A Case Of Abandonment

Shaggy was first spotted roaming around Sunplaza Park. After noticing her over a few days, her rescuer decided to rescue Shaggy even though they did not have any experience. Shaggy’s rescuers thought that they could send her to a dog shelter and put her up for adoption if they could catch her.

However catching Shaggy was no easy feat. Shaggy was terribly afraid and ran at the sight of humans. Her rescuers spent a good 3 hours trying to lure and corner Shaggy and finally, with the help of some kind hearted passers-by, Shaggy was cornered and leashed. While chasing Shaggy, one of her rescuers noticed that Shaggy didn’t hesitate to drink from a puddle of water which contained ants and leaves. This shows us the terrible living conditions that poor Shaggy had been living in. One of Shaggy’s rescuers decided to foster her, but could not do so for long as she already had two dogs of her own. It took them another 4 hours to bathe and shave her down as Shaggy had badly matted and tangled fur, with dead ants and twigs in it. Hence they named her Shaggy.

Shaggy - before and after her shave
Soon, the fosterer texted us to say that she can’t house Shaggy anymore as she was afraid that her neighbours would start complaining due to Shaggy’s whining and she was afraid that her own dogs might get into trouble. It seems that poor Shaggy also has anxiety problem.
Upon vet consultation, we came to know that Shaggy is a terrier cross schnauzer and is around 1-2 years old. Thankfully, Shaggy does not have any skin or health problems. Shaggy was given a clean bill of health. However Shaggy is very skinny and her bones are visible. Since she has been sent for grooming already, she is clean and free from ticks. She is also outdoor trained and did not poo or pee at her fosterer’s home.

Shaggy at her fosterer's home. Took her a while to get braver.

Shaggy is a pure gem. She is a very sweet girl and basically becomes attached to people very quickly. Shaggy cannot be left alone and needs to have people around her. She is also sensitive to sound and will bark. This could have been a result of some ordeal that she went through.

We are desperately trying to find Shaggy her forever loving home and family who would accept her for who she is. Given her condition now, she needs someone who is genuine and kind, and we are keeping our fingers crossed and praying for her. We can’t bear to see her out on the streets. Are you the angel who can give our beloved Shaggy a forever loving home ?

Shaggy resting at her fosterer's home.
Written by Shashrini Balu

NOTE from HOPE Dog Rescue : Shaggy has since been adopted by the rescuer's friend.


The Importance Of Sterilization – Aunt R

Sterilizing stray dogs is an arduous task but we do it because it helps keep the stray population in check.

Each sterilization project is handled by a group of dedicated volunteers who do this on a part-time basis on top of their day jobs. There is also a lot of coordination work involved as we only have 2 large carriers on loan which we move from site to site for stray catching, while keeping to a tight schedule allotted to us by the vets. Currently, we are juggling 4 ongoing sterilization projects.

One of our sterilization projects brought us to Aunt R.

Aunt R is a kind lady who has been feeding strays in her area for the past 8 months. She works in a nearby factory canteen and every day after work, she brings leftover chicken parts to feed these dogs. Her niece, Ragi, contacted us to tell us that these dogs are producing litters and they need help to sterilize the strays to control the population.

Happy and contented after their meal
New born pups

Stop the breeding. Curb the stray population
Puppies under the plank. They could be eaten by snakes or foreign workers

We went down to assess the area and found the dogs to be in good health. Although she has been feeding them well these past 8 months, we realized that Aunt R has never touched or patted them, as she was somewhat scared of them. But from the dogs’ demeanour and the wagging of their tails, we could tell how much they trusted and loved her, and we convinced her to pat them. We showed her how to approach them, which she did with great courage. She was overjoyed by the fact that they allowed her to go near and pat them. It was a rewarding sight seeing the joy in her eyes, knowing that she was finally able to get close to her furry friends of 8 months.

Best friends

Like the Pipe Piper, the dogs follow her

Aunt R then mentioned that one of the dogs had a string tied around his neck. As we showed her how to hold a dog while we checked the dog, we realized that it wasn’t a string. It was a wire tightly wound around the dog’s neck that had probably been tied there since young. As the dog grew bigger, the wire cut into his neck, leaving behind visible dried blood on his fur and neck. Our hearts clenched at the sight. Aunt R said she noticed the dripping blood a few weeks ago but she did not know what to do. We could see her distress at her helplessness. With that, we showed her how to hold the dog as we gently removed the wire from his neck. Aunt R was a natural. She spoke to the poor dog in a soft voice as she comforted her friend.

Showing us the wire tied around his neck

Trying to remove the wire

Finally got the wire off

Aunt R was delighted as she grew more confident with her strays. Since she had already forged such close relationships with the dogs, we decided to teach her how to catch the dogs so she could help us with our sterilization projects. Soon, she had managed to coax a female and two male dogs into the carriers.

Watch this video on stray puppies.

The other dogs on the other hand, got smarter and wised up to her tricks and started avoiding her. So we had to go down and help her. Each time, we try to bring 2 dogs to the vet per week so that it makes the transport cost worthwhile.

The last one that we can't catch. She has a lump on her chest.

Aunt R is just one story amongst many. Typically, when an area of strays has been identified, a volunteer will have to send a pet carrier down to the site to catch the dog the night before. This is to ensure that the dog has fasted before surgery. If we are lucky we can get help from one of the workers in the nearby factories; otherwise one of the volunteers will have to go down and catch the dog him or herself.

Once caught, we leave the dog inside the carrier at that particular factory for the night and only pick it up the next morning to send it to the vet, as most surgeries are set early in the day. After surgery, the dog is picked up and brought back to the site and left in the carrier so that it can recover from the surgery before being let out the following day.

If we could, we would let the dog recover at the vet overnight, even if it means additional costs for us. However most vets are reluctant to let us do so as they are concerned the strays will bark overnight or they may spread ticks to the other pets in the clinic.

Cost is a big issue for our sterilization projects, as not only do we sterilize our dogs, we also ensure that they are vaccinated against viruses. The cost of sterilizing a female dog is $150 while vaccination is $40. On top of that, we incur pet transport costs - we don’t have enough volunteers on hand who can send dogs to the vet in the morning, and we also need a van or lorry that can fit 2 large pet carriers at a time.

Large pet carriers so that it is comfortable for the strays

We are blessed to have helpful people like Aunt R as she genuinely loves and cares for these dogs. Help us help Aunt R and all those who have also approached us for help to sterilize street dogs or dogs in their factory compounds. Help us make a difference.

Ear tipped after sterilization

These dogs just mated. We want to minimize such incidences

Look at how the males jump at the females when they are in heat. It is a very sorry sight.

Constantly giving birth

We are looking for kind souls who can help with any one of the following : 

·      Collecting the carriers and dropping it off at the factory the night before and returning it 2 days later when the dog has been returned. 

· Transportation of large dogs to and from the vet on weekdays (only van, SUV or MPV)

If you could assist us in any way, or know anyone who could, please email Fiona at fiona@hopedogrescue.org


Our Paths Crossed

I was returning home from the market on Sunday afternoon, 14 July 2013, pushing my trolley of groceries making sure it did not overturn as I tried to make my way through the cracks and bumps on the sidewalk. 

When I looked up, I saw this dog trotting towards me. It was a HDB area and I hardly saw any stray dogs around, especially a dog that size. I would say he was medium built, light brown local dog.

Ashton had lovely expressive eyes that pleaded with me to help him

So when I saw him coming towards me I stopped, and he also stopped in front of me, and stepped sideways to the grass area and just stood there. I saw that he had a huge wound on his back just before his tail. It looked raw and painful. Maggots had not yet started to feast on it.
A deep, huge wound on the lower part of his back, near his tail
He looked healthy but slightly skinny, a little anxious and showed no aggression at all. I was able to pat him and he did not move away from me. Perhaps he could have had an owner, which explained why he was friendly towards humans.  

My mind was racing all over. What shall I do now, I cannot take him home, he is too big for the flat and my mother, already in her eighties will not be able to handle a dog, and how can I walk away and leave him with a huge wound like that!
Fortunately maggots had not found their way to this

Evening was about to set, and I only know a few people that I can call who have a heart for animals to help me with this dog besides SPCA! They tried but really no one could take him. 

I was starting to panic, trying to reach someone to help and at the same time to contain the dog to a corner. And I have to say, for a stray he was really well behaved and obedient. He tried to walk away but we managed to stay in a corner at the side of the housing block. So finally, I called the SPCA, but the officer asked so many times if I could contain the dog until they arrived and would not even tell me an estimated time when that would be….instead he asked if I had a leash, if I could take him back to my flat until they came....hello!! I already had him with me now and where was I to get a leash from? And I had a whole trolley load of groceries! Did I make an appointment to meet the dog so that I will have a leash at hand??? Told him I did not even own a dog! It was frustrating, sorry to say that. I understand their concerns and I believe SPCA is doing the best they can but really he was not helping…

Ashton is happy and easy going, despite his injury and pain
Anyway, my friend gave me this vet number to call and I was able to get Ashton the dog to the clinic to have him treated. He was also sterilized during the surgical procedure while he was sedated to have his wound cleaned. Blood tests also revealed that Ashton has Heartworm disease and will need to be treated for this when he is feeling better.

Sadly, I am not able to keep him there for long.
Ashton, after his surgery

He had his wound cleaned and was also sterilized in the process

I have UNTIL Wednesday, 17 July 2013 TO FIND HIM A HOME, after which, I may have to surrender him to the SPCA and hope for the best.  

I also met a kind Samaritan while I was with Ashton the dog, before getting him to the vet. He, too, is trying her best to find a home for Ashton.

I managed to get HOPE Dog Rescue to help share this story and create an awareness on Ashton’s plight. They have been really helpful but I think they too have difficulty finding him a home and they have their hands full with many rescue dogs.

Up to now, we have not been successful in finding him a foster / permanent home for Ashton.

He is really easy to be with. The vet also says that he is very friendly and easy to manage. Please give this dog a chance to have a home. He looks like he has been through quite a lot in his life and I do feel that he is a good dog.  If my situation was different I would keep him myself.  PLEASE HELP ME SAVE THIS DOG. I have done all I can . . . will someone PLEASE HELP!

To foster or adopt Ashton, please email jeanette_khoe@hotmail.com

Note : This is not a HOPE Dog Rescue case. However, we have helped with the vet bills.


What Did I Do Wrong?

I had three dogs. I lost one to an age-related disease earlier this year. And even though he had to have regular checkups and was on long term medication, my family stood by him, just as he had stuck by us for 13 years. And till the very end, he gave us as much love and joy as he had when he was just a puppy. He slipped away with the entire family around him one Sunday morning. And although we all cried, in our hearts we were glad that we were all there when he passed on. Unfortunately for some dogs, they will never know what it’s like to have the comfort and security of a family in their days of need.

A friend was driving along Leonie Hill when she spotted a dog lying on the pavement so she pulled over and approached the dog. It was a little apprehensive but allowed her to pat it and put a leash over it. When she was trying to coax it along, the dog seemed to have difficulty standing up as its legs seemed to hurt. She wasn’t sure if it had been involved in an accident or whether the weakness in its legs is a symptom of old age. But the dog looked old, like a well-loved teddy bear who has been cast aside in favour of a newer toy, scruffy and neglected. As such, she called HOPE for help.

Chloe when she was just found

Unfortunately as it was very short notice on a Saturday afternoon, all the volunteers were busy with running planned dog errands and visits. In a similar stroke of poor luck, Fiona had no van because it had gone up in flames a few weeks back. To top it off, all the pet transport services were fully booked. Thus, our friend had no choice but to call SPCA to take the dog, as she needed to rush off for her next appointment too.

Despite the dog having a microchip, the SPCA could not track its owner down, and kept the dog at its pound for a few days. Worried for the dog, Fiona texted Corinne, Executive Director of the SPCA, to please keep the dog safe while we make arrangements to bail it out.

After making the necessary boarding and vet arrangements, our volunteer, Lynne, along with a pet transport vehicle, went down to the SPCA to bail the dog, whom we named Chloe, out.

They then brought Chloe to the vet for a full medical checkup, which is what we do for all our rescue dogs.

According to the vet, Chloe is about 8 years old, female, and she has severe arthritis, cataracts in both eyes, and a heart murmur. She’s also sterilized, as seen from her sterilization wound. Just 8 years old? Poor Chloe must have had a tough life because she looks much older than she actually is.

She was relieved to be saved

During her stay at the SPCA, Chloe had apparently bitten an SPCA officer, purely out of fear, as she is not aggressive at all and gets along well with people and generally with other dogs as well. But who can blame her for reacting out of fear and stress from being put into an environment that she was utterly unfamiliar with? People tend to blame the wrong end of the leash when it comes to incidents like this.

After the vet visit, they went to a shelter where the worker kindly trimmed Chloe’s badly matted fur, and this is where she will stay until we find a home foster for her.

Chloe is sweet in nature and has a deep sadness about her. We can’t blame her though. It’s obvious that she used to belong to somebody, somebody who cared enough to sterilize her but couldn’t care enough to see her through the rest of her days. Why is it that people always abandon their dogs when they need them the most in old age?

It baffles us to think that anyone can spend years with their canine companion and then cast them out carelessly for the sake of convenience. How can anyone take their dog out, with the intention of leaving it behind? How can they harden their hearts towards their dog’s trusting eyes and turn away from it to leave it on the streets to fend for itself? Don’t they care if it gets hit by a car? It was actually our initial thought when we first saw her lying on the ground, but later found out it was due to severe arthritis. Poor Chloe, every movement must have caused her a lot of pain and yet she had nowhere to go and no one to soothe her aching bones with affection.
Truth be told, it is so much easier to care for a senior dog than a puppy as they’re less needy, sleep more, less demanding and more appreciative. A puppy may be fickle in affection but an older dog is steadfast and loyal till the end to the ones it loves.

Just a few days into settling at the shelter, Chloe was suddenly attacked by a few dogs who went for her jugular veins with the intent to kill her, and they almost succeeded, leaving her bleeding profusely and in shock.

A sad twist of fate

Upon realization, a neighbouring kennel caregiver called Chloe’s kennel keeper and she immediately rushed down to the shelter and then to the Changi branch of Mount Pleasant Veterinary Centre where they shaved Chloe and cleaned her wounds. So horrific were they that the vet had to first stabilize her condition and give her strong morphine to tide her through the pain. When she was more stable, we then transferred her to our regular branch of the Mount Pleasant clinics.

Fighting for her life

It made us so sad to see her in such shape – she cried so helplessly that it reminded us of a child’s plaintive wails. Our natural instinct was to reach out and offer her comfort with hugs but after the attack, she is so deeply traumatized that no one can touch her. In her fear and memory of the ordeal she went through, she growls and shows her teeth when we tried to touch her. One can only imagine how horrible the attack must have been too emotionally affect her in this way and cause her to react in such fear. If only there is some way to let her know that she is safe.
She must have felt so vulnerable in that moment with her arthritis making escaping difficult and her bad cataracts clouding her vision. Due to her bad sight, it’s understandably easier for her to snarl first to defend and protect herself in the fear that she might be attacked again.

Her wounds were so deep it bled for days
The attack has left her entire face badly swollen beyond recognition, causing her to resemble a Chow Chow. At the moment, she is unable to eat or even swallow and is on a drip, morphine and antibiotics.

Face swollen beyond recognition and her shoulder had a very deep wound

Poor Chloe feeling very sorry for herself

Unfortunately, she will have to be warded for quite some time as she must have almost 30 deep puncture wounds all over her body, on her legs and mainly her neck, as the dogs had gone straight for the kill.

At the clinic, fellow volunteer Lisa heard her distressed crying and could not bear the pain and sadness and had to wait outside. That’s not a small feat considering that she has seen her share of horrific cases.

Fiona has only heard such a sad painful cry once in her seven years in animal welfare – and that was when a dog had to have her leg amputated and she cried so much after the surgery for her loss. Chloe’s crying immediately reminded her so much of that day many years ago, bringing with it so much pain and sadness, that she felt nauseous. The sorrowful sound will stay in her mind for a long time to come.

It’s a long road to recovery for Chloe to learn to trust humans again. She’s such a poor thing, first shunned by her previous family and now even her own kind. She was such a sweet old dog abandoned on the streets with cataracts and arthritis crippling her health. Just when she thought that life had taken a turn for the better, she was set upon by dogs in the shelter and almost killed – how unfair can life be for her? Will she ever know acceptance?

When she is ready to be discharged in a week to ten days’ time, we will need a home foster for her. Preferably someone with no dogs and great patience, to help Chloe regain her health and trust.

Abandoned by humans. Attacked by her own species. What is she left with? Why do bad things always happen to the sweetest dogs?
If you can foster or adopt Chloe in a safe and caring environment and best of all, give her a forever home and a decent shot at life again, please email fiona@hopedogrescue.org

Written by Eloise Lee


Come To This Saturday's Animal Symposium And Meet Baby Harper

HOPE Dog Rescue will be participating in the Singapore Animal Protection Symposium and Chong Pang Forum on Animal Protection Policies this Saturday, 13 July 2013. Fiona had been invited to be a panelist but declined the opportunity as she is too shy, so we will be having a booth at the event instead.

Come buy our merchandise and support our work
We have arranged for four of our doggy stars to meet with you and your family. Amos and Cooper, 11am to 2pm and Sasha from 4pm to 6pm. Baby Harper will be there from 5pm to 6pm only. All our stars are available for adoption so please come say hi, interact with them, and check out our merchandise!

Come meet black beauty, Sasha! (For adoption)

And handsome, Cooper! (For adoption)

Sweet Amos. (For adoption)
More information about the forum is available below. Don’t forget to share this event with your friends on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/164271313755696/

See you this Saturday!! (for adoption)