Spark Of Life

On this affluent island we call home, it is hard to imagine a life of extreme poverty and hardship, given the fairly comfortable conditions most of us live in. It is easy to forget about our fellow human beings in need. More likely, we tend to forget, rather conveniently, about the hundreds of poor defenseless animals out there without a place to call their own. I am talking about stray dogs and cats who face the brutal elements each day. For them, a sense of security and a full stomach are as scarce as the scraps they live by.

You’re about to listen to the story of two wonderful mongrels, Sparky and Momo, and their inspiring tale of survival. I hope that you’ll be able to find it in your heart to adopt them after reading this article. If you are unable to do so, I sincerely hope you’ll be able to share their story with your friends and relatives. They deserve that much.

Their mother, whom I shall name Faith, was only a year old when Hope Dog Rescue chanced upon her. Being reduced to skin and bones herself, Faith hardly had any strength to care for her pups and much less nourish them with milk. Her ribs were showing, and it was truly heartbreaking to see her in such an impoverished state. Can you imagine being a mother under such brutal circumstances? In other words, Sparky’s and Momo’s trials and tribulations began the moment they set their paws unto this earth.

Faith was reduced to skin and bones when we spotted her. It was a miracle she managed to deliver her pups in such a delicate state.
A worker helping us lift the metal pieces to get to the pups.

This pile of rubble was home to Faith, Sparky, Momo, and the rest of the three pups.
Our team found five pups altogether after hearing their cries emanating from a heap of rubble. They were probably only about three weeks old; and still crying from fear and hunger when we lifted them out from beneath the dirty planks and corroded metal sheets. Without a doubt, these five pups would have perished if we didn’t rescue them. Unfortunately, Faith was extremely wary of humans, and her elusive movements made it very difficult for us to reach her. On the bright side, all five pups were rehomed three months after we saved them from certain death. However, their happy tales were prematurely cut down by irresponsible and rash owners, at least for Momo and Sparky.

Sparky (left) and Momo when they were three weeks old. It's not hard to adopt them when they are so small and cuddly, is it?
Momo was adopted by a young couple who insisted on keeping her after we advised them about the difficulties of raising young pups. For example, we told them that young pups love to gnaw on furniture or anything they can get their tiny fangs on due to their teething phase. Puppies are also extremely playful, and not to mention messy too since they are not potty-trained as yet. But barely after two short months, this couple, who was once so eager to adopt Momo, was equally eager to give her up. We advised them to be patient, and to send Momo to obedience school if need be. As you probably would have guessed - our advice fell on deaf ears. 
Momo when she was a tiny pup.
Sparky suffered a similar fate as well. He was adopted by a father of two teenage kids. This man is supposed to be familiar with dogs, for they have an old silky terrier with them for some time now. However, we did remind him that strays are not like toy dogs. He’ll have to be firm with Sparky else he might get out of hand in future. They didn’t listen. Instead, they failed to discipline him by allowing Sparky to jump on people. Like clockwork, it wasn’t long before we heard from Sparky’s ex-owner. He complained that a much bigger Sparky was jumping on people and frightening his silky. By then, Sparky has outgrown his cuteness and he was no longer the small and fuzzy puppy he once was. He was returned when he was six months old, much like a shirt that didn’t fit anymore.

What went wrong here? Were their expulsions the fault of Sparky and Momo? No. They were just behaving like whom they were meant to be – dogs. They might still be living in cozy homes today if their ex-owners would only exercise a little patience and effort in understanding dog psychology and behavior. Anyone who has raised a pup from a tender age would know how frustrating the experience can be. But with a little fortitude and insight, it isn’t an impossible task to see them through to adulthood. The rewards of having a loyal, obedient, and loving companion is well worth the expended sweat, teeth gnashing, and sleepless nights spent caring for them.

Taking care of a dog isn’t easy. And I am saying this as an owner of two lovely pooches. But if I could have it all over again, I would rather sacrifice my life than give up my beloved dogs for any reason. Because of human oversight, Sparky and Momo are now living in the cramped and smelly confines of a kennel. That was the price they paid, through no meditated fault of their own. This isn’t how a dog should spend his or her days, is it? Remember, dogs only have a lifespan of ten to twenty years compared to us.

Sparky (left) and Momo as they are today. These dogs don't need your sympathy. They need you to understand the hardships they've been through and your assurance that you'll make life better for them. Never have they once complained.
With that, I hope you’ll consider adopting Sparky and Momo if circumstances allow you to do so. I still walk Sparky twice a week. He is currently seven months old and still a little jumpy when he’s excited, but I can assure you he’s one of the most affectionate dogs you’ll come across. Although I might find it hard to give him up when the time comes, I know that it’s only in his best interests when he finds a proper home to stay. I would like him to mingle with other dogs in the future too. 
Sparky  (male)
Breed  :  Local Cross
Age  :  Estimated 7 mths
Temperament  :  Playful, highly excitable and intelligent. Sparky would make an excellent agility or guard dog. Takes a while to warm up with other dogs but enjoys their company.

Momo (female)
Temperament  :  Obedient, sociable, highly intelligent and gets on well with other dogs. Takes a while to warm up to small children.

* Both Sparky and Momo have been microchipped, vaccinated and sterilized.

Might you be the one? Sparky and Momo ARE HDB approved dogs. and will be medium sized when fully grown.

"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion."
~ Author Unknown

Written by Andy Sim
Photo credits Kuan and Lisa