Discarding The Old This Lunar New Year

15 January 2012, a sleepy Sunday at Hougang Ave 8, a middle-aged couple was walking their pet dog around the HDB playground when they realized a dog had been following behind them warily. They continued to walk their pet for another hour. On their way home and seeing the dog still tailing in such a pathetic manner, they decided to bring him to a nearby pet shop to see if there will be anyone keen to adopt him. The middle-aged couple has not visited the dog after leaving him in the shop.

Left at the pet shop
The pet shop thought there might be a lost notice to claim the dog, but a few days passed and nothing was posted on any blogs and no one ever came for the poor old dog. A regular customer, Mdm Lim, went to the shop to buy dog food and was shocked to see the little dog, a miniature Pinscher, in such a skeletal state. He had a wound on the stomach area and looked like he had skin problems too. It is definitely a case of neglect; this sweet Pinscher has a very warm and charming nature. Mdm Lim bought food to feed the dog because she felt sorry for him.

Nobody had any clue on how to help him, thus they decided to call HOPE Dog Rescue to save this dog from misery. HOPE responded and the miniature Pinscher was immediately transported to the vet for thorough check-ups to ensure he was alright.

Contributed by Bec Tan

Old, scared, alone, cold and hungry, he roamed the streets for weeks, exhausted and without the faintest idea where he was headed to. He had been caged for most of his life and his newfound “freedom” was not something he had bargained for. He was smart to follow the couple and ask for help. Had he not done that, he might still be pounding the streets.

Little Moose was horribly thin

Like most of the dogs we rescue, we first met at the vet. When I first set eyes on him, it struck me how much he resembled a tiny mousedeer. He was horribly thin with blotchy skin. His ribs protruded out of his tiny frame, his teeth jutted out from the sides of his mouth and he had a wound on the underside of his body. He wasn’t in obvious physical pain but his eyes... they told of an indescribable hard life that we could never even begin to comprehend.

Sadness and confusion in his eyes

Bad teeth but too weak to undergo any procedures right now
Having heard how he was found, I knew he would not have survived long had we not intervened, and so the pain of Moose unfolds here. (I named him Moose in the hopes that he would grow big and strong again.)

A senior miniature Pinscher, estimated to be around 8 years old, Moose was silent when I carried him. As I stroked his head, he leaned on my shoulder and his eyes immediately started to close. He was extremely exhausted and the security of being safe in my arms helped him relax.

The vet technicians felt sorry for him and offered him some canned food, but he showed no interest in eating or drinking. He just stared ahead blankly with an empty look in his eyes. He was grossly malnourished and slightly dehydrated, with eyes red from tiredness. The wound on his underside looked as if he had been lying on a hard surface for years, or caged in a very small cage for a terribly long time. The wound had hardened into a lump and it was weepy and infected, possibly from filthy living conditions and low immunity.

The wound on his underside

Examined by Dr Teo
Drawing blood from little Moose was a difficult task as he was malnourished and tiny; the blood just would not flow out. Fortunately after the third attempt, Dr Teo Jiawen managed to get the blood she needed to run the necessary tests. We had his eyes checked as well. While Dr Teo said his eyes were alright, blood tests revealed that he was positive for tick fever.

"Hold my hand and tell me everything will be alright."
Moose was given medication for his tick fever and has to revisit the vet in a month’s time.

We were fortunate to have found a temporary foster at the eleventh hour. Karen Soh immediately agreed to foster Moose temporarily.

Over the years of having rescued and rehomed numerous dogs, I have become rather observant towards their behavior. Noticing little things they do often reveal much about their past and hardships.

When we arrived at the foster home, we decided that Moose would sleep in the kitchen for the night. We sat with him on the kitchen floor while he sniffed the kitchen and familiarized himself with a brand new environment. He had a towel which we cuddled him in whilst we were at the vet. We used that towel as a “bed” for him to sleep on. Moose hadn’t a clue what to do with his bed. He peed on his bed, then lay on it comfortably. It was a sad sight. This convinced me that he had been locked in a small cage for a long time and that he must have been accustomed to eating, sleeping, relieving himself in the same small space that he had been limited to.

The ideal weight for a miniature Pinscher is about 4 to 5kg. Half of his ideal weight, Moose weighed in at only 2.4kg. With hardly any fat on his body, he shivered from the chilly night air. He needs to put on quite a bit of weight. We fed him some kibbles, which he ate, but he still refused water. It was close to midnight when we settled Moose in. He was exhausted and so were we.

Apart from Moose, we also alerted to 2 other dogs abandoned within that same day, but we have run out of fosters. Should you wish to help these abandoned dogs, please consider adopting. When you adopt, you are saving two lives: the dog you adopt and the dog you are making room for.

Moose has been grossly underfed and caged for the most part of his life. He needs love, a new home and a family to help him make up for lost time. All we ask is that you be patient with him where his toileting habits are concerned, as he has never been taught, nor loved.

"Please help me."
It’s amazing how much one person can do. Change his life. Take him home. Email fiona@hopedogrescue.org

Breed  :  Miniature Pinscher (not microchipped)
Age  :  8 to 9 years old (estimated)
Sex  :  Male / Not sterilized (will be when he is stronger)
Health  :  Tick fever (on medication) and wound on underside
Etc  :  Not paper trained. Extremely affectionate. Grossly underweight.
A brand new life ahead for little Moose
 We thank Karen Soh for fostering Moose.

 Photographs courtesy of Joceline Loo