To be honest, I used to be scared of cats and dogs. I still am scared of cats but ever since my first canine friend, Lucky, came into my life 5+ years ago, everything changed. He was about 8 years old, abandoned with a body full of ticks and his breath was bad from his rotting teeth. Since then, I developed a soft spot for senior and abandoned dogs. I wanted to help them in little ways that I can so that they have a second chance in life, like Lucky did. I guess you can say that Lucky was my greatest motivation and inspiration to help dogs in need out there.
|A handsome stray enjoying his once a week feast|
That said, I do not have any experience with other dogs besides Lucky, let alone big dogs. I didn’t know where to begin so I started with writing. And also because I wasn’t sure if I could handle seeing dogs with no homes and food, and not feel like bringing them home. Just when I finally took the first step to join the feeding session last December, my source of motivation fell ill... and I lost Lucky.
|Poor puppy . .. . a future of bleakness.|
|Your food contributions are very much appreciated|
It was difficult but I went for the first feeding session three weeks after Lucky left. Every dog I saw that night made me wonder how Lucky must have felt when he was out there on his own - lost, scared, helpless and yearning for love and a home. While some of these dogs are luckier, staying in factories with people feeding them everyday, there’s always that risk that they will be left behind one day when the factories close down or move away. Or worse case scenarios - being knocked down by vehicles, or getting caught and culled by AVA.
Contrary to what people think, these street dogs aren’t all that aggressive at all. The look of happiness on their faces, and their wagging tails when they spotted us, made me realised why the volunteers did what they did for the past ten years. No doubt it is upsetting to see these dogs in this state, homeless and always on the lookout for food and shelter, and worrying whether they will still be there the following week, it didn’t stop them from spending that few hours every Saturday night driving through the industrial estate, feeding these dogs with donated home-cooked food. This does require quite a bit of time and financial commitments and I’ve nothing but respect for them.
|Street dogs, as well as pedigrees or humans, are very similar - there are the nice & friendly ones, as well as the aggressive ones.|
|Eyes that melt your heart|
I’ve only been to three feeding sessions so far and it warms my heart each time to know that there are actually many compassionate people who are willing to come together to help these animals in need. Whether it’s the people who are physically there to feed the dogs, or those who cooked and supplied food for them, I am sure the dogs are very thankful for it. Well, yes, it still breaks my heart to see these dogs like this and I really fear the worst for them. But if everyone starts to think that way and stop going altogether, what is going to happen to them? Won’t it be selfish of us to strip them away from that few moments of happiness that they look forward to each week?
|35kg of food is what we require every week to feed the hungry street dogs|
It has been a very meaningful, and perhaps healing, experience for me. In reaching out to help other dogs in need, a small part of me was hoping that this will also help myself to cope with the loss of Lucky. I’m sure Lucky would have wanted me to continue helping his doggy friends too.
If you are looking for ways to help animals in need and don’t know where to start, I would really encourage you to join the feeding sessions on Saturday nights. Or if you are unable to be there to feed these dogs, you can also consider donating home-cooked food such as rice, meat, eggs, chicken liver, etc. What can be more meaningful than spending your Saturday nights bringing happiness (and food) to these homeless dogs?
Written by: Shi Hua
Photography by Dean
Photography by Dean