Why Do People Still Buy Dogs?

Breeding dogs lead very sad lives. I hope the word gets out. If you do, I hope you’ll learn to empathize with their situation. If you don’t, then we hope you will learn something from us today, and spread the word.

Leaving the shelter, leaving the past behind.

Breeding dogs don’t get any rest since young. They are bred from their first heat, at around 6 months old, until they retire at around 6 to 8 years old. How do breeders ensure the female pup gets pregnant? They lock 2 to 3 male dogs inside a small cage with the poor girl and they take turns to rape her. That would definitely ensure she gets pregnant.

How many times has this poor dog given birth? 10 times?  How much money has she made for the breeders? Her poor tiny body has never rested 

To put it into context, that’s akin to raping a primary school kid, forced to give birth twice a year, and is only fed white rice and meat shavings for all their lives. Breeding dogs are not provided any medical treatment, and aren’t well-fed.

Rotten teeth that will need to be extracted when her health is more stable 

A growth on her eye that bleeds and will need to be removed during her sterilization

In their lives, breeding dogs would have given birth about 8 to 12 times, before breeders decide to retire them. This means giving or selling them to animal welfare groups to rehome.

Think about that for a bit.

These poor breeding dogs are then taken from the breeders straight to shelters then to adoption drives, still without medical treatment / medical checkups. Kind people who want to adopt these ex-breeding dogs actually need to be prepared to spend anything from $1000 to $5000 after they have saved the dogs by adopting it and giving it a forever home. This amount is dependent on what illness or health issues the adopted dog has. Most common conditions include pyometra, which is an infection in the uterus, rotten teeth, arthritis / stiff joints from standing in an overcrowded cage for years, skin issues from inbreeding or hip dysplasia.

Leaving the shelter, scared and confused - she had no idea what was happening 

Inbreeding also occurs. Brother is mated with sister, mother, with son.

Imagine doing that to your very own family. Would you be comfortable with that? When inbreeding happens, your offspring will be affected, too.

"You're going to a new family today."

"What's a family? Why must I go?"

These poor breeding dogs have no idea what a family is. They have not known love during their short little lives.

Meet Tiny, a breeding dog, who I brought home today. I brought her to the vet for a full medical checkup because she has not been given any medical care at all. 

She will need to be sterilized, she is constantly drooling because she has rotten teeth that need to be extracted and her gums are sore. After the dental treatments, she may have just 4 to 6 teeth left. She has a growth on her left eye that bleeds and that needs to be removed. She has a skin tag / cyst on her left rump and this needs to be removed as well although this isn't life threatening.

Her teeth are so badly decayed that one tooth fell out while she was eating 

That's way too many things to be addressed in one surgery so we would need to prioritize as ideally a dog shouldn't be under GA for more than 2 hours, or her health is put at risk.

She is about 10.55kg, and is overweight. But she hasn’t been eating well and enough. Where is all this weight coming from? By being forced to stand all day with minimal movement, and being fed only white rice, which is extremely unhealthy.

Again. Imagine it for yourself.

Shaving off all her fur so we can see the condition of her skin, check for sores etc 

The first night in her new home, she stood and stared at nothing for 3 hours before sitting down to stare blankly for another 3 hours before finally falling into a light sleep. She must have been locked in a cage so small that she only had space to stand and sleep. Given more space, she had no idea how to behave.

Her tired, overworked body looks like a cow, with dangling tits almost touching the floor. She drools constantly because her teeth are so rotten, she needs dental treatment, and soon. However, years of giving birth and being fed a poor diet has made her severely anaemic and she can't yet undergo a surgery until her body is in a more stable condition. X-ray also revealed she has an enlarged spleen and liver. 

Look at her sagging tits on her poor abused body
Her joints are stiff and painful and her paws so rough it feels as if she has walked miles but in actual fact, she never even got to walk. It's rough from standing in a metal cage all her life.

Part of her tongue is missing because she gets into fights with the other dogs for food. Or the lack of it. Her tongue hangs out semi-permanently because most of her front teeth are missing from a lifetime of poor nutrition.

Part of her tongue bitten off during a dog fight where they fought for food cos there wasn't enough 

She is estimated to be about 8 years old. She has been treated like this for most of her life now.

She cowers when we walk past her because she has been rough-handled so much that she is so fearful yet when we squat down, she literally leopard crawls to us to be patted.

Think about how sad this is. To fear humans, and yet to crave for their love, affection, and be so eager to please. Is your heart breaking already?

Skin tag / cyst on her left rump will be removed during her sterilization 

I call her and talk to her but she behaves like a deaf dog, she only responds to dogs barking because that's the only sound she has been surrounded by and is used to, incessant dogs barking in the breeding farms.

"Are you deaf?"

"I didn't know you were talking to me, no one has ever talked to me. Please be patient with me, teach me gestures and sign language first."

When I first laid eyes on her, I was told she was a Schnauzer. I laughed.
Which part is Schnauzer? She had been at the kennels since September 2018. No one seemed to be keen on her because she was supposedly noisy and didn't look like a pure breed. The other dogs such as the Corgis, Spitz and Shetland Sheepdogs literally had people fighting over them. This little dog was in the kennel, jumping on her painful hind legs for attention but no one even bothered to pat her. Always one for underdogs, I decided I would take her.

Over weight from lack of walks and eating white rice 

What breed are you?

"I don't know. I'm different from the rest."

I believe she is probably a mixed terrier of sorts.

From now onwards, your name is TINY.

"The name makes no difference to me."

How sad to not have a name or identity all their lives and to be used only as a sex worker, helping the breeders get rich.

Now you must be thinking, so many problems, why would someone adopt an ex-breeding dog? Fortunately we have kind dog lovers around and these days, with more awareness on puppy mills, more such dogs are given opportunities and a second chance in life.

For now, rest your tired little body

The road to rehabilitation can be long but patience and love conquers all.

A lot of socialization is also needed to teach your new dog how to behave like a normal dog. And the icing on the cake? These dogs are often so sweet, submissive, eager to please, you wonder how evil humans could have taken advantage of them, used and abused them.

And why did I choose to adopt an ex-breeding dog? Because I have the capacity to make her smile. Maybe not immediately but in time.

TINY, today is the beginning of a life worth living.


A Sweet, Tired Soul

All dogs shouldn’t be strays, but the reality is many dogs are.  
Some dogs fare better than others at being a stray – Clooney isn’t one of them.

Clooney is a stray that lives in a factory. At 27 kg, he is not a small dog. But his size didn’t mean he could defend himself when dogs from a neighbouring factory attacked him, because he has a gentle personality that is of little good on the streets.

When we found him, he had a gaping wound in his head. The workers at the factory where he lived tried to help by pouring diesel into the wound to disinfect it. Imagine the pain. The wound was eventually infested by flesh eating maggots which also ate away his right ear.  Read his story here.

We hired a dog trapper to trap the skittish Clooney and rushed him to the vet. What is amazing about Clooney is his resilience, for despite everything he has been through, his personality remains gentle.

During his stay at the vet, the staff shared how sweet he was, even though he was initially confused and scared. He is an unusual dog because he never whined nor barked despite the pain; neither did he fuss when he was bathed. He enjoyed pats and allowed the nurses to carry him around too.

Yet Clooney is tired and sad; during his stay at the vet, he slept a tremendous amount. It’s common among stray dogs we rescue. When they finally have a place to set their head down in peace, they take the chance to catch up on the rest that is so fleeting when life is about anticipating danger – unfriendly humans, traffic or in Clooney’s case, other hostile strays.

After his stint at the vet, Clooney is much better, although he now only has one ear. His right ear had to be removed because the maggots had attacked the injured flesh so badly.

He was born with the right personality to fit in a home, but he wasn’t born with the right kind of luck. We know he would have much love to give if someone would be able to take him in, but the reality is, there is no home for him yet. Clooney, with his one ear left, is going back to the factory that he has known all his life, once again at risk of the dangers of life on the streets.

Would you like to meet gentle Clooney, and maybe bring him home?

Written by: Jeanine


Amber; Happily Ever After

Amber came to us on 22 August 2015 and we decided to adopt her because of the connection she had with us, she walked right up to my husband and lowered her head for cuddles when we visited the rescue dogs for the first time.  Read her rescue story here.

Amber and baby sister, Lotta. Best friends 

She is a very respectful and grateful dog; she would come to thank us every time she finishes her food and run to greet everyone in the house after her walks. Even today, after being with us for almost 3.5 years, she is still the same and adopting her has been the best choice we made.

She takes two walks a day, morning and evening and sometimes, we take her to the park and for hydrotherapy during the weekends as she has an old injury on her leg. Our neighbour saw her one day and said that they did not even realised we have a dog because Amber never barks.

2 years after adopting Amber, we welcomed our baby daughter Lotta into the family. Amber was the perfect sibling, she would help to babysit Lotta when she is asleep and get our attention whenever Lotta cries. She is also very patient towards her, Amber never ever barks nor bites when Lotta tries to be naughty towards her. (pulling her tail or chasing her). The unconditional love and companionship she provides is truly the best. Lotta loves her very much, and we are glad that she is growing up in an environment where she has a loving paw sister and can learn to be compassionate towards all dogs and animals.

Story & photos contributed by Amber’s Mama, Heather.


What is a Microchip?

You might think that you are prepared for anything when you first bring your pet home. You might have prepared a list of things that your pet might need and bought them all so you know you have everything you need. But have you ever thought about what would happen if your pet unexpectedly decides to display his/her Harry Houdini or David Copperfield-like escape artist skills and runs out of the house? What happens then?

Hundreds of lost dogs and cats end up in animal shelters every month, but only a fraction ever get reunited with their owners. That's why microchips are important: they help lost pets to find their way back to their owners.

What is a microchip?
It's a small permanent implant, about the size of a large grain of rice. Each microchip has a unique serial number, which you can register online with AVA and PETCALL. It's an important form of identification for pets, such as dogs and cats. A microchip is NOT a GPS tracking device. If you do not register the microchip, then there is no records of your contact information even if your lost pet is found and scanned.

That's a microchip

How is a microchip implanted?
The microchip is injected under the skin with a large needle. Usually, it's positioned at the nape of the neck. The procedure takes only a few seconds, and can be done at any vet. One microchip lasts a lifetime.

Scanning your dog for a microchip

Is it painful for my pet?
Microchips are inserted using a needle so your pet may feel a strong pinch much like how we might feel when we get an injection.

How much does it cost?
It costs about $50 to $80 for a vet visit and microchip.

How do you read a microchip?
A handheld microchip scanner is used to read a microchip. Veterinary clinics, animal shelters, and pet shops are usually equipped with microchip scanners. When a scanner detects a microchip, it will display a unique 15-digit serial number.

A handheld microchip scanner

What is the microchip registry? Why must I register a microchip?
Every new microchip needs to be registered in a database. By registering, you're providing your contact information to the relevant authority in the case that your pet is lost and found.

Here's what happens when a lost pet is found:
  • The relevant authority / vet will scan for a microchip.
  • If a microchip is found, a 15-digit serial number will be displayed on the scanner.
  • They will do a search in all the microchip databases.
  • If the microchip is registered, the serial number will be matched with the pet owner's contact information.
  • The owner will be contacted and reunited with his or her pet.

Don’t forget to ensure that you register your pet’s microchip details with the two registries that are available in Singapore, without which, a microchip is as good as useless:
  1. AVA (http://www.ava.gov.sg/e-services)
  2. PETCALL (http://www.petcall.org/)

Only then will the relevant authorities be able to help our lost pets find their way home.

Since 2007, it is also mandatory in Singapore to ensure that all pets are microchipped and registered under AVA. It is an offence if your pet is not licenced and the owner could incur a significant fine, if convicted in court. To improve the traceability of pets, the AVA introduced stricter licencing rules for pet businesses as well as individual owners in March 2017. Owners who sell or give away their pets will now have to inform AVA about the change of ownership and update them with the details of the new owners. These measures just go to show how important it is to microchip and register your pet details!

But even with the strict regulation, we still often find dogs that are not microchippped, so be a responsible pet owner and ensure that your pets are microchipped and registered! All of HOPE’s dogs that are up for adoption have been microchipped!

Written by: Annie & Sam

Emma the Rescued Kitten

During one of HOPE’s feeding rounds, our volunteers stumbled upon a small grey kitten looking famished all alone in the dark of the night. We named the little kitten, Emma. 

Emma’s physical condition was not looking great. At first sight, her ears were crusty and bleeding. It was unbearable to leave her alone and despite our financial difficulties, our volunteers brought Emma to the vet. Because here at HOPE, we believe that this gesture, though small, can bring a glimmer of hope to Emma and make a tremendous difference to her life. After a check-up at the vet’s, we found out that the crusty ears was caused by an ear infection. She was also flea infested and had a bloated stomach. In fact, her stomach was so bloated we thought she was pregnant and took her to the vet a second time for a check. Fortunately, she wasn’t yet and will be sterilized when her skin is better so as not to affect or slow down her healing.

Her platelet count was also extremely low so the vet advised us to feed her well and get her stronger before more tests can be carried out. She was given oridermyl gel to clean her ears as well as Revolution, a medication to be applied once a month for the prevention of heartworm, flea, and ticks. However, bringing Emma to the vet was one thing, finding a foster was equally challenging.

Emma had nowhere to recuperate. The vets and boarding places that we had contacted either had no vacancies or didn’t want to take Emma because of her flea infestation. Poor Emma spent a few nights in a carrier along the volunteer’s home corridor. It was impossible to keep Emma in a carrier for much longer. We did not wish for Emma to return to the streets, not with her condition and she needed medication. However, our options were limited and that was the final straw if we were unable to find her a proper place to stay within the next few days.

Things took a turn for the better and thankfully, one of HOPE’s volunteers found a month-long boarding place for Emma, who even forked out money from her own pocket. Under the care of this kind-hearted boarder, little Emma is looking better and stronger as the days go by. The crusts on her ears have lessened and Emma’s ears are looking good now.

However, a second visit to the vet indicated that Emma has swollen lymph nodes which may be a sign of infection. Emma is on antibiotics for 14 days, and she requires another vet review 2 weeks later. We will need help to defray her medical expenses.

Emma is estimated to be around four months old. She is an affectionate little kitten with a sweet temperament. She offers gentle purrs and loves to climb onto the laps of people. Emma’s boarding stay is ending in 2 weeks’ time and we hope to find her a home soon. If you can help Emma whether with her vet bills, sponsorship, foster or adoption, please email us at hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg and we will be in touch with you soon. Please note that potential adopters or fosters need to wire mesh their windows and main doors should the gap be wide enough for Emma to get through. Please spread Emma’s story to your friends and families for we believe that there is hope for little Emma. 

Written by : Debbi


Chester Is Sick

It’s a brand new year for all our four legged friends, including Chester. But unlike others, Chester has had a rough start this year.

He was back with the vet on 3rd January because his penis is dripping blood, again.

Chester at the vet 

In addition, Chester lost weight. He was about 24.9kg previously, and over the past few months dropped 3kg.

The vet found a mass in his penile region which is causing Chester to bleed. Chester needs to be operated under general anesthesia, then the vet will decide if the mass is to be completely removed, or remove some for a biopsy. Surgical cost is estimated to be $2,000.

Vets found a mass behind his penile region 

To top it all, Chester has slight conjunctivitis in his right eye, and a skin allergy. His stool is also yellow which might be due to his diet consisting of quinoa, greens, fish - which was initially recommended by his vet. We are now replacing quinoa with potatoes, hopefully it helps with his poop, some weight gain and his skin allergy. In the meantime, Chester was prescribed eye drops, lubricant and medicated shampoo to alleviate his eye and skin problems.

Handsome Chester is still waiting for his forever home 

We are hoping to raise $2,000 for Chester to go for his surgery and biopsy on 15th January. Hopefully, the surgery can stop the blood dripping that has been on and off since we rescued him almost 2 years ago. Chester is also quite a baby, he gets stressed having his nails clipped so nails clipping will be done while he is sedated during surgery.

Despite having a tough past as a factory stray, Chester is always looking forward to start the new year with a family who can love and care for his needs. He can be a little mischievous at times and will need a firm but loving family to bring out the sweetness in him. Chester is also HDB approved and about 6 years old this year.

You can also read more about Chester’s past here.

lease email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg if you are able to aid us in Chester’s medical bills, or if you wish to adopt him. Your help will definitely go a long way for him. We really need all the help we can get for our brave Chester to continue fighting!

Written by: Sam


Timothy, “Thank you for everything*

Timothy, one of our rescues who was successfully adopted, passed away peacefully in Japan on 22 December 2018.
A very handsome Timothy

It is never easy to say goodbye to a beloved family member, even though we know he died with his loved ones present.

Timothy had led a tough life when we met him in 2013 as an injured stray (see Tim’s story here). So we were very happy to see Timmy go to a loving home.

Shortly after his rescue, Timmy, who was about seven years old at the time, was adopted by Kanade and Kengo. Timmy’s calm, sweet and easy  personality meant that he was easy to manage, even for first-time owners like them.

When Kengo was posted to work in Hong Kong, Timmy went along. When the couple returned to Japan, Timmy, naturally followed suit. The family expanded when Kanade and Kengo had a baby, and Timmy (called “Ti Ti by the baby”), made an excellent older brother.

Best friends 

Unfortunately, despite the love and care from the family, Timmy experienced a tumour and subsequent complications from his surgery just five years later. Strays, who have led tough lives before, are more susceptible to illnesses and as such, and don't really get to enjoy their later years even if they're well cared for.

Timmy's last days at home 

Despite the family's best efforts in trying to make Timmy better, he passed on peacefully at home with his family by his side on 22 December 2018.

Farewell Timmy . . . . till we meet again

Thank you so much, Kanade and Kengo, for welcoming Timmy wholeheartedly into your family, and giving him a loving home all these years. We are only sorry that baby didn't have more time with his loving older brother to be with him while he was growing up.

Forever love <3 

Despite their difficult lives, abuse, lack of human contact and other forms of terrible experiences, strays still come up the sweeter for it. All they want, are regular meals and a loving home, in exchange for years of loyalty, dedication, and of course, love.

Adopt a dog, and you’ll know years of unwavering devotion and gratitude. It's not goodbye, Timmy. It's see you later. Enjoy your time over at the rainbow bridge for now.

Love, from all of us.

Writer: Felicia Tan