News From The Vacated Factory (2)

Remember Eli, the boy with a severe case of hematoma on his left ear? He was one of our first rescues from the vacated factory.

Eli at the empty factory with his left ear looking terribly swollen

Managed to catch him and take him to the vet

Eli has been warded at the vet for the past 10 days. He had an operation to drain the blood from his ear and was also sterilized. The hematoma in his ear was caused by a prolonged ear infection left untreated. Although the blood has been drained out and his ear is better and stitched up, his ear infection is still apparent.

A very sore ear caused by too much scratching 

Eli after his ear surgery and sterilization

Over the course of the past 2 weeks, we have sent in many dogs from the vacated factory, all for various reasons; sterilization, tick fever treatment, hematoma, maggot wound injuries and at one point of time, we had 7 dogs warded at the vet, all for various medical attention. Needless to say, our bills are starting to pile up again.

Still looking handsome despite his ear bandage

Eli is not ready to be released back to the vacated factory as his ear infection still requires daily cleaning and medication. However, we need to have him discharged from the vet as we have more sick dogs needing medical attention but we can afford so many in at one time.

Cute looking Eli

Eli is about a year old, vaccinated, sterilized and microchipped. He is very handsome and a very sweet boy; he reminds us of Oliver. We need someone to step up and foster him for 7 to 10 days before we can release back to the vacant factory. He is gentle and mild-mannered, he allows you to clean his ears without any protest. What a pleasant street dog.

Stitches on his inner ear from his hematoma surgery

If you can foster Eli for 7 to 10 days and do the following :
  • give Eli 2 walks a day (he will only pee on grass)
  • feed 2 meals a day
  • clean his ear and feed him his antibiotics twice a day
So handsome, reminds us of Baby Oliver

Please email us hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg. Your initiative will allow us to help more dogs from the vacant factory. Thank you.


Have A Muffin! (News from the vacated factory)

Muffin is one of the dogs our volunteers managed to catch recently from the vacant factory under the TNR programme.

Muffin at the vacated factory (poor quality photo image as it was dark and taken from mobile phone)

Muffin is small, 13kg and HDB approved. 

We reckon she is less than a year old. She is long coated, light coloured, and may possibly be light cream or even white but with all the mud and grime on her, poor girl looks grey. She is about the size of a Cocker Spaniel only.

Muffin is a darling on paws. Adopt and save her if you can

Muffin is terribly sweet, alert, mild mannered and loves people. She comes for pats and sits beside us when we hang out at the vacated factory chatting the night away with the dogs snoozing or playing around us. Yes, that’s how we spend our nights and we love it.

Poor Muffin was terrified at the vet

After sending Muffin in for her sterilization, we were informed by the vet that Muffin had previously been sterilized though poor Muffin was neither ear tipped nor did she have an ear tattoo, thus we requested the vet to ear tip, microchip and vaccinate her.

Muffin is small, sweet and affectionate

Often we wonder how such sweet doggies survive out in the rough. Perhaps it’s because she minds her own business, stays away from the rest of the pack and avoids trouble? Such sweet dogs are the first to be caught when the authorities come in because they are so people friendly, they just walk right into the trap and that would be the end of Muffin.

Muffin can't wait to go back to the empty factory, even though there is nothing there for her anymore

Would you like to ADOPT MUFFIN and give her a home? Take her away from the vacated factory and off the streets? That would really mean the world to her . . . else she would need to fend for herself for the next 10 years of her life.

She has been discharged and returned to the factory. However, if you wish to ADOPT MUFFIN, we will rush down in a jiffy to pick her up. We’ll even throw in a free complimentary medical checkup costing about $300 to check her liver, kidney, tick fever and heartworm. All you need to do is pay an adoption fee of $350/- which would cover her vaccination, sterilization and microchip.

PLEASE ADOPT MUFFIN. You have the power to change her fate and save her life.


News From The Vacated Factory

Our volunteers managed to catch 2 young pups from the vacated factory. From this litter, there are 4 puppies, 4 months of age. Two are wary of humans, while these two we caught are slightly less wary although they are not exactly comfortable with humans just yet. This, of course can be slowly overcome when they learn to trust.

Little Jill, heading to the vet for what we thought was a routine sterilization (female, 4 mths old) 

The objective of taking these two puppies was to bring them in for sterilization (TNR) and return them to the empty factory. Of course by now we know that things don’t always work out as planned and life is never straightforward.

Brother Jack, timid and overwhelmed by what has been happening 

These two puppies, Jack and Jill (Jill looking like a mini Lily), were taken to the vet. The vet noted how bloated their little tummies were and suggested we do x-rays on the two little siblings. And so the story begins . . . . not just another sterilization. The vet could not find anything wrong in the bloated abdomen despite x-rays done. However, under further examination and blood tests, these two tiny ones were found to have :
  1. Babesia, a rare strain of tick fever
  2. Enlarged spleen, caused by tick fever and will recover once the Babesia has been treated.
  3. Tick infested
  4. Heart murmur. This heart murmur may be confused by other sounds that the vet has picked up as Babesia also causes the thinning of his blood and thus the sounds from the heart. This should also eventually diminish as treatment for Babesia starts.
A host of issues at just 4 months old. Obviously their sterilization had to be put on hold. Obviously they could not be returned to the factory as they may possibly die a slow death.

Jack is just a tiny puppy, male, 4 mths old (he just looks big in the photograph)

Both Jack and Jill were warded at the vet for almost a week.

Here’s the hard facts and we’re going to tell it like it is. There are still dogs left in the vacated factory, some are super duper friendly and these are the ones that will be the first to be caught and culled when the authorities come in to clear the strays. They will be killed for their innocence and naïveté.

Here’s how you can help. ADOPT these two puppies so that we may save a few more. Because we only want the best for these puppies and we feel that all dogs rescued under HOPE are our responsibility, we will try our best to pay for their medical treatment even after adoption, till they are well and have recovered from their Babesia. Jack has started on his treatment for Babesia, while Jill starts hers in the next couple of days. Although it is life threatening, with close monitoring, medical treatment and proper nutrition, they should recover fully.

Jack at the vet

HOPE will only charge a nominal adoption fee of $350/- which will cover 3 vaccinations, microchipping and sterilization when they are up to it. The treatment for Babesia will be covered by HOPE even if it means we have to cut down on supplements and therapy for our senior and special needs dogs, because we desperately want these young pups to be adopted so we can return to the vacated factory to save another 2 more.

Please help us win this battle. Our exhausted volunteers have been literally working round the clock to save these dogs. We can only fight on if you help adopt our dogs. If we can’t get them adopted, we are stuck and as time ticks by, the dogs risk getting caught and culled.

Jill (photograph taken before the factory vacated)

 PLEASE HELP. Email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg


Another One Bites The Dust

Hachiko is the name we gave him. He seems to have Husky genes in him as he has that characteristic Husky howl. Hachiko is really a rather vocal dog.

Walks so well on leash; understands heel, sit and stay

One unremarkable night 4 months ago, he appeared out of nowhere and decided to make a now-vacated factory his home. Like Horlicks, he didn’t seem to have friends, save for just one or two dogs. But unlike Horlicks, Hachiko didn’t seem like a stray. Hachiko was different. He didn’t want to play with the other strays. Instead, he seemed to always be staring at the cars that drove by. Could he maybe have had an owner who drove him there, dumped him out and drove off?

At the vet, waiting for his turn 

For a stray, Hachiko walks surprisingly well on a leash. He understands when we talk to him. He knows to sit, stay and heel. Strange, isn’t it?

A while ago, we were in Hachiko's deserted factory trying to trap a female dog in heat, when we smelled that dreaded yet familiar smell of maggots. The stench came from Hachiko. Our hearts sank. It was way too dark to see anything, and we decided to take him to the vet. In any case, he was due to be sterilized.

As we suspected, the vet also reckoned that Hachiko is a Husky or Husky cross, about 5 years old. At first, he was so well-behaved at the vet that even the staff praised him. But he started protesting when he was prodded a bit too much, and again when they tried to open his mouth to check his teeth.

Under examination, the vets found 3 deep, huge maggot-infested wounds in some awful places on Hachiko's body. He had a deep slash inside his ear, maggots in his scrotum and another maggot-filled wound under his right arm. The slash wound on his ear could have been caused by him getting caught on a sharp object or in machinery. If he didn’t grow up as a stray, he may not be as street smart as the other dogs. He must have been so confused and scared.

A huge slit on the inside of his ear

Maggots on his scrotum

Wounds on his underarm

Hachiko was put under sedation to have his wounds cleaned. Because one of the wounds is under his arm, it will be aggravated every time he moves, and take a longer time to heal. One silver lining is that sterilization helped to address the maggot wound on Hachiko's scrotum. He is now resting and recovering well. He will remain at the vet for a week or two till his wounds heal completely.

Unless someone is able to take him in, Hachiko will have to be released to the empty factory where he had gotten hurt. We don't know what caused his injuries in the first place, but we can only hope that it doesn't happen again. We cannot afford to keep Hachiko at the vet or commercial boarding. Our hands are tied trying to rescue the puppies left behind.

A lonesome figure in a vacated factory. Life should not be this way

He is obviously not suited for a life on the streets. He once had a normal home, but all he has now is a foreign and hostile factory. We don't know if he'll ever adjust to living in such a different environment.

If you can ADOPT HACHIKO or help with his vet bills, please do so.

Hachiko is either a Husky or Husky Cross, male, estimated to be about 4 to 5 years old. 

Email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg to enquire.


A Final SOS Plea

What do you do when you’re suddenly faced with more than 10 dogs being homeless overnight? Dogs that you have been feeding on a weekly basis for years, and are definitely appreciative of your effort, evident with their affection and wagging tail every single time they see you? What will you do if you know that the authorities are going to round them up soon, meaning that they will very most likely, be culled? What will you do to help these poor helpless beings, who have done nothing wrong, but to be born a stray here in Singapore? What can you do to help them now?

Young, scared and hungry

This little one has a hematoma on the left ear. If left untreated, the ear will burst / tear, but we can't get close enough to catch.

Look at his eyes. No one cares for them anymore.
These questions have been racing in our mind every single minute since these dogs became homeless. What can we do when our hands are so tied and our resources so limited? Our call for fosters this week received zero response. Yes, zero. Nothing at all. If only our sleepless nights, worrying, crying and fretting over these dogs will help them. We went to feed the dogs last weekend as usual and it really broke our hearts to see them all so hungry that the food we’d prepared were gone within seconds. Knowing that they have nothing there for them anymore and no caregivers to feed them, we went down again last night to feed these poor dogs. We wanted to lure them out of the premise as we’ve been informed that the authorities will be going down later this week to access the land, and should they see so many dogs making that place their home, we’re all aware what their fate will be. But, these loyal dogs just won’t budge and are adamant staying put where they are, simply because that is the place they have called home for so many years. And very heartbreakingly sad, many of them are still waiting for their owner to go back. Such, is why they are known as man’s best friend isn’t it?

Some are very friendly. Sadly, these are the easiest for the authorities to catch and cull first.

This is home. This is what they eat and drink to survive.

Little puppy with a bloated stomach, probably filled with worms. He may also have eaten pebbles and soil from great hunger. 

We see very hungry dogs when we go during the day time on weekends.
We noticed a few of the dogs have lost some very obvious amount of weight, within a short span of a week or so. It was obvious that these poor dogs were being ostracized by the rest of the pack. They were alone in their far away corner, individually, and dared not venture anywhere near. One of them has always been very wary of humans but he is one of the sweetest natured. Every single time he sees you, his tail wags non-stop, but he wouldn’t come too near. You see, he was actually from another factory, but perhaps due to being this sweet, he was bullied since day 1 and got chased out from that pack. He joined the dogs then at this current defunct factory and was also bullied. Fortunately for him, 2 dogs accepted him as part of their pack and the 3 of them became inseparable. But very unfortunately for him, the owner brought his 2 best friends along, leaving him all alone to fend for himself yet again. Just recalling how he was whining with fear last night is so heart breaking. I could practically hear him ask me between his whines “Where have my 2 friends gone to? I am so afraid, hungry and lonely. Why do I get ostracized everywhere I go and always get left behind? Am I so detestable? Nobody wants me”. I wanted so very much to tell him, as well as all the other dogs there, that it is not their fault, that everything is going to be alright, that we are bringing them away to a better place where they’ll be safe and never go hungry again, where all they’ll ever know is eat, sleep and play. But I can’t. We can’t, as we do not have the means to do so.

Ostracized by every one, so this poor dog lives outside the factory, on a grass patch by the pavement . He is about 1 year old.

Everyone has left. The factory is barren 
Many hungry dogs
One lonesome dog not daring to come close 

Please help us to help these poor dogs! We are pleading for all the help that anyone of you can offer. Be it to help foster the poor dogs (for 3 months at least), sponsor their long-term boarding till they get adopted, donate kibbles/canned food/rice/meat so that we can feed them on alternate days instead of our usual once a week routine, or volunteer with us as drivers to help send the food for feeding. Any help.

Please write in to hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg TODAY! Time is really running out for these poor dogs.

I will pray for all the kind angels to appear after reading this final plea for help. Are you one of their angels?


Killing Her Softly

We received a call last night at 9pm asking for help and advice with regards to a senior abandoned Chihuahua, found roaming the streets in Jurong last year. When Mark found her, she was dirty, smelly, terribly hungry and thirsty. It seemed as if she had been wandering the streets for a while. Mark took her home and noticed she had a lump on one of her nipples. He took her to the vet and found out she had breast cancer. He paid for her surgery to remove the lump and also spent the next 3 months looking for her owner by putting up posters, but to no avail. She was not sterilized and not microchipped.

When he first found her, she would only eat plain bread. Was it because that was all she was fed on? He named her Na Na as he later realized she loved bananas. Na Na looks to be about 8 to 10 years old.

Few days ago Na Na stopped eating, became listless and leaked pee. She also started drinking a lot, her stomach looked swollen and she started vomiting. Mark took her to a vet where she was given antibiotics and sent home. But her condition did not improve. In fact, she looked more listless and so Mark took her to another vet where blood tests and an x-ray was done. It showed that she had closed pyometra. But Na Na also had water in her lungs, pretty bad heart murmur and an enlarged heart. The vet did not dare to operate on her as it was too risky. So Mark took her out of the vet and sat in the car with the drip still on Na Na, desperately calling friends for help and advice. Finally he called HOPE but by then, it was 9pm and most of the vets were either closed or closing. Na Na was in critical condition. She was on a drip, in their car, with nowhere to go. Her breathing was laboured and it was unlikely she would make it through the night.

We were put in a critical situation; it was a matter of life and death. There was no time to ponder on whether we wanted to take on this case, or if we could even afford to help.

We called our regular vet but as it was closing time, there was only one vet on duty and she was attending to another emergency case. We pleaded with them to see Na Na but the receptionist said she had no idea what time the vet would be done with her emergency. In the meantime, our volunteers were frantically calling other vets to ask if they could see Na Na. After an hour, we finally found a vet that would see Na Na and as Mark was on the way, we received a call from our regular vet saying that the Dr was done with her emergency and had kindly agreed to see us, even though it was way past closing time. We were truly grateful. We detoured and headed down.

The vet examined Na Na, who was still on drip and lying in a plastic tub. She looked as if she would go anytime. Her abdomen was swollen and painful, she was leaking pee and running a slight temperature. The vet told us that it was unlikely that Na Na would make it through the night. An emergency surgery was needed. It was a high risk surgery as Na Na’s heart may not be able to take it but it was between the devil and the deep blue sea. If we didn’t go ahead with the surgery, Na Na would die soon. So we agreed and the vet quickly prepared to proceed with the emergency surgery. It was 11pm when we left the clinic.

We waited till the wee hours for updates from the vet. She called at 1am to say that she had removed Na Na’s uterus; any longer and it would have ruptured in her stomach, killing her. We were thankful for the vet’s passion and willingness to see us and work late into the night to save Na Na’s life.

Today Na Na is still listless and not eating. The next 48 hours are crucial.

We hope she will pull through and be able to live a happier life.

Na Na’s bill is estimated to be about $3000/-. If you can help with Na Na’s vet bills, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg


Homeless Overnight

As part of Hope Dog Rescue’s sterilization initiative to curb the stray dog population here in Singapore, we’ve adopted the Trap Neuter Release (TNR) programme. It is a strong belief that sterilization is the way to go to help control the stray population, rather than culling.

Over the years, we’ve been carrying out our work in the industrial estates: educating workers on the importance of sterilization, teaching them how to check if a dog has been sterilized through the widely used method of ear-tipping by vets, supplying food to kind caregivers/workers who feed and care for the dogs living in their compound. We have seen so many puppies born in very sad and harsh living conditions - in bushes, under heavy trucks, containers, oils spills everywhere, mud, broken glass pieces, whatever you name it, it’s probably there. And it’s a common sight to see industrial rats, with many of them much larger in size than the new born puppies. Sometimes, these rats end up feasting on the new born puppies, while they are very much alive, just unable to move and protect themselves as they are barely a few days/weeks old. It is indeed a very sorry sight and not something anyone wishes to see, especially on a regular basis.

Two female dogs caught last week for sterilization

Hope Dog Rescue sterilizes both male and female dogs, basically, any dog we can get near to and catch. There are some who are very wary of humans, and despite feeding them for years, we have not been able to go anywhere within 3 meters from them. And sadly, these are the ones that will keep giving birth, twice a year, over and over again until they die. Life is sad for a stray dog, and much sadder for an unsterilized female stray dog. Just imagine being gang raped twice a year, all through your life?

A female dog usually comes in heat twice a year, starting from the age of between 5 to 8 months young. What this mean is that a puppy of 5 months young will be mated on and then give birth to more puppies, at that tender age of just 5 months! Shouldn’t puppies at this age be playing, enjoying life with not a care in the world, getting good food, a good night sleep every single night and be showered with lots of love? In fact, shouldn’t all dogs of all ages, gender and breed be enjoying the same?

Hope Dog Rescue sterilizes street dogs 4 months and above. Over the past 8 years, we have found that it is a lot easier to catch a young dog, when they are still trusting of humans. As these street dogs grow, they often become more wary of humans, often through the suffering and abuses they’ve received from humans, sowing the distrust in them and making them near impossible to catch. Another reason could also be that the dog is not comfortable with human contact. One of the most possible reasons is that the dog does not have a factory worker or caregiver to render him/her the occasional attention, love and pats, and thus, the wariness towards humans.

Sweet 5 month old female puppy

On the average, our volunteers spend between 1 to 2 nights per week in industrial estates, either liaising and working with the factory workers to help us to catch the dogs for sterilization, or catching the dogs all on our own. It is hard work, one that requires lots of patience. Our volunteers will usually go down after work for the catch and they often do not end till 10pm or 11pm. Most times, the wait will take some hours before they manage to catch a dog or two, if they’re lucky. Once the dog is caught, the volunteers have to ensure the dog is comfortable, thereafter liaising with the workers to leave the dog at a safe place for the night. The following morning, our paid pet transport will pick up the dog and head to the vet for sterilization, vaccination and ear tip.

Just last week, we managed to catch 2 dogs from a worksite that is due to move to a new premise. Apparently, this new premise - a new flatted factory, has some rules and regulations that depict maximum 2 dogs will be allowed. Of the 2 dogs that we’ve caught, one was a sweet female puppy about 5 months old, and the other was an adult female dog. Due to the very poor and filthy living conditions that they live in, there will be a high chance of their wound getting infected if we release them immediately. Therefore, generally, we let these dogs recuperate at the vet for 2 to 3 days after sterilization to allow their wound to heal properly. By doing this, we inevitably accumulate more vet bills, but nevertheless, it is something that we must and will do for the dogs’ welfare.

This is her home

By the time we released these 2 dogs back to their worksite, the factory had moved out, leaving behind an empty plot of oil and dirt, and a pack of 10 dogs or so. The only consolation we could have is that ALL the dogs that were left behind have all been sterilized by Hope Dog Rescue, and even if these dogs wander off to a new location, they have already been sterilized and will not reproduce to add on to the stray population.

Returning to nothing

Where's my home?

The saddest part of this TNR programme definitely has got to be returning the dogs back to their harsh and unkind reality. Watching them run happily out of the carrier, speeding down the filthy pathways to the dangerous worksite, to reunite and play with their friends is a heart wrenching moment. There is basically nothing left behind for them - no caregivers, no food, nothing. Just friends they call their own. Yet, they are so overjoyed to return to this place they actually call home. Just as I am writing this and visualising that moment, tears just flow. It is indeed very sad for each of our volunteers, every single time we have to release them back, but we must trudge forward with the belief that sterilization will help to curb the stray population. We hope that one day, with a controlled population these poor stays will no longer pose as a “nuisance” to the public, leading to the drop of complaints towards them, which in turn takes them away as the target of AVA’s culling.

We would love to help these dogs by starting with this sweet 5 month old puppy, taking her away from the worksite but we do not have the means to do so. We need a foster who will take her in for at least 3 months, not any foster who will take her in and then give up after a few days, thereby sending us on a foster rampage again. Please do bear in mind that as she is fresh from the streets, she will most likely not be able to walk on leash nor be paper trained yet. Even things that we take for granted, like drinking from a water bowl, they sometimes need to be taught because they have been drinking from oily puddles all their lives. In addition, neither do we know if she gets along well with other dogs, as urban living would be a whole new world for her. This will mean that the foster will need to be very patient to train her and not give up on her.

If you can foster her, please email us at hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg


Recruitment: A Foster Needed For Our Little Elmo, The Special Needs Dog

Elmo underwent a Hematoma surgery on the 4th of April. The surgery involved putting Elmo under light sedation, accompanied by making an incision to drain out the blood that accumulated in that area. A temporary drain tube was then inserted and left to heal and daily cleaning of the ear was required.

The infected ear had left Elmo feeling very miserable and poor Elmo was suffering. Hence, this little dog displayed frustration and snapped at the foster during wound cleaning. We had no choice and in order to speed up Elmo's healing progress, we decided to send Elmo back to the vet clinic for medical boarding, for Elmo's sake.

Elmo was cooped up at the vet for 10 days. We arranged for volunteers to visit him daily, cooking and bringing his favourite meals. We even brought ice cubes from home to feed him with (Elmo doesn't really like drinking water, hence the ice cubes to keep him hydrated) and to walk him so he doesn’t feel so upset and frustrated.

Elmo at the Vet
When it was time for discharge, Elmo had nowhere to go, thus we had to send him to a commercial boarding facility. Elmo was in a foster home for 2 years. Will he have the good fate of finding another foster to care for him and attend to his needs? The vet advised that Elmo's ear needs to be cleaned on a regular basis to prevent reoccurrence of Elmo's hematoma. Keeping his ear clean will minimize itch and irritation in his ear canal as excessive and violent shaking from his head will cause more blood vessels to burst.

In terms of Elmo's physical appearance, Elmo may pale in comparison with the good looking dogs. However, this little dog has the most admirable fighting spirit and a “never say die” attitude. He never demands and he takes each day as it comes. Elmo simply doesn't ask for more, perhaps only his favourite, ice cubes?

If you have what it takes to be Elmo's foster with the following qualities, Elmo and HOPE would be eternally grateful to you. The foster we are looking for:

  1. Have some time during the day to spend with Elmo, to talk to him, give him a few minutes of massage, play with him his favorite toys to stimulate his sensory and motor skills
  2. Have a love for dogs with special needs, taking the time and effort to nurture and bring out the best in them
  3. Not afraid when Elmo snaps at you but know that with time, love and patience and treating him very gently, Elmo will get the message, learn to trust you and understand your good intentions

Elmo is a local street dog, rescued from the industrial park. We suspect he grew up in the forest and survived on leaves. The vet says he may be intellectually disabled. Elmo also suffers from very poor vision and has partial hearing. He is estimated to be almost 3 years old and is healthy.

Read his rescue story here.

Tired out at our recent adoption drive

Come meet little Elmo. He will be at our adoption drive this Saturday at The Cornerstone Cafe (Bishan Park) from 11.30am to 4.00pm. 

Please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg if you would like to contribute to Elmo's vet bills, foster or adopt him.