People say that a first-world country has its first-world problems. True enough, we are faced with many first-world woes such as the skyrocketing cost of living, fierce competitions for jobs and school placements, and the contentious need to create a “street-dogs free” image.

However, as I come across more rescue stories from Hope Dog Rescue, I’m beginning to see more “third-world” mentalities surfacing from our cozy first-world nation. Gollidog’s story is a fair reflection of this observation.

Gollidog was previously named Orh Bin, which means “black face” in dialect. Born with a short, white coat and a couple of irregular, black spots, he resembles a cute, miniature calf. More uniquely, Gollidog has a characteristic ebony spot that covers most of his head and neck. However, what I crown as unique is considered an eyesore to superstitious people. These people hold the ridiculous belief that dogs who have a contrasting coloured head is considered inauspicious.

Gollidog before he was injured

Gollidog’s story is the reverse of our usual, childhood fairy tales that typically begins negatively but ends positively. He was born into a doting family but his owners grew tired of him quickly. They left him at a temple to fend for himself when he was just an innocent puppy, wishfully thinking that temple-goers would take pity on him and keep and feed him. Unfortunately, this was never the case, especially not in our less than perfect world that has little tolerance for such idealistic plans.

Due to the way he looks, people found Gollidog repulsive and hated his presence. He was detested by passersby everywhere he went and was transferred from the temple, to a shipyard and finally to an industrial site. All for the same, superficial and absurd reason – his looks.

How could you detest thisseweet face?

At the industrial site, Gollidog spent most of his time with a security guard, Ah Pek, who similarly detested his looks. The only difference was that he allowed Gollidog to stay put. Ah Pek didn’t take Gollidog seriously, and would throw leftover food, dirty tissues and cigarette buds at him. Gollidog had no choice but to feed on whatever that was thrown at him so as to avoid thrashings by Ah Pek. Despite being mistreated by Ah Pek, Gollidog adored and respected him for who he is, and would greet him affectionately every morning without fail. He would even escort and protect Ah Pek wherever he went.

The industrial site where Golllidog had to live in

One day, a regular feeder came to know of Gollidog’s predicament and tried cajoling Ah Pek to go easy on the beatings. Ah Pek was not only unreceptive of the feeder’s suggestion, but also bragged that his approach was the best way to train a dog. He even told the feeder that he encouraged truck drivers to give Gollidog a kick because he is “jinxed.” How is it possible to deduce something like that based on one’s look? Such is what I call a third-world mindset.

During one of the feeder’s visit, she noticed some ghastly wounds on Gollidog and decided to contact us. Fiona and Lisa arrived at the site and spent the next two hours trying to trap him.

The process wasn’t straightforward. Gollidog was extremely distracted by a female dog that was on heat, and was chasing her throughout. After an hour of wild goose chase, Gollidog finally gave up and settled under a trailer. Fiona took the opportunity to go near him and caught sight of the puncture wounds on his head and neck. Surprisingly, Gollidog inched forward and allowed Fiona to give him a pat. Seeing that he was shaking his head in discomfort, Fiona took the chance to check on his ears and realized in horror that his ears were so horribly infected that it was coated with dried blood.

We had a tough time locating him

Then we saw him going after a female in heat

Fiona had to go under the container to keep him in sight

He finally stopped running from us

As Gollidog grew up in an abusive environment, he was particularly wary of people. Fiona had to be extremely careful when handling him. She finally managed to lead him into a carrier without a leash – he didn’t like been leashed and struggled through the process – by soothing, calming and whispering words of encouragement to him, telling him that everything will be fine from now on. Till today, we are all puzzled at how a dominant canine like him behaved so submissively and cooperatively on that day. Perhaps he knew that refuge was here, or maybe he was just too weak from his ailments and injuries-ridden body.

Exhausted with wounds all over his body

After the team got hold of him, Gollidog was sent to the Vet. The doctor found multiple wounds on his body and legs – most of which are battle scars accumulated from dog fights over the years – and joked that we should have named him “Warrior.” A detailed medical report found that apart from his infected ears and puncture wounds, of which one needed three stitches, Gollidog was severely dehydrated and was on the brim of going into a septic shock.

Dried up wounds from previous battles

His right ear was bleeding badly

A bite wound on his neck
his leg swollen from infection
A wound on his left leg

His leg swollen from infection

At the vet, Gollidog seemed to be at peace in the presence of Fiona. He laid his head on Fiona’s hands and fell asleep while the doctors examined him. We knew at once he wasn’t just tired from all the chasing, but it was a sign that his mutilated body was slowly crumbling under all the infections that were setting in.

A handsome dog ostracised because of his black face

Gollidog is estimated to be five years old and has led a hard life for the past five years, living in discrimination, mental and physical torture. Gollidog isn’t unworthy of love but just that he was never given a chance to be loved. He has succumbed to a life of abuse, all because we chose to believe in something so superficial. Shouldn’t we, humans, be in the best position to know that every child deserves to be loved and respected, no matter how ugly, naughty or frail? How will you feel if someone labeled your child a jinx and rid him/her of the right to live just because of the way your child looks? Can we not extend the same respect we have for people to animals too?

Mealtime after he had recovered from his injuries and returned to the industrial site

His water pail

In our years of operation, we have seen many dogs transform from innocent, sociable fur kids into human-created monsters who growl and bark at the sight of humans. Why? Because they have been grossly mutilated and abused by human. It is only understandable that they put up such defense of what they fear.

Happiness when he was returned to his work site after recovery

Happy to see his feeder

Waiting for pats!

Despite all his sufferings, Gollidog has since recovered from his wounds and has been returned to the factory. He is ready to start anew and is willing to forgive us for the misery our human kinds have inflicted upon him, trust us and love us. Just look at how he placed his trust in Fiona. This is a huge step for him to take because who knew if the next human he meets is a friend or a foe?

Written by Elaine Quek