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.