A Shameful Story

Our unbecoming society is raising quite a few eyebrows among our animal-loving comrades. If we ran a survey on the number of abandoned dogs in Singapore and the reason they were abandoned, we’d probably be mortified by the results. As it turns out, we are tasked to save yet another pet dog from an irresponsible family. 

If you’ve been married before, or if you have a soft spot for romance films like I do, you’d probably gush over the familiar statement “I’ll be there for you in sickness or in health” reiterated by the lead characters in the show.

This was when we first found her. Dirty, unkempt, exhausted

Have you ever asked yourself whether you would pledge the same to your doggy pals? Or would you turn away when they are in agony? Would you spend your savings treating your dog, or would you rather spend them on material goods?

Imagine the period of neglect for poor Cotton to get to this stage! Almost a year!

Her fur was so badly matted

How did she even manage to walk??

Sadly, abandoning a sick dog is nothing new in today’s society. And Cotton has fallen into this unfortunate category.

Cotton is a Maltese, not a Sheepdog

A lady reported that she saw Cotton wandering aimlessly in the Ang Mo Kio estate. At the time of discovery, Cotton looked extremely disheveled, distraught and exhausted. Her tear-stained face, overgrown fur, and long nails were indications that she had probably been neglected or roaming the streets for a period of time.

Badly matted fur

As with our procedures for lost dogs, we instructed the lady to put up posters around the vicinity and to report the case to the relevant authorities, just in case the owners have already lodged a report about their missing pooch. AVA and SPCA both came back with negative reports – no one seemed to be looking for her.

One night, a man called close to midnight to say that he thinks Cotton could be his dog. According to him, his daughter had been too carried away playing with her friends that she had forgotten to bring Cotton home. By the time they returned to the site where her daughter had left Cotton, she was nowhere to be found. It took him three days before he contacted us.

When we probed further on where his daughter had left Cotton, he replied furtively saying, “Around Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4.” For some strange reason, he refused to disclose the exact location, i.e. the Block Number, which we asked for several times. He then started asking us if we knew Cotton’s microchip number – of course we had her microchip number – and wanted us to recite the number to him. Given that he was acting out of the norm, we refused to reveal Cotton’s microchip number. Instead, we asked him to tell us the number but he said he didn’t have it on hand and would need to check before getting back to us.

He never called again after that.

Five days later, we decided to make a trip down to where cotton was first found in hope to gather some clues on the identity of Cotton’s owner. We found a “Missing Dog” poster with Cotton’s photo on it, and contacted the phone number listed on the poster.

Sweet Cotton, with Hope in her eyes, despite having been abandoned

The lady who answered our call refused to speak with us and frantically brushed us off by asking us to call back later at night after her husband returns home. Her reaction roused our suspicion further as her behavior is unlike any pet owner who is trying to locate a missing pet. How can anyone be so passive, unconcerned and disinterested when someone on the other line is desperately trying to reunite you with your dog?

Exhausted from having roamed the streets for a long time

Undeterred, we called again later in the night but no one answered our call. In fact, the family did not even bother returning any of our calls. This leaves us to wonder why the family would even bother putting up posters around the vicinity when they are obviously disinterested in reuniting with their pet. Were they truly intending to find Cotton or was it just to mask the fact that they have abandoned their dog and they didn’t want to look bad? Did their daughter really forget to bring Cotton home, or did they conveniently throw her out and wanted to check if we had the microchip number for fear that we will report him to the authorities?

I know you may find our deduction pretty crazy or even self-serving but we have dealt with so many senseless excuses, atrocious comments, and appalling behaviors from people that are truly beyond belief. These people have such unparalleled creativity to whip up the “best” stories ever that leaves you to wonder how much time they must have spent to plan each and every move.

Why didn't you want me? Did you know i was very sick with seizures while roaming the streets?

You may ask: “Why are you guys so cynical? Why can’t you people empathize with people?” Sure, everyone has a “reason/excuse” for abandoning a dog whether it is legitimate or not. So where do you draw the line? And how can we not get frustrated when a life is at stake? We are not dealing with stuffed toys.

We managed to find a temporary foster for Cotton. While at the foster’s, Cotton had seizures on a daily basis with each episode lasting more than a minute. It pains us to see her undergo so much suffering at such a young age. Cotton is barely two years old. How can a family abandon an ill pet when they need them the most? Long term seizures if left untreated will result in permanent brain damage! What if she had a seizure while crossing the road?

We took Cotton to see a senior vet. The vet ran a blood test and did an x-ray on Cotton but could not nail down the actual cause of the seizures. In general, seizures can either be due to genetics or a growth in the brain. The only way to find out if she has a growth in the brain is to undergo a CT scan, which would cost around $2,500. We don’t have the finances for that at the moment, so we settled for medication instead.

At the vet

The good news is that the seizures seemed to be under control after medication, and Cotton has not had a recurrence in two weeks.

Pretty Cotton as she looks today

Cotton loves outings and car rides

It is so heartwarming to see Cotton finally able to lead a normal life, and to enjoy every moment at home with her fosters and their dogs. However, Cotton is in need of a new foster or a permanent home. The current fosters are unable to keep Cotton any longer because HDB is knocking on their doors on an almost daily basis. With HDB’s latest visit, Cotton needs to be out of the foster home in 3 days’ time. Cotton cannot possibly live in the kennels or pet shop as she needs to be fed medication regularly.

If you would like to foster or adopt Cotton or help with Cotton’s vet bills, please email Fiona@hopedogrescue.org.

Cotton is still under vet’s review at the moment and she would need to visit the vet fortnightly. She has most likely been caged up in her previous home, so she is learning to be paper-trained.
Cotton is a female Maltese who is barely two years old. She is an extremely easy-going and friendly pooch who has just started to lead a normal life. Please give her a chance to be part of your family.

Note that preferences would be given to interested families who have a person at home to keep Cotton’s health in check.

Thank you Suzalini for helping Cotton.

URGENT: Foster / adopter needed for Cotton immediately.

If you can help with Cotton's vet bills, please email Fiona@hopedogrescue.org

Written by Claire Chai. Photo Credits: Leslie Kok