Sofie at the vet (1st visit right after rescue)

 Sofie's ordeal has not ended yet.

After her dramatic capture, she was brought to the vet. We had thought that her leg would be the most serious of her conditions but we could not have been more wrong.

A tired soul 

Sofie tested positive for heartworms and a chest x-ray showed that she was severely infected by them. Her lungs are enlarged due to the presence of heartworms. She will need to undergo an ultrasound scan to get a better view of the heartworms. She needs to get started on her heartworm treatment immediately but even that is tricky as she is also severely anemic, making her condition very precarious at the moment. The heartworm treatment is expected to take around 2 months to complete. First, she will be started on Doxycycline which will kill the baby worms, but not the adult worms. Once the baby worms are dead, they usually float around in the blood vessels until the body can get rid of them. However, because she is so anemic, the concern is that her body may not have what it takes to dispose of the dead heartworms and they will start clogging up her arteries which can kill her.

All she wanted to do was to disappear  . . . . 

If the results of the ultrasound reveal the presence of a lot of adult heartworms, we will need to look for a vet who can extract the worms from her heart surgically. This was common practice in the old days but no longer done now as the usual treatment for heartworms is using medicine to kill the worms and have the body dispose of them naturally. However, her current condition may make it difficult for her body to get rid of the dead adult worms, yet neither is she stable enough to undergo surgery. We can only hope that she gets better once the baby heartworms have been killed and the ultrasound does not show the presence of too many adult heartworms.

Poor Sofie - look at the angle of her legs - it was so wrong

The cause of her anemia is still unknown but a sample of her blood will be sent to be tested for Babesia. We have also requested a fecal test to test for hookworms. Hookworms can also cause anemia and the presence of hookworms would explain why she is always hungry and eating so much yet still losing weight at the same time.

Exhausted after years on the streets. As a stray, they could never get proper sleep; always alert, always looking for danger, traffic, attacks . . . .

Sofie's leg, which we had initially thought would be the worst of her worries, turned out to be of the least concern, at least at this time. Her left hip is totally displaced and out of the socket. The knee of the same leg is also out of its socket, which explains why her knee seemed to be turned at an awkward 90 degree angle in her rescue video (re-watch Sofie's dramatic rescue here). Interestingly, they did not find any signs of broken bones or fractures, but will do more x-rays to make sure. Both her hip and knee injuries are old ones and because of that, they will be hard to treat and the success of surgery is not high.

Looking so old and tired but often they are a lot older than they look because of the tough life they have had on the streets 

In any case, the most immediate concern is her heartworm condition, and all others are secondary so she will start her heartworm treatment immediately.

Sofie's road to recovery will be a long and tedious one. A road we foresee to be fraught with challenges. But we know she can get through this with your support and help. To help Sofie on her road to good health, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg.


Yet Another Abandoned Dog

You might recall reading about this shihtzu a few of weeks ago. He was found wandering on the streets along Upper Thomson Road by @JeffCake on 24 October. Jeff had kindly taken him home and cared for him. After 3 weeks, he somehow managed to trace and locate the owner, who claimed that he had given the dog to a friend earlier but his friend must have abandoned it.

Sadly, the original owner was not interested to get his dog back and instead told Jeff to keep the dog. Jeff was delighted and had continued to care for the shihtzu for almost a month. However, this happy ending did not last.

On 14 Nov, we were alerted to an adoption post put up by Jeff. Despite his good intentions and best efforts, he realized that he did not have the time and capacity to continue caring for the dog as he's currently in the army. He had also already spent $405 on the dog’s vet bills and could no longer afford to keep it, especially in the long run, as the dog has chronic ear and eye problems which would require long-term treatments. Dry eyes is a common issue in the shihtzu breed.

Ear infection

We contacted Jeff and after a few days, he finally got back to us and agreed to surrender the dog to HOPE. He also requested for us to reimburse him for the $405 that he had spent on the dog, which we agreed to and paid him immediately.

Bad skin infection, scratching constantly and smelling very yeasty

As with all new rescues, we will always send them for a full medical screening which includes not just a general check-up, but also blood tests for kidney and liver profile, heartworm and tick fever. We also plan to do a heart and abdomen ultrasound scan as the dog is not young. He looks to be about 10 to 12 years old and we felt that it would be good to know if he has any hidden health issues.

We have named him Isaac, which means to laugh and rejoice. That is our wish for him moving forward.

If you would like to help with his vet bills, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg for more information. Isaac will be up for adoption when he is ready.

Photo credit @Jeffcake

Written by Alina Tee

What to do when you find a missing dog

In recent months, we have had a spate of people contacting us about dogs they have found. However, when we try following up with them to find out more about the dog and requesting information that may help us locate its owner if it has one, we get ignored. And we later find out that the person who found the dog has decided to keep the dog for their own or have rehome the dog to the first person who wants the dog without doing any due diligence checks.

What should you do when you find a dog wandering around with no owner in sight? It says so much about how jaded we have become that our first thought when we do find ourselves in such a situation is to assume that the dog is abandoned. However, that is not always the case and in many cases, these dogs are genuinely lost and have humans back home who are fretting over where they may be.

So what do you do when you find a dog? Before passing any judgement, you should try and secure it and keep it safe. Take the dog to the vet as soon as you can for a quick (and free) scan for a microchip. If there is a microchip and it is registered, the owner can be contacted. If there is a microchip but it is not registered, the information will still be valuable when searching for and verifying the owners.

Social media is a very powerful tool. Whether there is a microchip or not, posting about the dog you found on Facebook and tagging SPCA, NParks and the local AWGs to share may help reunite the dog with its owner a lot faster. Make sure to check back frequently and to re-post the notice on different Facebook pages or groups if necessary. Putting up paper notices in the vicinity the dog was found can also help especially if the owner is an elderly person or someone not on social media. In the meantime, keep the dog in your home and provide it with food and water and a place to rest until its owner can be found. If you are unable to keep the dog during the search for its owner, reach out to one of the many AWGs to help.

While the intention to reunite the lost dog with its owner as quickly as possible is good, you should still be wary of anyone coming forward claiming to be the dog's owner. There are people who would lie just to be able to get a dog for free, and who knows what their intentions with the dog are? We have heard cases of dogs being turned over to fake owners who turn out to be con people who just wanted to turn around the dog for a quick buck by selling them to other people or worse, to puppy mills to be used as a breeding dog. Always make sure to get proof from people claiming to be owners either by asking for photos or cross-checking the microchip numbers if the dog is microchipped. Do not rely on a dog's reaction to a person as a test. There are friendly dogs who would just about wag their tail at any human they meet! Reach out to any AWG if in doubt on how to verify an owner's identity.

We do understand how easy it is to fall in love with a dog (that is why we continue to do what we do) but imagine if you are the owner of a lost dog. Would you not want the person who found your dog to try their very best to get your dog back to you instead of just keeping it for themselves without you ever knowing what has happened to your dog? If, and only if, you have tried all means to reunite a lost dog with an owner and no one has come forth to claim the dog after a reasonable amount of time (2 weeks is a good estimate), only then should you assume that the dog has no owner and only then should you consider keeping the dog for yourself or rehoming it. If  you do choose to rehome a dog, make sure that you also do the due diligence on any potential adopters. Again, the AWGs are there to help if you do need any advice on how to screen potential adopters and make sure that your good intentions do not end up being taken advantage of.

We have heard stories of abandoned dogs. But, we have also heard stories of desperate owners searching for their lost dogs. So if you do see a dog wandering alone, do not assume the worst. The first assumption should be that the dog has a home and a loving owner who is probably at their wits' end trying to find their dog. Only once all means of reuniting the dog with its owner have been exhausted and only after a reasonable amount of time has passed, then the next best course of action for the dog can be considered, and that would be finding the dog its new forever home, whether it be with you, or with someone else. Once again, if you do find yourself in possession of a lost dog and have no idea what to do next, you can always reach out to HOPE or any of the other AWGs at any point to ensure the best outcome for the dog.

Emergency contacts for sick, injured abused, abandoned or animals in distress:

SPCA 24/7 rescue hotline: 6287 5355

AVS 24/7 hotline: 1800-476-1600

Please note that SPCA does not pick up healthy animals from the community.

You may also report to spca.org.sg/report, or access the AVS website https://www.nparks.gov.sg/avs/pets/owning-a-pet/lost-and-found-pets/what-to-do-if-you-find-a-missing-pet

Hayley the forgotten dog, is now Happy Hayley

Having volunteered at SPCA before, and witnessing many cases of dogs abandoned, both my husband and I have always been clear that adopting a dog will be the preferred option once we were ready to have a fur kid in our lives.  3 years ago, we chanced upon and adopted our current schnauzer mixed; Loti when he was 7. He was our first dog and we were his 3rd owner. Despite being abused before, he still gave us his 100% trust and love, which made us feel truly blessed.

We knew about Hope Dog Rescue through Fiona and HokkienButton and when we saw the posting on Hayley – it was love at first sight for me! Despite her scaly, flaky skin (oh and it seems one can smell her from far due to the skin infection!), seeing her lifeless eyes, I felt she deserved so much more! I wondered how the owner could simply neglect her and let her itch her days away. Loti had some brief skin issues before and was awake in the middle of most nights. I cannot imagine how poor Hayley spent her years being in this condition. 

This was the lifeless look that broke my heart.

The day we rescued Hayley

So after discussing with my husband over a kopi session, and the thought did cross our mind to name her Kopi due to her colour, I decided to asked Fiona about Hayley and we set up a time to visit her. On our first visit, she was a super sweet girl, so eager to please and seemed to get along with Loti. It broke my heart that such a sweet soul was being ignored and had to spend her days waiting with no affection in return. Fiona gave us time to think about it after the visit, so we slept on it for a night and we knew pretty much she was the one cos we woke up the next morning thinking about her.

Home trial time! We were all ready and set up to care for her skin, apply and feed medication and transiting her with Loti.

Hayley had many firsts with us! First time taking the elevator, first time going for a super long walk (1 hour)! We massaged her at night thinking she might have muscle ache!

A happier Hayley <3 

First week with us:

Hayley has separation anxiety – she whines and howl when nobody is at home. With advise from Fiona, we practiced by leaving her alone with Loti for short period of time. It was stressful for us as despite nice neighbours we have, we were worried her howling might be an issue.

She barked at every sound outside, kept waking up when we moved around, she followed us very closely everywhere at home. She was picky with food and it was not easy to include medication in food - I learnt how to feed pills without stressing her (and myself).

After a month with us, we are glad to see the change in her! She is more secure, less jumpy over sound/movement at home and outside. Her appetite is better and sleeps more soundly. Also, we can leave home and she does not howl nor whine anymore! All she needed was patience and understanding.

We would like to thank Fiona and her team for being super supportive and caring. It’s never easy to foster and let go and a Big Thank you for the great job your team is doing!

Written by: Joyce Wong


Cats Galore!!

We need help from you, our friends and volunteers, to help with the stray cat population.

The industrial area where we feed our strays have plenty of stray cats, and while we try to help with the sterilisation of cats, we can only trap about 12 cats a month due to our limited resources.

While it’s better than doing nothing, more hands will be helpful! 

Female cats are capable of having many kittens in a year, and they become sexually mature from just four months old. Each litter has about five kittens, and that’ll multiply really quickly.

Therefore, sterilisation is the only humane way of controlling the number of strays.

Our volunteers have been trapping cats and getting them sterilised for free at designated vets who have kindly offered such services in partnership with a Cat Welfare Society supported programme.

Although the sterilization is free, trapping, transport, post-op boarding and other medical costs will have to be covered by us. To save on costs, our regular volunteers would try do their own trapping which would take many hours at a time, and we aren't successful all the time. And to help us save on boarding, sometimes the volunteers have no choice but to release the cats immediately after sterilization without sufficient time to observe the kitties' recovery.

Setting up the cat traps

To put things in perspective, a 2-night boarding would typically cost around $250 a month for 12 cats. Transport to the vet would cost another $150 or so in a month, Several trips are needed as trapping is done each week. All in, it costs about $400 to sterilize 12 cats assuming no other medical costs. It's quite a substantial amount of money each month, and on top of that we have vet bills and boarding expenses to pay for our rescues.

Trapping cats is a waiting game

With this post, we hope that more kind souls can step forward to help!  We need drivers on weekdays to pick up and release the cats, and sponsors for short-term boarding. To reach us, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg.


Written by: Felicia Tan


Prince's Second Chance at Forever

A friend alerted us to the plight of an acquaintance, who was intending to give up her dog, and asked if we would be able to help. 

We learnt that the acquaintance had a poodle, who is about 4 years old. He had been caged up for the past 6 months as his owner had fallen ill. With 2 young kids to care for, the owner could not manage and thus had no choice but to confine her dog in order to ease her situation. In life, things don't always go according to plan. While one may have good intentions, there may be unforeseen circumstances that force someone to make difficult decisions. We empathized with the owner's situation and agreed to take over the dog.

When we saw him, he looked unkempt and was slightly underweight. Yet, his lovely personality shone through immediately. Despite being caged up for so long, he remained good natured and was so happy to be let out of the cage for a walk. His joy was infectious.

We named him Prince.

Here at HOPE, a dog’s well-being is always our utmost concern. Whenever we take in a new dog, the first thing we do is to send the furkid for a full medical screening. Blood tests for heartworm and tick fever, tests for kidney & liver functions, complete blood count, dental checks and vaccination - the full works. That is why rescuing a dog does not come cheap nor is it easy. Often times, there are upfront costs like these that rescuers have to fork out even before the dog settles down. And these costs can add up quickly if the dog is unwell or requires medical treatment and follow up visits to the vet.

At the vet for a full medical 

Prince's case was no different. He went for a full checkup just like all our other rescue cases. Fortunately, he's in pretty good health, apart from his liver values which are on the high side. Further tests also revealed he had bladder and kidney stones. His teeth will also require scaling soon.

Well, there is a happy ending to Prince's story, for he has found a new family. We hope he can now go on to have the best life that all good dogs deserve.

Sometimes, love means having to let go, however unwilling one may be. In this case, the owner did the right thing and unselfishly agreed to rehome her dog, rather than continue to keep it by her side even when she didn’t have the means to care for it. And for that, and on Prince's behalf, we thank her.

Written by: Alina


This is Ah Mei

This is Ah Mei. She is 13 years old and has been in a boarding kennel most of her life. It was a private kennel where people pay to board their dogs for short periods and Ah Mei was put in there by an uncle who went MIA immediately after and never paid the boarding fees. 

Ah Mei’s life became worse than a stray, not only was she now caged up, she was also not cared for; often relying on the volunteer to bathe and feed her. This sad life went on for almost 8 years. 

Ah Mei was only brought home by a kind lady last December when she noticed that Ah Mei was unwell. We came across Ah Mei's sad story and decided to help out. She has kidney failure, is anemic and severely dehydrated. Her white blood count is high and she has UTI, most likely caused by her kidney failure. She also has mange and not one, but two types of tick fever, anaplasma and ehrlichia.  

Ah Mei is currently being warded at our regular vet under close observation as her readings were off the scale. If she pulls through in the next couple of days, she may start to feel better. Nothing can be done about her kidney failure though except to keep her comfortable. We are doing our best to make sure Ah Mei gets to live out the rest of her life as comfortably as possible and you can help us by contributing to her medical bills. To help, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg.