Fudge Returns Home

Little Fudge is a brave one. While at the clinic, the sweet pup allowed the staff to pat and work on him, and did not growl or snap as they cleaned his wound, sitting quietly through the pain he was surely feeling. By the end of his stay, he was adored by the clinic staff, especially vet nurse Nikki, who loved him so much that she gave him a soft toy and a collar.

Nikki bidding Fudge farewell

However, Fudge does not get along with other cats and dogs. When volunteers visited him and took him out for walks, he would sometimes growl at them and passers-by. We knew then that rehoming him would be tough as he would need a firm and experienced dog owner. It was a pity as little Fudge - as observed at the clinic - can be really sweet and affectionate just like any other pet.

Being a stray, Fudge loves his freedom of space. He does not like to be caged and would sometimes growl and get upset when he is inside.

Having been recuperating at the vet’s clinic for some time, it was soon time for us to discharge Fudge. Vet nurse Nikki was the most upset as she had been the closest to him. She kept hugging him before he left the clinic. We couldn’t bear to, but we had to release him back to the factory. Fudge seemed to know it too as we sensed some fear and apprehension from him. The pain he went through must have been traumatising for the poor boy. It was heartbreaking. We want to provide so much for this sweet and brave little one, yet there is only so much we can do. If we had unlimited resources, we would certainly rehome every rescued street dog we came across. Unfortunately, bound by laws, we do not have much of a choice. With a cap of 10 street dogs that can be housed in HDB flats each month and an estimated 8,000 strays on the streets, how would there ever be enough homes for them? With their temperament and love for freedom, it was going to take a lot for someone to take a street dog in. This sense of hopelessness is demoralising. We hate it, but that’s how it is with rescue work. Hence, we accepted that Fudge was going to have to be released in the evening. He seemed scared to be going back to the factory but sadly it was just something that he would have to cope with.

Fudge walking back into his factory

On the same evening, we bumped into an old uncle. Interestingly (or as some call it – by fate), after five years of feeding in that area, it was the first time Fiona bumped into this uncle, who said he had been searching for Fudge for the past two weeks. When he heard that we had returned Fudge to the factory, he asked why we had returned him and not rehomed him. He added that Fudge is the sweetest dog he had ever seen and that three dogs had attacked him, and shared his worries and concerns over Fudge being attacked again. Fiona assured him that we would check on Fudge regularly and if anything happened, the worker at the factory has our number and would be able to contact us easily.

Enjoying his chicken wings

Fudge and his little neighbour
The uncle also shared with us that he loved these dogs very much and he was happy to spend half of his monthly salary on the dogs for food and sterilisation. We offered to help with the sterilisation but the kind soul said he is able to cope, but promised to call us if he sees an injured dog that needs help. Needless to say, we were very glad that there is someone out there to keep a look out for Fudge. We may not have all the resources we want, but we are grateful for those we meet that loves our dogs as we do.
Lisa checking on Fudge
Watch this video clip below on Fudge's return home:


Updates on Jaspar

Jaspar has just gone to a foster home, and according to volunteer, Leslie, who just paid a visit over the weekend, he is doing well. His wound has healed very well, and the fur is growing back. 

Jaspar's wound has healed nicely

He left the clinic skin and bones but has put on 1kg since arriving at the fosterer’s. As his body doesn’t process protein well, they have been feeding him lots of fish and fish oil to boost his weight. He has also formed a close bond with the fosterer and her helper, and will join the fosterer on the couch when she sits down to watch TV, and he is also slowly getting used to the fosterer’s two dogs and vice versa.

Jaspar is currently looking for an adopter, so give this sociable, playful dog a chance!

Handsome and happy!
Here, on behalf of both Fudge and Jaspar, HOPE Dog Rescue would like to extend a big thanks to all the kind donors out there who had helped with both of their bills.

Contributors : Rena Huang, Leslie Kok ,Yan Qin and Esther Low


Born From The Wreckage

Imagine losing your parents when you are just a few months old, with no one to love and care for you. No one to snuggle up to and keep you warm. Imagine not knowing where to find food, living in fear every day, constantly afraid of being attacked.
For Benjamin, this was his reality. Each day of survival was a struggle.

He had lived this life for the past two years, with not a day going by that he did not fear for his life. He was always afraid and spent most of his days hiding under planks and beams, where he thought no other dogs could see or attack him. His days were long and lonely.
He hardly came out of hiding. He would rather starve then to come out in search of food and risk being attacked by the alpha dogs. Pain and hunger was so much a part of his life that it felt almost normal.
Trying to muzzle Benjamin in the car
Looking at Benjamin, you wouldn't think that he would harbour such a great fear of being attacked, as he is not a small dog. At the time of rescue, he was skin and bones, but weighed in at a hefty 20kg. Imagine if he had been properly fed, how big, strong and handsome he would be.

A stray feeder had spotted him in a construction site when she went to feed some dogs there. He must have been lured out by the smell of food and when she saw the gaping wound on his head, she felt faint. She spent a few hours trying to trap him and finally with the help of some workers, managed to get him into her car. She covered his wound with a towel and contacted us for help and advice.
Benjamin was mauled by another dog
We met her and Benjamin at the vet and drama unfolded as it was near impossible to put a leash, collar or muzzle on Benjamin and get him out of the car. He lay quietly on the car seat, exhausted from his years of living on the streets but like most street dogs, they were not used to being leashed and to some, having a noose around their neck evoked tremendous fear. No amount of coaxing worked and Benjamin tried snapping each time we even got near his face with either a leash or muzzle. He was not aggressive, not the type that would lunge or attack, but just warning snaps. It took almost an hour till we finally decided that we would call the vets and have him sedated in the car and then carried into the clinic. 

The vet nurses and Dr Chan of The Animal Doctors were very professional in the way they handled Benjamin. They managed to cover his head with a towel and quickly jabbed him with the sedative. While a nurse was waiting for the sedative to kick in, the other nurses were in the clinic preparing the operating table for Benjamin’s arrival.

He knocked out within 3 minutes and two vet nurses hurriedly bundled him with a towel and carried him in. They lay him on the table and quickly muzzled him while he was still under sedation. They also gave him oxygen and as he lay there, two doctors and three nurses worked on him. It was extremely well-managed and professional as they calmly cleaned his wound, while another held him down, and yet another monitored his heart rate. As I stood there watching, Benjamin tried to struggle to get up and was held down by the nurses. His cry pierced through the room. It wasn’t a whine, but a sad, sad cry and at the instance, I felt his pain and loneliness.
A bag of bones and his body was scar ridden. More than once the nurses commented on how many scars he had. Life has not been easy.

I often feel street dogs live a really hard life. They spend their entire lives in search of food, shelter and love. Some die on the streets, never ever finding that fulfillment, not even a pat on their heads...
When do we notice them and give them a second glance? When we see them limping or injured? Why is it that we only notice them when they are hurt? Why do they have to “sacrifice” themselves to be noticed? Why can’t we give them food, shelter and love when they are well and unscathed?
Monitoring his heart rate
What happens to dogs like Benjamin? They get rescued and taken to the vet, where they spend a week or two in the clinic. Some like being there, others don’t. For those that enjoy being there, it would be for the security of being in a cage, where no other dogs can attack them, where they get regular meals amidst some prodding. For others like Benjamin, being in such places are all too scary and foreign to him. He is not used to so many humans showing him love, because he doesn’t know what that is. He is afraid of being touched and patted too much, afraid of sudden movements, and most of all, he has no idea where he is and what his future holds. All he does like is the food that our volunteers cook for him daily; he gets three huge meals a day and he loves every bit of it. He has a huge appetite!
Dr Chan reckoned that his wound could have been caused by a dog attack and she commented that it was even bigger than Beano’s injury. It may have been about a week and there were some maggots in their early stages of flesh feasting. Fortunately, Benjamin tested negative for tick fever and heartworm, although his blood count was very low, possibly from all the blood loss. It was late at night by then and Ben’s surgery was scheduled to be carried out the following day.
Scheduled for surgery the next day
The surgery took three long hours where Benjamin’s blood count fell dangerously low and we were called to have on standby some blood donor dogs. Owner, Desiree, and her dog, Blessing, answered our plea and Blessing was at the vet on standby should Benjamin require a blood transfusion. Blessing’s sibling, Favour, had previously donated blood to Prince and saved his life as well! Fortunately after some hours, Benjamin’s blood count started to rise and he no longer required a transfusion. One tough dog he is.
Blessing, a blood donor dog, on the right


Benjamin’s wound was cleaned, maggots removed and Drs had to pull the skin from both sides of his neck to stitch the wound closed. Certain parts of the wound was tight and there was a risk that the stitches would open from the tension. The stitches and scar was long. I shuddered at the sight of it. It ran from the top of his head all the way down to the top of his back. Dr Chan had kindly taken a picture of his post-op wound for us after his surgery.

Post-op photograph courtesy of Dr Cathy Chan

For the next few days, Benjamin lay quietly in his cage, catching up on his rest. He was on strong pain killers.

He has been at the vet for 5 days and is still getting used to humans and being prodded. He will be discharged when his wound dries completely, most likely in about 5 days or so. He is healing well and getting stronger again.

Benjamin, rescued from the wreckage, given a week or two of reprieve and then released back to the wreckage, to spend the rest of his life hiding under planks and living in fear till his next attack to be noticed again?
Why must life be so hard for street dogs? Why can’t HDB ease their rulings and help give these dogs a second chance? Whatever happened to empathy, compassion and human kindness?
Buy a HOPE 2013 calendar. It's just $10/- each but it gives HOPE to our rescue dogs and helps with our vet bills.


Nano. Be His Guiding Light

The story of Nano is a tragic one. Nano was brought to our attention by Bing* a week ago, pleading for help. Bing had been taking care of Nano for a couple of years when Nano was first abandoned by his owner, Bing’s friend, Ash*. 

As the story goes, Ash first bought Nano, probably from a pet shop, some 5 years ago when he came to Singapore to study. After he graduated, Ash and his mother left Singapore to return to China in November 2011. Ash’s mom asked Bing if he could help look for temporary boarding for Nano, claiming that she would be returning to Singapore some 4-5 months later when things were more settled. Bing decided that since it was a short time and as he stayed in a terrace house which made it more convenient, he could help take care of Nano as he was familiar with Nano. Nano didn’t seem to mind the arrangement. 

Months came and went but Ash’s mom did not return. It became more and more difficult to get hold of her but when Bing finally did, she promised that she would be back in June, so Bing held on to Nano for a little while longer. By June, there was still no news of her arrival. When Bing tried to call her again, her line was already disconnected. There was simply no way of contacting Ash’s mom.

By then, Bing had moved into a rented apartment which had strict rules against the keeping of dogs in the house. He was at his wit's end. Bing secretly kept Nano in his room while he searched online for other options. He found a couple that was willing to board Nano. Just as Nano was settling in with them, the couple had to leave Singapore. Nano only stayed with them for a few months. This brought Bing back to square one. Nano had no home and Bing had no options. Bing begged a classmate to keep Nano for a couple of days while he tried to think of solutions. That was when he turned to HOPE Dog Rescue for help.

Nano was in a sorry state. What should have been a healthy happy dog was really a furry, unkempt bag of skin and bones. At only half his expected weight, Bing said that when he first left the dog with the couple, he also left them a bag of kibbles, but it had barely been touched. We suspected that either the dog was fed very little or barely at all, which led to his current starving condition. 

Getting a full medical done

Sweet Nano loves car rides and is well behaved

Nano is also blind, although he moves about with certainty and he seems to be coping well with his blindness for years. The cause is unknown but when we brought Nano to the vet, the vet suspected that it could be hereditary, since Nano is still young, estimated to be about 6 or 7 years old. According to Bing, Nano lost his sight when he was only 3 years old.

Despite his blindness, Nano is a very sweet tempered and easy-going dog. He loves receiving attention from people and enjoyed the cooked food we gave him. Our hearts broke that this poor boy has been passed from owner to owner; abandoned by his first owner, then given up by Bing due to circumstances, and probably forgotten by his boarders while he sat there hungry. Imagine sitting in darkness while you listened to the sounds around you, trying to make out what was going on. It is bad enough that as a blind dog, Nano can’t roam and play like a regular dog. Instead of receiving much-needed care, he lay there wondering what was going on. Where is everybody? Does nobody want me any more? When will my next meal be served?
No fur on tail

Long nails
Weak hind legs

Getting groomed @ Kool Pawz

We are now looking for a loving home, either a foster or a permanent one, for poor Nano. With his easy-going personality, it is not difficult to fall in love with a dog that is desperately looking for someone to love him. As he is blind, Nano needs a home where there is at least one person at home most of the time to keep an eye on him. It would be ideal if the person works from home or goes out only for short hours. Having a domestic helper who loves dogs would be nice too. As Nano is used to being blind for a while now, all he needs is to adapt to his surroundings and familiarize himself with his new home. He will need to learn where his food and water bowls are, which table and chairs to avoid, and which direction to run to when he hears his new mommy / daddy call out to him. 

Weak and malnourished.. Does he remind you of Prince?

Click above to watch a video - Too weak to stand.

Except for a bit of extra care needed with a blind dog, Nano really isn’t very different from any other dog who craves to be loved and wanted by his owner. He may not be able to see but he can still hear your voice, feel your touch and grow with your love.

Will you be his guiding light?
Nano is a male Maltese, estimated to be about 6 or 7 years old. He has had a full medical check done and apart from his blindness, is in perfect health.

Will you be his guiding light? To adopt Nano, please email fiona@hopedogrescue.org 

*Names have been changed.
** We thank Kool Pawz for grooming Nano and Karen Soh for fostering him temporarily.

Written by Elaine Quek


Does She Want To Die?

On 2 occasions during a same house viewing visit, Emma had seen a cocker spaniel locked up in a tiny cage without food or water and left in the open, atop a penthouse in the Serangoon area. The dog was emaciated and sick, and her coat of fur was caked with faeces and urine. She was also at the mercy of the weather, and was thoroughly drenched from the monsoon rains.

Talia when she was just rescued

Old, extremely weak and terribly malnourished

Emma and one of her friends convinced the owner of the dog to give her up, and lodged a report about the owner’s abuse and neglect, locking the dog in a tiny cage and leaving it for dead. I heard about this dog and went over for a visit.

When Emma brought the cocker spaniel to a vet for her check up, the report showed that she was about 7 to 8 years old, weighed 6.8kg and was in fairly good health and no mention was made of her bulging eyes filled with greenish dsicharge or the lumps that I felt under her neck when I saw her.

Emma then explained to me that her other dogs have become territorial towards the cocker spaniel, and that she had to be re-homed. I decided to foster her and nurse her back to health so that she could be re-homed, and I estimated that it would take a month or so.

The next day, Emma dropped her off at my home. I renamed her Talia. She still had a lot of green mucous discharge in her eyes, and could hardly walk or stand on her hind legs, especially when she was eating. Her breathing was fast and laboured. I made an appointment for her to see my regular vet the next morning, to get a second opinion.

After the vet ran some tests, it was revealed that Talia had a host of problems. She had very weak legs, sinus problems, a low heartbeat at about 50 beats/min that makes her at risk of a cardiac arrest, was blind in the right eye and almost blind in the left. She had eye and ear infections, and her teeth were crusted with plaque and in poor condition. The lumps in her neck turned out to be adenoma cysts (sebaceous cysts) that could cause breathing and swallowing problems and require medical intervention if they grew larger. If her right eye continues to give her pain, it may need to be surgically removed, though the surgery would be a high risk one. Talia was estimated to be about 13 years of age, and not 7 or 8.

It is such a big shame that someone would grossly neglect, starve an old almost blind dog and confine it to living in a tiny cage after the dog has shown all its years of love, companionship and faithfulness to its family. What kind of human being would subject a living creature, who is so much a part of a family, to such suffering and inhuman living conditions?
Photographs and story by Veronique
Fiona’s note: While we are grateful to Emma for rescuing Talia, we were in for a rude shock when we realized her attitude towards sweet Talia. After she had given the dog to Veronique for fostering, she was too busy to visit Talia. When Veronique wrote  to ask her if she could find another long term foster for Talia, if an adopter cannot be found soon enough,  Emma’s reply stunned us. She said that this dog required too much work and attention and it would be unlikely anyone would want to adopt her, and that it would be better if we put her down. Too much trouble for whom? Emma was not even the person fostering Talia and the fosterer sure wasn’t complaining!

This was incredibly hurtful and confusing, as we couldn’t understand why someone would save a dog, only to put her down. Her reasons were that Talia was suffering, and that we had to be cruel to be kind and to put Talia out of her misery. We were saddened by her attitude and reasoning, as we are always hopeful that we would find someone who would love their rescues till their last days, who may not even feel that caring for them is work. We have rescued dogs that were even sicker and found in worse situations, but are now happy to be alive and grateful for every extra day that they would have. Nobody has a right to the decision to end a life.
When Emma was informed that Talia’s case was to be handed over to us, she vehemently  refused, saying that it was better for the dog to be put down than to move from fosterer to fosterer. But this at least gives her the chance that someday, someone may adopt her. She has suffered for a long time, and even if it was only for a year or two, doesn’t she deserve one last chance at having some happiness in her remaining life?

Talia is currently living with a fosterer who can only foster her till the end of October because of her family commitments. We are appealing for a kind family to adopt her. After a long time of suffering, all Talia asks is that someone gives her love in her final years, to show her that love does exist because she has never experienced that.
Talia is contented spending most of her days sleeping and relaxing. She still retains her love for food and treats.  She has never had so much freedom and space, it is indeed a luxury to her. She promises to be appreciative of what you give her, grateful and undemanding because that’s just the kind of dog she is.

Never in my years of animal rescue have I rescued a dog, and later change my mind to put them down because they were simply too much work. Even when we were down to our last cent or owing huge amounts in vet bills, the thought of putting dogs down never crossed our minds. We will never give up on a dog who has not given up on itself.

To adopt Talia, please email fiona@hopedogrescue.org
Note : Names have been changed to protect the fate of the dog.