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.