedded into his flesh. Poor Alex must have been wearing diapers for a long time because we noticed that the lower half of his body no longer has fur, possibly from long term diaper wearing. His belly and groin area was so badly matted, we needed the vet nurse to slowly shave it off. His paw pad fur was so long, we could hardly see his paw pad. Can’t imagine how he could have walked without slipping.

Very sparse fur

Lower half of body no longer has fur from constant use of diaper

Alex is 12 ½ years old and we’re terribly upset that he has suffered for so many years. Like all our rescues, we take them to the vet immediately and spare no expense in getting them checked out.

  • Mildly anemic, can be from old age or diet. Will require regular blood tests.
  • Active inflammation in the body could be something underlying – we have made an appointment for ultrasound next week. 
  • Chronic infection 
  • Kidney values are elevated / chronic kidney disease 
  • Liver – elevated readings. 
  • Suspected Cushings as his fur is very sparse 
  • Negative for tick fever & heartworm
  • Drinks a lot and pees a lot – could be from Cushings or kidney issues 
  • Wheezing sound when he breathes 
  • Nasal discharge
  • Rotten teeth – his mouth smells like a sewer 
  • Blood drawn for thyroid – awaiting results 
  • All these are just from the first vet visit ☹️ 

Rotten teeth 

Overgrown nails 

Volunteers grooming & cleaning Alex

Alex will be scheduled for the following tests next week :

  1. Cushings
  2. Ultrasound  

And when he is more settled, undergo sterilization and dental. 

For now, he is safe with a temporary foster. He will not be up for adoption till he is healthy and happier. They say our eyes are windows to our soul and if you saw Alex, you would have agreed that he had given up on life. We hope that with your help, we can bring back that sparkle in his eyes ❤️

Eyes that no longer shine

To date, his first vet bill was $1100. Please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg if you would like to help with Alex’s vet bills. Thank you


Reflections 2022

As the year comes to a close and 2023 beckons, we think of the dogs we rescued this year, the new ones and the ones we lost, it sometimes feels like the ghost of Christmas past.

In 2022 alone, we rescued 13 dogs, most of which were owner surrender and surrendered in such unrecognizable condition that we questioned if the owners were even human. The number of rescue cases we took in rose twofold, from 6 in 2021.

How on earth could someone who call themselves a human being, treat or should we say, neglect a dog to such a deplorable state and many were long term neglect. How could they possibly turn a blind eye on a dog with open, bleeding wounds and in some instances, like Buddy and Kai Kai, the dog no longer looked like a dog.

Why does such gross animal neglect happen in a first world country where our citizens are such law fearing and law abiding and how can we move forward to improve the animal welfare laws to minimize the suffering, neglect and abuse of these sweet souls who have no voice and suffer in silence?

Our animal laws are rather lax and with seemingly many loopholes. We report abuse cases to the authorities, but what the outcomes are, if the owners were fined, jailed (highly unlikely), we don’t know, as the governing body is not obligated to update us. We guess, that more often than not, for the suffering, neglect and abuse the owners have caused to the sweet dogs, they probably just got a slap on the wrist and the same person that caused all the suffering, can go right out and buy another dog.

On the other hand, if these animal abusers are given stiffer punishments, they may decide not to surrender the dogs. What if they abandoned them somewhere? What if they kept the dogs at home and let them die a slow death, like Kai Kai?

Would it make a difference if we allowed people to surrender their dogs, no questions asked? Would this encourage more people to do the right thing or would this invite abuse to the system instead?

Let us hear your thoughts because we are quite sure, as we enter 2023, there will still be many wicked humans who will keep us very busy.