Discarded Dogs

Chinese New Year comes with so many perks. The endless supply of goodies, the influx of red packets from relatives, and the yearly prerogative to buy new clothes and discard old clothes! The notion of “throwing out the old and bringing in the new” is a common belief and practice for not just the Chinese but for many different races and religions, who celebrate the start of the new year in a set of fresh, new apparel to mark the end of the previous year and to welcome a new year afresh. Some people even believe that by throwing away old clothes, they send off the bad luck accumulated in the past year.

I’m not one who is sentimental of my old clothes, or any object for the matter. Unless it carries with it a particular memory which is invaluable to me, I never think twice before allocating my pre-loved items to the donation bin at the Salvation Army. After all, these items are cold, lifeless and without a heartbeat.

However, there is a discerning line between the non-living and the living; there is stark differentiation between an object/item and an animal. Abandoning animals has become an increasingly common practice for people who are bored of their pets, who find their pets a burden, and who are tired of feeding, and cleaning after them. It is shocking how people can turn their backs at their faithful companion so easily and so heartlessly. It is even more appalling to know that some people are cold-hearted enough to abandon their ill pets because they are old and sick, and no longer qualify as their playmate, read Calrose’s story here.

Just before the Lunar New Year, both Benji and Fluffy became victims to abandonment.

Benji found at Commonwealth Avenue

Fluffy - Why didn't you want me anymore?
Lily first spotted Benji at the void deck of Blk 7A Commonwealth Avenue in the afternoon. At first glance, Benji has cataracts in one eye, and cherry eye in the other eye. It doesn’t take an expert to guess that his owner may have abandoned him. Patchy fur, infected skin, and cherry eye are all suggestive of prolonged neglect and negligence by the owner. A conversation with neighbours revealed that Benji had been loitering around the void deck for at least two days.

Benji loitering at the void deck. He was terribly tired, hungry and thirsty.

Following Fiona’s advice, Lily took Benji to the vet for a thorough checkup, as we do with every dog we rescue. The results of the initial diagnosis indicated tick fever, mild anemia (a result of the tick fever) dry eyes and fungal-related skin infection, which could be contagious to dogs with a low immunity.

Benji’s second review with the vet brought some good and not so positive news. Although the vet confirmed he can see with both eyes and his blood count had improved, he was diagnosed with a severe heart condition that could pose a risk to his health if he undergoes any surgery for the cherry eye. To stay on the safe side, we put off doing the surgery that basically leaves him in discomfort whenever the lump on his eye turns dry and starts peeling. Since then, we’ve been giving him eye drops regularly to keep his eyes moist and to ease the pain.

Benji was so badly neglected, his eye had become infected

In between the hustle and bustle of other rescue work and shuttling him to the clinic, Benji was initially put up for boarding at a pet shop whose staff ended up locking him in a cage for his own safety, as he had a tendency of knocking into things – that’s certainly not an ideal living condition for him.

Itchy and inflamed. Imagine the pain and discomfort that Benji had to put up with.
Fortunately a pet shop by the name of Teddy and Doggy stepped in and very kindly offered to put Benji up for boarding for free while we find a home for him, although for his own safety, they do put in the cage when they are busy.

As Benji has little experience in interacting with doggy pals, he is still learning the ropes of socializing and behaving nicely around his doggy friends. He may appear aggressive in the presence of other dogs but this is a mild, common behavioral problem that can be easily eased if you have the patience, love and guidance to teach him how to interact and behave when he sees another friend.
As for Fluffy the terrier poodle cross, he followed a Gan Eng Seng Secondary School teacher from a bus stop into the school, loitered around the school compound for a while before a student noticed him and decided to seek help from a pet shop. The staff at the pet shop suggested that the student contact Lily instead.

Fluffy was in a reasonably good shape as compared to Benji when Lily first saw him. Apart from the horribly matted fur on his two front legs that was so badly caked up in dirt it had to be shaved down eventually, and a few loose teeth which came with age, he is generally in good health and condition.

Fluffy whisked straight to the vet after he was found

Rotting teeth

Fluffy has a sweet temperament, is good-natured and loves being in the company of humans. He loves children too! Suzalina and her family are currently fostering him, and he has grown really attached to them, especially to their four year old daughter. The only issue is that Fluffy has a dominant streak in him and will demand and fight for attention whenever the family dog is being patted. There were a few close shaves when the two dogs fought with each other for attention, so if the situation becomes unmanageable, Fluffy will need to be re-fostered. Fluffy is not aggressive, just alpha.

Fluffy's legs looked funny and we're unsure how this came about
Fluffy looked as if he had socks on
His legs had to be shaved at the vet as it was badly matted

Both Benji and Fluffy have been victims of abandonment by irresponsible owners who have had a change in heart. All we really wish for them is to be able to settle into a good home, lead a life in a reliable household, enjoy a dose of love, share a hug and receive a pat.

We may not have noticed ourselves, but our human world is rapidly changing. Beliefs and morals are fast eroding in our society to the extent that abandoning, neglecting and ill-treating of animals now comes without any sense of guilt. Humans have become selfish and forgotten the meaning of compassion and empathy. Before you know it, we’ll all be walking with our nose in the air having absolutely no regard for anyone but ourselves. We’d be kicking the homeless for blocking our paths, shoving away elderly who are holding up the crowd, and watching people die in accidents without lending a helping hand.

Let us not be sucked into this alien world without compassion. For with compassion, comes hope, comes love, and comes life.

Benji : Male, Maltese, estimated 7 to 8 years old
Fluffy : Male, Poodle / Terrier Cross, estimated 7 to 9 years old

You can help these two darlings in the following ways :

1) Help with Fluffy and / or Benji’s vet bills
2) Help with Fluffy’s sterilization and dental scaling bill – yet to be done.
3) Foster / adopt Benji
4) Adopt Fluffy

For #1 and #2, please email fiona@hopedogrescue.org 

For #3 and #4, please email sherry@hopedogrescue.org

We thank everyone who has helped with Fluffy and Benji. We hope that they will soon overcome their feelings of despair, anxiety and sadness and find the true happiness that all dogs deserve.

Story written by Claire Chai. Photographs courtesy of Lily and Lynette.