September 30, 2007

Since the change in ruling

by the authorities (one example being an increase in the maximum fine from $500 to $5000 for unlicenced dogs), there has been an obvious increase in the number of abandoned dogs, documented in recent articles in the Straits Times.

More dogs are surrendered or found and taken to SPCA, the number of dogs found and posted in the Classifieds Lost & Found have increased, dogs of big breeds are found leashed to trees/lamp posts in HDB vicinities (possibly belonging to the families living in HDB flats), cos they would not be permitted to obtain licence from AVA to allow them to legally keep their pets in HDBs.

There also have been an increase in the number of small dogs found wandering in neighbourhoods, even on the highway. Possibly they belong to families living in HDBs who have more than 1 dog. By AVA regulations, each household in a HDB flat can only have 1 small dog of an approved breed.

Thus, even if the change in rules and regulations arise out of good intentions to remedy irresponsible pet ownership and eventually reduce the numbers in our stray dog population....however...

.... without a mutual agreement with the HDB to change our current dog ownership laws for HDB dwellers, who are such a great majority in our country, such a solitary change on the AVA's part has caused the very ill that they intend to prevent -- INCREASED PET ABANDONMENT.

And who are yet again on the suffering end? The very animals the law purports to protect.

Now, did we not see this coming?

When I saw Mama Girl this morning,

she was lying down on her side, looking very sleepy and tired. Well, I got a friendly wag from her to say hello but she made no attempt to get up or come near me. She just continued to lie on her side as I sat down next to her.

Dr L said that most of the day, she will be resting like this. She has been eating some meat and there is no more vomiting since yesterday, which is good.

Shortly, JT arrived. JT was among the first few who encountered Mama Girl and she visits Mama Girl and her pack now and then. Mama Girl heard her voice and her tail starting wagging, and she lifted up her head to say hello, but then she continued to lie down and rest.

Mama Girl continuing to rest when we arrive, showing no keenness to get up at all.

Dr L suggested that we take her out for a walk, get some fresh air. But even as we coaxed Mama Girl, she just didn't want to get up! I was getting a bit worried at her reluctance to get up. We then had to physically carry her and place her on all fours. Then as if a switch was suddenly turned on, Mama Girl perked up and walked...even trotted...out of the door to the outside! A 180 degrees change and I am relieved!

She didn't want to walk too much though so we followed her pace, her leading, sitting outside for a bit to let her soak up some morning sun.

After a while, she led us back to the clinic and we settled down at the back part, as she laid down again to rest by the door to the clinic. Dr L should be taking her off drip today. Again, we are not too sure when Mama Girl is fit to be discharged. We're taking it one day at a time.

For sure, it's best for Mama Girl to go to a home for rest and recovery, and not back to a farm where huge vehicles ply at times recklessly and where she could be vulnerable to abuse by foreign workers there when we cannot keep an eye on the pack, and being weaker, she will be very vulnerable to various elements.

So, do keep an eye open for a very good and loving family for such a good and loving girl.

September 29, 2007

Will be visiting Mama Girl

with JT tomorrow morning. JT is among the first to encounter Mama Girl and I'm sure they will be so happy to see each other tomorrow.

As of last night, Mama Girl has starting to eat solid food again, a little bit at a time. She did vomit again but Dr L said that there wasn't food particles in her vomit which means she is holding the food down which is good. She is now on non-steriodal painkillers.

We'll update on her progress after our visit.

THANK YOU SO MUCH to you, for your wonderful support, encouraging messages and open heart to bless Mama Girl. Thank you very much.

September 28, 2007

Just back from visiting Mama Girl.

When I get there, she was up on her feet looking much perkier than last evening. If I don't know better, Mama Girl looks so much better today. Her eyes are more alive.

However, Dr L informed that Mama Girl actually vomited again last night, which is not a good sign, indicating toxin-overload in her system.

The reason she appeared much alert today could be mostly due to her being taken off painkillers cos Dr L suspected that could be causing her guts discomfort and now, being off the painkillers, she is happier and does not look so doped up. Dr L should be starting Mama Girl on non-steriodal painkillers soon.

I sat on the floor by her cage and she came right up to me. And for the first few moments, she just lowered her head and try to come as close to me as possible.

Slowly, she relaxed and settled down, sitting down next to me and then she started giving me wet kisses on my face. (sorry, something went amiss with the video uploaded earlier...will try to figure it out..)

We took her out for a pee break cos she looked like she wanted to go out, but she didn't pee. She just seemed to want to go home. She must be missing home.

Despite the negative clinical indications (vomiting, toxins overload etc..), I choose to believe that Mama Girl is getting BETTER and BETTER every single minute.

And very soon, she will be all well, even much better than she was ever before. And as a gift to this beautiful soul, Mama Girl will go to a very very good family who will shower her with love.

I believe so!

* Mama Girl's entire medical procedures could cost up to $1000. We fully appreciate your support. Every little part counts. We thank you on behalf of Mama Girl. Pls email or make a bank transfer to DBS Savings Plus 050-5-017652. Thank you.

September 27, 2007

Drop by to visit Mama Girl

just now. As Dr L had shared, Mama Girl should be feeling very uncomfortable now cos all her guts are tightly squeezed into a small enclosure, smaller than a normal sized abdominal cavity due to insufficient strong muscle tissues - there were barely enough muscle tissues to pull over her abdominal contents and keep them intact inside, so there is no extra room. Everything is packed tightly together, and this could be causing her some discomfort.

"The risk depends on the size and location of the hernia within the diaphragm. A small hernia in the diaphragm may go unnoticed and the dog or cat will live a normal life. Dogs with severe hernias in the diaphragm, may develop symptoms quickly and die if left unattended."

The state of Mama Girl's rupture, though on the surface she looks fine, if left unattended, she will worsen and soon fade away

When I arrived, she was awake, lying down but with her head up, looking groggy from her medications and pain killer. With her surgery completed, now she is put on drip with course of antibiotics, pain killers and vitamins.

She was also able to stand and walk a bit, going out with Dr L for toilet break. The last time she was hospitalised at Dr T, we also noticed that she would not pee/poo indoors so she would have to be brought out for toilet breaks.

She did vomit twice after her surgery and this could be due to toxins being released inside her body. Vomiting is usually not a good sign, but as I sat down with Mama Girl, I know she will be alright. She will.

I sat down with her, in front of her cage, and just be there with her. Soothing her with gentle strokes and soft words of encouragement. She just lay there silently with her head in my hands as I cuddled her beautiful face..and then she let out a soft she feeling the pain? I sat with her, stroking and talking to her softly and soon...after about 5 minutes, I felt her lean the weight of her head fully on my right palm and slowly, slowly...she leaned lower and lower until her head is resting on my palm against the towel. She must be feeling very tired from the entire experience.

I slowly pulled my hand from beneath her head and she didn't move a bit. She needs all the rest she can get now.

Mama Girl having a good, deep rest for a fast recovery.

The wonderful thing is - even in such a short time, Dr L sees Mama Girl's beautiful nature. She finds her temperament so lovely and sweet that she even thought of adopting Mama Girl (but she can't due to personal reasons). She herself feels that for such a dog like Mama Girl, she should not be put back to the farm, that she would easily find a good family to have her for life. So she is thinking of a suitable family for Mama Girl. This could be Mama Girl's wonderful chance to have her very own home!

As I was leaving, she awoke again and lifted her head, still looking a bit dazed. Then she gave a little wag of her tail, just a sway, as if a greeting of 'bye and see you'.

I'll drop by again tomorrow to visit Mama Girl.

* Mama Girl will need to be hospitalised for about a week. Her surgery and treatment should cost about $800+. We humbly seek your support in her recovery. Pls email us at on how you can contribute. Bank transfers can be made through DBS Savings Plus 050-5-017652. (Pls note that we are not a registered society thus we are unable to issue official receipts. What we will do is to mail you the original vet clinic receipt or a copy of it if the cost is shared among a few donors.)

More importantly, continue to keep Mama Girl in our prayers and pray for a very good family to take her home. If you have the privilege to meet Mama Girl, we are sure you will be touched by her lovely grace. It is true, isn't it? How much we can learn from the animals in our midst - it never fails to amaze me.

We may think we are helping Mama Girl. In fact, she - with her inner beauty - her quiet, gentle spirit - she is helping us know ourselves. Just being near her, her quiet and gentle spirit falls upon you, opening your eyes to the truth that
beauty, true lasting beauty, is seen most clearly .... when you close your eyes.

I am so thankful I have this privilege to encounter this beautiful soul.

Mama Girl has survived through

her major operation last evening. As of now, she is awake though uncomfortable from post-op and the effects of medication and painkillers.

Her rupture was worse than expected. 'An odd case', according to Dr L. Cos with such a rupture as she had, she should be looking far worse than she did. But clinically she appeared fine, her condition was deceiving and it would not be possible to know the extent of her internal damage from the way she presented herself.

"The risk depends on the size and location of the hernia within the diaphragm. A small hernia in the diaphragm may go unnoticed and the dog or cat will live a normal life. Dogs with severe hernias in the diaphragm, may develop symptoms quickly and die if left unattended."

The state of Mama Girl's rupture, though on the surface she looks fine, if left unattended, she will worsen and soon fade away.

There were difficulties in getting her organs all into their correct position (her liver and spleen had spilled into her chest cavity when her diaphragm ruptured and they broke through the protective membrane) and also difficulties closing up the diaphragm and her abdominal cavity due to the absence of enough strong muscle tissues to hold both diaphragm and abdominal contents intact. But, by faith, all that needs to be done for Mama Girl is already done now.

Now, we will let her rest and recuperate in her own time.

September 26, 2007

Mama Girl Goldie has to undergo a major op.

We brought Mama Girl (or Goldie as she is sometimes called) together with Star to Dr L yesterday.

Beautiful Mama Girl

Star settling down while Mama Girl was fidgety

Star, cos he has these bald patches all over his body. According to the worker, it was spread from Tommy and Tiger and those 2 had recovered on their own, but Star has been having these patches for quite a while now.

This is diagnose as fungal infection which is treated pretty straightforwardly. Star was given an injection and course of antibiotics.

For Mama Girl, it is more complicated. Dr L gave her an examination and her externally healthy condition appeared to tell us that it is not heartworms or tick fever that is causing her thinness. She was tested for heartworms in July and the result was negative.

Waiting for Mama Girl

But she has been getting thinner since her accident 2 months back. At that point, she presented with only abrasions on her belly and groin area and reluctance to walk about. After a few days of hospitalisation, she was back on her feet and running about with her pack. But lately she seemed to rest more often than before, again under the lorry. We have since reminded the workers there to be extra vigilant before they drive off so as not to have another accident of dragging Mama Girl under the wheels!

[But I was also just reminded that where Mama Girl and the pack is, there is a group of indian workers and among them, there is one who has been seen attempting to hit the dogs, cos somehow the pack tends to go after this man. I guess they can sense his fear and dislike of them and thus, whenever he walks through the farm to get to their place, the dogs will bark and run to him, and being afraid, this man will take up rocks and sticks and pretend to hit them, to chase the pack away.

Some days back, the man again threatened to hit the dogs and that time, it was a real hitting case. V was informed by one of the farm workers and the police was called. They will be monitoring that area. We were not there to witness the hitting but I am now beginning to wonder if Mama Girl could have suffered a blow that had caused this rupture.

* Which is why we are seeking a home for Mama Girl and 1 or 2 of her pack, even more so now that she will need a quiet place to recuperate after her op. Do look for a good home for her.]

Upon examination, Dr L felt that Mama Girl's abdomen was unusually empty. She advised an X-ray, suspecting internal injuries that could have arisen from the accident and gone unnoticed. When the X-ray was done, it clearly showed why Mama Girl is getting thinner.

Her diaphragm was ruptured.

The diaphragm separates the chest from the abdominal cavity and when it is ruptured, abdominal contents pass forward into the chest reducing lung function. This is why Mama Girl's abdomen felt so empty cos her abdominal contents have spilled over into her chest cavity.

The first thing to ascertain from Dr L is that Mama Girl is not in pain. And Dr L assured us that she is not in pain. But she will not feel like eating much cos her guts are pushed forward into her chest cavity and she will be having a 'full' feeling. If her condition is undetected, she will simply remain like this, with low activity level and remain very thin cos of reduced lung function and inability to consume much. Well, a good thing is, with a possible collapsed lung, Mama Girl is not showing difficulties or having laboured breathing as should be the case. Her outward presentation looks fine but we have to remedy her ruptured diaphragm.

Dr L advised us to have an operation on Mama Girl as she is still young and healthy. She will not recommend this for old dogs as it is a major operation with risks involved, but for Mama Girl, to let her have a normal life for the many years ahead, an operation is advised.

After discussion, we decided to proceed and her operation will be done later at about 5.30pm. Keep Mama Girl in your prayers now and we all await the good news that she is well and fine in a few hours time.

SB, I know you must be feeling

very sad for Ah Boy. For me, having encountered him only a few times, my heart is already grieved.

Not just for a life lost, but for the entire spectrum of animal welfare and control procedures of the authorities who have, thru their very set rules and regulations, disadvantage a group of people who are sincere in dog ownership but CANNOT meet their regulations which at times, do not work in the reality of our daily life .....

For eg, we were told that (1) all farm dogs must be chained up and when the farm owners are free, they can take the dogs out for a walk .. (?!) (2) that all farm gates must be closed at all times so the dogs do not run out. Once their 4 little paws step out of the gates, they are considered STRAYING and yes, they can be caught and culled.

While there is another group of commercial entities who are allowed to continue irresponsible business of breeding farms which contribute a large part to our stray population issues, and for which, I personally think stringent and regular checks are not done else why do we hear regular complaints and reports of the conditions of such breeding farms?

We are in the midst of documenting all the cases we have encountered so far and will be submitting a report to the AVA for an open dialogue to see positive changes in the current management situation.

The authorities have written to us to state that AVA does not have a Catch-Neuter-Release practice.

** Please email us at the cases that you have personally encountered which reflect the need to change the current practice in stray population control, farm breeding, sterilisation that we can document them and present our report to encompass as many real cases as possible.

Very unfortunately, we were informed too late.

The authorities were apparently doing their rounds at Ah Boy's area on 12 Sep morning. And well ... they found him 'straying' outside on the streets.

He was wearing his licence tag, but because he was 'straying', which on the AVA's set rules and regulations is a big no-no and gives them the authority to catch the dog, they did just that.

They caught Ah Boy, which is easy as he is a friendly fellow. They took him back to pound. They called his owner, the security guard, and informed him that if he wants Ah Boy back, he has to pay a fine of $400++. They also told him that if he takes Ah Boy back he has to chain Ah Boy up. If he cannot pay, he had to surrender the dog to AVA.

I'm checking with the AVA on the components of this $400++ fine cos it is higher than normal.

Ah Boy's owner, an elderly man, could not afford this $400++ fine and for whatever reasons he had, he said he wasn't thinking straight during that time, that he just knew he couldn't afford to pay, he did not call us for help till we hear the news from another fellow supporter yesterday.

So, for 'straying' outside his building, along the small area which Ah Boy calls home -- this little area in our entire island of buildings after buildings and malls after malls -- we cannot even find it within our hearts to graciously give this little tiny area to a friendly animal who has been a loyal companion to an old man. Who gave his trust to mankind with welcoming wags.

Who has a sentient life just like you and me. Who looks forward to simple joys of exploring his neighbourhood with his female companion. Of lying at the feet of his master.

For 'straying' outside his home, Ah Boy is now dead.

Very very sorry we could not get to you earlier, Ah Boy. Very very sorry.

September 24, 2007

Thanks ML for your digestive enzymes

for Dog Dog. Thanks N & S also for arranging for collection. Such support is really appreciated when we need help to collect donated dog food and other items from all around our island for the animals on the streets.

We'll make plans to visit Dog Dog this week to pass him the digestive enzymes and follow up on his recovery and how his family is caring for him.

Meanwhile, we have just been informed that Clifford the abandoned JRT was returned to K. He was adopted by this family but due to their personal reasons, Clifford has been returned. So do keep a look out for a good home for Cliff. Thanks.

Due to some change in plans,

we'll be bringing Mama Girl to the vet tomorrow morning instead. Have made an appointment for her to see Dr L tomorrow morning to get a second opinion on her weight loss.

We did a heartworm test on her in July, result was negative. Bearing in mind that Ebony, her daughter passed away due to suspected tick fever (when we found this pack, Ebony was already very thin and treatment did not work on her), and Jamie also went thru a period of sudden thinness before antibiotics was given and he regained his appetite and weight. Again heartworm test was done on him which was negative.

Will seek advice from Dr L tomorrow if a CBC (complete blood count) needs to be done for Mama Girl to ascertain her condition.

September 21, 2007

Will be bringing Mama Girl

to the vet tomorrow. Since her accident, she has been getting thinner and thinner. She is one of the dearest dogs we know. A very good and faithful mother to her family. Such an endearing nature.

We greatly hope that someone will open their hearts and home to take her and possibly one of her children in, as where they are living now, there are too many dogs and someone has complained before.

Her pack is very human oriented. I am sure whoever takes her in will gain so much more from her open and trusting nature than they can offer.

"The truth as I see it,

just keep going, don't give up and don't give into emotion. We can't help animals with our emotions, we can with our actions.

This isn't coldness, it's determination."

Inspiring words grabbed from E. Thanks for this. Been on a little whirlpool lately. Personally. Emotionally. Socially.

And I see myself caught up in waves of emotions. If you are not careful, you allow yourself to be tumbled along, gathering more and more negativity as you slowdive downwards. You've gotta catch hold of yourself! Stop those negative thoughts that keep replaying in your mind! Shake them out! Literally, sit up straight, stand upright if you must, and SHAKE IT OFF! Shake out all those lousy thoughts.

Animals do that. After a stressful or unpleasant experience, many animals will SHAKE IT OUT. They shake off the negative energy from their entire bodies - head to tail -- shake shake shake!!

Do not dwell further than you already have. Let it go now.

Especially if you want to help a fellow brother/sister, an animal, nature, you can't give into emotions. But before that, you have gotta control your thoughts.
Cos whatever you BELIEVE is whatever you will THINK. And however you THINK is however you will FEEL.

Believe right. Think right. And your emotions and actions shall follow. Rightly.

And what should we believe in?

all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

ALL THINGS work together for GOOD. All is in Good Hands. Believe it so.

If you are a true-blue dog lover

and are able to foster care a maltese from Oct till end Dec, pls email

Must have experience in dog care, either with another dog at home as a friendly playmate or at home most of the day with time for socialising and play. Food and all required stuff will be provided.

Pls email us for more details.

September 20, 2007

Looking for a stray cat feeder in AMK

From one of our supporters:

"Hi, i am wondering if you have the contact for the lady with the trolley who feeds the many cats at AMK or if you know her exact timing for the feeding. i like to pass her some can food for the cats. Thanks in advance. Mary"

Mary, I am not aware of this lady who feeds the cats at AMK. Will need more details like around which HDB blocks. Anyone who knows this lady and have her contact, pls email us at

Let us know also if the cats she is feeding are sterilised or if she needs help to get that done.


September 19, 2007

Day after day,

it is clear that in the arena of animal welfare, we cannot simply just deal with the animals alone. No matter how much time and efforts and money you put in, day after day, month after month, years amd years of hardwork will vanish like a drop in the ocean once you depart this earth......

IF you have not successfully imparted your belief and conviction to another person. IF you have not touched the hearts of a few good people who step out to carry the torch and light the way for many more to come. IF you have not changed the minds of the 'bad', the 'ignorant', the 'proud', who don't give a hoot about an animal's life, who are plainly lacking wisdom or who think they know it all and refuse to change their erroneous ways.

We can go all out, one animal after the other. Rescuing, treating, rehabilitating .... time, efforts, money. How many can you save in your lifetime? What happens when you are gone? The number game in animal welfare, on the stray population scene will always outrun you. The truth is: you will NEVER save all the animals. Not even in a small area in Singapore. Forget about the world.

So what are we all to do?

We have to go back to our people.

We have to learn to get along. To make efforts, invest time to knowing the people around you. Do you really know the person closest to you? Every single member in your family? Your neighbours? Colleagues?

I don't. And quite many times, especially after a particular incident today, I find myself not making efforts to know some people better. Not wanting to in fact some times. Cos I cannot fathom what goes on in the minds of some people and it is draining to try to understand them...

But then, how than can I expect them to KNOW ME? And to know my beliefs. To understand my convictions. And even more so, how can I expect them to stand on my side??

If you do not care to know about another person's world, neither can we expect them to come into ours.

If we don't step into the shoes of that man in the streets who was hitting a dog, that lady who made that call to pest control to take away the strays, the man in the office who orders the culling, that security guard who refuses to sterilise his dog, the family who chains up their pet and ignores the basic needs of a social animal, the humans who drove their dogs to a remote place and dumped their pets .... if we refuse any attempt to understand why they do the things they do, we will just walk away with anger and injustice boiling in our hearts, and the resolve to cut off all ties and establish enmity.

And what good does that achieve? We have just effectively placed more people on the other side of the fence, against us.

I know it is not as easily done as said. Especially when we let our flesh take over and we feel the natural, carnal wrath drowning the goodness of our hearts and we give up easily the decision to get along with everyone. And we build walls. We keep secrets. Harbour misunderstandings. Fester old wounds.

If we want more people to understand what we do, what we stand for - JUST KINDNESS - we have to offer just that to each person we encounter. We have to treat each person with KINDNESS. People we do not like. Especially those people we do not like, for how easy it is to be kind to people you like. Anyone can love those who love them back. Anyone can smile to someone who first smiles at them. It takes a strong character and a heart resolved to kindness, to treat well especially those whom we think do not deserve to be treated well.

Then will they slowly understand that all we ask for our animals, is simply that little touch of KINDNESS - that little touch that does wonders beyond all argumental debates can achieve.

So let us try now to understand just a little bit more. And be kind just that little bit more. See if each day begins to look and feel just that little bit more beautiful.

I am pretty sure it will.

Illegal wildlife trade in the open

While traversing the streets of hawker food, wholesale boutique and all the urban hubbub associated with a city hard at work, I have been too befuddled at how retail businesses have taken to making a living out of live animals.

Not pet shops, not live poultry, but the glaring hotspots of live animals on display, touted to treat ailments of all kinds, as well as the audacious display of aquatic life, made to seem as if they serve as ornate furnishings to the beauty of a home.

In the immediate picture below, you see two people standing in front of a 'reptile shop' that sells and serves reptile meat (eg. cobra and iguana), attracting foreign visitors who fall prey to the fabricated reputation that it is a cultural delicacy, and locals who are appealed by the constructed myth of its medicinal value.

The increasing animal movement in the past decades has certainly improved consumers' awareness of its falsity, in the lack of scientific proof that these meats can be medicines, if at all, as well as drawn others to challenge even the very existence of these businesses.

For fear of being unnecessarily intimidated, I did not openly take pictures of this shop but (sharing with you from my first-hand experience) I witnessed tankfuls of iguanas and a cage of cobra on public display at the shopfront. Ironically, this shop (together with other reptile hotspots) exist beside established boutique brands and in fact, right on the ground floor of residential buildings. (Un)ethicality amidst human crowds.

Here, we have a tank of terrapins on audacious display at another shop of a different district which is known as the aquatic hotspot among the locals. To be fair, I still cannot be sure if these shops deal with illegal wildlife trades, but after I was told off to not take pictures of the shops by a shopkeeper, I grew more positive about the 'underground' scale on which retails like these most likely operate. Chances are, the shops handle endangered species.

Sights to behold, sights to provoke vocal activists to screaming actions, sights to prompt the local animal welfare authorities to relook into the ethicality of these businesses.

On hindsight, a fellow animal welfare representative comes to mind, his statement that 'Singapore... is still in the dark ages [when it comes to animal welfare]'. Like all endeavours, there will always be room for improvement -- not only in the microcosm of Singapore, but in other places where influences of animal movements have not reached. Where the humane treatment of animals, the beauty of nature, do not seep into the collective consciousness of societies.

Fellow supporters, whichever location you are, you carry with you a sense of animal conscience that rubs off on those around you. You speech, your behaviour... your refusal to purchase ivory tasks, to consume shark's fins, to dabble in dog racing, to participate in cock fighting, will leave little signposts of your natural support for animal welfare, a trail of strong messages to educate and share.

Your right as a consumer is powerful. Your feedback as a visitor, a third-person, a keen observer, counts.

September 16, 2007

Remembering Max, the Alaskan Malamute

If you remember, a few years ago, the case of an Alaskan Malamute that died of heatstroke in the backyard of a terrace was splashed across the frontpages of local newspapers.

Back then, a few likeminded (animal welfare) individuals were struggling with the authorities in justifying episodes of the nordic dog's incessant coyote-like, soulful howling, as clear signs of animal neglect. They struggled in explaining how animal cruelty involves not just the exterior, but the psychological aspect of an animal's well-being. Animal neglect may exist with absolutely no signs of abuse obvious to the naked eye, but they argue(d) that animal neglect can take place when its rightful owner fails to tend to its well-being, with the owner's prolonged periods of absence (lack of social interaction), which affects, just the same, the animal's welfare as a living, sentient creature.

Animal abuse must be seen holistically, and should not, then, be constrained in what that skims across the surface.

Extracted and edited from an email newsletter from PETA, here are some good pointers, backed with clear rationales that elucidate why immediate action needs to be taken by anyone when an act of cruelty is witnessed:


If an animal is in a life-threatening situation, call authorities immediately. Follow up with them in a timely manner to determine their findings and their planned course of action. If they do not respond right away, call your local animal welfare organisation.

After you contact authorities, prepare a short written statement detailing the key points of what you observed. Give dates, approximate times, and locations. Timely fact-gathering is crucial—the more time that passes, the greater the risk that evidence will disappear, injuries will heal, or you'll forget specific details.

Written statements from other witnesses will help back up your observations, and if possible, take pictures and date them—photos or videos will strengthen your case. Always keep a dated record of everyone you've contacted, along with the content and outcome of your discussions.

Never forward a letter, photograph, or other documentation to anyone without first making a copy for your own files. Make it clear to authorities that you wish to pursue the case and that you are willing to lend your assistance if necessary.

Be sure to follow up! If you stay involved, authorities are more likely to do the same. If the first contact doesn't produce results, go straight to a supervisor. If that doesn't work, appeal to local government officials, such as the mayor, the district attorney, or city council members.

A call to the media in your area (television and print) can move mountains. Above all, don't give up—you may be an animal's only hope! Helping abused or neglected animals can be difficult and heart-wrenching, but they are depending on you to take action. Please contact PETA if officials fail to respond quickly to your complaint or if you need guidance or support. Together, we can save even more lives.


September 15, 2007

Puppies for sale!!!

Shenzhen, China.

A backyard puppy breeder squat along the pavement of a very, very busy and bustling street along which cars honked incessantly and where people jostled and jolted against one another in ways that caught Singaporeans offguard.

So I was walking amidst the crowds when I spotted a small group crowding over a litter of puppies, about five of them, placed 'nicely' on the pavement.

Me: How much is one?
Breeder: RMB 130 (S$26)
Me: Are they purebred?
Breeder: Yes, they are Sharpei (this is a headscratcher... Sharpei?!)
Me: Aren't you afraid that they might run away? (as the puppies could very well have)
Breeder: No, they are very gwai (well-behaved).
Me: Do you breed them yourself?
Breeder: Yes, their mum and dad are at home, I have bred a few litters already. In my apartment.
Me: What do you do when you can't sell these puppies?
Breeder: Will try to sell them as much as I can, or I'll give them to friends, or keep them at home as my pets. You want one?
Me: Sorry, I can't, as I stay in Hong Kong. Have to think about the customs, you know.
Breeder: Well, you can put them in your bag and walk through. One customer did that last time.

As an animal activist working to sterilise street dogs to control their populations, I surmise I had every right to express shock, disbelief and disgust at the audacity of the breeder's express treatment of these puppies; by her implicit lack of ethics in 'cajoling' me into the possibility of smuggling a purchased puppy over both the Shenzhen and HK customs; by the fact that she could allow these puppies to sprawl over the pavement exposed to urban hazards, in every sense of this word; by the fact that she has been commercialising animal life.

But I held myself to composure. For after all, I'm in a foreign country and although every encounter of this sort does not bode well with animal welfare motivations, it is through these exchanges that form part of an animal movement education that knows no boundaries or cultures. That which motivates one to remain ever so proactive in safeguarding the future of our animals. That which I learn from.

I do not intend to draw a comparison to the puppy mill situation in Singapore, but whichever location we are at, I believe in staying true to a basic sense of morality. And when it comes to animal welfare, one does not have to go around rambunctiously street-protesting against animal lab tests or animal cruelty in a foreign country. Instead...

Stay firm in refusing to endorse products made out of animals, endangered or not.

Do your part as an informed tourist or visitor; as a consumer with a conscience, with a right to endorse a certain act or product, to show these 'shopkeepers' or businessmen, unabashedly, the right of an animal to be treated in ways that are HUMANE.

Potential buyers holding and checking out the puppies.

Puppies snuggled against each other at the wheels of the cart that, I believe, they were transported in.

The breeder, a young woman, holding a puppy out to me.

A bustling Shenzhen street where people walk and trample on objects without a care, maybe because they are in a hurry, or because they don't even have much of a chance to watch where they are going among the shuffling feet. THIS, is where the puppies were being touted and displayed for sale.

September 14, 2007

Remember Clifford.

A fine fellow. He is still looking for a good home.

Please see his story below.

Spoke with Dog Dog's owner, Mr J,

on Wednesday night to understand what is their decision regarding Dog Dog. Mr J was hesitating but he said that his family, especially his teenage daughter has been missing Dog Dog and would like him back. Giving Dog Dog away was more of his personal decision which I understood more the next day.

So I thought about it and decided to bring Dog Dog back home and at the same time, meet the rest of the family members.

Last evening, I went to pick Dog Dog up. He was as usual a ball of energy, eager beaver and scurrying everywhere to greet the other resident animals! Ignore his thin frame and this fellow is actually very boisterous and energetic for a 9 year-old!

And good news, since last Friday till now, Dog Dog has gained 1 kg! :) Now, stroking him down his body you can just feel a hint of rib bones and it's obvious he has packed on some meat down his hinds. 4 kg now! He can put on 2 kg more.

On the way back to his home, he was just as curious as the first time I met him last Friday. Standing tall and peering out the window. As we neared his estate, he seemed to know. He perked up as we passed the coffee shop below his flat. I believe the animals could sense their environment very keenly in ways we may not fully comprehend.

Once out of the car, he was just raring to go, turning his head all around to take in the familiar sights and smells. As we took the lift up, he turned his head to look at me, not sure what he was saying. And once the lift door opens, off he went straight to his home gate and up on his hind legs calling for his family.

He has missed his familiar home. Once the gate was opened, he looked so happy and greeted Mrs J and baby and then crawled under the sofa to his favourite spot and rested, all guards down.

Mr J was not back yet. So I spoke with Mrs J and understood better the situation with Dog Dog.

Dog Dog is their daughter's dog, gotten 9 years ago. The family takes reasonably good care of him in terms of providing food, shelter, grooming, taking him down for pee/poo but one thing they are ignorant or not as involved is to find out why he is just so thin despite regular meals. For them, it is because Dog Dog has always been so active and playful and they just didn't think there is anything seriously wrong with his health.

As one of our supporters said, "It's so frustrating to read of owners like Dog Dog's. They are not outright cruel or abusive to their pet but yet they can disregard obvious signs that are staring in their faces and not feel anxious enough to do something more. "

After chatting more, I learnt that the family had intended to give Dog Dog away when their baby was born last year, as Mrs J does not have time to look after both Dog Dog and her baby. And as the baby learnt to move about in a walker, and started chasing Dog Dog, there was an ocassion when Dog Dog reacted to the chasing and scratched the baby slightly. That is understandable cos Dog Dog must have been thoroughly irritated/frightened by the baby in the chasing walker! Well at least when baby is on the prowl, Dog Dog can run under the sofa and seek some peace away from fur-pulling baby hands.

There were also ocassions when Dog Dog will be very barkish and poo in the wrong places (eg, living room - he usually poos downstairs) and dirty the whole house when the family is out, a display of separation anxiety. He was also very very barkish in the clinic as soon as humans are out of sight.

Since we took Dog Dog to the vet on Friday, Mrs J and her daughter has been missing Dog Dog and had told Mr J that they want him back. He is a fuss-free dog. Happy by himself, and very comfortable at his home of 9 years. I personally would not choose to relocate an old dog unless there is obvious abuse/neglect and refusal to change after discussion.

When Mr J came back, Dog Dog happliy ran out to greet him and followed him all around the flat. Mr J is the one who brings Dog Dog down for walks and pee/poo break.

I brought them Dog Dog's medicine and a better range of food (family doesn't cook so we don't expect them to specially cook for Dog Dog) but at least if you are going to feed your dog can/dry food, choose a good brand. It's gonna go into your dog's body each and every day so please forget about all the supermarket and provision shop brands, please! Go to a good petshop and ask the staff to recommend the many good/premium range available now. Though in my opinion, home prepared foods are the best.

Mr and Mrs J showed that they are willing to change Dog Dog's diet and Mrs J said that having Dog Dog for 9 years, she cannot bear to give him away. She also understands that it is unfair for Dog Dog to be passed to someone else, and it is most kind to let Dog Dog stay on and grow old in his familiar home.

So for now Dog Dog will stay on with his family and we will monitor him closely for the next few months, while also keeping the option open that he may require another good family should any changes arise. His is a straightforward case of giving him better food plus his digestive enzymes, that is all basically that needs to be altered in his lifestyle.

* Thank you ML for offering to pass Dog Dog some digestive enzymes, that will be most helpful once his current supply is finished.

* Sorry, no photos this time as my camera was acting up. I will update with photos of Dog Dog's progress when we next visit. For now, I think he will be fine.

September 13, 2007

Pets & Asthma

It is a misconception that pets cause asthma. Asthma is a genetically inherited condition and attacks can be triggered by various agents such as house dust, dust mites, pollen, lint, stress, cold water and animal hair/saliva.

Many owners give up their pets upon the identification of an asthma sufferer in the family. However, studies have shown that although animal dander is a potential trigger in people who are asthmatic, it is often not the primary trigger.

Recent studies also show that children living with a dog or cat at home are less likely to develop asthma. This research supports the current thinking among allergists that exposing a child to dust, animal dander and other allergens at a young age will help him build up immunity that will reduce the chances of him developing asthma.

Animal hair and saliva are not considered to be major triggers and if a pet is suspected, it is recommended that the physician does proper allergy tests to confirm this before any decision is made to remove the animal. Only if tests prove that animal dander is a main trigger should steps be taken to reduce the risk of exposure, including removing the animal.

For asthmatics who are sensitive to animal dander but who still want to keep pet dogs or cats, they can follow some simple steps to reduce contact with dander and other allergens.

These steps include:

- Keep the house clean and well-ventilated
- Wash walls and floors periodically
- Vacuum regularly with HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Arresting) filter vacuum cleaners to capture particulate airborne allergens
- Use HEPA filters in the bedroom
- Place allergen-proof covers over mattresses and pillows. Blankets and sheets should be washed every week in hot water
- Keep the pet out of the bedroom. Since the average person spends many hours in the bedroom sleeping, this measure will reduce exposure to the dander
- Bathe the dog and wet-wipe the cat (as many cats do not like water and can be hard to bathe) weekly to remove the dander that accumulates on the fur
- Have a non-susceptible family member brush the pet outdoors on a regular basis
- Wash hands after handling the pet
- Wear a mask when changing a cat litter

What is Animal Dander ?

To many people, animal dander means the hair or fur of a domestic pet. However, animal dander is not the hair or fur but really old skin scales which are constantly shed into the hair or fur. Older animals produce more dander than young ones because their skin tends to be drier. Animal dander is pretty easy to miss because it is extremely tiny (approx 2.5 microns with 1 micron = 1/25000 in.), light weight and can remain floating in the air for hours. In addition to coming directly from the animal, dander accumulates most frequently in carpets and upholstered furniture and easily becomes airborne when disturbed.

[Information gathered from various sites]

Asthma & Dogs

Got a call from a lady asking for help to rehome her 2 shetland sheepdogs. Young ones of about 3 years. She always had an asthma problem but recently, it has gotten worse, so are her 2 young kids affected.

Well, I never have asthma problems before so I would not understand their discomfort (runny nose, coughing, sneezing). She had tried her best to keep the house clean of dog fur, but shelties tend to shed quite a bit and I guess there's no way to be completely fur-free at all times.

I'm not too familiar with asthma and dogs, will do some reading up later.

* For now, if anyone of you have good info or are yourself asthmatic but living fine with dogs, please share with us what are the things the family can do to make it possible for them to still keep their dogs, without too much discomfort or hindrances to their health.

September 12, 2007

Was chatting with JT last night

and thinking of a name for this JRT boy that was found. We narrowed down to a name starting with 'C' as we were at a cafe. JT came up with CLIFFORD. As in Clifford the Big Red Dog, the cartoon dog. :) This boy does have that mature, stoic, Clifford kinda air about I guess Clifford it shall be.

* If you know who Clifford belongs to or are able to foster/adopt him, pls sms/call 82011450 asap. Thank you.

September 11, 2007

K called us yesterday informing that

her neighbour found a wandering JRT around her neighbourhood - strangely with his collar AND leash intact. We wondered if someone had lost hold of him while walking him and maybe he was distracted and dashed off, thus losing himself?

Calls were made to SPCA, AVA, lost notice placed in the papers and K walked him all around the neighbourhood. Unfortunately, no one called up for him and neither does anyone in the neighbourhood recognise this fellow.

He's looking good and of a healthy weight. Well groomed and clean.

We got him scanned for a microchip but he doesn't have one, no licence tag either, so no way we can locate his owner, provided he is really lost and not abandoned.

K is unable to adopt him at this moment. Thus we seek a permanent home or foster home for this fellow who is just a jolly good boy. He still has lots of fun, active years in him to share. So, do share his story around with your contacts who may like a JRT as a companion for life.

** If you live around Thomson area and happen to know who this boy belongs to, please email us immediately at

** Please assist to post this LOST NOTICE on all doggy forums/websites as well.

Thank you!

Thank you all

for your kind concern for Dog Dog. He is a fiesty little fellow, very curious and alert or in other words, quite a kaypoh. :) He will look and peer at everything new, stop at everything that caught his sniffer nose. He is also very human-oriented and wants nothing much but to be with you, close to you.

Vet says that his bountiful energy also plays a part in his very thin frame. He weighs only 3kg now. We hope to fatten him up to at least 5 kg. Then at least we won't feel his bones painfully jutting out, especially his hip bones, whenever we stroke him.

His poo is now a normal brownish colour though a tad soft but at least it's no longer a strange pale colour which signifies that his body isn't absorbing any nutrients at all.

Fresh after a bath

Gave him a good bath, but it saddens and angers me cos all I felt as I shampoo him were ridges and ridges of bones where healthy flesh and fats should have been. It felt like my hands were moving over stoney surfaces , there was no ounce of healthy fats on Dog Dog's body and it makes me wonder when was the last time Dog Dog was cuddled and stroked by his owner. Cos anyone who cuddles and strokes him will see that he is just way, way too thin. It is just so uncomfortable to stroke him.

Well, to puts things into clearer perspective, Dog Dog's owners did not bother to visit him at all at the clinic. No calls either about how he is doing. I would guess it is 'out of sight, out of mind'. How could we return Dog Dog to a family like that?

But firstly, we need a good home to take Dog Dog in when he is discharged this Thursday. If his case is one of a poor digestion system, then he will need regular doses of digestive enzymes until his body recuperates and gets back to normal. If it is just a case of being under-fed and malnourished by current owners, then there is no big issue at all other than to maintain a healthy diet and a new and better home for him.

Share Dog Dog's story around and let's give him a new family of his own.

September 8, 2007

If you or someone you know

can foster care for Dog Dog at home from now till owner comes back, and possibly adopt Dog Dog if present owners do not live up to their responsibilities, do let us know as well by email to

September 7, 2007

E informed us of an emaciated

dog whom she saw at a coffee shop with his owner. The dog just had his fur shaven down and his very scrawny frame was very visible, rib cage and bones visibly protruding. The second time E and her friends saw this man and dog again, they managed to get the owner's contact and advised him to bring his dog to the vet for a check-up. However, the man was reluctant cos he doesn't want to spend any money on the vet check.

Got E to contact the owner last night to inform him that we are gonna visit him today to bring his dog to the vet. He sounded reluctant and even indicated to E that if we want to, we can have the dog. (?!)

When I arrived at his place this noon, this active little maltese greeted me through the gate. I can just barely see his face through the cover bottom partition and hey, he looks fine. Maybe I was at the wrong house? But when the owner opened the gate and the dog ran out to greet me, I see what E meant.

His fur has grown out a bit since E last reported to us. But that barely hid his very thin frame. And when I stroke him, all I feel are bones and more bones jutting out so uncomfortably against my hands. His body was so narrow and his hip bones so pronounced, I am surprised he still appears quite alert and lively.

His name is "Dog Dog", about 8 years now. Always has been so thin, according to the owner. I told him that Dog Dog is obviously very thin, aren't they concerned? And didn't anyone point it out to them? He said that Dog Dog eats normally, is very active, so they didn't wonder that anything is wrong. Again, he voiced subtly his concern about expenses and that he told his daughter he is going to give Dog Dog away to us.

Dog Dog on his way to the vet, curious and alert.

Off we go with Dog Dog to the vet. He feels so feather light when I carried him. He was alert and curious in the car, looking everywhere and refusing to settle down.
This is how narrow his hips are - a man's hand easily encircles it fully.

With the check up, his gums look fine, no anaemia. Temperature is normal. Appetite is also normal, according to owner which we later verified during his dinner time. In good timing, he poo-ed in the clinic and we checked that there were no worms/eggs in the stool so worms are ruled out for causing thinness too.

However, his stools are a strange pale colour which signifies that he has a very poor digestive system and enzyme deficiencies.

In short, whatever he eats, his body does not absorb, so his body is not nourished at all but is slowly wasting away. In a few more months, if Dog Dog does not undergo prompt treatment, he could possibly waste away despite his normal appetite and meals.

Dog Dog will be put on a course of digestive enzymes to aid his body to absorb the nutrients and also vitamins to boost his health and immunity. Nutripet also will fatten him up. And he will have small regular meals as much as he can eat instead of just 1 meal in the evening. Owner said that even when they try to feed him more, he will vomit the excess food out. Seems like his body just doesn't function well, so he will do better with small frequent meals. We may also consider neutering him.

Dinner totally welcomed by Dog Dog

Owner said that the whole family will be away from next Monday and asked if we can keep him from today till next Thursday. Else he had intended to board Dog Dog at a nearby petshop from Monday on.

When we told him about feeding Dog Dog his medication, he doesn't sound very keen and said he may not know how to administer. And I am personally concerned about returning Dog Dog to a family who has clearly not done anything about his obvious thinness and even more concerned about Dog Dog going to a boarding facility who may or may not have the time and heart to take good care of his health needs.

So, instead of wasting good time and effort in discussion, which at times I am honestly tired of, and fussing over a few tens of dollars, and most importantly for Dog Dog's health sake, the vital thing right now being to boost him up, we decided to let Dog Dog recuperate and be well looked after in the good hands of clinic staff from now till next Thursday when family returns.

In fact, taking the owner's hint that 'we can have Dog Dog if we want', we will also look for a better home for Dog Dog.

He is a friendly little fellow, takes to you almost immediately. Still active and alert. Small little maltese like him is easy maintenance. And once we fatten him up, he will make a fine and adorable home pet for a good-hearted family.

Do let us know if you can give Dog Dog a better, happier next half of his life. (small dogs tend to live a longer life, I know of malteses who live up to 17 years. Dog Dog could well have a good 5-8 years in him to share.)

* Dog Dog's medical bill plus hospitalisation costs about $180. His owner will foot part of it as much as he can offer, and we will raise the remainder. Please email us at to support Dog Dog's recovery. Thank you.

September 6, 2007

Indeed, I learnt that in the walk

of animal welfare, it is never just about the animals. And it should never be. Animal welfare, if it overrides or disregards human welfare, then I say we have veered off course.

Let us be kind and compassionate, and also let us be clear-headed. A hot heart with a cool mind.

Do not dwell too much on the negativities of life. Do not waste time, precious time, grumbling or condemning the bad acts of humans. 'Bad people' we shall always have among us. Pay less heed to them.

Instead, let us focus on the GOODNESS of mankind. The more we believe and the more we expect, the more kindness and beauty we shall find. It is all around us. In us. Seek it.

KZ, let the beauty of your spirit rub off on the people there too during these few months! Let's put more of such poster stories like "Zhi Wen Cat" all around the globe. Come back with great stories to tell!

Hostel's resident cat

Writing from overseas in a semester's exchange programme, I take note of the sights, sounds and smells of conservation and animal welfare issues of a foreign culture, and this caught my eye:

A glass panel superimposed with pictures of the resident cat, at my hostel. In English, the board reads "In memory of Zhi Wen's Resident Cat".
And it did tug at some heart strings because of the express softness of the message, of a community of students and hostel committee who actually paid attention to their resident cat and even went to the length to decorate its life on the wall of the lobby, to pay a tribute to it as a group, of the community spirit safeguarding the welfare of a local cat.
That, in other circumstances/contexts, would have been rendered insignificant, to be subject to culling, thanks to cat traps, to be shooed by children, to be abused by passerbys. Anything, almost any hazard, can happen to our street cats. The potential is unimaginable. Unimaginable to me, and to the many who are caring for them out there. Or rather, we dread to imagine.
To adopt a cat and have a community care for it, watch out for it... that itself is not just protecting animal welfare, but also building community camaraderie and being responsible to the natural environment that the community has claimed its stake on. The human spirit can be beautiful, oh so beautiful.

September 5, 2007

Watch out for a BBQ get-together

for all dog owners and our doggies coming soon on Sat, 29 Sep at East Coast Park! Great time to simply mingle and enjoy the delights of our fellow companions.

More info later. :)

September 2, 2007

"No act of kindness,

however small, is ever wasted." ~~ Aesop

September 1, 2007

From West Coast to SPCA

Another amazing tale.

Lucky was kept at a wholesale centre near West Coast Park by a man who had him and his mom. While under the care of this man, Lucky frequents West Coast Park dog run and is known by many dog owners there as a very friendly fellow.

However, before long, this man disappeared without taking Lucky with him. Lucky continues to stay around the wholesale centre and frequents the West Coast Park dog run on his own, being fed by people at the centre and members of the public and dog owners who know him from the dog run.

A concerned member who has taken a liking of Lucky helped raise donations to have him neutered and also helped to look for a good home for him. However, as they were about to bring Lucky to the vet, they couldn't find him. A frantic search and few days later, they discovered that someone had made a report and SPCA had went down to get him.

Miraculously, Lucky made it through all the assessment tests and qualified for adoption! Imagine, he could have been so close to be put to sleep. So, he must have put on his best behaviour, or rather, he was just being his genuine true friendly self and the assessors see the lovely companion he would make for a good family.
So, if you can welcome Lucky into your family, go visit him at SPCA when he's ready for adoption. He's a local breed, not too big, just medium size.
From a supporter of Lucky:
Friday, August 31st, 2007

"Lucky, the little 'resident' West Coast Dog-Run dog has been taken in by the SPCA. Next week he will be put up for adoption and he will be featured on their website

Lucky is approximately 2 yrs old. He is healthy, affectionate and sometimes playful. He is friendly with female dogs but occasionally he can be a touch aggressive with other males that he is not familiar with.
If you, or anyone you know, can offer Lucky a good and secure home and plenty of walks, please contact the SPCA on 62875355.
A BIG THANK YOU to all who had contributed towards the cost of Lucky's sterilization operation. The money raised was donated to the SPCA to cover his operation, board and lodgings!!"