Medical Aid For A Factory Dog

Behind those eyes and wagging tail is a story of hope.

Mookie, a factory dog, is estimated to be about 8 to 10 years old. He used to live on the streets as a stray but two years ago decided to move into a factory because there was better food, more regular meals and perhaps, he preferred the living environment. An elderly security guard would cook rice daily, mixing it with kibbles that volunteers do sometimes supply him with, to feed the animals living in his compound, even though he does not earn much. Currently, there are a total of 14 cats and 3 dogs living in that compound, including Mookie. 

Mookie's extremely swollen ear, caused by a burst blood vessel

Mookie's loss of fur caused by the infestation of fleas as he lives with 14 cats

Street animals very seldom live past mid-age. Even this age is considered relatively old for a stray. Often, they are killed as puppies when they learn to walk and to wander out in search of food, or they get killed in traffic accidents or construction site accidents. Living on the street, strays are exposed to the constant risk of accidents, illness, starvation and abuse. We know that strays come in all sizes, breed mixes, ages and colors; some with 4 legs, some with less; many injured and ill, but they all share common characteristics: they are homeless, they need our help and they all deserve loving homes.

Like all street animals, Mookie has had a hard life. Mookie looks older than he actually is. He hardly has any fur left, partly from old age, as well as from being bitten by fleas, as he lives on a compound with many cats. His right eye is shrunken and he has lost vision in that eye. This makes it extremely dangerous for Mookie living on the streets as his vision is limited and he might not be able to see approaching traffic. Apart from this “handicap”, Mookie’s hind legs are weak and arthritic. His legs tremble even as he stands to eat or be patted.

Mookie's hind legs tremble badly

About a month ago, volunteers from another animal welfare group had taken him to the vet as they noticed that Mookie had a hematoma in his left ear. We would like to thank them for their kindness and care for him. 

Mookie with his very swollen ear, caused by a hematoma

Often, we feel sorry for these street animals because we feel that they have to “sacrifice” themselves in order for us to notice them, for us to save and care for them. Had Mookie not been unwell, we would have just patted him, fed him and gone on with our regular feeding rounds. We would not have spent more than a few minutes with him or given him the love and attention that he has been waiting for all his life.

This time round, while we were trying to catch a sick stray dog across the street from where Mookie lives, we noticed that Mookie's ear was looking terribly swollen again. The reason why his hematoma was back again is that he has an ear infection, causing him to vigorously shake his head and thus bursting a blood vessel in the process, causing an accumulation of blood in his ear. This is the third time in a span of one and a half months that Mookie has a hematoma. 

Normally, if a hematoma is left untreated, the dog's ear would eventually burst, causing an open wound. It is unlikely that Mookie will bleed to death, but without medical aid, his open wound would be prone to another ear infection, maggot infestation or other complications that may result in the loss of his hearing or even his entire ear. Not to mention the pain and discomfort he would have to endure. 

Mookie's old eyes plead with us to help him. His right eye is shrunken and he no longer sees from that eye.

We quickly arranged for a pet transport to take Mookie to the vet the following day. However, when they got there, Mookie was nowhere to be found. It was a wasted trip for the pet transport, who kindly waived their charges.

That night, volunteers made a special trip down to the factory to look for the security uncle to inform him to wait with Mookie for the pet transport to arrive the following day.

The next day, Mookie arrived at the vet and Dr Teo JW said that the condition of his ear was really bad and an aspiration (process of draining fluids from an infected area using a syringe) alone would not solve the issue. He would need a minor surgery under general anaesthesia to avoid the reoccurrence of the hematoma in his ear and also addressing his inner ear infection. We agreed for Mookie to proceed with the ear surgery scheduled for the following day, and be warded for the night. However, after taking a blood sample to ensure that he was fit for the surgery, it turned out that Mookie’s blood results were bad and the surgery had to be postponed. Poor old Mookie had tick fever, heartworm as well as anaemia, on top of having a hematoma in his left ear and vision only in his right eye! Such is the sad life of a factory dog, and Mookie is actually considered quite fortunate to have a security guard care - bathing, feeding and medicating him. We couldn’t but help compare him to Harry. Who is in a worse off situation?

Since the surgery had to be postponed due to his poor health, only an aspiration on his ear was done. The pet transport then took Mookie back to his factory the following day.

That same night, HOPE volunteers went to Mookie's factory again to bring cooked liver and rice for him, to build him up. He was still a little drowsy from his sedation when the aspiration was done, but his ear was at least 60% less swollen. Mookie did not really have an appetite for his food; he just lay on the cold hard pavement, enjoying pats from the volunteers. The volunteers explained the ear medications to the security uncle, who was so glad to have Mookie returned safely to him.

We would like to thank the family who came to Mookie's rescue and helped with his vet bill for his first treatment.

However, a week later, Mookie’s ears started swelling again and this time, it happened in a very short span of time, for the third time! Poor Mooks. Volunteers had to take him to the vet yet again to have the blood and fluids drained from his swollen ear. Through it all, Mookie has been very cooperative, occasionally whining and crying when his ear was cut with a blade, with blood and pus being squeezed out from it. He was a tough old dog.

Squeezing blood and pus out from Mookie's ear

Pus coming out from Mookie's ear as it was quite badly infected

Sweet old Mooks enduring the painful procedure

Getting his head bandaged

Looking like a sweet Christmas present and smiling despite the pain

His ear was still bleeding as he left the clinic for the boarding kennels

Again, we were reminded by the vets that this procedure was just a temporary solution and that what Mookie really needed was a surgery on his ear and to cure his underlying ear infection. However, this can’t be carried out at this present moment as Mookie is too weak and unwell; we might lose him on the operating table and we definitely don’t want to take that risk.

This time, however, after the procedure on his ear, we decided to board him at boarding kennels for a week or two. Volunteers would work out shifts to visit him twice a day; to clean his ears, change his dressing and medicate him, in the hope that his inner ear problem would heal completely and the hematoma not occur again as it is too painful a process for poor old Mooks to endure every other week.

Mookie has been at the boarding kennels for the past few days, crying and whining the first two days, wanting to go back to his factory. He refused the dog food that volunteers bought for him and feeling sorry for him, they decided to spoil him with chicken rice, liver and eggs daily – which Mookie wolfed down in a flash!

Mookie on the way to the boarding kennels to recuperate for two weeks

Doesn't this face show how much faith he has in humans?

Mookie having a good rest at the boarding kennels

Mookie's bowl of rice, potatoes and chicken, lovingly prepared by Lisa

Our volunteers will continue to take time off from work to go down to the boarding kennels twice daily to medicate and change his dressing, as well as to feed him. His wound seems to have dried up and he is shaking his head less. As soon as his inner ear infection is cleared, volunteers will arrange to take Mookie back to the factory and will continue to visit him frequently to ensure he is happy and well. We don’t want his hematoma to recur as the process is painful and costly We are hoping his inner ear infection would be rid once and for all and Mookie would not have to proceed with the ear surgery.

Volunteers also want to try their best to ensure that Mookie’s other good eye is taken care of so he does not lose his remaining eye. They will check on him twice weekly, cleaning and applying eye drops for him.

If you would like to help Mookie with the following, please email Fiona at pops_snaps@singnet.com.sg
  1. Vet bill for 2nd ear aspiration $492/- (stayed overnight at vet)
  2. Vet bill for 3rd ear aspiration $329/-
  3. Pet transport $110 (Paid by Rosalind L, thank you!)
  4. Boarding + dog food  $315/- (estimated, based on boarding of 2 weeks) 
As animal welfare volunteers, we cross paths with old dogs who desperately need our help. Why are we so passionate about giving aid to senior street dogs? It gives us a warm fuzzy feeling inside to know that we have given an elderly stray dog a few more years worth living. All dogs are equally special and close to our heart, regardless of whether they are pets or mere strays. They deserve to be cherished and helped.  We believe that it's worth our time and worth the fight.

As long as there are dogs just like Mookie out there, our work will continue, bringing them the light of Hope they all truly deserve.

We would like to thank our volunteers Lisa, Mandy, Jamie, Susan and Jo-Ann for caring for and loving Mooks.   

Photographs courtesy of Jamie, Lisa and Jo-Ann. Written by Jo-Ann.


What Is An Animal Rescuer?

I think it’s important to understand that when you hear the word rescuer, it usually means volunteer. It’s you, me and anyone with an open home or heart to help one in need; human or animal. In the case of an animal rescuer, we open our homes, our hearts, our wallets or find foster homes, just like with children, that can offer food and shelter to an animal in need.
A rescued breeding dog (a Shetland Sheepdog)
What does an animal rescuer do? Each day, we read many stories and emails about dogs or cats being abused, lost and not found, ready to be put down because no one claimed him or deemed too old to be rehomed, or abandoned by their families because they just simply got tired of them. Then we feel a whole whirlwind of emotions run through us; sadness, guilt, anger, fear and then for some, we go into action and feel this need to get involved.

While I’m rarely shocked anymore, I can still feel the pain of the tortured souls in my own body… and I am incapable of looking away.
An abandoned dog, having walked for miles. Maggot infested paw.
An animal rescuer will take in a stray cat or dog that’s on its way to death row. An animal rescuer will walk the cold or hot cement floors in breeding farms, listening to the cries of sadness and barking from a scared or injured dog, begging to be noticed and rescued. We see animals curled up in the corners, hungry, afraid or depressed. Others so hungry they’ll eat anything deposited on the cold, hard cement floors. We ache but we keep going on, hundreds of questions running through our minds. We ask ourselves what is wrong with these people? What has become of humans? Where is their compassion? How could people possibly breed and make money from such sad animals living in appalling conditions? How can their hearts be so cold? We get teary eyed at all the faces of the lifeless animals we know we just can’t help.
Giving birth on the streets
Finally with heavy hearts we make our choices of the animals we know that we can help, on that particular day, financially and emotionally, until we find them a new loving home, forever. We then put them into our cars and drive off with a new scared friend; a friend we have never met. As we drive off, our minds are again filled with new worry; how much will the vet bills cost? How sick is this breeding dog? Does it have tick fever? Heartworm? Broken bones? How much will boarding kennels cost? How long will I have to pay before the dog gets rehomed? And these thoughts run through our minds as we drive with our new friend.

A grossly neglected Schnauzer (Animal cruelty)
Our job, as an animal rescuer, is healing abandoned or broken hearts, returning the life that was taken from them and match making – finding them their forever homes. When the rescued dog has finally recuperated and is ready to be rehomed, we can finally select their new family. We then drive our furry friend to their new strange home with great anticipation in our hearts. We walk around the house, we check the gates and fences, looking for places they might possibly escape through. Once we’ve done our house check, taken a new family portrait, we give our friend a big hug and kiss and we drive off. Sometimes we tear but not necessarily because we were sad, but because we gave so much of ourselves, saved a life and our job is now complete. They will be dearly missed but we must now switch our thoughts and focus on the next rescue; the next one.

I live each day, for the dogs. I wake up, prepared to do more. I go to sleep, thinking of those I couldn’t reach.

This is the life of an animal rescuer.

Photo Credits : Michelle Chan, Jo-Ann Teo and Anne Seow.


Harry. I Want So Much To Live

Updates (17 July 2011) - From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank everyone who has written in to offer help; help to pay Harry's vet bills, buy his food, cook meat for him, buy food for the strays, etc. I am truly and deeply touched by your kind gestures and generosity. And for those who wrote in to say they were concerned that I would stop working with strays or stop my rescue work, please rest assured that I cannot live without the strays. I need them in my life, not the other way round! They make my life complete. For those who have not heard me say this; after a hard day's work, if you need to de-stress, go feed a stray! You'll feel rejuvenated after that. Thank you everyone for showing that you care so much. Harry would be glad to know he has so many people caring for him. I'll be sure to tell him that.

We were informed by a member of the public, Kenneth, who emailed for some help and advice on what to do as he had seen Harry chained up for some months. This is what Kenneth says :
My company have shifted our operation to Woodlands Industrial in March 2011. Upon settling down, I notice a dog being with a very short leash to a wall a few unit from where I was operating.
Fast forward to May 2011, the dog was quickly reduced to skin and bone. I didn't want to seek help from SPCA as I know that if they step in, the dog might be put to sleep within 24hrs because it was an old mongrel. Maybe he was lucky, I looked on the internet and found a group that is run by volunteers that help stray/ abused animals. I emailed Fiona that night and got a respond from her. I could not remember the exact date now, but Fiona come over in the middle of the night and fed the skinny dog 4 canned of dog food. We were in touch the next few days and Fiona ask me if I am willing to help to take care of the dog. I agree and was later on introduced to her friend, Susan, who came every week without fail to deliver dog food to me and to make enquires of the well- being of the dog. When I am not free on Sunday, Susan will usually drop by to feed the dog. The dog, named Harry now, is recovering well and had put on weight. He was sent for a medical check up as I noticed there was blood in his urine. Fiona has told me not to worry about the medical cost as she will find a way to help Harry. The result from the Doctor visit state that it will need long term medication for heart problem and he may also have cancer. ______________________________________________________________

Sixth floor of an industrial building.

Our Harry, an old lonely dog, his eyes showing his years of pain and hardship
We first found Harry sleeping in a corner behind a parked lorry. He was no longer chained up but the years of being chained on a short leash, fed perhaps one meal in weeks, had reduced him to a bag of bones with legs so weak he could hardly stand. He was a sorry sight. He lay motionless as we approached him. We strained our eyes to see if he was still breathing. We called out many times and made all kinds of sounds that dogs usually respond to, but he continued to be in a deep sleep.

This was not a state of slumber. It felt as if he was really weak and that he was in such deep sleep that had we not woken him, he might have just slipped away. . . . .
We walked back to the car to take out a can of dog food. The power of scent! As soon as we opened the can of food, Harry awoke from his deep sleep and  struggled to stand up. His legs kept sliding apart as he tried his best to balance. Finally he stood up and wobbled quickly over to us. He ate so fast, it would seem like it was his first meal in months. He wanted more and more and so we ended up feeding him 4 large cans of dog food. He could have eaten more but his stomach was so empty, we didn’t want him to feel sick and throw up.

Food and water bowls for Harry, kindly bought by Susan
Harry seemed friendly enough. We managed to pat him, wipe his eyes and clean his face, before he quickly went back to his comfort zone and curled up, with a full stomach, possibly the first in his entire life. He was contented.
The following day, I contacted Kenneth to try to arrange for him to feed Harry on a regular basis. Kenneth agreed to take on that responsiblity, and also offered to buy rice to cook with the canned food that we would supply.
A friend, Susan, who happens to live near Harry, has kindly offered to share the feeding responsibility with Kenneth. Susan bought two plastic bowls for Harry’s water and food, and she buys the dog food and passes it to Kenneth on a weekly basis. She also feeds Harry when Kenneth is out of town. Kenneth is in charge of feeding Harry twice a day and will clear and wash the bowls after Harry is done eating, so as to avoid complaints from the other tenants.

Harry tucking into his food
This has turned out to be an excellent arrangement for a dog that was near death. In less than two short months, we have seen Harry put on weight and his stomach has gotten rounder, his legs stronger. He even runs when he sees us drive up towards him!

A few days back, Kenneth informed Susan that he noticed that there was blood in Harry’s pee so we quickly booked the pet transport and arranged to catch Harry and take him to the vet for a check-up.

Taking Harry to the Vet
At the vet, Harry was extremely cooperative. He allowed the Dr to jab him, draw blood, take numerous x-rays and he was calm through it all. In fact, while Harry was at the clinic, we noticed that his eyes actually lit up for the first time. Perhaps because Harry likes people and he was happy to be surrounded by them. While speaking to the Dr, Harry dripped blood onto the floor, and that got us really worried.
Harry has some missing teeth, possibly from old age
Drawing blood for various tests
Harry dripping blood on the floor

Harry is rather unwell and was shedding very badly
Dr Chan did numerous x-rays on him as she noticed he was constantly panting and had difficulty breathing. His results were heartbreaking. 

1) Harry is anemic.

2) His heart is enlarged, possibly from old age and thus, is not functioning well.

3) Water in his lungs, because his heart is not working as it should be.

4) Heart murmur.

5) Harry was dripping blood – Dr suspected that there is internal bleeding and Harry could possibly be suffering from prostate cancer as she can feel a huge mass in his penile region but she can’t confirm this till a proper biopsy is done. Unfortunately, due to Harry’s heart condition, there is a high probability that he won’t survive the surgery and being under GA, thus a biopsy cannot be carried out.

6) Harry has bacteria and crystals in his urine. (He doesn't like drinking water.)

X-ray of Harry's enlarged heart. His heart is not functioning well, causing water to build up in his lungs

 Dr Chan says that for blood to be dripping and for his penis to be so swollen, the cancer would have been developing for quite a long while in order for it to get to this stage
X-ray of Harry's penile region. There seems to be a growth there and it is possible that he has had cancer for many months, but this can't be confirmed unless a biopsy in carried out.
Harry has not been sterilized and this could have caused a higher percentage of him getting prostate cancer.
Why has Harry chosen to live on the sixth floor of this particular building? Did he use to have an owner or care-giver that worked there? Has this person left his job or left the country, leaving Harry behind, loyally waiting for years, hoping  . . . and pining away for him?
Harry is not young; he looks to be about  8 to 10 years old? He could be even older . .. .  or he could actually be younger but the years of being chained up and not having food may have taken its toll on him, making him look much older than he really is.  What really strikes me when I see Harry, when I look deep into his eyes, despite all the food, care and attention he recently has, there is such a great sense of sadness and heaviness in him. Saying that he has had a hard life would be an understatement. Looking at Harry, I feel his head and heart heavy with sorrow, not having anyone ever shown him love, not having ever known what a family or a friend is. Harry has lived this life for years, and now, his eyes plead with me to help him, to take him home and show him the comfort, the warmth and love that he has never experienced.
Perhaps Kenneth and Susan have shown Harry care and concern, but somehow, to Harry, he doesn’t belong to them. They don’t belong to him, they are not his.
Harry needs to return to the vet in one month’s time, to see if his heart condition has improved, and to check if he is still bleeding internally. In the meantime, Kenneth will feed and medicate Harry.
If you would like to help Harry with any of the following, please do email me at pops_snaps@singnet.com.sg
-Help with his vet bills - S$363/- (to be paid directly to Mount Pleasant Animal Medical Centre)

-Help with his pet transport bill – S$140, it was after office hours (to be paid directly to Pet Mobile)

-Take him to the vet on his next visit in one month’s time, so we can save on pet transport. You would need a van for this as Harry is a big dog and he also is oily from sleeping under a lorry every night.

-Sponsor Harry's meals – S$150 per month, based on two cans of dog food per day (to be paid directly to the pet shops that we have special deals with)

-Foster Harry

-Adopt Harry 
The only time we have seen handsome Harry's eyes light up, was when he was at the Vet, surrounded by people. Harry needs someone in his life. His very own Master.

We work mostly with street animals and often, they are quite happy living on the streets. They feel that the streets are their playground. All they need from us is food on a regular basis and the occasional hugs and pats. They don’t ask that we take them home because they would miss their freedom. Neither is it our objective to collect dogs.  However, occasionally we come across dogs like Harry, whose eyes plead with us to please not put him back at the factory or on the streets because he is truly tired of living that life and all he wants is a family to call his own, even if it’s just for a few short years before he passes on . . .  . .

Written by Fiona


I Am An Animal Rescuer - By Annette King Tucker

My job is to assist God's creatures
I was born with the drive to fulfill their needs
I take in helpless, unwanted, homeless creatures
without planning or selection
I have bought dog food with my last dime
I have patted a mangy head with a bare hand
I have hugged someone vicious and afraid
I have fallen in love a thousand times
And I have cried into the fur of a lifeless body too many times to count
I have Animal Friends and friends who have animal friends
I don't often use the word "pet"
I notice those lost at the road side
And my heart aches
I will hand raise a field mouse
And make friends with a vulture
I know of no creature unworthy of my time
I want to live forever if there aren't animals in Heaven
But I believe there are
Why would God make something so perfect and leave it behind
Some may think we are master of the animals
But the animals have mastered themselves
Something people still haven't learned
War and Abuse make me hurt for the world
But a rescue that makes the news gives me hope for mankind
We are a quiet but determined army
And we are making a difference every day
There is nothing more necessary than warming an orphan
nothing more rewarding than saving a life
No higher recognition than watching them thrive
There is no greater joy than seeing a baby play
who only days ago, was too weak to eat
By the love of those who I've been privileged to rescue
I have been rescued
I know what true unconditional love really is
for I've seen it shining in the eyes of so many
Grateful for so little
I am an Animal Rescuer
My work is never done
My home is never quiet
My wallet is always empty
But my heart is always full

Stray puppy from Tuas
Written from the heart by:

Annette King-Tucker


About HOPE Dog Rescue

We are a group of animal lovers who strongly feel that all animals should be treated with love and respect. Animals who are abused, neglected and abandoned  just makes us want to do something to change their lives for the better.
We are volunteer animal rescuers.
HOPE Dog Rescue and its blog were created for several reasons:
We hope that this blog will serve as a means to help the animals who so desperately need saving, by creating an awareness on their lives and sharing their stories with you. 
This blog also serves as an avenue for us to vent our frustrations in animal rescue, the sometimes inefficient laws, the lack of help and the cruelty that goes unseen, be it in breeding farms, in homes, or on the streets.
Ever hopeful, we also hope to share our joys of animal rescue, the successes, and the lives we have touched. We hope that others who share our passion will find solace in our stories, and people who have never felt the need to get involved, will now decide to do so.
It is important that people who care for animals, band together to help and save them, to tell the animals, “you are not alone”.
As we look to the future, we hope our efforts in ending animal cruelty will mean less suffering for the animals.
Join us in this journey as we try our best, within our means and resources, to save the animals and to rebuild their trust in humans again, to try to protect every animal against unnecessary suffering.