Make A Kitten's Life Different

I found a kitten at my workplace near Thomson Road. She was under a car, meowing loudly for her mother. Some people had attempted to rescue it, but the kitten was so frightened that she kept hissing at them. The kitten's cry lasted for an hour before I decided to try to rescue her. It's extremely dangerous for the kitten to be under the car, as there were many heavy vehicles travelling within the compound. However, it took me quite a while to catch her, especially with the kitten's hostile behavior. In the end, I managed to tie a string around her neck and slowly lead her out.

After the rescue, I put her in a carton box in which I had left some water and cloth for her. My colleagues and I bought pet's milk and kitten food for her. Despite all the growling, she's a very sweet cat. She would only eat or drink if we feed her. All she wants is our attention. Even on the first day of her rescue, she would sleep on our thighs as we scratched her. Once we put her back, she would meow non-stop.

So tiny and sweet
However, my colleagues and I noticed that the kitten was limping. The kitten was dragging her right front paw. The first thing that came to mind was the possibility that I had hurt her when I was rescuing her. But when I touched it, the foot felt very soft, like jelly. Perhaps she was born like that, or perhaps she had injured herself from a fall.

At the Vet
My colleagues weren't supportive of keeping the kitten since she was a stray, and no one was willing to take responsibility of the kitten. I couldn't bring the kitten home as I had a pet dog at home, who would get jealous. Fortunately, my boss allowed me to keep her at the office as long as there was someone looking after her. I knew I had to find a place for the kitten as soon as possible as I was leaving the company and there would be no one left to take care of her.

I took an off day on the following day, but I made a trip down to my workplace to see how the kitten was doing.  I also brought my dog down as well to see if there was any chance for them to be friends. The moment I carried the kitten, she peed on me. Gosh, I hadn't even introduced her to my dog yet, but the kitten peed on me. I wrapped a towel around her while I fed her milk. And guess what happened next. Yes, after the small business comes the big business. It was poop. Ah, luckily I had the towel wrapped around her!

After cleaning up, I carried her outside to show her to my dog. And I finally understood why some people say cats and dogs can never be friends. Both of them went absolutely crazy. So the option to bring the kitten home is out.

I wanted to send her to the SPCA, but my friend stopped me as the condition of the kitten wasn't that ideal for adoption, and it was very likely that she would be put to sleep. So I googled other pet rescue teams, and the only reply I got was from Cherlyn from HOPE Dog Rescue. I told her the entire story.

She gave me instructions, whereby I could put the kitten in fostering homes. While liaising with Cherlyn, I received a call from my office, saying that the kitten kept jumping out of the box and that they had no choice but to release her. I rushed down to the company and took the kitten home. She was already so pitiful but no one would look after her. Luckily, Cherlyn told me that I could send the kitten to the vet before passing her over to the foster's side. I took the kitten home for a while and let her run freely in my bathroom. I was afraid that my dog would attack her, so I locked her in my parents' room.

I kept the toilet lid down and closed all the cupboard doors, but this kitten was so mischievous! She managed to find a hole behind the toilet bowl and disappeared inside! It scared the hell out of me when I thought she went into the sewage system. I meowed non-stop, hoping for her reply but she didn't answer. I called Cherlyn to ask if there was anything I could do. I tried all the methods - lure her out using food, wait for her to come out, etc. but there was no response at all and time was running out. I was afraid she might suffocate inside the pipe. Then Cherlyn called and gave me the number to the SPCA to see if they could help in such a situation. The SPCA gave me a number to call to arrange for someone to come over to rescue the cat.

While waiting for the person to arrive, I took a clothes hanger and poked it into the hole. Yes! Finally I heard the kitten's growling again, but I couldn't reach her. I tried using torch lights and cameras, but none of them could help me spot her inside the hole. Finally, the guy arrived. He was a contractor for the SPCA. Yes, he was a contractor, so there was definitely going to be a fee for his service. And yes, his charge was $130 for a successful rescue. The fee was way above my expectation. How could a contact of an animal welfare group charge so much? And why didn't the SPCA mention anything about the fee? At that time though, I didn't have the mind to care about the $130; I just wanted the kitten to come out!

After many attempts, the guy managed to get the cat out by spraying water into the hole, and that naughty monster climbed her way out! It was a great relief to see her again! After paying the guy, I made my way to the vet.

The entire saga was so energy-draining, but it was worth it after all, when I hugged her in my arms and saw the kitten falling asleep, feeling safe.

Cuteness magnified!

Though I couldn't keep her with me, I hope I can make a change in her life. The vet took an X-ray for her but didn't give a clear explanation on her right hand. It may be handicapped for life, or might heal after a surgery. Whatever the case, she's a lovely kitten that needs a home and TLC. Despite the entire saga, I'm happy to see her in good hands. No animals want to be born a stray. So what if it's a stray... it's still a life. The changes we make for her will make a difference in her life.

Written by Cheryl Wu

HOPE's updates:
The kitten has been adopted. The vet's diagnosis was that she has a dislocated shoulder, but the surgery is high-risk because of her young age so nothing will be done to the kitten for now. We would like to thank Francesca and Cheryl for helping with kitten’s initial vet bill.


Left Behind

Almost 11 months ago on 28 April 2013, we rescued Jerry, a one-month-old local crossbreed pup who had a broken tail. Jerry underwent a tail amputation surgery and he recovered with a foster within a month. We thought things would get better for Jerry when he was adopted by Francois, who later renamed him Farofa. Francois promised to take good care of Farofa.

Baby Jerry
Jerry when he was rescued
Jerry's broken tail

We visited Jerry in the first two months of being rehomed and he seemed happy and well adjusted.

Unfortunately, 10 months later, we got an email from Francois, telling us that his family would be migrating and would not be able to bring poor Jerry along. He gave excuses, claiming that local crossbreeds were not allowed in the country he was migrating to. We obviously knew it was a poor excuse, but we didn’t insist that he take Jerry along, in case he did not take care of him properly and we wouldn’t be able to intervene if that happens. Or if he decided to abandon Jerry in a foreign country. Hence, we took Jerry back.

Jerry as a young pup

Even after 10 months, poor Jerry didn't even know his name. He didn't respond to his original name, nor his new name. To make matters worse, he behaves like he has never gone on walks. He got very terrified out of his home, and becomes submissive and surrenders when another dog approaches. Instead of being a happy and confident dog, Jerry is instead very submissive, and unnecessarily so.

Jerry the charmer

What had his family done to him to make him behave this way! Jerry had such a lousy and irresponsible owner who inflicted such psychological harm on him. Yet, when his owner first wanted to adopt Jerry, he promised us the world, telling us he would love him and that he had grown up with dogs so he would be able to manage Jerry well. He even promised he would definitely take Jerry with him if they left Singapore because a dog was part of the family. Using such a rotten excuse about crossbreeds not being allowed in his country is something we can never forgive!

We are really sad that Jerry has to be housed temporarily in a boarding shop, as he has nowhere else to go. Because of his previous owner’s lack of care, he gets bullied and picked on at the pet shop because he has never socialized with other dogs and doesn’t know how to interact. He submits to any dog that approaches him until it leaves. It’s sad to see how Jerry behaves and that he lost his home and family overnight.

Jerry is currently about 11 months old, fully vaccinated and sterilized. He is on heartworm and tick prevention. When our volunteers went to pick Jerry up, his previous owner handed us a rusty feeding bowl for Jerry and a toy spider. Imagine, a rusty feeding bowl and a toy spider were his only possessions and it wasn’t even a dog toy! How sad it is when that is all he has in this world after 10 months as a supposedly beloved pet dog!

Would you adopt Jerry? He is a very sweet puppy who will learn to be stronger and more confident if he gets more exposure to the outside world. He loves long runs and is a bundle of energy. All Jerry needs is a loving home and someone to guide him. He really doesn’t deserve what is happening now and we pray for Jerry to be able to stay strong.

Gorgeous Jerry as he is today

Jerry (Male)
Breed : Local Crossbreed
Age : Estimated 11 months old (Tall and lanky)
Health : Perfect health, fully vaccinated, microchipped and sterilized
Remarks : Playful, handsome, charming with a high energy level. Jerry would make a perfect running buddy. He is extremely intelligent and a fast learner. Jerry is learning to walk on leash, shows no signs of aggression at all and gets on well with children and other dogs.

If you would like to adopt Jerry, please contact: hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg Not HDB approved.

Written by June Oh


Save Ram

It was during one of our feeding rounds when one of the workers, Muthu, along the feeding stretch came running to us. He was in a panic as one of his factory dogs had not been eating or drinking for the past two days. He had thought the puppy, whom he named Ram, had been bitten by a snake but he said, “4 people see many times, no blood”.

Ram is an 8-months-old male puppy, whom we sterilised 2 months ago as part of our stray sterilisation programme. Muthu was visibly upset and almost in tears as he told us his story. He had thought that perhaps the weather was too hot the past few weeks so he gave Ram a shower to cool him down but his condition didn’t improve. Ram lay listless on the cold concrete, unresponsive. Muthu even boiled warm milk with sugar, a concoction he used to drink as a child, to try and get Ram to drink but he refused. Ram could barely open his eyes to look at his friend Muthu.

Muthu making warm milk for Ram but Ram was too ill to drink
Ram's food was untouched
(Muthu buys 2 packets of rice for Ram and Tiger daily)

We deliberated on waiting till morning to take him to the vet as night emergency charges were terribly expensive but Ram didn’t seem like he could make it through the night so our volunteers decided to rush him to emergency.

Volunteers setting up the carrier for Ram - by then it was way past midnight
Muthu, Ram's best friend
Volunteers loading Ram into the van
The clinic performed blood work and tests conclude that poor Ram has tick fever and Parvovirus. Tick fever was unexpected as Ram has been on Frontline for the past few months. He did not have bloody stools yet but he had slight diarrhea and vomited once in the clinic.

Ram, feeling really down. He was diagnosed with Parvovirus and Tick Fever

The hospital did not have an isolation room so he could not be warded. However, he was put on drip for an hour before we took him back to the factory and isolated him from the rest of the dogs. It was 4am by then and Muthu and his friends were still waiting for Ram to return. We were touched by their love for these street dogs.

Watch Ram and Muthu : 

The next morning, our volunteers called up different vets to check for an available isolation room for Ram, so that he could get the treatment he needed. The bill for that one night alone was $900. The volunteers also took Ram's brother, Tiger, and a neighbouring dog, to the vet to be tested for Parvovirus as they too were not their usual active self. We are crossing our fingers that they don't have Parvovirus as well. We are also observing the dogs in the vicinity who may have come in contact with Ram. Next to Ram and Tiger’s factory, there are 8 other young dogs that often come over to play. They too will be tested for Parvovirus and if they test negative, they will be vaccinated immediately. 

Volunteer, Stephenie, with Tiger at the Vet

Taking the dogs to the vet to be tested for Parvovirus

Whilst in the midst of pandemonium, we received news from Muthu that he had found another 2 listless dogs. The pain and suffering seem never-ending.

Two more listless dogs

I thank all my dedicated volunteers who helped till 4am, sleepy, tired and hungry, they too were upset that Ram was so ill. It had been a long night, when we started our night feeding from 7.30pm and due to the unforeseen emergency, till 4am. We ended the night with a heavy heart, but such is the reality when you work with strays. They lead a sad life, susceptible to abuse, disease and virus.

Should you wish to contribute to the vet bills and support the work we do, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg 

Thank you for your support of these street dogs.



Karyi has been warded at the vet.

Karyi and his brother Moet have lived in a factory together since they were young. Today, they're about three years old and their Myanmese caregiver, Tin Lui, loves them very much. He cooks for them, feeds them, bathes them weekly and even lets them sleep with him in his dormitory.

For the past three years, HOPE Dog Rescue has been helping Tin Lui to care for Karyi and Moet. Apart from weekly food deliveries, we also bring them to the vet when they have to go. Both dogs have been sterilized and fully vaccinated. When both of them contracted canine transmissible venereal tumor (TVT) two years ago, our volunteers took them to the vet for weekly treatments and they have both since recovered. Though they don't live in luxury, the two brothers and their caregiver lead pretty contented lives.

Karyi when he had TVT in June 2012

Moet at the vet when he had TVT too

But last night, everything went wrong. We received a call from Tin Lui. In a panic, he said, “Sister! Karyi accident!” That sentence sent dread through us. We had been dealing with way too many accidents recently.

When we were alerted to the situation, Joceline and Lisa had just finished a home visit with the newly-adopted Cooper, and were on the way to a late dinner. They immediately dropped everything, and Fiona drove out to bring the team over to the factory.

Watch Karyi's video :

As we arrived, we saw workers milling outside the factory, waiting to direct us to where Karyi was resting. As Karyi heard our van approach, he slowly struggled to stand up. His legs were unstable, and he seemed to be in pain. He looked dazed, and his gums were abnormally pale.

Arriving to pick him up to take him to the vet

Extremely pale gums

Tin Lui carried Karyi into our van, and Karyi cried in pain.

At the vet, Karyi collapsed and lay motionless.

An X-ray was done on his chest and abdomen, and the usual tests were also ordered – distemper, parvo virus, tick fever, heartworm, as well as kidney and liver tests.

When the results arrived, we were crestfallen. It wasn't an accident. The X-ray showed no injuries indicative of an accident, but his blood tests came back positive for ehrlichia. Karyi had tick fever. His blood results showed that his white blood count was almost four times the acceptable range, while his red blood count was so low that he may require a blood transfusion.

He has already begun treatment for his ehrlichiosis. He's on painkillers and he will be warded for at least a week. This really came as a heavy blow to us since Karyi and his brother Moet have been on monthly heart-worm and tick prevention medication for the past two years. Guess nothing is fool proof. We'll have to bring Moet in for blood tests too, to make sure that he's healthy and not infected.

The X-ray also showed that Karyi's stomach was very bloated and tender to the touch, which is why he cried when he was lifted into the van. There were also traces of bone fragments in his stomach, which he had eaten, even though we've been supplying his caregivers with dog food weekly. Karyi also had cuts and abrasions on his legs and paws, but these appear to be already a few days old. The most pressing issue right now is his ehrlichiosis.

A dried wound
Handsome Karyi in 2012

Let’s pray that Karyi responds positively to treatment and won’t require a blood transfusion.

Karyi and Moet are two of the luckier ones who have caregivers who love them so much. We just hope that their work contracts in Singapore don't end too soon. Please help these two brothers by donating food and medication. If you would like to help with Karyi’s vet bills, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg 


Updates On Theo After Surgery

Theo's surgery on Friday was a success! Of course he is in pain and groggy, but he's awake and alive, which is everything we had hoped for. He even started purring when the vet patted him!

Theo during surgery. (The nerves in his left eye are dead).
The surgery was pretty tough, as the area around the injured eye was bruised and black. There were a lot of blood vessels in the area, and the vet team had to be extremely careful. They successfully removed Theo's left eyeball and stitched his eye socket up. They also found bruising around the eye, as well as inside the mouth and face, indicating that he suffered a hemorrhage. It was interesting how all the damage and injury was concentrated on his face, leaving the rest of his body unhurt.


The Vet noted that the jawline fracture was in the joint area between the left and right jaw. This was a good thing, as it meant that it would heal on its own, although that would take a while. Since this means that he can't eat solid food, a feeding tube has been inserted into Theo's throat through the side of his neck so we can feed him mashed and liquid food. When he was fed with a small amount of food through the tube, he took it well and did not throw up.

After surgery
During the surgery, Theo was also neutered and ear-tipped.

He will be closely monitored for the next two days. Our concern now is that the septicemia from the eye might have entered his brain. If it had, we will know in one or two days when he starts having problems walking, with his head tilted to one side.

If there are no problems, he should be discharged by the end of this week.

The aftercare Theo requires at his foster home includes being tube-fed small meals 4-5 times a day for 2 to 3 weeks. He'll be put on a prescription diet from the clinic, and the food needs to be blended before being put into the tube.

We are in the midst of finalizing a foster home for sweet Theo.

We thank everyone who has provided him with financial aid. The road to recovery is a long one, but like all our other rescues, we will always be there for them.

If you wish to ADOPT Theo, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg. He is a local cat, estimated to be about 6 to 7 years old, sweet and affectionate.

Photographs courtesy of Dr Poh


Updates on Theo

After bringing Theo to the vet yesterday, we learnt that the nerves on Theo’s left eye (the eye that popped out of its socket) has been damaged beyond repair. Theo no longer has nerves in that eye, and it will need to be removed. His right eye is thankfully alright. Theo also suffered a broken jaw.

We suspect that the accident was a hit-and-run, but it doesn't seem to be from a car or a large vehicle as there seems to be hardly any injury to his legs or body, despite Theo’s extensive head injuries. We think he was hit by a bicycle or a motorbike coming at full speed. A more sinister guess would be that somebody had whacked him on the head really hard, on purpose. 

Poor Theo, extremely sweet despite the trauma

The initial plan was for Theo to undergo surgery this weekend or later, as Theo's liver reading is extremely elevated. He was bleeding from his nostril, so the vet ran a blood test to check his blood count and organ reading. As it turns out, Theo's liver reading came in at over 1,000. The normal reading is between 100-200. His white blood count is high as well, due to an infection in his system and a high level of stress. With such elevated readings, an operation right now could kill him. The ideal situation would have been to wait for Theo to stabilise, and for his liver readings to go down.

Not ready to face the world yet
Unfortunately, today we found out that Theo's left eye has started to turn black. This could lead to septicemia, a bacterial infection in the bloodstream, or in short, blood poisoning - which is far more threatening to his life than elevated liver readings. As a result, Theo will undergo an emergency surgery to remove the eyeball this morning (Friday). Although the vet is on leave today, she has kindly decided to return to the clinic to perform the surgery. We're very grateful for this!

The vet will use gas anesthesia, which is the safest and gentlest method, instead of the usual injectables, and she will be closely monitoring Theo's liver reading during surgery. At the same time, the medical team will also attempt to fix Theo's jaw line. Theo will also be neutered during the surgery, although this is the lowest priority. He is estimated to be between 6 to 8 years old. 

Right now, Theo is in a lot of pain and discomfort, despite the painkillers he has been taking. He isn't eating, is extremely dehydrated and has been put on a drip. The vet will insert a feeding tube into his neck during surgery, so we'll be able to feed him liquid or mashed food into his throat and esophagus. He desperately needs the nutrients to boost his immune system and get well.

Theo urgently needs a foster when he is discharged in one week's time. The foster must be able to care for him and tube-feed him for 2 to 3 weeks. He can be left alone, but not for more than half a day.

Please keep your prayers and contributions coming. Theo's estimated vet bill is $3,000, if there are no complications.

If you can help in any way, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg immediately. Thank you!


Cat's Eyeball Pops Out Of Socket After Hit And Run

A lady was about to take the lift home this morning when an elderly lady and her domestic helper pleaded for her to go with them to see an injured at the multi-storey car park nearby. The cat appeared to be a victim of a hit and run. It’s left eyeball had popped out of its socket and blood was constantly dripping from it’s mouth. There were blood tire tracks and pools of blood around the parking lot.

The cat's left eyeball has popped out of its socket

The cat was circling slowly, in great pain and disoriented, and only sat down for a while before circling the grounds once more. After repeated calls to Hope Dog Rescue and other contacts did not get through, she called the SPCA. After an hour, SPCA came and took the cat with them. The lady then made two follow up calls to SPCA to ensure that the cat would not be euthanized. She was then told to take the cat to her own vet for help.

On the way to the Vet, blood constantly dripping from her mouth
By this time, Hope Dog Rescue had contacted the lady and as she waits for transport with the cat, our volunteers are rushing down from work to meet her at the vet and assist the badly injured cat. The poor kitty is starting to hyperventilate and will need pain killers and to be put on drip as soon as possible.

Poor kitty. We can't even begin to imagine her pain

The pain must be unimaginable. We can never fathom how humans can hit and injure a living creature and just drive off without offering help.

He's a male cat and we named him Theo.

His eye would most likely need to be removed and he is constantly bleeding from his nose. His condition needs to be stabilized before more tests can be done on him.

If you can help with the cat’s medical bills, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg

*Photographs courtesy of Grace Khoo and Cherlyn Tan.