My Story. Through The Eyes Of ELMO

A home, finally. My initial thoughts of having a shelter protecting me from the elements of the harsh weather were telling me how lucky I was to have crossed paths with this kind soul. One who picked me up single handedly like I was simply an inanimate object. I must have been tiny enough for him to consider me adorable enough to be taken home.

I do not know this man, but he provided protection from the rain, thunder and even the dehydrating sun, unlike all my stray brothers and sisters out there. I thought having a home meant that I would receive the same undying love. I was wrong.

I was immediately put in a cage with gaps too large for me. My legs constantly fell through and I had to endure the pain to pull them out. Looking around, I saw other furry friends. They were similar to me, but I was sure there was a thick bold line drawn between us that define our differences -They had a breed but I was from the streets. I don’t even know what breed I am.

Different we may be, but we all share the same common confused, naïve mindset, not knowing what life had in store for us. The reeking smell of unkempt fur engulfed me first. Followed by the stench of old urine and stool that diffused from the other cages all around me. I looked at the different faces that surrounded me. It ranged from wide-eyed, tear-stained, urine-smelling dogs housing desperate souls that clawed at their cages to set them free, to lifeless souls that has long given up on life, lying at the side of the cage wondering when they can escape this misery. Several of them were kept in the same cage while I, looking like none of them, was alone in the cage.

I do not know this man, but I know I fear him. I remember the painful blow from his foot sent me flying (literally) to the other side of the cage. Ever since then, his intimidating and huge towering physique constantly made me cower in fear whenever he approached my cage.

I look forward to meal time every day because food never came by easy for me and I could only rely on this man for food. I was fed kibbles in a bowl but every time I grab a few pieces, the same familiar bulky hand with that black watch on his wrist would swoop down and snatch the bowl away. Helplessly, I watch the bowl go to the other cages where my other friends would gobble down what was supposedly my meal for the day. What else could I do? I just lay down and stare at the marbled floor and hoped that he would come round and feed me again – but that hardly happened.

I get so hungry all the time, and my stomach was always constricted. I became numb. I stopped feeling pain. I never knew what it was like to be full. I don’t know how long I had been caged . . . .I lost track of time and the torture seemed like eternity . . . . After I realize relying solely on the man for food was insufficient, I had no choice but to look around my cage for food. I started drinking my own pee and eating my own poo, despite the stench and flies buzzing around it. My appetite got smaller day by day with the little amount of food I could find in my cage. I had no choice; I was so hungry, so many times I wished I could just die.

Is this what a home is? Is this the way humans are like?

The man that picked me up had his back facing me. He was talking to someone, and I noticed his frustration. However that day was different. He was angry and rough with me as he scooped me out from the cage. With one hand over my ribs that supported my whole body at the side of his waist, little did I know he was bringing me down to the ground floor to get rid of me. Dumping me on the grass patch after looking around for a clear coast, he did not even say goodbye and left. It hurt when he carried me because all I had were bones and ribs protruding from my shrunken body. I was cold and scared. I had no fur to keep me warm.

Dried and crusty inside his ears

I felt weak all over and I could barely move. I searched for food and not too long later, another human approached me. I was scared of humans. They bring me to a home, torture me and they send me out of it.

But this home was different. The man who picked me up was not fierce. He didn’t kick or yell at me. He gave me food and water but I didn’t know what to do with it. I had been starved for so many weeks / months, I no longer knew what food was. I didn’t know how to chew or swallow the food he offered me. I saw the sympathy from his eyes when I looked at him, and I feel a different sense of helplessness.

After I stayed with this kind man for a few days, I was taken away again by other humans, and brought to a place where needles were inserted into my skin. I heard the people saying my skin was hardened and the needle could not penetrate my flesh, and when it finally did, they said I was so dehydrated that the blood was not flowing into their needle. My temperature was very low and I was starting to feel cold. Thankfully the Drs gave me heat pads to lie on in my cage and it felt much better. Is this my home again?

Written by Tan Jin Hui

Updates on Elmo : Drs had been force feeding him as he didn’t seem to know how to eat or swallow food. All he did was drink water from the bowl. Clean water must have tasted so good.

Finally yesterday he started eating some canned food so the Drs are feeding him 4 to 5 meals a day. They have just removed his drip and he no longer requires the heat pad. His temperature is almost normal.

He stools are soft and black – it would take a while to clear his system from whatever he has / has not been eating. From our observations, he doesn't seem to be able to see well. He bumps into things when he walks and doesn’t seem to be able to sniff out his food bowls even when we place it right under his nose. We had an eye specialist check the back of his eyes but she says that everything looks normal. The vet doesn’t know if he was born blind / blurred vision but we will have to just keep monitoring.

He still has blood in his pee but for now, we are just concentrating on his eating well and putting on some weight. Once his health stabilizes, we will carry out more tests to see if his organs have been damaged by long term starvation. His skin is hardened and smells but that’s not his fault. He has demodectic mange and will take many months to recover.

When we take him out for some fresh air, he eats leaves and twigs. Poor Elmo, we have never felt sorrier for a dog.

The clinic is planning to discharge him in a few days’ time. Then comes our next big worry, apart from his long term health care, where is poor Elmo going to go? He urgently needs a foster home. Caring for Elmo in a foster home isn’t that difficult. He can be left alone all day if you are out at work, but preference would be to have someone available to feed him small meals throughout the day, rather than 2 big meals a day as his stomach has shrunk so much, it needs time to slowly absorb food again.

Fostering Elmo will be an extremely rewarding experience, because everything is a new experience to him and he would be ever so grateful for the love and care you shower on him.

Thank you everyone for helping Elmo. Every once in a while we get a rescue that shocks us and yet, pulls us together.

To foster / adopt Elmo, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg