Food For Thought

A 2 mth old puppy living in dangerous conditions, waiting for food
“Do not feed the strays” – you might have heard this phrase at some point in your life.  You may or may not agree with this dispensed ‘wisdom’, but we at HOPE Dog Rescue believe that feeding the street dogs is the best way forward, not the other way around. And it works best for these poor dogs’ welfare, and who knows, perhaps for our brownie points as well.

We carry out our missions with good reason and gravity, and we sincerely hope that by the end of this article, you’ll be able to see things from our perspective. Maybe you’ll even find it in your heart to help us with our projects.

Not a life we can ever imagine

Many people disapprove of stray-feeding because “it encourages strays to breed”. Theoretically, giving these dogs food keeps them alive, and provides them with opportunities to breed. However, withholding food from these street dogs iis by no means a way to curb their population. For a fact, even hungry dogs can propagate. And their newborn puppies often go hungry as their mommies hardly have food for themselves, let alone milk to nurse them. At this point, you might think; why not deny them food then? A dead dog can’t breed. But is this what we want? Is this the most humane and compassionate means to control the stray dog population? 
Stray pup with eyes barely open, stuck on a sheet of metal
We build makeshift shelters for the puppies
Jac giving the street dogs some loving

A much better and kinder way of preventing strays from breeding would be to sterilize them. Our “Spay It Forward” program advocates a catch-and-release system. We bring in strays for sterilization before releasing them back to where we found them. Gradually, the stray population will be reduced. Feeding is a great way to carry out our “Spay It Forward” program. Why? As the dogs become more familiar with our volunteers, they’ll develop enough trust for us to approach them such that we are able to bring them to our vets, be it for sterilization or for injuries sustained from industrial accidents or dog fights. Without this trust, it would be difficult for our “Spay It Forward” program to reach these sometimes distressed dogs.

All this food just for the night as we also distribute food to workers

We provide food to factories who have care-givers
Our volunteers also get to know the dogs well through regular feeding rounds. This enables us keep track of the stray population in various industrial areas, as well as any new pups who are eligible for sterilization. This way, we can sterilize them before they reach breeding age. As such, our feeding and sterilization programs go hand in hand. This is a more organized and humane way of preventing breeding, rather than simply withholding food from stray dogs. This way, they can live their lives as strays in marginally increased comfort without more unwanted pregnancies. These dogs may not be pedigrees, but they deserve the right to live as much as you and me.
We apply Frontline on the street dogs in the hope that they won't get tick fever
Applying antiseptic powder on dogs with wounds and injuries
Another reason people commonly give for not feeding strays that is that “it attracts vermin”. The rationale behind this is that when you leave food for strays, you are also feeding pests such as rats and cockroaches with the leftovers. This may be true if you’re feeding your neighbourhood stray that’s already well fed by other kindly residents, but not with street dogs. The strays that live in the industrial areas have no proper source of food apart from what we give them. If we do not feed them, these dogs would be so desperate for food that they would devour bones, rubbish, stale food, and even stones. Yes, you heard us right. They would be so famished that they’ll resort to eating stones. Needless to say, they’ll await our weekly visits with much anticipation, and every morsel is ravenously gobbled down. In other words, there’s simply nothing left for pests!
This little puppy will be sterilized in two weeks' time
That is why we continue to nourish these dogs. Truth is, they have no cushy homes to find solace in. They don’t have anyone to love them like we do. And they don’t have anyone to bring them to the vet when they’re sick or in pain. With all this in mind, we can’t bear to let them go without food as well, or to watch them die a slow and agonizing death without doing anything to help. Simply put, our goal is to reduce and manage the stray population by sterilizing them, while allowing the remaining dogs to live a better life for the rest of their days.
We provide them with milk / food and sterilize them when they are of age
Would you help us fill these poor dogs’ bellies, and give them a chance to live? Their lives are hard enough, and it’s only right we give them a little kindness. A little goes a long way, and it would mean the world to them. If you would like to sponsor food for these street and factory dogs, please email fiona@hopedogrescue.org  The most precious gift you can give is the gift of love.
Written by Elena Lin