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