To date, there are two main locations where the feeding takes place. At the moment feeding sessions take place twice a week at each location. As there are lack of volunteers with own transport, it is logistically difficult to do more than two feedings per week. Having said that, most of the dogs I saw are not too skinny.
It is very heartwarming to see how welcomed the volunteers are. The dogs started running towards the vehicle from different corners as we approached and some of them were more interested in playing with us than eating. Our very first stop was at a factory where the old Chinese security guard called Ah Seng looked after 3 dogs and 14 cats. One of the dogs, Mookie, ( 9 years old, half blind, and has bad hind legs) loves to hang out with the volunteers and play. HOPE leaves packets of kibbles for the dogs and also dinner for Ah Seng whenever they are there. Ah Seng has been looking after Mookie for many years now. The only worry is the factory will be sold next year so the fates of the animals remain unknown.
|Leslie giving Mookie a belly rub|
We spent about 4 hours making our rounds to various parts of the industrial estate. HOPE has a log sheet where information on number of dogs, number of sterilized and non-sterilized dogs in each area is listed, names were also given to the dogs and I had the honour of naming one dog last week and he's called Smoky! The log sheet helps to ensure that no areas are forgotten and also to check to see if the dogs are still around.
|This dog was probably involved in a slight traffic accident|
|Lisa and a street dog|
With each feeding session, HOPE discovers more and more stray dogs in need of food and a home. Any dog that is injured, HOPE will also bring it to the vet for medical help, if they can catch the dog. Hence there is the constant need for funds. HOPE is also trying to re-home some of the friendlier and younger dogs. Besides feeding, one of the main focus of HOPE is to sterilize the strays, although there is some difficulty in catching some of the older strays. Some of the dogs turn aggressive when we attempt to catch them, which is totally understandable. There is this nice old man who has been feeding some of the dogs for past 10 years and he can actually carry any of the dogs including one very aggressive female but sadly he does not agree with the idea of sterilization and HOPE so far, cannot convince him otherwise.
|A heavily pregnant street dog. It costs $150/- to sterilize a dog.|
With the presence of HOPE in the industrial estates, there is more awareness about kindness to animals, need for sterilization and also less cases of cruelty to the animals - a definite positive move in the right direction!
|They don't always get spoon fed|
|Katie enjoying some time with a street dog, Johnny|
One of the volunteers asked me how I felt about the whole experience at the end of the night. I felt that the dogs in the industrial estate looked pretty good, as in I have seen a lot worse in India and other developing countries, but that is also the result of years of regular feeding done by HOPE. She then asked me how would I feel if the dog that I have been feeding was killed or just disappeared. My reply - Of course I would feel sad, but at the same time, I take comfort in knowing that the poor dog did not die unloved and uncared for. It had at least experienced kindness and love in its lifetime and had gone to sleep on a full stomach before.
|Leslie helping to apply Frontline on the dogs one night before they go for sterilization|
|Black hands after patting the dogs!|
I will be going on another feeding session and have become more involved in HOPE’s activities. If you like to help, HOPE is always in need of volunteers with own vehicles who can help drive dogs back and forth from vets and of course, monetary donation is always welcome :)
Article and Photographs By Leslie Kok
Article and Photographs By Leslie Kok