Peppa Updates: The Emotional Road

It’s been 3 days since Peppa’s life saving operation. She still isn't really eating or drinking. Her food is blended for now, as her mouth is still painful from the dozen or so teeth extracted last Saturday. She slurps 3 or 4 mouthfuls of food, another 3 or 4 mouthfuls goat's milk and that's all she needs to keep her going the entire day. She doesn't seem to need water.

The core of our work is rescuing strays. With Peppa, a purebred Schnauzer, her similarities with a stray dog are heartbreaking. One wonders how long she was on the streets. Or did she have a family who didn't care very much for her, fed her food and water as and when they remembered to and didn't even bother to groom her, notice that her teeth were all rotten and that she was peeing blood? Was she used as a home-breeding dog? We will never know. All we know is that her emotional scars are deep and the road to her emotional healing is going to be a long, winding one.

Peppa spends her days either sleeping or staring out the front door of her foster home. You feel her pain and longing. She misses her family, even though they didn't treat her well. She seems to long for the outdoors, which again convinces us that she did indeed live like a stray for a while before being picked up and rescued.

No joy in her eyes
With her stray lifestyle, over the years her stomach has shrunk, and her body has gotten used to it. This explains why she doesn’t seem to need to drink water and she doesn’t know how to eat from a bowl. The foster uses a plate and tries to hand feed her but once she has had her 4 mouthfuls of food, she's done with food for the day.

Her foster has also noticed that Peppa has some separation anxiety. She needs to have a human or dog within sight. If there isn't one, the poor little girl will panic, howl and wail. We hope this diminishes as she gets stronger. 

Cute little Peppa loves to snuggle in the resident dog's bed and he graciously gives in to her

Peppa is very tough. By the second day, she was no longer whining and crying in pain, although she is still on pain killers, oral gel and antibiotics. Her physical pain she has learnt to cope with, probably something she has lived with for a long time.

Her teeth are nice & clean now after her dental. She needs to have some oral gel applied on her gums twice daily to soothe her pain.
Her sterilization wound is now nice & dry

Tomorrow we take her to the vet again, to check on her sterilization wound and the stitches in her mouth. All we can do for dear little Peppa right now is to ensure that we try our best to teach and encourage her to eat and drink, like what a normal dog should be doing, and to give her lots of love, and hope that the emotional road is not too long for her.

Email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg if you would like to help Peppa in any way.


Get Rid Of Her

A female Schnauzer was found 4 days ago, possibly abandoned. Her rescuer could not keep her and handed her over to HOPE. We took her in 2 days ago.

She was in pretty bad condition when she went to her foster home. She was unkempt and had overgrown nails that had started curling sideways. Her breath was also extremely foul, due to several rotten and shaky teeth. Her nipples are enlarged, which indicates that she was very likely a breeding dog, either from a farm or a home breeder. Was she discarded because she had outlived her purpose? We aren't sure exactly how old she is, but it's apparent that the girl has endured a long, long period of neglect.

She had many rotting teeth and terribly foul breath
Been a Mama a couple of times

Nails too long, they curled sideways

Over the past 2 days, her fosterer noticed that she was refusing to eat, and was hardly drinking. There was also some blood in her urine, and we didn't know if it was because she's in heat, or if she's suffering from a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) or kidney stones. We took her to the vet today for a full medical check-up.

Ultrasound scan before she was rushed in for an emergency surgery

What we found out was much worse than we expected. We were shocked to hear that she has a serious, life-threatening condition called pyometra. Pyometra is an infection in the uterus, is life threatening and requires immediate surgery. This is common in unsterilized female dogs. Her uterus was so horribly infected that the vet thought she saw TWO uteruses when she conducted the ultrasound scan. The poor dog must have been in a huge amount of pain, which is why she wasn't eating. We're very lucky that her fosterer is experienced, and spotted the few odd symptoms to this life-threatening condition.

The vet has just rushed her into emergency surgery and we are now waiting to hear how it goes. Please keep Peppa in your prayers. Life has not been easy for her.

If you would like to help out with her vet bill, please contact hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg

Update on Cammy

After her lifesaving operation, Cammy was in such extreme pain that she could not eat. It was only after the vet upped the dosage for her pain meds that she finally managed to stomach her first meal after more than 2 days. Although she has started to eat, the next 48 hours will still be very critical. The vet told us that we brought her in just in time as she would not have survived past the weekend. Looking back, it certainly seems like fate that we rescued her when we did.

Finally, a smile

Being black, Cammy blended right in with her surroundings, a dark, deserted factory. We definitely would not have found her if not for a furry friend's intervention. When we went on our usual feeding rounds that Saturday night, we called and called but Cammy did not come running like she usually did. We were about to leave when we heard another dog barking fervently some distance away, as if asking for help, and we decided to check it out.

It was a good thing we did.

When we saw Cammy, our hearts sank. We had put a collar on her a few months back, because she was so extremely friendly that we worried about how easily she might be caught by the authorities and culled. Without this collar, we wouldn't have been able to identify Cammy that Saturday. At first look, the black dog we saw was not the Cammy we knew. She did not run to us and flip over onto her back asking for her usual belly rubs. Instead, she lay in a puddle of water, motionless.

Still weak and groggy but forcing herself to sit up to look at us 

Her huge distended stomach was filled with more than 3 liters of urine! This is akin to her internal organs being soaked in acid! Can you imagine the pain she was going through? A small blister hurts so badly, but a burnt and blistered abdomen is unthinkable. We mere humans probably won't be able to survive the pain but this was what Cammy had been experiencing there in the dark for hours, with only a friend who thankfully decided to call for help.

Cammy may develop peritonitis (inflammation of the membrane around the organs and abdominal wall) due to the prolonged exposure to urea, and is also in grave danger of succumbing to kidney failure. Because of the tear in the bladder, her body was unable to excrete all the toxins accumulated by the kidneys. Cammy's kidney values were horrible as the toxins in her kidneys had built up to a dangerous level, and her readings were:
Urea >130 mg/dL (Normal range 7-27)
Phosphate >16.1 mg/dL (Normal range 2.5-6.8)

Cammy will need to stay at the clinic for a few more days as her condition is still very critical and she needs to be under strict observation. For now, the vet will continue to induce urination (diuresis) to keep Cammy's kidneys functioning. Hopefully, with continued diuresis, we can get her kidney values back down. How much lasting damage remains depends on how well her body is able to concentrate urine and what her kidney values are. We can only keep our fingers crossed and pray for the best.

Her vet bill has ballooned and we have spent more than $3000 in these few short days alone. Although we cannot afford the bills, which is snowballing by the day, we have no choice but to do all we can to save this little girl who had always greeted us with enthusiasm and many wet kisses.

Sweet Cammy, Mathilda's sister

Cammy has been a very brave little girl and we know she will pull through this critical period. After her discharge, Cammy will need a temporary home where she can comfortably recuperate. If you are able to offer a space in your home and heart for our little girl, or if you would like to contribute towards Cammy's vet bills, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg


Rusty, Left Behind In A Vacated House

Someone had informed us that a dog was living in a vacated home, all by himself.

According to the source, the dog had been left in the backyard, which offered little shelter from rain or heat. Did this poor little dog have food? Apparently, according to the source, there were kind people, and occasionally, the owner, who gave him food through the bars of the gate. 

There was a note on the back gate:


We sent the info to our volunteers, who rushed down to look for this dog as soon as they got off work. At first, we had trouble locating the house, because the dog was in the backyard and you couldn't see him unless you walked along the drains at the back of all the houses.

So we asked around the estate, and finally managed to find the right house.

When we saw him, he was lying in the backyard. It was raining, and he was wet. He was staring quietly at the gate, probably still waiting for his owner to return. Our hearts broke. The dog barked when he saw us. He was afraid and confused.

Scared and all alone

Watch the video of Rusty being home alone.

Sources told us that he had been living there alone for many months now. The only other thing in that backyard was a small water bowl. In this heat, any water in that tiny bowl wouldn’t have lasted a few hours. That note was also tied to the back gate. The note could have easily been missed but thanks to the source who was alert and noticed otherwise this poor dog may have been left there even longer.

We called the number on the note, and the man who answered gladly and immediately agreed to give us the dog. Because he "had no time for it".

Standing in the rain at the backyard, hoping for someone to save him 

He met with us that night. As he cheerily handed the dog to us, along with a half-eaten packet of kibbles. He said that the dog was 4 years old, a male poodle, and they didn’t want him anymore. We asked if the dog had been fed dinner. He didn’t know.

It was a quick exchange. We were glad to take the dog, and he was glad to be rid of it.

In the car, the dog was overjoyed with all the attention and affection he was receiving. He was rolling around in the back seat of the car and purring all the way to our volunteer’s home. There, he drank a lot of water and gobbled all his food down. He wasn’t skin and bones as we anticipated, thanks to the people who fed him. But he was rather dirty. He had poo all over his rear, and was all smelly from being damp and constantly being in the sun and rain.

So after he was done eating (obviously he hadn't been fed dinner yet), we bathed him. He is very sweet and craves being petted and loved. Despite his long period of neglect, he shows no aggression, and is a very nice boy.

Nice & clean after a good bath and blow dry

Today, we took him to the vet for a full medical check up. Unsurprisingly, he hasn't been sterilized yet, but he will be when he is ready. His ears are currently quite smelly from an ear infection, and his nose is red and sore, possibly from pushing the gate and trying to get out of the house. Apart from that, he seems to be in good health. His blood test results were all good, and he tested negative for heartworm and tick fever. He weighs 6.1kg. We named him Rusty.

Safe & happy from now on! 

Now, we are in urgent need of a foster home for Rusty. We don't want to put him in commercial boarding and leave him alone again. He needs some guidance as no one has ever taught him how to behave. He isn’t badly behaved but he is highly excitable, which is understandable because he has been living alone in an empty home, without any stimulation, for many, many months. He jumps a lot, and his foster will need to discourage this habit lest he hurts his back.

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

Update On Cammy

Early this morning, Cammy was transferred to our regular vet to undergo an emergency surgery. The vet said there was only a 50% chance of success, so we were all waiting anxiously on the edge of our seats.

A very sweet girl. Cammy patiently waiting for the vet to see her this morning. Can see from this photo how bloated her stomach is

We've just had news from the doctor. The surgery went well, but the next 48 hours are crucial. Dr. Tan said we brought her in just in time. Had we not rescued her when we did, she would have died in a day or two.  

Cammy's bladder was ruptured. Ultrasound scans showed holes and leaks in her bladder. That's why we saw her straining to pee, but nothing came out. The pee was leaking into her stomach cavity. 1.8 liters of fluid was drained from her tummy last night. Another 1.5 liters was drained today, and Cammy's bladder was stitched up during the surgery.

Still groggy after her surgery

Cammy's internal organs were red and there was a lot of inflammation. As urine is acidic, there might have been some organ scalding. The vet has flushed everything, and will continue to observe Cammy. If she doesn't improve, there might be an infection.

The hole in her bladder was not a clean tear. It was a jagged wound caused by blunt force trauma. One possible cause of such bad trauma would be a traffic accident. We ruled that out, because Cammy has no abrasions on her body to indicate a car accident. Falling down could also cause trauma to internal organs, but how hard or how far would she have to fall to get hurt so badly?

The most likely reason for the tear in Cammy's bladder, according to the vet, would be from someone kicking her, hard. Who on earth could have been so wicked to kick her so hard? Cammy is totally not aggressive at all, she's just a sweet, helpless dog. 

When we called her, she summoned all her energy to lift her head and look at us

We will need to monitor Cammy closely over the next 48 hours. She's very weak and in a lot of pain; hopefully she does not develop an infection. Her blood test results were horrendous. We don't know when her kidney and heart will go back to normal. We will do another blood test tonight, and then again every 3 days.

We hope that karma will catch up to the one who did this to Cammy.

If you can contribute towards Cammy's vet bills or foster her when she is discharged, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg


We Let Her Down

We often wish that our Saturday nights would be normal; feed the street dogs, distribute food to workers, pat some dogs and go home. It is our greatest fear when we can’t find our regular dogs, dogs that we've been feeding for years. 

Tonight, it was another emotional night for our volunteers. We couldn’t find Cammy. Cammy is Mathilda’s sister and she lives in a vacated factory with her mother. Almost a year ago, we had taken Mathilda and her brother, Tommy, when the factory workers moved out. We could not take the entire family but we promised Cammy and her mommy we would come back for them soon.

Waiting for death to overcome her

We let them down.

It’s been almost a year and we have not been able to rehome Mathilda, and so we do not have space for Cammy and her mommy. Cammy is sweet like Mathilda and her mommy. In fact, the entire family are extremely human friendly. Each week when we visit, Cammy runs out from the vacated factory as soon as she hears our cars pull up. She then lies on the ground, asking for belly rubs. Even though she is hungry, she would rather get her pats and affection first.

Searching for Cammy

Today, she did not come out.

Our initial thoughts were that she could have been caught by AVA but after a search around the empty factory, we found poor Cammy lying in a puddle of water. It had been raining and she was shivering. When she saw us approach, she tried to stand, vomited, wobbled and collapsed. She was very weak and wobbly on her legs and her stomach was terribly bloated. She wasn’t her usual self. We tried to carry her and take her to the vet but she kept walking away from us. We saw her straining to pee, but nothing came out. All she wanted to do was hide under a lorry and wait for death to overcome her.

As she walked away from us and jumped over a drain, she fell into it and didn’t have the energy to get out. A volunteer, Jozelle, immediately climbed into the foul smelling drain to carry poor Cammy out. Cammy then hid under a truck and lay there gasping for air. As we prodded her and tried to get her out, she moved and hid under another lorry. After a short chase, we managed to get her and rushed her to Emergency. She was seen immediately as we thought she was suffering from bloat, which can be fatal. However, the x-ray showed nothing but fluids in her abdomen. Cammy was immediately put on drip to stabilize her as her heart could stop beating any moment or she could go into seizure. The vet then did a needle aspiration and we were shocked with the amount of fluids drained out of her abdomen, 1.8litres of fluid. Imagine how she was feeling; we likened it to drowning. The vet said it could have been just a few days to get to this stage and we believe so, as we had just played with her last weekend. Had we not rescued her tonight, she would have eventually “drowned” in all the fluids, slowly and all alone, under that lorry.

Look at how bloated her tummy is
Draining the fluids from her abdomen

Her blood test results came out later and that put us in greater shock. Cammy had severe dehydration, heart and kidney failure.

How could she have gotten so seriously ill when we saw her well and happy last week? More tests needs to be done but as emergency charges are rather expensive, we decided to wait till morning. For now, she is on drip in the emergency room. We tried feeding her but she isn’t eating.

Eyes that no longer hold hope

The vet has told us that she may not make it through the night, that her heart could stop beating anytime. How sad that strays often live and die alone. We let Cammy down. We said we would come back for her and find her a home, but we never did and now it’s probably too late. What’s sadder is that now mommy is left alone behind in the empty factory.

It’s been a long and emotionally draining night but sleep is the furthest from our minds. Tonight’s bill was $1200. Each time we say we won’t be rescuing any more dogs because we simply can’t afford it, but each time we look into their desperate eyes, pleading for help, telling us that we’re their only hope, we cave in.

Heart failure. Kidney failure. These are words often used on senior dogs. Cammy is 2 years old.

If you can help us with Cammy’s bill, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg

Exhausted, we hope that our phone doesn’t ring in the wee hours of the morning because that would only bear bad news. 


Pet Abandonment

He might be only a part of your life, but for him, you are his everything, the only person in his whole life. Amos was abandoned and a member of the public saw some people kicking him around like a soccer ball. 

Dogs are by nature domestic animals. They've been bred to be companions for humans. Even feral stray dogs, who have lived their entire lives on the streets, struggle hard to survive.

There's no question about it, abandoned pet dogs will never stand a chance. They know nothing about living on their own. How will they survive even a day? Where would they find food and water? Do they know how to cross the road safely without being killed by a car?

Charlotte, so pretty and yet was abandoned and tied at a multi-storey car park.

Calrose was blind and abandoned on the streets. Fortunately, he didn't get into any traffic accidents.

Benji was discarded during the Lunar New Year spring cleaning and fortunately picked up by HOPE

Unfortunately, abandonment of pets in Singapore is easy. More often than not, microchipped dogs are not registered, so their owners cannot be traced. In cases where the microchip is registered, authorities would simply return a "lost" dog to its owner, with no penalty. This is what happens even when we see obvious signs of neglect – the dogs are returned to their owners be abused and abandoned again.

Laws on pet abandonment are seldom enforced. Very often, perpetrators get away scot free and unpunished. When they are questioned, many of them claim that their dogs accidentally slipped out of the house, or they'd blame someone for carelessly leaving the gate open. They pretend to take the dogs back, but then they just turn around again and abandon their dogs somewhere else. When they start thinking of a dog as garbage, they'll never stop thinking of ways to throw it out.

Cotton was found in this state. No one would have guessed she was a Maltese and was probably abandoned because she suffered from seizures. 

Sunny, a senior Shihtzu was found abandoned in an industrial estate 

Walter, abandoned and tied overnight at a park bench and discovered by joggers in the early hours

But dogs are not objects, to be bought and thrown away. They are living beings, with feelings just like us. They love their owners unconditionally, trusting that their owners will love them too. Their owners are everything that they will ever know, from birth to death. All their experiences in the outside world - at the beach, in the park, at the groomer and at the horrible vet -. they share with their owners. You have a life outside of them, you have friends and colleagues, countries to visit, places to see; but to them, you are their whole life.

Please, help us to ensure that all dog owners continue to be responsible for their pets. If you know someone whose circumstances really make it impossible to keep their dog, advise them to let go of their pet in a humane way by finding them a new home. It’s easy to ask around through social media. With just a little bit of effort, you can save someone's pet. You may also approach animal welfare groups for help in the rehoming process.

Prevent pet abandonment. Don't throw life away.


Pet Shop Boys

Who doesn't love a happy ending? Everyone does, especially our dogs! The joy and happiness when each of them finds their "happily ever after" is the most rewarding feeling a rescue can have.

When we rescued Jerry, Walter and Blake, we wanted nothing but the best for them. As we were unable to find fosters to provide them with a home environment, we had no choice but to put them in a commercial boarding shop, a pet grooming shop. All of them were afraid, nervous and scared of the new environment they were put in. But after time, the 3 of them became tight-knit friends. Other dogs would come and go, but they knew that they could rely on each other for companionship. And to us, they became known as the pet shop boys.

Blake and Cody (background) 

In the shop, they were provided with shelter, food and daily walks from the volunteers. Our dedicated volunteers would make their way down to shop to deliver food and bring them for their walks on a daily basis regardless of circumstance. We are very grateful to the sponsors and volunteers who put in effort to make sure that the pet shop boys were never forgotten and that they got all the care they needed. Eventually, our efforts paid off.

Sweetheart Blake being goofy

We first bid goodbye to Jerry from the shop. Jerry was initially adopted as a puppy, but given up when he grew out of his cuteness and the owners had to relocate overseas. In the shop, he was the most goofy, lovable, silly and forgiving pup. He didn't care about other dogs' aggression or ferocity; all he wanted was to play... and eat. As big as he is, he would walk all over you out of excitement. And it was because of his size that it was difficult for the volunteers to handle and hold him during walks. But he was indeed a gentle giant, gentle at heart. He stayed at the shop for about a year before a kind and good family fell for his lovely character. And now, he's living with a family he can call his own! We are very grateful to Ellery who was willing to give Jerry the home he deserved; thank you! Oh the elation when the adoption was confirmed. We were beyond happy!

Blake going for his daily walks with our volunteers

Next was Walter. The poor boy was found tied to a bench in a park in the wee hours of the morning, without shelter and all alone. Although he was sterilized and in relatively good health when we found him, his owner was never located. When we tried to socialize him with other dogs as well as other people, he would be excessively alpha and occasionally aggressive. Although the shop was a good place for him to learn how to socialize with other dogs, he was still afraid of strangers and would snap at them when they tried to pat him. Since we couldn't find any fosters for him, he was never able to stay in a home environment. But a breakthrough came when we brought him to a play session at an apartment to socialize with other dogs and people and we came to the realization that he was the perfect dog in a home environment! He had great playing etiquette with other dogs and was able to learn to socialize with new people! After more than a year of being boarded at the shop without a single inquiry for adoption, like a miracle, a family fell in love with him during an adoption event and couldn't take their eyes off him ever since. The volunteers always knew that Walter was charming, but we hoped other people could witness his charm too. And there they were, the daughters, and then the mother, and finally the father! Walter went off to a loving home after more than a year of boarding! Thank you to Winnie and family for being patient and understanding with him, and for giving Walter a chance to be the pet he always was deep down.

Handsome Blake still waiting for his forever home 

Now, the only one left in the trio is Blake. The poor boy was found with fish hooks in his legs and was in extreme pain and fear when we rescued him. No one, especially a sweet dog like Blake deserves such cruelty! Even after rescue, Blake was fearful and insecure. Now, almost two years later, Blake is a changed dog. He is confident and sociable, although he is slow to warm up. At the boarding shop, he now has a new best friend, Cody, another of our rescues. 

We hope a miracle can happen for Blake and Cody, for them to find a loving home like their pet shop brothers! Both are sweet and gentle. Just take the time to get to know them! Although they can be a little shy and fearful at first, all they need is a little time, space and understanding and they too, can be your best friend forever. Please give Blake and Cody a home!

Written by Adeline Pang


Crystal's Updates

Crystal, the amazing 21-year-old dog, has actually been doing pretty well since we rescued her 2 months ago. She seems rather happy, and has gotten stronger and more steady on her feet. Since she has no teeth and can't eat solid food, Crystal is syringe-fed 4 times a day.

3 days ago, she stopped drinking water. She didn’t even want any of her favourite goat’s milk. In the end, she had to be syringe-fed liquid. Last night at 3am, Crystal started vomiting and having diarrhea. This happened 4 times in one night, so she was brought to the vet in the morning.

Crystal's temperature was 36 degrees Celsius, which is very low for a dog. The normal temperature is 38.5 degrees. Her low temperature could possibly be due to anemia. When a dog is anemic, its temperature tends to drop. Crystal also has a big wart on her shoulder that has been growing and constantly bleeding, so we asked the vet if it was skin cancer. Luckily, it’s just a wart.

A wart on her left shoulder

The vet tried to draw some blood for a blood test, but Crystal was too dehydrated. So the vet put her on a very slow drip over the next 2 hours to get her hydrated. Even though Crystal is so dehydrated, we can't put her on a fast drip because her heart might not be able to take it. Crystal already has a whopping heart murmur, which is so bad that the vet likened it to the sound of a washing machine! That's also why we are not going to ward Crystal at the vet - we don't want to stress her out.

Drip line left on her arm for the following day's drip

Tiny Crystal exhausted after her vet visit
After the drip, the vet finally managed to take some blood from Crystal for a blood test. The results showed that her kidney readings have elevated to twice that of her previous results. Her kidney readings were already very high 2 months ago, and now it’s gone to double of that! One of the possible causes is Crystal's dehydration. Because of her kidney failure, Crystal's blood pressure was also extremely high. That could be causing her some discomfort, which may be why she keeps pacing and not sleeping well.

Crystal also got a subcutaneous injection today. In total, poor crystal stayed at vet today for 3 hours. As she is still very dehydrated, poor Crystal will be back at vet tomorrow for another slow drip from 11am-4pm.

Having her blood pressure taken

Instead of keeping Crystal warded, we're planning to bring her back to the vet every other day for her drip and subcut, to keep her hydrated. At this point, we're doing everything we can to make her happy and comfortable. Here's hoping that Crystal doesn't start feeling pain.

If you would like to help with Crystal's vet bills, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg.