Lulu. The Exotic Beauty

Some of you might have followed the stories of the Fat Sisters on our blog, the fun-loving strays whom we had been feeding since they were puppies. Heartbreakingly, Fat Sister Black has since passed away from distemper. Thankfully though, we managed to rescue Fat Girl Brown in time, and she has since recovered from distemper. 

Pretty Fat Sister, happy to be alive! (Available for adoption)

The Fat Sisters’ stories are, unfortunately, not uncommon. Life on the streets is tough, and there are many other dogs out there who need our help.  One such dog is Lulu, another stray who lives a few factories away from the Fat Sisters.
Lulu has lived on the streets for the past 5 years
Lulu is a medium sized white dog, approximately 5-6 years old. Our volunteers have been feeding her since she was a puppy at 5 months old. Though shy, Lulu has a sweet and gentle disposition that endears her to anyone who meets her. 
Leslie feeding Lulu while brother, Orh Lulu looked on. This was taken in October 2011, one and a half years ago. Lulu's brother has since passed on from distemper
Lulu had a brother, affectionately named Orh Lulu. Unfortunately, Orh Lulu died of distemper a month ago. A few days after Orh Lulu passed on, the factory worker at Lulu's factory called us and told us that Lulu was not eating.

Our first thought was that Lulu could have also contacted distemper so we rushed down to find her.  When we saw her, we found her skinny and weak. She had lost a lot of weight in just the 4 days that we had not seen her.
We brought Lulu to the vet where she was warded for three weeks and underwent a battery of tests and observation. Much to our relief, the vet said that Lulu tested negative for distemper. Many dog lovers will know that distemper is a very serious and painful illness. If the disease is not detected early, the chance of survival is very slim.

Video of distemper stray: http://youtu.be/Ja-azxl0S7A
The video was recorded from the car as we did not want to risk contamination by going near Orh Lulu. You can see how he has difficulty breathing, how the virus goes into his immune system, then he stumbles from weakness. Distemper is a deadly virus. The strays who are not spared died a slow, painful death. Watching Orh Lulu climb through the gate back into the factory made us terribly sad but there was nothing we could have done. He died in the next few days . . . workers found his body under a lorry . . . slowly decomposing. . .  .such is the life of a stray. If not for us and the workers, nobody would even have missed them.
For Lulu, the vet diagnosed her as having a strain of tick fever known as Babesia instead. Babesia is a form of infection caused by parasites that attack blood cells and the severity of illness varies. Lulu was put on treatment for Babesia 2 weeks ago and she is slowly recovering, and has even put on some weight. Although reserved and very well behaved, she cannot help but display her excitement when she sees the familiar faces of the volunteers who visit her at the vet. Of course, the home cooked chicken meals and cod liver oil that the volunteers bring with them to feed her may have played a part too.

At the Vet
Lulu has such lovely brown eyes but often looked as if she was deep in thought or worried
Dirty, thin and tired from years of hardship on the streets
The factory, which Lulu had called home for the last 5 years, is no longer safe for Lulu. The recent outbreak of distemper in that area means that if we put Lulu back there, there is a very high chance of her contacting and succumbing to the disease. How can we bear to send Lulu to what could possibly be pain and suffering, and worse, death? Moreover, her brother Orh Lulu, who had been her companion her whole life at the factory, is already gone.
Finally discharged after staying more than 3 weeks at the vet
The exotic beauty
Lulu has really nice, big, round brown eyes. However, unlike the cheekiness you see in some pet dogs’ eyes, we see sadness and weariness in Lulu’s. She is shy around humans, almost wary of us at times, yet, one can tell that she wants to trust us, and hope that perhaps one day, she too can have a “human” whom she can call her owner. Someone who will greet her every morning with hugs, whom she can smile and wag her tail at, and gently tuck her into bed every night.
Isabelle (foster), Sharon and Jin Hui spending time with Lulu
Lulu for adoption
Help us help Lulu by sharing this story. We need to find a home for Lulu so that she stay in a safe and secure environment.
If you do not have a dog and are considering to get one, instead of buying one from a pet shop, why not consider giving Lulu a chance. She may not be pedigree, but she is no less beautiful or inferior. It has been said that rescued dogs tend to be very loyal and affectionate. Having been neglected or abandoned before, they are all the more grateful for your love and extremely grateful for what you give them.
Thank you Isabelle for fostering Lulu and taking such good care of her.
If you are interested in adopting Lulu, or simply would like to enquire more about Lulu, please contact Fiona at fiona@hopedogrescue.org
Written by Michelle Yap


What A Little Love Can Do!

Sandy was waiting for her friend at the lobby of an apartment when she noticed a dog sitting alone in a corner. Curious, she approached the dog. As she drew closer, the acrid stench of urine wafted towards her and she knew that something wasn't right. The smell grew stronger and more overwhelming, until Sandy was close enough to see that the little dog's fur was matted, covered with her own stools, and that her nails were way too long. She looked confused and hungry. 

When we found her

Sandy immediately phoned her friend, who then brought some dog snacks for the starving animal. The dog quickly wolfed down the meagre meal without hesitation. Judging from how hungry and eager she was, it was definitely not enough. She had obviously been neglected for quite a while. 

Indignant and concerned, Sandy approached the security guards for more details. She was told that the woman who used to take care of the dog had kicked her out of the house that morning. The management had knocked on her door a few times during the day, but she flatly refused to take the dog back. Bewildered by this unusual situation, Sandy pressed further. According to the security guards, that woman used to love this dog a lot but then rumours started going around that she had become mentally unsound. So when the poor, confused dog wandered around the apartment complex and did her business along the corridor, her owner actually threw some of that poo at a neighbour’s door. The guards only learnt about this after her neighbour called the cops. 
The police arrived to investigate and take statements; the authorities were subsequently informed of this abandonment case, so Sandy decided to wait for them to arrive. Meanwhile, she lodged a case with the SPCA to file a report of neglect. SPCA replied that their inspector will drop by to check if the owner is able to provide adequate care for the dog. 1.5 hours of silence passed before Sandy made up her mind to attend to the poor dog on her own because she felt the dog required immediate care. 

She contacted HOPE Dog Rescue, and left a copy of her IC with the management in case the owner or the authorities arrived with enquiries. With our advice, Sandy then rushed the dog to a vet. We named her Lucky. Lucky had a thorough medical check at the vet, and it was revealed that her eyes were cloudy and dry; hence they did not produce tears. Although this is a common problem in the breed, Lucky’s condition was likely exacerbated by prolonged periods of neglect. She now needs to be medicated with eye drops thrice daily, for the rest of her life. Poor Lucky is merely 2–3 years old, but has already been through so much. 

Just rescued and taken straight to the vet
This was what came out of the carrier

Imagine the stench and the poor dog's discomfort
Back view

She looked insane

Not being able to tell the front from the back

When we brought her to the groomer, we were told that she had probably not been groomed for a year to have become so unkempt. Her urine and poo had matted and hardened in her fur, and she had to be shaved down. After the groomer was done, it was like a new dog had emerged! We could see that she felt lighter and happier without all the grime that had been stuck to her for so long. 

How could anyone possibly do this to a living creature
Her eyes were blurred from years of neglect

Years of poo had hardened and stuck to her fur making her look like she had an extra leg
How would you start grooming?

Look at how long her nails were - how did she manage to even walk

Years of poo stuck on her
Looking almost like a normal dog

It wasn't American Ginseng. It was a lot of fur from one little dog

Getting rid of her past and starting a fresh life
As we could not find a foster, we boarded her at a pet shop. At first, Lucky was afraid and didn’t eat for 2 days despite her hunger. Gradually, she bloomed into a friendly and playful dog, and has learnt to trust humans again. 

Although we feel very sorry for the neglect that Lucky has had to go through in her early years, we also feel sorry for the owner who had put Lucky through it all. Like Lucky, her owner may be in need of help. It’s possible that she is unable to even care for herself, let alone a dog.  
Nobody deserves what’s happened to them. We would like to sincerely thank Sandy for being a kind and proactive citizen and caring for the wellbeing of another. 

As she is today, pretty and loved
Note : Lucky has been adopted by Melissa and we thank her for loving Lucky the way she does and giving her the warmth, comfort and real life she deserves!
Story by Elena Lin. Photographs courtesy of Lisa Goh


Polka Dog

It was just another gloomy day that started with heavy rain and ended with light drizzles. But this day was different. It was a day that I decided to take a walk home after dropping off a few stops earlier than usual.

Fed by Lyon
Everything was dandy, the drizzle ended and I was covering the distance in decent time. It was around 7:03 pm when I caught sight of Polka. Perhaps the silliest of little things, I flashed a simple smile at the dog when it looked at me and onward I ventured. Somehow curiosity got the better of me and I turned around to look at him one more time. As I walked further away from him, I could see Polka seemingly stalking me and was gradually walking towards me. 
Impressed by Polka’s determination, I stopped and watched him strut towards me. He seemed to be in pain. I had thought that the dog would be wary as all strays are, or that it would be ready to pounce on me anytime. What happened next took me by surprise: Polka rubbed his head against my jeans a few times. Touched by his friendliness, I patted him on his head and his oil-stained body. Those eyes spoke volumes of the pain and suffering he had endured. The sound of his heavy panting signified his determination to live on. His continued tenderness had me thinking that he was probably an abandoned dog, and for which I was proven wrong later. Till this date, I think Polka is probably the kindest stray I have ever met.
I then took out some marshmallows to feed Polka. Silly I know, but I had no other food with me. All these while, I was contemplating if I should walk on. Perhaps Polka felt that I was torn and that he could be a burden to me, he turned around and walked away but not before stopping to take a final look at me. I followed him for a distance before deciding to head to a grocery store to pick up some dog food for Polka. Unsure if he would still be around, I called my friend Denise for advice. With the call made, a chain of events kick-started and that led to Fiona, Lisa and Esther of HOPE Dog Rescue being informed; ergo activated. However my first duty was to feed Polka.

Polka waiting for help to arrive
Upon arriving at the original location, Polka was nowhere to be found. Frantic, I combed the area and was relieved to see him loitering near the trashcans. Upon seeing me, Polka gravitated towards me. I opened the can of Pedigree and dug the food out. Polka wolfed it down immediately. I was gut-wrenched to witness the sight. Seeing Polka this hungry, I decided to use my fingers to dig the food out and got several deep cuts in the end. Nevertheless it was worthwhile seeing Polka have the meal of his life. Unsure how I could help any further, I patted the dog a few more times and watched his fatigue body relaxing before making my way home, well knowing that help was on its way.
Polka knew Lyon would bring him Hope
Polka trusted Lyon
Lyon and Lisa checking Polka's wound
8:19 pm. I had left Polka behind and was close to home when I got a message from Denise. The HOPE Dog Rescue team was worried that Polka might leave its location and asked if I could stay by it to ensure the dog sticks around while they make their way down. I agreed and walked back quickly. I heaved a sigh of relief to see the Polka still resting. Not long after, Denise, Fiona and Lisa arrived. Everyone approached Polka and he raised his head to look at us bewilderedly. Fiona and Lisa examined the dog and they realized that it has patches of bald spots, labored breathing and ear infections. The worst was the ghastly-infected wound on his rear. Polka stayed with us and was polite to everyone while we await Esther to arrive with the cage. Meanwhile he continued showering me with tenderness.

Battle scars and loss of fur on his rump
The weirdest thing happened when Esther arrived. As the gang occupied themselves by setting up the carrier, Polka walked toward it oblivious of his coming fate and then subsequently into the cage on his own. The team then sent Polka to a vet to have his health assessed immediately as he was panting heavily. Throughout the entire procedure, I imagine that Polka must have a lot of thoughts running through his mind. Although he was wary of being caged up initially and let out a few occasional barks, he remained brave, well behaved and close to me throughout.


Setting up the carrier
The night ended slightly after midnight and we left Polka in the safe hands of the vet. Denise turned and said to me that everyone had talked about the bond that Polka had with me, about how he constantly looked at me. I wondered why he chose me out of everyone else but I do believe that this could be the start of something beautiful.
Handsome Polka at the vet
Perhaps this is fate and destiny – my virgin dog rescue.
Written by Lyon Lionel Wong
Updates from Fiona:
When we saw Polka walk willingly into the carrier, I was more convinced than ever that dogs have the uncanny ability to connect with our souls, to read our hearts and minds, and to understand our every intention and action. This is probably why many people regard them as “humans’ best friend.”
He peed in the carrier and it was all black from the grime and oil from him legs

Every dog we met has a sad story to tell. As for Polka, his wound-laden body spelt of hardship and agony. His thinning fur is indicative of the many years he spent sleeping on rough surfaces, or possible contact with chemicals from the workshop he lived in. His ghastly-infected, pus-filled wound could have been yet another dog attack he had to endure. 
Dirty paws
Surviving a decade of street life is no easy feat, especially when all odds are against you – the merciless weather, the unhygienic living conditions and the constant quest for food.

Polka is probably worn out by his own life, fate and destiny. And I guess he finally saw a ray of hope when he met Lyon. Perhaps he knew that he could trust him and seek solace in him. And true enough, he did. He brought Polka to us.
Polka’s medical result came back a few days ago and it wasn’t positive. The vet found two big masses in his chest, one measuring 3cm and the other 4cm. They also found a hardened lump in his stomach. The masses may be cancerous, but we can’t be sure until he goes for a biopsy. Unfortunately, we can’t send him for a biopsy in his current condition – Polka is diagnosed with severe heartworm – as putting him on General Anesthesia will be too risky. He is also not young.

Good looking Polka. He actually did not need to be muzzled, he is very sweet.
I don’t know how much pain Polka is in. His laboured breathing pains me, and his many signs of discomfort upsets me. I want to be able to give him a ray of hope, and I hope you’ll open your heart to him. 
Polka needs a foster urgently for a month, or we will have to release him back to the streets. His medical bills for the past four days have already amounted to $1,000 and our bills are snowballing at a scary speed.

Polka is currently being treated for heartworm and ear infection. He is on antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs. He has two masses in his chest, one lump in his stomach, and an undescended testicle. His vision seems to be deteriorating and his breathing is laboured. He is estimated to be 10 years old or more.

I would hate to release him back to the streets, and to see him fend for himself all over again. I urge you to please extend your help to him and I pray for hope to be upon him.

We have 15 dogs to rehome, all at various pet shops, fosters or volunteers homes. We can’t possibly take another dog in until we rehome some of our present dogs.