A Fairy Tale Christmas

Imagine dying before he ever lived.
From the first time I laid eyes on Harry, I knew he was a special dog; strong, silent, patient, brave and fiercely loyal. He was a gentle giant. While it's almost impossible to find the right words to accurately describe the abuse and suffering Harry went through, going for weeks without food, tied to a heavy metal chain and going through the pain of cancer cells growing in his body, he took everything in his stride and accepted all that life had dealt him. Harry never gave up hope, believing that one day he would be saved. Inner strength is strengthened when we face our truths... when we acknowledge our circumstances... and despite our grim reality, we choose to keep going because within each of us, lies strength. Within strength, lies hope. Within hope, lies the power to go on.
Harry at the factory where he lived for years.
I don't know if Harry ever dreamt of a real life in a home, filled with an abundance of love and food, but I am sure all that he ever hoped for was regular meals and to be unleashed from his misery. Fate intervened and Harry had more than he could even dream of!
When our paths first crossed, I knew in my heart that my life would change, so would Harry's. Harry taught me many things, but mostly, to always have hope no matter how hard life seemed and Harry reminded me of my journey in life, to help and to give hope to the furry ones that I feel so passionately for. As an animal rescuer, albeit voluntary, I often feel for the dogs I rescue and I take full responsibility for their well-being. There are times where I feel helpless and don’t feel strong, when contributions are few; sometimes we can't find a temporary foster or our “adopt a dog” plea goes unheard, especially if they are old dogs or local cross breeds and this problem seems heightened especially when we have more than one dog in our charge. Often, at any one time, we have at least two to four dogs in foster care and the stress builds up, especially when we have to manage all this on top of holding full time jobs.
This is how gorgeous Harry looks now.
Each dog we rescue is a gift. Harry had nothing in his life yet he trudged on, believing that his fate would one day change and change it did. Over the years in animal rescue, I have never dared hope for too much for the rescued dogs and have always prided myself on being realistic and practical when it comes to making decisions on their behalf. If we could save them, cure and feed them, that was more than any street dog could ask for. This doesn’t mean we don’t help them wholeheartedly. Every dog that crosses our paths, we give them our all.
Imagine having the power to make a dog smile.
We always do our best within our limitations and after they have recuperated, we release them back to the streets. Not all street dogs can be rehomed; most treasure their freedom on the streets and we continue to care for them by feeding them, monitoring their health, taking them to the vets if need be, and also applying Frontline on them. All this would not be possible if not for the kind hearted animal lovers who faithfully support the work we do. We would never be able to help an iota of the dogs we have helped, if not for all the friends who have been there for us since HOPE started in July 2011.
Knowing Harry evoked a lot of feelings in me, simply because I love him as a person, for his silent strength and courage. In the earlier days, it saddened me tremendously when the Drs had given him only a week or two to live and advised us to put him down. All we ever wanted for Harry was to wipe away the pain in his heart.
We were planning to return Harry to his factory and had worked out shifts with various volunteers to check on him and feed him daily but fortunately that never materialized. Hailey, my savior, had been reading and following Harry’s story since his initial rescue and feeling so much for him, offered to foster him. FOSTER – that word rang sweetly in my ears. Over the months that Hailey had cared for Harry, as a foster, she never once believed that he would leave us any time soon. It has been 4 months and Harry is still very much alive although his lungs are filling with fluids and he is coughing a lot more. He pants and has difficulty breathing. He spends his days sleeping in the rooms or lazing in the hall, soaking in the love that the family has for him. Hailey and Bryan faithfully take Harry to all his vet appointments and have helped us by sponsoring his vet bills, which don’t come cheap as Harry has chemo jabs as well.
Having sunshine in his life
Harry's story gives us hope that no matter how low our lives are, we don't give up; that if a dog who has had death knock on his door a few times can find love and a family, then we must persist, for the sake of all the other dogs out there who continue to have that glimmer of hope, waiting for us to give them a better life.
Words could never express how grateful we are to Hailey and Bryan who openly welcomed Harry into their lives and loved him wholeheartedly. It is dogs like Harry that make our hard work all worthwhile and for the remaining time that Harry has on earth, he is gifted with a little piece of Heaven.
Let us give hope and joy to all the abandoned unloved pets and street dogs that long for a warm meal, some love and a shelter from the storm, not just at Christmas time but every time; if only everyone could just give a little of themselves . . . .
Harry has been adopted by Hailey and Bryan!!

The team at HOPE wishes one and all a Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year. May we continue with the spirit of giving. Love from Fiona.
The article below is contributed by Hailey and Bryan, Harry's Mommy and Daddy.
21 August 2011 …. Someone special entered my husband's & my life.
It will be 4 months since Harry became part of our family, which includes 3 of our companions Snoopy, Rascal and Angel. Recently, we added a kitty, Abby.
Harry and his new sibling, Abby
Looking at Harry today, it is so easy to forget that for many years, he had never felt warmth and love or had a home. He spent his life chained outside a factory, subject to the elements of nature. It was a life of survival, not just with the elements, but probably from other dogs and perhaps cruel jibes from humans. He ate as and when he could find food, discards mainly, and drank whatever water that was available along the way, slept in the sweltering heat or cold of the night. Alone. Dirty. Hungry. Sick.
That he survived for so long on his own is testimony of his tenacity and his unwavering will to survive.
Harry was weak and frail when he first came into our lives. His coat barely covered his bones. He now eats 3 hearty meals a day. His favourite …. small little animal shaped cookies. He has since put on some weight. He is so good looking now.
Harry enjoys walking around the Christmas tree!
Harry’s favourite snoozing place is our room. He sleeps most of the time, perhaps to make up for lost time. And oh yes… he loves going to our small garden to stick his head into the foliage. For some reason, Snoopy, Rascal, Angel and Abby would leave Harry in peace. Perhaps, they are all more compassionate, sensitive and knowing than us. Perhaps they know that Harry just needs a little more time to come out of his shell. For now, they understand he just needs rest, sustenance and love.
Harry's very first Christmas
Harry is sweet and gentle. He demands little. We have his trust now. It is a special relationship between Harry and us. It is a joy every day for us to see Harry live another day. For Harry, he has finally found a home that is filled with love, cuddles, hugs and pats. Where he won't have to worry about having nothing to eat or drink or a warm place to sleep.
Hailey and darling Harry
Harry has gotten his 4th chemo jab in October and it seems he may no longer need more. We do not know how long he could be with us … It’s too little too late we are told. But like Harry, we harbour the hope that it isn't.
Harry is happy now and for us, each day, with him in our lives, is a blessing.
Photographs courtesy of Leslie Kok and Hailey Mak.


Angels Have Paws - Poem By Annette King Tucker

They often find me when my life has got me down
I have purpose when I know that they're around
In every pair of eyes, there's an angel in disguise
For the joy they bring makes it impossible to frown

Sometimes they know me better than I do
When I'm feeling a little sad, lonely and blue
They insist I stop to play, and my blues just fade away
And I'm thankful for a friend so smart and true
And when my little angels get old and gray
And their light on Earth begins to fade away
The hole within my heart is left gaping when they part
But they always seem to fill it with a stray

We say we care for them, but I know better
Every furry friend and bird of every feather
They come into our life, an end to loneliness and strife
Creating purpose, hope and memories we treasure
So when that aching need for a friend begins to smart
A purchase isn't where you need to start
A rescue is a place where an angel has a face
'Adoption' means "Chosen by the heart".

Momo and Sparky were rescued amidst rubble and construction work,  when they were barely 4 weeks old. Their mommy was malnourished and could hardly fend for herself. 3 of their siblings have found their own loving families, save for Momo and Sparky still clinging on to that tiny dash of hope . . . . . will you give them a home?

Now if you don't believe in Angels or their cause
I ask you reconsider and take pause
They are around us every day, disguised as lost or stray
And will find you not on wings, but tired paws.
A stray puppy found at a construction site.
Written from the heart by :
Annette King-Tucker

Note from Fiona : While you celebrate and give love this Christmas, spare a thought for all the homeless dogs waiting for a home; locked in kennels indefinitely, passed around from foster to foster, clinging on to the dream and hope that they will someday have a place to call home and to have a family of their own. 

Happy Christmas everyone and thank you for reading our blog.


Losing Faith In Humanity

A whimpering, grimy tangle of fur chained to a rail outside the Animal Recovery Centre (ARC) at Tampines – certainly not a common or pretty sight. But this was how poor Crystal was found in April this year.

This was how she looked when she was discarded outside ARC Tampines
We apologized for the awful things that had happened to her. We said “we’re sorry” for things we didn’t do and told her we loved her, because no one else in her life ever has.

We try to talk sense into senseless people. We try to educate the ignorant. We fail at these attempts on a daily basis.

Even still, we save all that we can. We love more than we thought possible. We smile… because they smile. And we hope that you will renew Crystal’s faith in humanity.

Rescuer – Ashner Chen

I found Crystal on 29 April 2011, at 2pm, as I was walking past the corridor of Animal Recovery Centre (ARC) Tampines. She was tied to the glass door. She was stinking badly, with so much flakes around her, raw skin flaming red from the many sores and wounds covering most part of her body. There were blood stains on the floor where she sat. She was a sorry sight.

Crystal, the day she was found
I knew immediately she was an abandoned dog, and I went into the ARC to inform the staff. An assistant and a vet came out. It was a horrid sight. Her nails curled a few rounds, about 2cm. I'm sure if it was fully extended, it may well be 5cm. It was obvious she had been neglected for a LONG time.

After the vet took her in for shower and further examined her, I went on my way.
However, I couldn't shake off that sad image that kept appearing in my mind, and I turned and headed back to the clinic. I called a friend, Ruth, thinking I could put her in a shelter, but with her bad skin condition, this was not possible. She needed lots of love and care.

Day One; Crystal had a shave and a nice clean bath.
Ruth then recommended a lady by the name of Michelle, who offered home boarding services. I accepted and placed Crystal with her. I have been paying Michelle since May 2011 to care for, feed and medicate Crystal, while Ruth helps me find Crystal a permanent home. We have not had any luck finding Crystal a home and what pains me more than anything else is the fact that despite having spent more than two thousand dollars on Crystal’s vet bills and paying Michelle for boarding and food, Crystal has been kept in a cage 24/7 by Michelle, and fed medication only when Michelle had time. I did not know what else I could do, so I put up with this for many months, while Crystal continued her suffering, in a different way.  

ARC had been nice to provide me with the initial medications and possible treatments.
Since then, Ruth has been frantically looking for a caregiver for Crystal, with much hiccups.

After six long months of despair, Ruth was introduced to Lynette, who then introduced them to HOPE.

From HOPE Dog Rescue

A nine year-old Shih Tzu, Crystal was found to have mites and dry eyes after her kind-hearted rescuer, Ashner, sent her for an initial check-up. To treat these, Crystal has to go for a skin scrape once a month and is currently on antibiotics. Possibly from neglect, her eyes are extremely dry and in a bad state; she suffers from unclear vision and requires eye-drops three times a day. According to the vet, Crystal’s condition is under control and there is no risk of her mites spreading. 
Life could not have dealth her a harder blow
Ashner had been paying for Crystal's boarding, medication and food from May to November 2011, simply because she could not bear to turn a blind eye on this poor dog. Having temporarily given Crystal some relief, her rescuer now needs a fellow doggie-lover to play fairy godma / godpa and foster Crystal medium- to long-term. Of course, a permanent loving home will be ideal for Crystal, and we are sure she will appreciate any little bit of love, care and affection for once in her life.  

Taken last week. Her recovery process has been extremely slow as Michelle had not been medicating her regularly despite being paid to care for Crystal.
We can’t save them all. We can’t even save most. We live each day knowing that, no matter how hard we try, it will never be enough.

We know that even when we succeed, we fail. We know that for every one we save, there’s another we lose and no matter how many we help, our work is never done.

Animal cruelty exists in many forms. We’ve seen the faces of abuse. We witness the senselessness of the world… and know that change is always just beyond our grasp…

Many times we have looked deep into the eyes of our rescue dogs and we see the pain and sadness that they have gone through. Despite her clouded eyes, Crystal’s eyes tell how hard a life she has had, the cruelty, abuse and neglect she has been faced with. Her tiny bony frame tells of the many times she has gone on for days on end without food. . . . but despite all this, she has already forgiven and is ready to love again.

Do you have a few moments and a little space at home - and in your heart – for lovely Crystal? Crystal has gone through more than we can ever imagine; neglected and then discarded. With her newfound freedom, she is extremely well behaved and spends her days trailing the foster around, with renewed drive! Crystal gets terribly excited once her meal is being prepared. We don’t blame her, knowing that there were often days that she had gone hungry. She wolfs down her food in seconds and is presently on 3 meals a day as she is underweight and malnourished.

Apart from her dry eyes, poor vision, skin problems and malnourishment, Crystal has no major health issues. She is happy and healthy. All she needs is for you to renew her faith in humanity and show her that there is something worth living for again. . . . .

Crystal; rebuilding her life with HOPE

To adopt Crystal, please email Fiona at fiona@hopedogrescue.org

We thank Mandy for temporarily fostering Crystal. If anyone can help foster Crystal long term, please contact us.

Photo credits – Chelsea Kane


Animal Rights - Earthlings

Not everyone will be able to sit and watch this video from start to end.
Despite working so much with injured strays, puppy mill dogs, animal cruelty cases – what I have seen and experienced is nothing compared to what you will watch in this video clip.
I had great difficulty watching this till the end but the real difficulty is not just watching it, it’s about forcing you to think about your role in the horrors being depicted. And I don’t know how anyone can watch it without feeling compelled to do something to stop the cruelty.
For those of us in animal welfare, watching Earthlings will reinforce your convictions and show you things you’ve only read about. If you’re not already in animal welfare, this video clip might convince you to do more.
Earthlings takes an unflinching look at the many ways in which animals are used and abused as companion animals, as food, as clothing, as entertainment, and in animal testing. Seventy percent of the footage is from undercover videos, taking the viewer to places where video cameras would probably never be allowed, places you would never see.
Most of the footage speaks for itself, showing scenes from factory farming, slaughterhouses and puppy mills; it might shock you when you see how our society treats animals.

After watching the video, I learnt something new. Animals are actually the same as us, human beings. We inhibit the Earth and this makes us all earthlings. We may not look the same or behave in the same way, but we all long for food, water, love, comfort, support and companionship. Being able to defend ourselves better doesn't give us the rights to mistreat the animals. Infect, we are all considered as animals in science. Animals are no different from us. They are just another nation. Mistreating animals is equivalent to racism and sexism. This I definitely agree. I hope people will not buy animals as pets just because they are cute and abandon them later on when they outgrow their cuteness. I hope people can put themselves in the shoes of the animals and not allow more and more animals to be put to sleep or be killed, abused, or neglected.

This video makes me feel really sad for the animals and I feel so upset that people fail to see the value 'responsibility'. More animals are going to die if people continue being so irresponsible. The animals do not deserve this. They deserve to be treated the same way as how we would treat our love ones. They should be loved and cared for like little kids no matter how old they are.

Thoughts by Zoei Ong (19 years old)


LOST DOG Needs Help Urgently

Scrappy has been reunited with his owner. Thank you everyone for helping.


Happy Ever After

Remember the adoption drive that was held on the 21st of October? We had ‘The Famous 5’ (puppies rescued from a breeding farm) – Murphy, Fifi, Lea, Scotty and Ally, and not forgetting ‘The Fantastic 2’ – Bingo and JJ! 

We received an overwhelming response, and about a hundred people came to join us at Doggie Style Café at NEX. The cafe was so crowded and filled with dog-loving people wanting to adopt the 7 dogs.

Adoption is the way to go! Thank you for the overwhelming response.

The volunteers have been very busy conducting house checks and interviews with potential adopters over the past few weeks after the adoption drive. Thankfully, all the dogs have been rehomed!
Little Lea at the adoption drive
Volunteer Tun Ling sharing about Lea
Volunteer Zoei with Ally

Volunteer Jasmin carrying Murphy
A dear friend, Francesca, carrying little Scotty
Scotty, one of the Famous 5, is very sick and therefore, the foster has decided to keep him. Poor Scotty is suffering from liver damage, possibly from malnutrition. He is a mere 4 months old. Had we not rescued him from the breeding farm, who knows what fate lay ahead for him.
Little Scotty on his way to the vet
Poor baby Scotty squealed so loudly way before the needle even touched him
Liver problem in dogs are occurring with ever increasing frequency. Usually, when the owner finds out that his/her dog has a liver problem, it is already too late. Fortunately for Scotty, it wasn’t too late. Liver damage can be cured if it is not at the last stages where the dog only has months or days to live.
Scotty was terribly unwell

X-ray reports showed an extremely enlarged liver
It all started when Scotty started panting a lot and was constantly lethargic. He was also not behaving like a puppy should; he did not play like any other puppy would. Fiona noticed his bloated stomach and sparse fur. She brought Scotty to the vet for a check-up because she was worried that all these symptoms may be an indication of some disease. True enough, the X-ray showed that Scotty has an enlarged liver and because he is still very young and delicate, he may die. Everyone was so worried but thankfully, Scotty seems to be recovering and is getting stronger and healthier as the days go by.

A special thanks to Ivy, the owner of Doggie Style Café, for hosting this adoption drive and for supporting adoption. The adoption drive wouldn’t be such a success if not for her!

We would like to thank all our volunteers who helped with the initial rescue, conducting house checks etc and for helping out at the adoption drive. We are grateful to our fosters Lynette, Gena, Theresa, Jaswinder and Natalie for caring for the puppies. We are extremely pleased with the overwhelming response from dog lovers who all chose to adopt instead of buy.

Thanks Jaswinder for fostering JJ
We thank Jainty for attending the adoption drive and adopting JJ, a rescued street puppy.
JJ giving Leslie a kiss after being adopted by Jainty.
And of course, we would like to thank everyone for taking the time off to join us at the café and a big thank you to those who adopted the dogs. We are glad that you chose to adopt! For all the people who wanted to adopt Scotty, thank you so much! But because young Scotty is very sick, we decided that the best person to adopt Scotty is his foster who has been taking good care of him and who knows him best. Continue reading our blog because we will always have more dogs for adoption! Stay tuned!

Written by Zoei Ong
Photo credits Keng Fun and Leslie Kok