The Rubbish Cat

Hari Raya festivities were just winding down. The holiday spirit was still in the air. But amid the high spirits was one forlorn being. Along with post-celebration detritus like empty drink cartons, Max the cat had been thrown out like garbage.
Sitting at the steps near the rubbish dump waiting for someone to come back for her

Someone had taken Max to the rubbish collection area of an HDB estate and left him there. Of course he was anxious and confused. Where was his family? Why was he all alone in this strange, new environment? What was happening and when could he go home? Max started displaying symptoms of stress. He started licking himself compulsively, grooming himself so excessively that the fur on his lower body fell out and his skin was rubbed raw. What fur that was left turned from a soft white to a dirty brown.

Her new home, how sad

The lady that feeds cats in that area noticed this new cat. She saw how sad and scared he was. His pitiful mewing was heartbreaking. This cat was obviously used to living indoors.

One day, she saw a family pull up in a car to check up on Max. Then it happened again. The family came a few times in the next few weeks. The lady put two and two together and realised that these were the same people who had dumped Max at the rubbish collection area! It was perplexing and infuriating. Why did they visit Max after abandoning him? Did they miss him? Did they feel guilty? And why did they even abandon him in the first place?

Whatever the reason was, it was clear that Max was not doing too well out on his own. Their sporadic visits were only giving him false hope and confusing him further. That's not the way a young house cat should be living. Luckily for Max, he's one good-looking cat and will have no lack of admirers.

We took him to the vet, who gave him his vaccinations and told us that he was male and sterilized. Apart from the skin problems and an ear infection, all seemed normal with Max. He was declared healthy and discharged, sent to live with a foster.

One week later, the foster called. Max was lactating...? Our volunteer, Cherlyn, rushed Max to the vet. As it turns out, Max was actually Maxine! Haha, imagine everyone's surprise!

Obviously, Maxine was pregnant and not sterilized. We are so glad that we rescued her when we did. It would have been an incredibly traumatic and stressful experience for her to have carried her kittens to term and given birth in an unfamiliar and potentially dangerous environment. Now, she and her kittens can receive the care that a new mother and her babies should have. We look forward to welcoming some beautiful, healthy kittens soon!

Mommy Maxine and her future kittens will be up for adoption in 2 to 3 months. We're not sure what breed she is, but she looks like a cross (look at that bushy tail!). Maxine is fully vaccinated.

If you would like to take one (or more) of them home, please be advised that your home will need to be fully cat-proof and the usual house checks will be conducted. Interested? Please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg and take a queue number.

Written by Elena Lin


Roughed Out

Some feeders had been feeding this old cat for the past few months. They knew that he wasn't in the best health. The cat's appearance was shabby, and it seemed like he was always having a tough time, every time they saw him. His face was pitted, red and raw. His skin was mangy and always scabby. He looked miserable. Although they were full of concern and good intentions, they didn't know what they could do to help him.

Picture received from the feeder
So they sought advice from one of our volunteers, who told them to bring the cat to the vet for an medical examination. HOPE would help with the vet bills. They just needed to be able to catch the cat when they saw him again.

A week later, we received a Whatsapp message from them. It was close to midnight, and they had finally managed to catch the cat. They had him in a carrier, and were ready to send him to the vet in the morning.

Such a sorry sight. On the way to the vet
The next morning, our volunteer met them at the vet to take charge of the case. We named him Hiraku.

What a sweet face he has. His facial wounds reminded us of Bruno
After the vet’s examination, we found out that the cat wasn't actually old at all! Even though he looked like he was almost 8 or 10, the vet estimated that he was only 5 or 6 years old. He had looked really old because his right eye was all white, occluded by a cataract. His left eye seemed alright although perhaps not perfect vision. Effectively, his vision might be limited to close range.

There were innumerable injuries and scars all over the cat's body. His face and head was covered with sores and wounds. His right leg had become terribly swollen from scores of puncture wounds. It looked like he had rolled around in porcupine quills. The skin on his face is all raw, red and patchy. The vet isn't sure why, but it could be an infection from a wound that became inflamed from excessive scratching.

Leg was swollen with many puncture holes
The vet guessed that his multiple wounds were due to frequent cat fights, because he wasn't sterilized. But because he had many more wounds than was normal, we feel that his poor vision made him even more susceptible to attacks. Because he can't see well, it's likely that he was searching for food and got attacked. He could also have wandered into the territory of other cats and gotten attacked. The poor cat can't even see well enough to escape or defend himself. The scruffy cat had been roughed up so many times that he looked old and tired beyond his years.

His gums were terribly pale
Poor cat, he must be so tired from the constant fighting. Trying to look for food must be difficult with his limited vision. Wandering around, stepping into others' territory, unwittingly getting into fights, trying to escape, running away to nurse his wounds, and doing everything again, even before his newest wounds have healed.

For now though, he can get some rest. He needs to stay warded at vet for 7 to 10 days, to have his wounds cleaned and treated. Because his vision might be impaired and quite helpless, we are also appealing for an adopter to take him home after his discharge. He's sweet and docile, and not fussy. Please rescue this cat from a life on the streets, where he obviously has difficulty fending for himself.

For contributions towards Hiraku’s vet bills or to adopt him, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg


Taz – Another One Left Behind

Recently, we received yet another call from one of the caregivers from the factories that a dog had been abandoned outside their factory. The owner simply and callously drove by and left the dog there to fend for itself; yet the dog never once suspected that he had been abandoned and waited for his owner’s return for two days, whining and barking in hope that his owner will soon come back for him.

He looked as is he had been crying for days
Eventually, the dog followed the caregiver into the factory. Other than being heartbroken, he was also malnourished and walked with a limp. He soon realized that his owner was not going to come back for him, and fell into a depression. Refusing food and water, all he could think of was his owner who had left him behind.

Photograph sent to us by the workers
We took him to the vet
He was sent to the vet and renamed Taz. Taz had a wound on his back, and both his front and rear left paws were swollen and bleeding. It felt as if he had walked for days in search of his owner. Taz was slightly dehydrated. A full blood test was done and fortunately, Taz was tested negative for parvo virus, distemper, heartworm and tick fever.

Walked till his paws bled

It was heart-breaking to see Taz in such a state. Even though Taz’s injuries were not considered serious, it was a heartache to see a dog this depressed. Throughout the whole vet visit, Taz hung his head low, refusing to look up or make eye contact with anyone. He was calm and even allowed the volunteers (who were total strangers to him) to pat and hold him. However, no amount of patting and treats could cheer Taz up, nothing could erase his emotional pain and sadness. He pined for his owner. . . . . whom he would never see again.

Abandoned with his old collar on
Taz is truly an exemplar of a dog. Their loyalty and dedication to their owners are commendable despite having a heartless owner who discarded him like a used item. It is extremely disheartening to see that such irresponsible owners still exist and that they could simply just leave a dog to fend for itself after knowingly having domesticated them.

Taz had an old wound on his back

Taz is estimated to be 4-5 years old. He looks slightly like a Lab but could be a crossbreed or a local breed.

Over the past week, Taz has been staying at the vet where his wounds are being cleaned daily. The vet remarked that Taz was very scared and nervous when the vet tried to change his bandages and hence had to be sedated while changing the bandage for his paws. Taz also had 2 seizure episodes over the weekend but after taking oral anti-seizure medication, the seizures have stopped. The cause of the seizures are yet to be determined and the vet has recommended that we do a MRI scan to determine the cause of the seizures. At this point of time, this will be put on hold.

Shaved off to clean the wound on his back

Taz can be discharged anytime but his wounds would still require daily cleaning while it heals and it is estimated that the wound would take 10-14 days to completely heal. As it is, our resources are stretched to the limit due to the recent spate of cases, especially cases such as Bobby’s where complicated surgical procedures were involved. Fosters are also urgently needed for Bobby and Cassie. For these reasons, it is with deepest regrets that we would have to let Taz move back to the factory where he was found and to allow the caregivers there to take care of Taz. It is of course our wish to be able to rehabilitate and rehome every injured dog we meet, yet limited resources and a lack of fosters have led us to make difficult decisions such as letting Taz go back to the factory. Our primary concern is that Taz would be unable to adapt to life as a stray, especially since he used to live in a comfortable home without a worry in the world. We are also worried about infections and complications developing before Taz’s wound can completely heal due to less sanitary living conditions for Taz in the factory.

He must be the world's saddest doggy
Taz is also a reminder to all pet owners that owning a pet is not only a responsibility, but also a commitment. By bringing a pet home, you are not only pledging to take care of him and to give him a good home, but also making a promise that you will not forsake him, especially in times of need. Even if it is not possible for the owner to take care of his pet anymore, necessary arrangements should be made to find the pet a new and suitable home, instead of taking the easy way out and abandoning the pet.
Poor Taz
After all, our pets would not leave us when we are in need, so how could we?

If you wish to help out with Taz’s vet bills, foster or adopt him, or help in any way possible, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg. Every bit of help matters and is greatly appreciated by both dogs and humans alike from Hope Dog Rescue.

Thank you.

Written by Zhiyi


Along Milky’s Way

Over the years, we have been sterilizing dogs in the industrial estates, hundreds of them, to curb and lower the stray population. Therefore it is unusual for us to find a stray puppy in the area. However, on one of our usual feeding rounds, we saw a puppy with an injured right eye. The puppy could hardly open her right eye and it was tearing uncomfortably. Picture this : a puppy with one eye closed, tears flowing down from her injured eye and she was lying on the road chewing on a stick happily. That scene was so heartbreaking.

Going to the vet

Badly infected eye
We went around the factory to find out more about this abandoned puppy and was happy to know that the workers had been helping to take care of her, feeding her and apply their own eye drops. They said that the puppy just appeared outside their factory a couple of weeks ago. We believe that the puppy was left near the area believing that these factory workers would care for it, the factory workers certainly did not disappoint.

Following Saturday, we went back again to check on the puppy. We spotted her eating by the roadside and noticed that her eye condition has worsened. It was appalling as we realize that she could no longer keep her right eye open. We carried her up carefully and applied eye drops for her, hoping to relieve her of the pain. It allowed her to open her eye for a few seconds and then it got painful and uncomfortable again. We immediately spoke to the workers and informed them that we would take the puppy to the vet on Monday morning.

Eyes too painful to open. Milky is barely 3 months old
She was only about 2.5 months old and we named her Milky. We would like to thank our volunteers Michelle and Jozelle who took the day off on Monday to take Milky to the vet.

Right eye too painful to even open
When the vet saw Milky, she informed us that the puppy needed an immediate operation. It wasn’t just an eye infection as we had thought.  Poor Milky had a condition known as Entropion,  it is a genetic disorder that usually occurs in young puppies that are only a few months old. In some cases, it can also occur later in their lives. Entropion usually affects the lower eyelids more than the upper eyelids and it is commonly found in breeds like Chow Chow, Shar-Pei etc. In Milky’s case, it was her upper eyelid that had turned inwards, causing great pain and discomfort. She was also born with a slightly smaller right eye and with her eye condition left untreated, she would have eventually gone blind from the infection. Perhaps Milky has some Shar-Pei genes in her.

This poor cute little puppy will have to go back to the factory soon, when her eye is fully recovered. ADOPT HER?

The vet cleaned her eyes as it was so severely infected. The discharge was causing her eyes to be glued together. Subsequently, we applied eye drops to clean up the discharge so that her eyes could open.

The vet also checked her eye pupil's response to light and assured us her vision would not be affected after surgery and if it heals well. A scope was also used to check her eye cornea to ensure that it was not damaged. The puppy was also found with ticks and fleas so we wiped her clean and applied some Frontline on her.

Cleaning Milky
Milky will undergo the eye surgery the following day, basically a plastic surgery to cut a slit in her eyelid and flip it outwards. Because she is only 2.5 months old, she will not go under general anesthesia and instead be put on light sedation. The surgery will cost a total of $500, excluding the few days stay at the vet, and she would need to be in a clean environment for the coming two weeks.

Thankfully, we managed to find a foster for these two weeks. However if after two weeks, no one comes forth to adopt Milky, she will be returned to the factory and when she turns 5 months old, we will then contact the factory workers to catch her for sterilization. 

If you wish to adopt Milky, please do contact us at hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg. Milky will be more than happy to have a home. Please email us if you wish to help with her vet bills as well. Thank you.

Cassie’s Baby Steps To Recovery

Three weeks ago we managed to save another severely injured stray dog, Cassie, and boy were we thankful we got to her in time to get her treated. The volunteers who were involved in the rescue couldn’t help but feel an extra tinge of agony seeing the terrible shape she was in – protruding ribs and bones, a gaping maggot infested wound right down the side of her neck, the fear and sadness in her eyes.

When we arrived to visit, she was in the midst of trying to tear off her bandage
Good news is, she’s been able to spend most of her days resting now with less worries on being attacked by other strays and is well on her road to recovery! Slowly, but surely. Although she’s still skin and bones thin, she seems to be eating pretty well with a little coaxing, as she still seems fearful when approaching food especially with people watching her. She will usually only eat when she thinks  no one is around. Guess that’s how it’s like with living life as a stray, constantly on the lookout for potential attacks. But with much TLC and cooked food that she seems to enjoy very much, we’re hoping to see Cassie in a better shape and less of her bones real soon!

Her wound is so much better and is a healthy colour
Cleaning her wound
Like any other pet dogs, strays aren’t much different when it comes to craving for human love and affection. She is terrified of coming out of her cage and attempts to take her for walks to pee / poo have stressed her so much that she panics and tries to bite (out of fear) and will have diarrhea from the time she leaves her cage. That’s how deep are fears are. All you need to do is touch her with one finger and it shocks her so much she jumps right out of her skin! The fear in her eyes are permanent, she doesn’t dare to relax until you have closed the gate to her cage and walked off.

Bandaging it up
Cassie can be discharged any time. She has been staying at the vet for quite a long while. What she needs is a loving, patient home environment when she can slowly learn to trust and gain confidence.
To foster Cassie, her foster needs to clean her wound daily and change her dressing. Cassie is fine with the change of bandages as long as your actions are slow and it doesn’t shock her. She is terrified of anything around her neck so going for walks right now is not possible. The foster needs to try paper training her and building her confidence.

Deep down in her, she longs for someone to trust and love her so she can love you in return. She is actually a rather sweet dog; all she needs is someone to show her love.

Will you foster / adopt Cassie and help lift her spirits? Cassie comes from the same area as Cody, and both are equally timid because from where they came from, they never had human contact.

To foster / adopt / help with vet bills, please email : hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg 


Updates on Cody

It has been almost 3 weeks that Cody has been at the vet.  He was among the few "lucky ones" that was picked up from an estate that had a high culling rate. He was “fortunate” to have an open wound injury and thus was taken to the vet. He could have been the one that you have made numerous calls to the authorities to trap and cull. In the area where Cody came from, 16 dogs had already been trapped and probably culled from residents’ complaints. 

When we rescue an injured stray, the normal practice is to treat and release them back to where they originally came from, after the dog has recovered fully. During their stay at the vet, we will also spay or neuter them, ear-tip and vaccinate before they are discharged. We will only keep them under our care if they can no longer survive as a stray, such as an amputation, or a very old and sick dog. We would love to keep every dog we rescue, but HOPE does not have a shelter, neither do we have the funds to upkeep so many dogs. (We have 18 at the moment).

Cody is a male local dog, estimated to be about 3-4 years of age. Like most stray dogs, he gets really frightened and fearful over the slightest sound or touch. While we were waiting at the vet, even when a tiny Jack Russell Terrier barked out of agony at the clinic and not at him, he tucked his tail and hid in a corner trembling.

Bad skin
Curled up in corner at the Vet

In the consult room, he curled up in a corner while waiting for the vet to see him and the vet commented that poor Cody had such a low self-esteem and that he looked as if he wanted to hide and disappear from the face of the earth.

Protruding ribs

Terrified at the Vet
Releasing him back would mean Cody may get attacked by other dogs again because he is so fearful and timid. It would also mean risking him getting culled by the authorities rounding up strays in that area. What are we to do? Treat him, release and risk getting trapped and culled? Or to have ignored his injury, let his wound fester and die a slow painful death? Sounds like a terrible question to ask, but in reality, that’s what we face with every rescue, almost every other day.

His wound is recovering very slowly
Cody’s wound needs another week or so to completely close up. If you able to provide a permanent home for Cody, please email us and save his life. Email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg


Updates on Bobby and Ah Mei

Bobby’s Surgery

A few days after Bobby underwent an extremely painful surgery, he is faced with another setback. Poor Bobby, it feels as if he is never ever going to get better.

After his surgery, he was in slightly better spirits. He still whined from his painful surgery, when he shifted in his cage, but he did feel better for a few days. During that time, he had already started to eat and had a much better appetite. Our volunteers took turns to visit and spend time with him, cooking salmon (Bobby’s favourite) to reward him for being such a brave doggy!

His scrotum is still very sore and swollen after surgery. An opening was reconstructed in his scrotum to allow him to pee from here. 

Two vets had operated on him, with the surgery lasting almost 3 hours. They removed a huge tumour, about the size of a sea cucumber; you can imagine how huge the mass was and how painful it must have been for him. No wonder he lay in the cage without moving for so many weeks. The mass has been sent off to be tested for cancer and we will know the results in a week or two. The vets did tell us not to be too hopeful as the mass had grown quite a bit from the time he was warded and that wasn’t a good sign.

The vet mentioned that when they carried Bobby to the operating theatre, lots of blood had gushed out from his penis. That convinced them that there were no other options and they had to carry out the surgery, known as a urethrostomy and could not wait for him to get stronger. Bobby’s penis was amputated and a new opening in his scrotum was reconstructed for him to pee. The following day after his surgery, he had actually lifted his head to look at the volunteers when they came to see him. He had never done that before.

He was to stay at the vet for a few more days, to be observed for complications.

Still skin and bones

Today when we visited, the vet didn’t have very good news for us. Bobby’s surgical area was badly infected and he wasn’t peeing. Perhaps it was just too painful to pee so a urine catheter was inserted to make it less painful for him.

Instead of being able to be discharged to a home foster soon, poor Bobby would now need to extend his stay at the vet. That also means more medical bills. Bobby’s spirits are low and it feels as if he doesn’t have the will to recover . . . he doesn’t have anything to look forward to.

Once again, we pray that Bobby will pull through yet another difficult and painful period, and that he will find a foster and leave the clinic soon as he has been cooped up in the cage for a long time. A home environment, lots of love and home cooked food would do him a whole lot of good.

Will you foster / adopt Bobby? He is very sweet, docile and undemanding. He spends his days sleeping. The factory workers have been asking when Bobby will be going back to the factory. We hope to be able to tell them that he has found a loving forever home, a family who will dote on and spoil him for his remaining years. To foster / adopt Bobby or help with his vet bills, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg

Ah Mei’s Updates 

Ah Mei will be discharged today. The vet diagnosed her symptoms as colitis and Ah Mei will be discharged with medications. She will need to be on a strict bland diet for a week before slowly introducing new foods to her again.

Ah Mei will be in foster care as her eye lid is also slowly recovering. We hope Ah Mei will live a healthy and happy life from henceforth. 

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