Harry – Life Just Keeps Getting Tougher

A few volunteers visited Harry on Wednesday night, bringing with us his favourite food - roast duck and fried chicken. Ever since Harry started on his weekly chemotherapeutic injections two weeks ago, we had decided to visit him a few times throughout the week to check if he was alright, to let him know we care a great deal for him and that he wasn’t alone in this journey.

When we arrived at his factory, there was no sign of Harry. I walked around and called out but he didn’t come stumbling out like he usually did. I asked a few workers if they had seen “the dog” and finally one worker told me Harry was lying inside his factory and has not been eating. He pointed to where Harry lay.

I went into the workshop and Harry didn’t get up to greet me; he just lay, listless, tail not even wagging. I sensed that he wasn’t feeling too well and knelt beside him to stroke his head. I offered him his favourite roast duck but he was totally uninterested in it. He did however have two fried chicken wings, before turning his head away. The workers were hovering around, watching this crazy lady care so much for a stray dog. Over the years, I have gotten used to these stares and if I start talking to the dogs, they usually will leave me alone!

These workers have seen a lot of me and the volunteers these past few weeks and seem nicer towards Harry, allowing him to wander into their workshops to rest.

Harry lying listless in the workshop
I sat with Harry for a while, stroked and talked to him. I told him we would take him to the beach this Sunday and that we were looking forward to spending time with him again. His eyes looked up at me and I knew he understood what I had just told him. We then had to leave to go to the industrial estates to feed the 50+ strays who were waiting for us to deliver their meals. This was the fateful night that one of our dogs, Tang Tang, was savagely beaten to death.

Today I received a call from Kenneth, the person who first informed us of Harry’s plight. Kenneth informed me that Harry seemed to be sleeping a lot these past 2 days but in the afternoon, he had found Harry on the ground floor of the building, instead of the usual 6th floor, where he lived. He mentioned that Harry seemed tired and unable to walk up to the 6th floor, so Kenneth took him back up in the lift. Kenneth also mentioned that Harry had left his food untouched for the past two days and was worried that Harry wasn’t feeling too good.

I called Dr Ang to seek her advice on Harry’s condition and she advised me to bring him to the clinic to put him on a drip immediately as he may suffer a loss of appetite and weight loss because of his chemotherapeutic injections, so we headed down to Harry’s factory after work.

Harry was again inside the same workshop.

I knelt beside him and told him that I was there to take him to the vet and he would feel better after that. As I stroked his head, I noticed that he had a tear on his right ear with the blood stains almost drying up. It looked like it was torn in a dog fight. As I was checking his ear, I saw that there were cuts on his nose and the right side of his mouth was terribly swollen. I opened his mouth to check and my hands were stained with blood, although I couldn’t see any open wounds in his mouth. With Kenneth’s help, we put Harry in a pet carrier and carried it to the car. As we walked to the car, Kenneth mentioned that he had seen Harry walking on the road earlier on in the day, and he suspected a female dog was on heat. That made sense because Harry hardly ever left his 6th floor workshop and the tear on his ear had indicated that he might have been involved in a dog fight. We drove around looking for the female dog, to see if she too was injured. We found her in the next lane, guarded by a young male dog, perhaps 2 to 3 years of age. Harry and the male dog may have fought for the female dog and Harry would obviously have lost the fight.

I felt sorry for the female dog. She was sitting in the middle of the road, exhausted from running from the males. Her eyes pleaded for help but as I went closer, the male dog that was guarding her, growled and warned me not to go any nearer. I had no choice but to leave some food for the both of them and left.

An extremely exhausted female dog (black) rests in the middle of the road, 
with a male dog guarding her

Harry was extremely happy to go to the vet and walked really quickly to the main entrance. We took his weight and found out he had lost more weight. Carey, the vet tech, cleaned Harry’s wound while we waited for Dr Ang to see us. Dr Ang checked Harry’s ear and said that it could be left to heal on its own and didn’t need to be stitched up. 

Poor Harry has lost a lot of weight

Cleaning his wound

Tear in Harry's ear

Dr Ang then checked his mouth / gums and found a cut on his gums. In the midst of the dog fight, his canine (tooth) had also been pushed out causing his gums to bleed. Dr Ang mentioned that this would have really hurt Harry, and perhaps this was the reason why he had not been eating. It was simply too painful to eat. Saline was used to flush his mouth and rinse away the blood.

Harry's canine needs to be removed

Flushing his mouth with saline

An extremely swollen mouth
Look at the angle that his tooth juts out!

Dr Ang said that Harry needed a surgery the following day, to extract the tooth before infection sets in. If the tooth is not removed, Harry would be in pain and not eat anyway, so there was no escaping the surgery.

Although a rather simple procedure to extract the tooth, given Harry’s poor health, old age, heart murmur and water in his lungs, this surgery becomes an extreme high risk for Harry and there is a high possibility that he may not survive the procedure.

A painkiller jab to help him get through the night

We left the clinic with a heavy heart, worried about poor old Harry and our cumulating vet bills.

Harry has had such a hard, sad life. One setback after another. I wish I could take away all his pain, suffering and sadness and make him the happiest dog on earth.

Should you wish to visit Harry at the vet, bring him food or help contribute to his vet bills, you may visit him only on Saturday (20 August) between 2pm to 4pm. Please SMS / call me (9839 1308) before heading down to the vet.

We know Harry is scared and in pain. We have told him to be strong and brave, like he has always been. We will be here for him and he must pull through. There is lots for him to look forward to once he survives this surgery.

Stay tuned to our blog for more updates on Harry.

Special thanks to Mandy for being Harry's personal pet transporter.

Written by Fiona