Fat Sisters' Lives In Danger

Updated on 12 Jan 2013. Fat Sister Black has passed on from the deadly distemper virus. In the last two weeks we have been going to visit and feed her, waiting and calling out her name but she never appeared. We suspected she was gone . . . . this morning I finally spoke to a factory worker who knows Fat Sister Black and he mentioned she had been sick from the same virus that had claimed the lives of many dogs along that stretch. I was terribly upset that he did not call me, I would have rushed down to take her to the vet, to try and save her life. Now she is gone . . . .I hope, to a better place, where she no longer needs to worry about love, food and shelter. 5 years I have known this cute fat sister . . . feeding will never be the same without her running up to greet me and my team when our cars pull up. Such is the harsh reality of working with strays, they are unprotected from the harsh elements. 

Her sister, Fat Girl Brown is due for discharge today and has nowhere to go. We can't return her to the streets lest she suffers the same fate as her sister. Will someone foster or adopt Fat Girl Brown? She is sweet and affectionate and is no longer sick. 

How do I tell her that her sister and best friend is gone, the only family she had known . . .  .perhaps she already knows . .  .

Our weekly feed-the-strays session will never be as fun without Fat Girl Brown and Fat Sister Black, the two lovely, bubbly and pudgy sisters whom we have fed since they were just four months old. Years have passed, I’ve matured a little, gotten tubby, and so have they. The two sisters are now five years old.

This is their home on the streets, where they have lived for the past 5 years
It is always a heartwarming sight to see these two tubby sisters running out in harmony to greet us whenever our cars pull up along the sidewalk, near the factory they lived in. They will jump around in delight without fail, demanding for a pat and a hug. 
Fat Girl Brown

The fat sisters enjoying their weekly pat pat sessions from our volunteers

Rina and the fat sisters

Lisa and the fat sisters. As you can see, this is their usual routine every week!

Living with Fat Girl Brown and Fat Sister Black are two male dogs: a well-built Gong Gong, and a smaller dog, light brown in colour, whose name we are unsure of. The four of them have been living and playing together in peace for around more than two years now.

However, in recent months, we have witnessed Gong Gong and Fat Sister Black breaking into fights. Sometimes it was over food, other times it was completely arbitrary. We didn’t take any action since none of them got hurt in the process, and it is natural for dogs – strays or domestics – to establish a pecking order within the community they lived in.

Regrettably, a factory worker called us two weeks back to report a fighting case between Gong Gong and Fat Sister Black, leaving Gong Gong with a few superficial puncture wounds that weren’t too serious, and poor Fat Sister Black with over 20 puncture wounds around her neck. She was trembling in fear and pain when our volunteers Nick, Iris, Lisa and Fiona found her hiding under a lorry. We took her to the vet where she was treated and warded for the next eight days.

Fat Sister Black arriving at the vet

Puncture holes

Numerous puncture holes

The challenge with injured strays is that it is always difficult to identify a person to help medicate them. More often than not, their wounds become so ghastly infected it has to be operated on causing unnecessary suffering to the dogs.

After eight days of separation from her sister, Fat Girl Brown sensed Fat Sister Black was home and dashed out in excitement to welcome her sister. It was also during then we caught Fat Girl Brown coughing and decided we should send her for a checkup, for which she was diagnosed with kennel cough and was warded for a night.

Fat Girl Brown at the vet

Feeling rather down

It shocked us to know she had distemper

Fat Girl Brown had diarrhea and bloody stools that night and we thought we might as well test her for parvo and distemper. To our shock, she was tested positive for distemper. Cough is a symptom of distemper, and it is frustrating she did not portray other visible signs and symptoms, which could have triggered our alarm bells earlier.

By now, many would have known canine distemper is a highly fatal and transmissible disease. Fat Girl Brown was immediately warded in isolation, while we began surveying the surroundings. We investigated the row of factories nearby and spoke to various workers and were told some dogs had died recently – a sign that parvo and distemper has already spread to other areas.

Since then, we have been in a hectic rush, working around the clock and against time, to find, catch and transport neighbouring dogs to the vet for testing and vaccination. However, no matter how quick we act, more dogs have departed from our world. Some passed on at the vets while some died under the trucks. It has been depressing to retrieve the cold, hardened bodies ever so often.

Fortunately, Fat Girl Brown’s medical results from the re-test proved negative for distemper after living in isolation for over a week. Lucky for her, the virus didn’t reach her nerves so she did not display any neurological signs unlike Babu.

Fat Girl Brown is now ready to be discharged from the vet but we cannot send her back to the factory. She is prone to re-contracting distemper again and may not be as lucky to escape death a second time. The boarding kennels are full and she had to be isolated for one week before vaccination.

She has been tested negative for distemper, free from heartworm and tick fever. She will be microchipped and vaccinated today. We would feel awful putting her back at the factory and have decided to find her a good home. If only you would meet her, you would realize she is the most easy going and friendly street dog you would ever meet. She wags her bum and loves playing, is very affectionate and easy to manage. Her only vice, chewing through leashes when she is bored; she has broken 4 in the past 10 days. Other than that, she is an absolute sweetie.

Feeling much better and looking happier!

Please help us in saving Fat Girl Brown and her community. Should you be interested in fostering or adopting her, email us at fiona@hopedogrescue.org

Five year old Fat Girl Brown is sweet, playful and submissive and we guarantee you it will be love at first sight!

Written by Claire Chai on Fiona’s behalf