Calrose's Happy Ending

One thing that has changed since I started volunteering with HOPE is how I look at the stray dogs that roam the streets. In the past, I might walk past a street dog with only a fleeting glance, I now find myself sizing up the health and well-being of the dogs I occasionally encounter. And it’s because of dogs like Calrose.

Calrose is a Shih Tzu cross that someone spotted crossing the road and quickly grabbed before he got hit by a car. On closer inspection, it turned out that Calrose is blind and could not see where he was going, and he was shivering and extremely scared. So the kind passerby called HOPE for help.

Calrose at the vet

We brought him to a vet for a full check-up. In the car on the way to the vet, Calrose was very frightened and shivered non-stop. Perhaps he had a nasty experience in a car before, or was abandoned after a car ride? Since he was also blind, it could have been very frightening for him to be taken into the unknown.

At the clinic, the doctor confirmed that he was, sadly, totally blind from cataracts that had gone untreated. He had hundreds of ticks swarming all over his body and his body was covered with sores from tick bites, so he had to be shaved. His tick infestation was so bad that it took three rounds of de-ticking to get rid of everything.

Tick bites all over his body

In addition, his teeth were rotten and his breath was terrible. Fiona carried him tightly and told him everything would be alright, and this seemed to calm him down somewhat. He stopped shivering, and even licked Fiona’s face many times – his bad breath was all over her face but she didn’t mind.

Apart from the ticks, the cataracts and his rotten teeth, Calrose turned out to be in reasonably good health given his age – he is estimated to be about 11 to 12 years old. His sense of smell is very strong, perhaps to compensate for his loss of sight.

There were crystals found in his urine. This is sometimes caused by diet or it may sometimes indicate the presence of bladder stones, and there has also been evidence that it could be genetic and more common in some breeds than others. Treatment depends on the crystal type – some can be dissolved by taking certain solutions, and even flushed out by drinking lots of water, while larger crystals may require surgery.

Calrose as he is today!

Initially, during his foster period, he had severe separation anxiety and would cry and panic whenever he was left alone. Turning on the television or radio made no difference to him as what he needed was human warmth.

However, Calrose has since been adopted into a loving family. These days he is much better, gets on well with dogs and humans and despite his own sorry state, is happy and easygoing. When night falls, he needs to sleep beside a person, to feel that warmth, comfort and assurance that he will no longer be abandoned.

Calrose and his new family (Straits Times, 5 January 2013) 

Straits Times, 12 January, 2013

Rescuing him from the streets has made a whole world of difference for him, and we were glad to see him find a home, which is surely what he wished for when we found him wandering around blindly, driven to despair by ticks and fear, wondering where his next meal would come from.

And now, when I see a stray dog wondering by, I wonder what they go through and whether there’s a happy ending waiting for them, some day.

HOPE thanks SB and family for loving Calrose.

To adopt a dog from HOPE, please email sherry@hopedogrescue.org

Story by Lin Yan Qin