Condemned To Death By Mass Breeding

It is difficult to resist that adorable puppy in the window, but you may be paying a lot of money for a dog you know nothing about. Very often these pet shop puppies develop health issues, either almost immediately after purchase, or later in life because usually genetic issues are passed down from parents to puppies and your cute little puppy will soon cost you a lot of money to remedy. Imagine generation after generation of flawed and defective genes.
Do you know who your puppy's parents are?
What’s the big deal if the puppies come with pedigree certs? Pedigree just means a piece of paper with names on it. It might just mean you’re paying more for the same set of health issues! Can the pet shop tell you how old your puppy’s grandparents lived till and what they died from? They probably don’t know any more than you do!
Do your puppy's parent look like this? Is he living a life of breeding hell because you are supporting the puppy trade?
Some pet shops offer a one for one exchange but their guarantees may be bad as their reputation. A replacement puppy might not necessarily be healthier too and it is highly possible that they would have euthanized the sick puppy you returned because it is much cheaper to put it down than to take it to the vet. We heard that another common sales tactic is to blame you for not having taken good care of the puppy, or to tell you it will outgrow its health issue.
Why do you want to support puppy mills?

Puppy mill dogs
We believe almost all puppies that are sold in pet shops come from puppy mills. What this means is mass produced puppies with money as the prime motive. These breeding dogs are often kept in extremely poor conditions and are sometimes malnourished. Females are generally bred every heat cycle from the time they are mere puppies themselves, until they are worn out and then they are often sentenced to death.

The horror of puppy mills is encouraged every time a puppy is bought from a pet shop.

A pet shop usually never hears about their puppies once they leave the shop, and they really don't care. Once you take the puppy home, the pet shop doesn’t care if you lose your puppy, breed it continually or if it dies of liver failure at two years old. They won’t spare a thought for the “product’s” welfare.
So please, ADOPT and NOT SHOP.
Photographs courtesy of Davis KK.


Translation Of Article On Molly In Lianhe Zaobao

This article was first published in the Lianhe Zaobao on 5 August 2012 and translated by Joceline Loo (18 yrs old). Posted here with permission from the Lianhe Zaobao journalist, Ms. Kristie Ong.

Just as I was pondering on how to discuss the latest social issues with my children, a friend of mine sent over a blog post on saving stray dogs.

This article helped me to kick off the discussion.

Compared to telling the children the incomprehensible issues such as female students bribing with sex, the misuse of funds by churches, male teachers putting pin-hole cameras in female toilets, female teachers charged with outrage of modesty of male students…. Saving stray dogs in the middle of the night is considered uncommon. At least I can tell them this is a true, local heart-warming story about people saving a dog.

Feelings that humans have are not restricted to lust. We are also able to feel love and warmth. Between human and dogs, friendly relationships can be built. For example, dogs are loyal towards humans and this loyalty may even be stronger than friendships that humans have with each other. A story of a human saving a dog will definitely have a positive impact compared to stories of humans hurting each other.

This was a rescue mission in Bukit Panjang on a late Sunday night.

A stray dog, awfully bony was found under a void deck by a resident who realized that the dog had a paw ripped out and was in agony.

A kind- hearted person called HOPE Dog Rescue at 2am and asked for urgent assistance. Female volunteers rushed to the place immediately and tried to use food to lure the dog into the carrier. After many attempts, they finally succeeded after 2 hours and brought the dog to a safe place.

The volunteers named the dog Molly. They observed that her right paw was missing and her bone was protruding from the wound. Her right leg was also seriously wounded with rotting flesh and maggots crawling. The foul smell was overwhelming. Molly may be caught in an animal trap and hence got hurt in the process of breaking free.

The next day, volunteers brought Molly to the vet to seek treatment.  She was treated and went through an amputation. Molly now is safe.

HOPE noted down the whole rescue process and wrote a touching blog post on her ordeal.

The volunteers behind Molly’s rescue are a group of dog lovers. They believe that we should not willfully hurt and abuse animals, through their work, they wish to have greater strength to save more dogs that need help and help the dogs rebuild their trust in humans. This vision is definitely worthy of respect. Look at it this way, in today’s society, how many Singaporeans are willing to go out very late at night and spend two hours rescuing an injured stray?

If Molly was not saved in time, her condition will definitely get worse. Unless the person is completely heartless, when faced in such a situation, one will not hesitate to save and show compassion for the animal. Besides, how can we deny that selfish thoughts have never crossed one’s mind? Such as, if a terribly injured stray is not taken care of, will it cause trouble to the community? Fortunately, passionate volunteers came in time to rescue and prevented the spread to the problem.

Molly learning to cope. (Photo by Leslie Kok)
Someone once said, by looking at how the country treats animals, we can tell how civilized the country is.  I was so touched by Molly’s story that I goggled and found out that there are hundreds of countries in the world, based on the country’s situation, that currently have a law that protects against the abuse and cruelty of animals.

Information that I found showed that, using England as an example, one of the laws that protect the welfare of animals is the prohibition of animal abusers to own any animals or pets. In America, animal abuse is a serious offence. In Canada, animal abuse can send you to five years in prison. Germany’s laws for protecting animals are significant within the European countries.

The German federation legislative body had, through a ten year debate, voted that they will include the protection of animal rights into their constitution. Germany had since become the first European country to include this right into the constitution; it was also a big deal for humans and animals in history.

In Asia, there are many countries that also introduced laws that protect animals. In Japan, to kill or willfully hurt an animal is punishable by law. In Singapore, there is the ‘Animals and Birds act’. Those who abuse or abandon animals, if found guilty, may be sentenced to one year in prison, or a maximum fine of ten thousand dollars, or both.
This story for my children has come to an end. But in the end, I still feel that no matter it is an individual, a group or even a country, the mission of saving Molly should continue on. Besides, in today’s Singapore having overflowing Wants, saving Molly, in fact is also pulling up the continuously sinking humanity.


Molly Needs A Home

I first heard of Molly when I received a text message from Fiona, HOPE Dog Rescue's founder on our group chat at 7ish in the morning of July 20th. The message simply said 'Caught her at 330am. Took almost 2 hours to get her but we got her. Poor girl. Looks like wild boar trap". That message was accompanied by a photo of poor Molly, standing on threes, head down with her right forelimb bone jutting out in place of a missing paw. Immediately my heart went out to her and later in the day, I made my way to visit her at The Animal Doctors where she will undergo a surgery to address her severe injury.
The first photograph of Molly

Words failed to express the emotions I felt seeing her for the first time... she was muzzled, lying on the floor, surrounded by 2 vet assistants, one to clean her open wound, the other to help restrain and calm her down. And her open wound... my gosh... seeing the bone jutting out, along with tendons and muscles... ugh... I could not imagine the amount of pain she must have gone through and was still experiencing. Despite all this, Molly maintained a very dignified and stoic presence, befitting of the trooper she is.

A couple of days after her successful surgery where her right forelimb was amputated, I visited Molly again. She was placed in the isolation room and was recovering well. Her appetite was very good and the nurse said she was no longer in pain. When I first approached her, Molly tracked my every movement with suspicion, I opened her cage and she inched further away, with her eyes fixed on me the whole time. I just sat in front of her and started talking to her. And she seemed to listen. And on and on I went, talking and talking and her eyes softened and I tried to touch her. Immediately she was on guard again but as I continued talking, she relaxed once again and put her head down, I tried to touch her then and she was on guard yet again. This went on for a while before I eventually managed to stroke her very lightly on her left paw, nose and upper back. 

Molly's stump after amputation

Later in the week, I received a message from Fiona saying that the vet said Molly was rather aggressive, that she growled when attempts were made to touch her. I was asked to go visit her daily since I managed to touch her the last time round. On my 2nd visit, I talked to Molly for a good 30 mins before being able to really pat her and after the initial wariness, Molly seemed to enjoy the human touch and fell asleep while I was patting her. For the next 5 days before Molly was discharged, I visited her daily, spending about 1-2 hours each time with her and I could tell she was getting used to me, always listening to me when I talked to her, allowing me to touch her within minutes of my arrival. She did growl sometimes when I attempted to touch her too soon but I just stopped and explained to her that I meant no harm and tried again. Eventually she will just relax and enjoy the attention. Molly also loved treats and just about any food given to her. She will take food from one's hand but ever so gently, so as not to bite us accidentally. She has a very healthy appetite and will finish all the home cooked meals we brought for her. Her wound was also healing beautifully and removal of the stitches was done without a hitch. 

Although wary but still allowing the volunteers to pat her

Enjoying the touch and falling asleep :)

Molly dispels all myths about street dogs being aggressive. She eats ever so gently from the hands in spite of having been food deprived previously.

Grateful for the home-cooked food that we bring her
A kind lady, Ann, mother to 3 older rescued dogs kindly offered to foster Molly. On August 4th, Molly was discharged and the transfer from her cage to the pet carrier went really smooth. We were initially worried that Molly would not leave her cage which she regarded as her safe house but surprisingly she walked from the cage to the carrier without a fuss. Maybe she knew that her life will be different from then on…

Discharging Molly from the vet

Arriving in fosterer Ann's house

The fosterer stays in a house with a garden. So we figured the best place for Molly to be in is the outside kitchen where she has access to the garden for her toilet, shelter from the elements while having her own privacy until she gets used to the family and the dogs. For now, we put her on a long leash as we cannot chance the possibility of her escaping. The first thing Molly did was to explore the whole place and went to the furthest corner that her leash allowed her to and did her business. She then went back to the area underneath the sink and laid down. The other dogs were rather curious about her and in the first week, one by one, they went to check Molly out, though not going too close as though they understood she needed time to get used to them. 

Stepping apprehensively out of the carrier into her temporary sanctuary

Extremely fearful and unsure of her fate
It is common for rescue dogs to constantly plot their escapes for the first initial weeks, so for now, Molly is still on a long leash.

The first thing that she did when being let out of the carrier was to make a dash to the furthest corner of the back yard to pee and poop. She makes an effort to stay clean in spite of her disability and difficulty to move around.

Still emaciated even after our efforts to fatten her up

She feels safest in the corner right under the sink

Molly's mobility is not limited although she only has 3 legs

I now visit Molly twice a week at the foster's home. And each time I go, I see improvements: in her health, in her general being, in her behavior towards me. During the first week, Molly was always hiding underneath the counter and was very defensive whenever her leash was moved. Since then, I have seen her walk about, interacting with the other dogs and she seemed so much more at ease. Her wound has healed beautifully and her scar is practically invisible. Her healthy appetite continues and she has put on some weight.  I have been grooming her the last couple of weeks, she really enjoys having her ears cleaned and she would close her eyes as I brush her face and her head. With the recent removal of the ecollar, Molly became more comfortable to being touched and patted. I can now easily pat her anywhere and she has fallen asleep many times while I was stroking her head. What I really love about her is that she really seems to listen when being spoken to, giving me her undivided attention and she looks like she understands everything I tell her.

Displaying obvious contentment at being loved and groomed

Wound has healed very nicely

Molly is still wary of humans, of any sudden movements made towards her. She might give a low growl when you touch her if she didn't want to be touched but she has never bitten anyone before. She will need time, a lot of time, to warm up to a person. But given what has happened to her, I think Molly is doing amazingly well... to cope with the trauma of being caught in a trap, escaping from it, bearing with the severe pain of an open wound for at least a week, undergoing surgery, losing a limb, staying at the clinic, adapting to a new environment... and who knows what other hardships she has endured before being rescued…

Molly is so much happier now after the removal of her E-collar. I think I can see a shadow of a smile here. Can you see it too?

Please give Molly a home 

Molly needs someone who is patient, someone who can understand that time is needed to gain her trust, to realize her capacity for love, someone who can guide her in the ways to becoming part of a family... I wish the very best for her and that happiness will follow her  in every step of her life. 
To adopt Molly, please email fiona@hopedogrescue.org

Story courtesy of Leslie Kok. Photograph credits: Leslie Kok & Esther Low.
Our first post on Molly was recently picked up the press and published in Lianhe Zaobao on 5 August 2012

Note from Fiona : I would like to thank everyone who has shown concern for Molly. In any rescue, its not just about one person. It's many people, for that one dog. Dogs are my life; without them, I would be "jobless"! Many people are involved and everyone plays a role; be it the caller who informed us, the generous donors or our volunteers. Everyone fits into this rescue jigsaw and each role is equally important and meaningful. Special thanks to Leslie who has patiently, slowly but surely, won Molly's trust. And Ann, who graciously offered to foster Molly till she finds her forever home. Thank you.


Sparticus Has A Stroke

It has been two weeks since we met Sparticus. Weak, sickly, emancipated Sparticus. Upon bringing him to Mount Pleasant (Bedok), we discovered that he had several huge ulcers that covered an area of 50% of his tongue and he had FIV (Feline Aids), which was devastating. What was going to happen to him?

After a 4 day stay at the vet, he was showing signs of improvement and was gobbling his food up like he hadn’t eaten for days, which was probably the case especially with those huge ulcers on his tongue. We were surprised and ecstatic as a healthy appetite was a good indication that Sparticus was on his way to a hopeful recovery. Over the next few days his appetite was steady, and he seemed to be looking better. Finally things looked brighter for Sparticus and we hoped to release him back home to Changi after he completed his course of antibiotics and gained some much needed weight.

Sparticus needs your help. He has nowhere to go and he can no longer stand unaided.

Having led a carefree life on the streets with all the freedom to roam, he seemed rather restless and unhappy at the temporary boarding home. He must have missed his home, the fresh salty air, the company of the other cats, the freedom and especially the sound of music played at the restaurant he stayed near at Changi Beach Park. It seemed to have a calming and soothing effect on Sparticus. The memory of the music, playing softly in the background, while Sparticus sat at his favourite place enjoying himself flashed in my mind. I hoped fervently that he would have the chance be home again in a healthier state.

Just as we thought that Sparticus was settling down, he was struck with another round of bad luck, He was unsteady on his feet and didn’t look well. He was rushed from the boarding house to the vet immediately. Dr. Chan (the vet that had attended to him previously) was looking him over when his eyes started twitching . She suspected that he had a stroke, possibly a brain tumour or cancer; but from the symptoms he exhibited, it was most likely a stroke. Was there no peace in sight for our poor Sparticus?

Please HELP Sparticus

Sparticus has stabilized to the best of his circumstance but is unable to walk by himself and needs the aid of the cage walls to support himself on his feet. He has to lean on the side just to be able to eat. He is an extremely resourceful, smart and strong cat who will not give up. We are not giving up on Sparticus, and we ask you not to give up on him either.

At this point he is still warded and has nowhere to go. We are desperately appealing for fosters to give Sparticus a chance. He doesn’t have much time left on this earth and he cannot be returned home as he needs care and love; the care and love of the human compassion that he has been missing all his life. Is there anybody who can foster this beloved cat or give him a forever home until his time is up? Please?

Contributed by Mike B. Photography by Esther Low.


Finding An Excuse To Celebrate. HOPE Is ONE!

Every day after work, we are either at the vets with rescued dogs, at the kennels, conducting house checks, home visits, feeding street dogs or catching up on admin work. Just thinking of all this is already very exhausting, so why do we keep doing it?

Volunteer, Sherry, with a 3 mth old rescued puppy named Blankie.

Fellow volunteer, Esther, who adopted Blankie.
Volunteer, Rina, with Chelsea. (Chelsea is Lisa's adopted dog.)
For our LOVE of dogs, of course! The satisfaction we enjoy from rescuing a dog, rehabilitating them and finding them a loving forever home is so immense that no amount of money can buy it. Like parents, it is our responsibility to ensure that the dogs are healthy, happy and well. We take it upon ourselves to ensure that we make the right decisions for them.

HOPE turned one in July 2012 and in this short span of a year, we have rescued and helped almost 100 dogs and 10 cats. We have rehomed many dogs to their forever homes, and this gives us a reason to celebrate! About 10 of our core volunteers got together for a potluck party and at HOPE, no party is complete without dogs! So we invited our rescued dogs Laurel, Nana, Blankie and little Oscar to join our fun. Little Oscar desperately needs a foster as he lacks confidence and social skills.

Handsome Oscar has come a long way and is now ready to be rehomed.

Volunteer Iris and Oscar
Chelsea and Oscar checking each other out.

Laurel, fostered by Rina.

Sweet Nana, also a rescued dog.
It was also a surprise party for fellow volunteer, Lisa.

Lisa, all smiles.

The dogs were obviously not forgotten! They had food and treats galore!

HOPE Dog Rescue. Rehabilitate. Rehome

Photographs courtesy of Esther Low.


Happy Seeks Happiness

On 30 July, it was by chance that we took a stroll around Block 114, Bt Merah View after a vet appointment.  A forlorn female black dog who looked puppyish was tied to a bench on a very short red leash with little room to move about.  We asked if anyone knew whose dog she was but found no clues.  We thought her owner went to the nearby hawker centre and would return shortly.
Tied to the bench on a very short leash from the previous night
After running an errand, I returned to find her at the same spot, more panicky this time.  Her leash was frayed, she probably tried to chew herself free to seek her owner that had just broken her heart.  The neighbourhood cleaners came by and offered her canned food and water, they also mentioned she was tied there from the night before.

Exhausted, hot and thirsty from being tied to the bench for more than 12 hours!
She trained her gaze towards the car park, half expecting her owner to return for her.  My guess is, that was her last car ride with her owner who betrayed the trust she had in him.  I can imagine the puzzled thoughts that ran through her puppy mind as her owner made a hasty getaway shrouded by darkness.

At the vet

Grossly underweight

I took her to the nearby vet for a general check-up.  She is estimated to be 6-8 months of age and weighs a mere 13kg. With protruding ribs and flaky skin perhaps due to poor nutrition, it was apparent she was deprived of food judging from her bony frame.  She was calm at the clinic during all the tests and procedures.  While waiting in the reception area, now and then she greeted other dogs and their owners’ happily, forgetting her own fate momentarily.  She hasn’t lost faith in humankind despite her sorry circumstances. 
Dry, flaky skin
Later, she jumped into the car without any coaxing and lied down throughout the car ride.  Perhaps she was used to car rides.  I had a hard time unloading her, the bad experience the night before was still fresh in her mind.  She must have thought this ride could end up with her being tethered to another bench, exposed to midday’s harsh elements.  Dogs do think and have feelings too, let us not take them for granted.
What a sorry sight; abused, neglected and deprived of food and love
In the car, on her way to the kennels. Look at her protruding ribs
I named her Happy as I wish her a happy ever after with a family who’ll lavish her with unconditional love, teach her right from wrong and afford her medical care when necessary.  As a puppy who has been through abandonment, she deserves better while her trust in humans is still strong.  Happy’s twinkling eyes and perky ears say it all, she is intelligent and eager to learn, with lovely long limbs and fine features, plus the special white guitar motif on her chest. 

Young, trusting  and innocent . Not to mention, gorgeous!
Happy is now in the kennels while she waits for a family to call her own. She may have been kept at home throughout her puppyhood as her paws are smooth and babyish and was starting to peel and bleed by the end of the day just from walking at the kennels. She must not be used to walking on rough surfaces.

Never walked much in her life
Tall, sleek and beautiful female needs a loving home.
A full medical check on Happy has been carried out, and she is in good health. She has been vaccinated and microchipped. We will beef her up and sterilize her when she has gained more weight. Very soon, she will be ready to spread happiness the “Happy” way!
It is a pity she has been let down through no fault of hers.  Please make Happy joyful again, she is friendly, young and will be your loyal companion for many more good years to come.  She is a local special, whose demands are few; a roof over her head, daily walks, yummy food and love.  Best of all, this wonderful breed is hardy health wise and has as many qualities as a designer dog. 

Special thanks to volunteers, Iris and Nick, who helped send and settle Happy at the kennels at short notice and our HOPE Dog Rescue team whose efforts made this rescue possible. If you can help us defray some of the costs of Happy’s kennel stay, foster or adopt her, please email fiona@hopedogrescue.org  

Note from Fiona : If anyone knows this dog or who had owned / fostered her, please contact me. The person has abused and neglected a life and deserves a hefty fine for animal cruelty and abandonment.
Story by Lynette Chong. Photographs by Lynette, Leslie Kok and Nicholas Ng