A Moment Of Horror

Fiona had mentioned that someone had asked us for help to trap a badly injured stray. When she asked what type of injury, the reply she had was "the head is going to fall off". 

After 6 months volunteering with HOPE Dog Rescue, I thought that all the stories I had heard and all the pictures I had seen would be have sufficiently prepared me for the first time that I was bringing a rescued dog to the vet. Yet I suppose no one could have been sufficiently prepared to meet Cassie for the first time.

A shadow of a dog . . . .

Cassie could best be described as a shadow of a dog. With protruding ribs and bones, there was hardly an ounce of flesh on her shrivelled body. It was heart-breaking to see that a dog could be this skinny. It was evident that poor Cassie had not had a decent meal for a long period of time. This was probably due to the fact that she was a meek and submissive dog and she had probably been bullied by the other stray dogs and even attacked by them which caused a gaping maggot wound on the right side of her neck, stretching to under her neck.
The skin on the right side and the underneath of Cassie’s neck was completely gone, and the flesh was revealed and festering. The maggot wound reeked of the stench of rotting flesh and was still dripping fresh blood while we were waiting to see the vet, even though the wound was already almost 2 weeks old. Imagine the pain, suffering and amount of blood she had lost for 2 whole weeks! In fact, the wound was so big that even the vet said that they had to wait for some scarring to occur before they could try to close it. Gigantic ticks were also falling off Cassie as we spoke.

The state that Cassie was in was so appalling that all eyes were on her when we carried her into the clinic. Some people backed off at the stench that poor Cassie emitted. A few other people waiting for their turn at the vet asked us about Cassie and expressed their sympathies for her.

Pain and sadness in her eyes

When it was Cassie’s turn to see the vet, she was extremely nervous and in extreme pain; to the extent that the vet told us that she had to receive general anaesthetic before they could further inspect Cassie’s wound and clean it. As the wound was too big, some scarring would have to occur first before the vet can attempt to close it. On top of that, they said that Cassie had to be sedated daily during wound cleaning as she was in too much pain.

Strays really do have such hard lives. What if we never found her? What if we didn’t save her? The maggots would have continued to feast on her flesh till she eventually succumbed.
With the mounting vet bills that we have incurred after the recent spate of incidents, (Kate, Ah Mei, Dawn, Bobby and now Cassie) many would probably ask why we do not choose to put down dogs with wounds as severe as Cassie’s. Yet how could we? It is incredible that Cassie had survived for so long with such a huge wound and it showed her strong spirit and her will to live. How could we possibly give up on her when she had not given up on herself? How could we trap her, send her to the vet and put her down? That would mean giving her false hopes and letting her down. Cassie is estimated to be less than two years old and yet she has already been through so much pain and suffering, more than any of our pets would ever go through in their entire lifetime. The vet has estimated that Cassie’s wound would take many weeks to heal due to the severity of the wound. Yet what about after recovery? Cassie would probably need a foster after her wounds have started to heal. A foster to show her the love that she deserves after having led such a short yet tough life in the wilderness.

We appeal to everyone in helping out with Cassie’s vet bills as Cassie would need to be at the vet for quite some time and the recent spate of incidents have left us stretched to the limits.  

Would we say that we are doing enough? Probably not but with limited funds and 17 dogs now in our charge, our hands are tied. In fact, as we speak, we have been told that 2 other strays are badly injured and yet, it hurts us that we have to turn a blind eye on them because we can no longer afford to save any more dogs. We have asked the individual feeders to try approaching other animal welfare groups for help, but they have told us that no one responded to their plea.

We always try our best to help dogs that require our help; and all of these would not be possible without the help and support we receive from generous dog lovers that have believed in us in so many ways possible and we thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.

To help in any way you can, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg

Thank you.

Written by Yeo Zhiyi (19 years old)


Kate Has Been Discharged

Kate has been discharged to a foster home, after having gone through a horrific experience.

Kate looking very pretty. The swelling on her jaw has subsided 

She was very scared leaving the clinic as she had been there for some weeks, finding security in her enclosure. Besides, she now has to learn to adapt her vision to using just one eye.

With some coaxing and encouragement, she made her way out of the clinic.

Kate is a very sweet, calm and strong girl who does not even flinch when her wounds are being attended to, her right eye is healing well and needs to be cleaned twice a day and the stitches are due to be removed in two weeks’ time. Her left eye is good and she is slowly adapting to living with one eye. Her jaw is still hurting as she has fractures on both sides, but the swelling on her jaw has subsided. The smaller fracture will hopefully be fused back on its own in due course, however, the big fracture near the joint, an x-ray is needed in two weeks’ time to see if the bones have fused, otherwise a surgery might be needed to remove the shattered fragments. Before being discharged, the vet did an x-ray and found that the jaw was looking slightly better but a lot more time is needed to know if it will heal on its own eventually.

Her foster has shared with us that Kate just enjoys herself basking in the sun and garden. She is easy to care for and undemanding. She spends her days quietly on her own, snoozing and day dreaming of a better life. Her foster has dogs and Kate is unperturbed by them.

Kate is still being tube fed, to minimize movement on her jaw. For now, Kate needs to go back to the vet every week for a month as she the vet needs to check her eye, and change the dressing on her neck, where the tube had been inserted. 

Thank you everyone for visiting, caring and paying for Kate's vet bills.

Would you ADOPT Kate? If you would like a chill, laid back dog, Kate's the one for you. She is a really sweet local crossbreed, estimated to be about 4 to 5 years old. We hope that YOU can be the one giving her a second chance and include her in your family ! Thank you very much! 

To ADOPT Kate or help with her vet bills, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg

Would you like to meet precious Kate? She will be at the Animal Recovery Veterinary Referral Center (466 Serangoon Road) on Saturday (30 August) from 10am to 11am only. Come meet her and  tell her what a brave darling she has been and perhaps, just perhaps, you too, would fall in love with her and make her a part of your family. 


Ah Mei’s Updates (Eyelid reconstruction)

Looking for a huggable teddy bear?
A thorough facial wash?
A friend to hold your hand at all times?

Look no further...we present Ah Mei!

She was brought in due to a torn eyelid from a dog fight. She was so scared that she poo-ed all the way to the consultation room! But as the days passed, her sweet nature emerged. A sweeter, more affectionate dog we have not seen. As you approach her cage, her tail wags so furiously that it’s a blur and you think she'll take off any time. As you sit next to her inside her cage at the vet, she will shower you with kisses, paw you for attention and shove her head into your chest for hugs and even more pats!

Ah Mei’s stitches were due to be removed yesterday but after the vet had checked her eye, she decided to wait a couple more days. They are also observing her to see if her eye, after surgery, is able to produce tears on its own. If it doesn’t, that’s going to pose a problem when she is returned to the factory as she will require daily eye drops.

Our original plan was to return her back to where she came from; a factory where a kind worker / caregiver takes care of her. However, she is such a darling that we can't help but make a last ditch effort appealing for a home for her. Living as a stray has its perils; she can be attacked by stray packs, hit by vehicles or she may accidentally consume poison. Ah Mei is relatively blessed in that she has regular meals, albeit unhealthy, from her caregiver Yongyhurt, but this is not a permanent arrangement. The workers are often here on 2 year contracts and will leave for their home country when their job is done. Ah Mei has so much love to give that we know any family will be blessed by her addition. She brings with her joy and laughter with her affectionate nature and an adorable smile.

Ah Mei is not HDB approved, gets along very well with humans and is super affectionate. She is such a lovable dog that we are sure she will bond with everyone she meets!

* If you are looking for a guard dog, Ah Mei will probably run up and kiss the robber.
**if you need a babysitter, your baby will have an extremely clean face from regular slobbery kisses.
***if you need an exercise companion, Ah Mei needs to lose weight too!

If you want Ah Mei, hurry and let us know! She is still at the vet but would most likely be returned to her factory by the end of this week.


Left For Dead

We received an urgent call for help…..again. A factory worker had contacted one of our volunteers requesting for help as a dog residing in their factory was listless and according to him, a small wound which had not recovered.

He sent us a picture of an emaciated dog with a raw maggot wound at the side of his body. He was lying listlessly on his side and looked dirty and frail. How could the worker possibly say that it was just a small maggot wound and that the dog had merely not eaten for a few days? Immediately we swung into action arranging to take the poor dog to the vet.

When we laid eyes on him, he was a sorry sight, a living skeleton with a strong stench of rotting flesh. Armed with leashes and a collar for fear that he may run away, we realised we didn’t even need them. He was so weak that he could hardly lift his head to look at us. He did try to stand up but collapsed with a pitiful whine of pain.

Sweet Bobby on way to the vet

Arriving at the vet
We carried him into the clinic on a stretcher. He was a bag of bones with badly matted fur and dirt covering his entire body. He actually looked dead. His breathing was shallow and he hardly moved. As we were waiting for our turn to see the vet in the waiting area, he lay on the stretcher with his eyes closed, whining in pain occasionally. We tried to comfort him by stroking him and assuring him that he was now safe and then we saw a fat maggot climb out of his wound! Have you ever seen a raw wound with maggots wriggling in the raw red flesh? My hands shook as I tried to squash the maggot. I cannot fathom the pain of having dozens of these parasites feeding upon my flesh alive. Our hearts ached for him. To reach this state, he would have been left for dead for weeks.

We decided to name him Bobby in the hope that he will be strong and tough once again.

Eyes that have given up on life
In the consultation room, the vet heaved a sigh of pity looking at Bobby’s miserable state. According to her, Bobby has not had proper nutrition over a prolonged period, his frail body covered with fleas, flea dust, mites, ticks . . . .  you name it, he had it. His infestation was so bad that it would have taken months or more to reach this state.

Fleas and flea dust covered his ears, head and face
 Giant ticks found on Bobby
When we shifted him to take a look at the other side of his body, he whined and cried in pain. It was a weak attempt as he didn’t even have the energy to bark. He was covered with open wounds and parts of his skin on his body and legs were scraped off and raw flesh was exposed.

Flushing his ears which was so badly infected, his ear canal had closed

His left ear was wet and smelly inside but the surroundings were crusty. Upon close examination, the vet told us that the ear was so badly infected that his ear canal had actually closed, there was only a small hole where pus was leaking out. He was most likely deaf in this ear due to the severe infection and this added on to his pain. It would have taken a severe ear infection, over a very long period of months or years for the ear canal to have closed. Such was the suffering and pain he had gone through.

We thought that was all and weren’t prepared for what happened next. When the vet flipped him on to the other side to check for more wounds, dark coloured, blood looking liquid flowed out from his penis, which had swelled to three times the normal size! We were saddened by what he was going through. The vet immediately flushed his badly infected penis and checked for maggots. There were none and so a catheter was inserted immediately to keep the area dry and hopefully heal faster. It could be cancer or a prolonged infection with no treatment.

Badly infected penis that was terribly swollen
 Catheter inserted into Bobby, a mass of skin and bones
We were unable to carry out more tests as had already gone through enough for the night.

His ear canal had closed except for a tiny red hole oozing pus

For now, he would be put on a drip to stabilize his condition, antibiotics, pain killers, and the vet would be monitoring his condition and cleaning his wounds. They will let him rest for a few days before deciding on the next course of action.

As poor Bobby has a severe heart murmur, he cannot be put on general anaesthesia thus he was lightly sedated throughout the procedure and given local anaesthesia. He moaned and howled softly in pain occasionally as the vet cleaned and removed the maggots one by one from his wound, cleaned his ears and inserted the urine catheter. He had to be administered local anaesthesia periodically and the only indication that he required a fresh dose was when his cries of pain became louder and he tried to struggle to get up. The vet made a comment that the maggots were almost turning into flies. Despite it being just a comment, it sent shivers through my spine. Bobby was also found to have tick fever.

When I first saw Kate, it was like a huge punch in my stomach at the sight of her eyeball popping out of her socket. In Bobby’s case, its equivalent to being hit again and again several times in the face with each observation as we realised how truly severe his injuries were. His final diagnosis is bleak and we hope that with time and proper medical care, a good nutritious diet, a miracle may happen and he would recover and at least enjoy what’s left of his sad life.

We appeal to you in praying for his recovery and also your kind assistance with the medical bills. With four dogs (Dawn, Ah Mei, Kate and now Bobby) at the vet, we are stretched to the max. We have never hesitated when we receive calls for help as we have faith that fellow animals lovers like your good self will support the rescue work we do. In addition to sending the dogs to the vets, we ensure they have proper nutrition by feeding them home cooked food and visiting them at the vets regularly. We do not want our dogs to feel neglected or unloved. We treat all our rescue dogs as if they were our own beloved pets. Any amount, big or small, is greatly appreciated and goes a long way in ensuring our doggies get the best care possible and gives us the ammunition to rescue more dogs.

Other than financial help, we appeal for adopters or fosters. In the near future when Bobby is better, we hope he can be adopted or at least live with a foster who can shower him with love and care. In view of his current state, we dare not allow him to go back to his factory where he was left for dead.

We are also urgently looking for fosters for the rest of our dogs currently warded at the vet, so that these dogs can recuperate in a home environment, as well as help us save on our vet bills. Ah Mei needs a foster for 2 weeks while her eyelid heals and our dear 3-legged Dawn is ready for a forever home. She was badly traumatised after getting caught by AVA but is now much calmer and allows herself to be stroked and walked although she is still a little wary. She has come a long way but needs a patient family who can welcome her and allow her to feel safe again.

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

Written by Wendy Yeo


Ah Mei's Updates

Ah Mei has had a surgery carried out on her left eye to reconstruct her eye lid. Being in a new environment and caged up, she is feeling a little down. Her eye is still swollen from the surgical procedure and there is still some pain, but she seems to be coping well. Ah Mei is extremely sweet. She offers you licks and wags her tail as soon as you approach her.

She is expected to have the stitches on her eye removed in about 10 days’ time and once her eye is as good as new, she will be returned to the factory where her caregivers will continue to care for her.

Right now, we have 4 dogs at the vet and as Ah Mei’s case is not critical, she doesn’t need to be warded. We are hoping someone will come forth and offer to foster Ah Mei for 2 weeks. She doesn’t require a lot of care, just cooked meals twice a day, cleaning her eye and applying eye drops twice daily and short walks in the morning and night to pee / poo.

All cooked meals, food & water bowls, collar & leash, as well as medications will be provided by HOPE. Should Ah Mei need to go to the vet, she will be picked up by our volunteers as well. All the foster needs to do is love and care for her for 2 weeks. 

If you can foster Ah Mei, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg


In The Nick Of Time (Ah Mei)

On one of our feeding rounds, volunteers noticed a dog with her left eye closed and swollen. They were unable to get near and suspected the eye was badly infected. Our memories were still fresh from Kate’s gruesome eye wound and we prayed this doggy wouldn’t lose her sight.

Ah Mei's left eye, bloodshot and badly infected.
One of our volunteers, Jozelle, made some enquiries and managed to locate the feeder that informed us about this dog. Apparently this dog, named Ah Mei, lived in the same factory as SiDa. So we called SiDa’s previous caregiver, Yongyhurt, to find out more.

Terrified of being in a new place
Yongyhurt told us that Ah Mei had been involved in a dog fight 2 to 3 weeks back and her left eye lid had been torn off during the fight. When asked why he didn’t call us for help, he said there was no need to as she could not see anymore. In actual fact, Ah Mei could still see but because the eye lid was torn off, she was in a lot of pain thus she kept her eye closed. Because she did not have the eye lid to protect her eye, dirt and dust particles had gone in, causing her eye to swell and become badly infected. Imagine the pain this sweet little dog went through for so many weeks!

Having her eye examined at the vet

We arranged with Yongyhurt’s colleague to help us catch her and booked a pet transport to ferry her to the vet, as Yongyhurt worked from 5.30am to 8pm and was not around to help us.

HOPE’s responsibility, when we feed strays, is to also educate foreign workers on the importance of sterilization, as well as educating these workers on how to care for the dogs on their compounds. Often, because they come from different parts of the world, their quality of care is very different from ours.

When Ah Mei arrived at the vet, she was terrified of being surrounded by strangers and being in a new environment. She panicked and tried to escape. Fortunately we held on to her. Our hearts were in our mouths! She was so petrified she pooed when we carried her into the consult room. She was in such great distress that she backed into a corner and looked at us with doleful eyes.

The torn eyelid on her left eye meant that her eye was not able to close fully, thus her eye wouldn’t be lubricated and would be exposed to dust. There is chance that her tear duct may be damaged, but we will only know for sure after further tests. Her left eye is blood-red and filled with pus. We thank God for small mercies as her cornea is undamaged and she still has sight in the affected eye. However, the vet mentioned, if left unattended and with constant exposure to dirt, her cornea will turn black gradually and she will eventually lose her sight. We’re thankful for our volunteers who keep a look out for these dogs during their weekly feeding sessions. 

Finger points to the area where Ah Mei's eye lid has been torn off

Ah Mei has been warded at the vet and her left eye will be operated on today (Saturday) to realign her eyelid to allow her to close it properly. She will then need to either stay at a vet or foster home for 10 days while her wound heals and her stitches can be removed. She won’t be allowed to return to the factory till her eye has completely healed, lest it gets infected again. Her eye reconstructive surgery is expected to cost $2000, excluding the 10 day stay at the vet.

You may ask why we constantly spend thousands on street dogs . . . . but why not? These street dogs already have it hard. They live on the streets, they have to fend for themselves, get attacked by other dogs and are exposed to dangers daily. Imagine if Ah Mei had to live with one blind eye when a surgery could help. How would she cope with one eye? Her life would be in grave danger as she wouldn’t even be able to see cars coming from her left! If $2000 can make them pain free, happier and more comfortable again, why not?

Thank God her right eye was not injured
We would, of course, love to rehome these sweet darlings but to date, we still have 14 dogs in our charge, some of whom have been waiting 2 years for a home. We can’t possibly take in any more.

We would like to thank our donors, supporters and fellow dog lovers for your unwavering support which allows us to continuously rescue and aid these poor doggies who will otherwise have no access to medical care. Due to an overwhelming number of cases recently, we seek your help in assisting with their vet bills. Other than rescuing injured street dogs, we are also providing long term care for our other rescued dogs such as Buddy, who has to go for monthly vet reviews for his heartworm treatment. Sida and Matthieu, who have monthly acupuncture, massage and hydrotherapy sessions. Ah Boy and Sunny who are on long term heart medication on top of their regular vet reviews.

With every rescue, it is our responsibility to see them through the entire process of recovery and or rehoming, to ensure that these dogs remain in good health, are happy and well cared for and to have the best quality of life we possibly can afford to give them. 

On behalf of our doggies, thank you!

To help with our vet bills, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg

Written by Wendy Yeo


Perfectly Imperfect

Everyone wants to adopt a new, cute, perfect dog. Animal shelters are filled with people looking for the healthiest and best looking dog to bring home. And then there we have Baby Harper, Matthieu and Sida still waiting for the special someone to bring them home. 

That has been the story of Baby Harper, Matthieu and Sida’s life since they have been rescued. No one shows any interest nor dare take up the challenge to care for them because they are special. Many people see physical deformities in animals as shortcomings, but that is untrue. The truth is that they just require a little extra care, medication or special diet, vigilance and attention.

Baby Harper, a local crossbreed.
(Photograph courtesy of Furry Photos Pet Photography)

Harper standing tall

Baby Harper was born with a broken spine. Like any other local crossbreed, she is lively and loves to play except that she is wheelchair bound.  She wears diapers because she is unable to control her pee and bowel movement. To help her get better, she receives weekly acupuncture and hydrotherapy to help her muscles and nerves.

Matthieu showing off - he has come such a long way! 

Then we have Matthieu, who was born a perfect dog. For 11 years, he was living as a stray in a worksite but during those times he suffered trauma to his spine. This caused him to lose the use of his hind legs. He is unable to control his pee and bowel movements. After he came to our care, he went for many sessions of hydrotherapy and acupuncture. Since then, he has been able to move around a little on his own, while still requiring assistance from time to time.

SiDa, determined to put her past behind and live life to the fullest! 

Lastly, we have Sida who’s barely 3 years old! At such a young age, she could have been like any other young dog running around. Unfortunately, Sida got into a tragic accident. A lorry hit her and rolled over her back, breaking her entire spine. She doesn’t have control over her hind legs or her pee and bowel movements anymore. She has gone through spinal surgery and now undergoes weekly physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, massage and acupuncture. She also has a sponsored wheelchair to help her get around. 

No doubt that Baby Harper, Matthieu and Sida are special but all they really want is for a home they can call their own. The simple need for someone to love them despite their imperfections. It is not their fault that they were born special nor was it their fault to have encountered the unfortunate events. They have accepted their predicaments and are trying to live their life to their fullest.

Can you be the one to accept their imperfections and bring them home?

We understand that adopting a special needs dog requires extra consideration. But if you have the ability and have a big heart, please do step forward! If you can see past their imperfections and can appreciate their beauty of being imperfect, please do contact us at hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg

Baby Harper, Matthieu and Sida will be more than happy to be your best friend!

Written by Yun Lu