June 29, 2009

From foster...

Today, "Chocho had lamb chop and cheese cake and ice cream for dinner, as it is Lil' John's birthday."


Dog walking is not only therapeutic and

an effective avenue of stress relieving for people, but also a vital part of a pet dog's life. As a layperson who hasn't so much gone into the analytics of canine behaviour, I see dog walking as a routine, as a part-and-parcel of life in allowing the dog to be a dog.

To smell the flowers and the air of the great outdoors. To loosen the joints and work out out whatever pent-up energy from a day of staying indoors. To express itself as an animal of territoriality by marking on lamp posts, bushes and pavements. To sniff out, capture and remember the scents of other dogs in the neighbourhood. To poo and pee. To be in touch with nature -- grass, the bark of trees, fallen leaves and even the imported sand at the playground. To bond with its owner through a 'mutual' activity. To satisfy curiosity.

Which was what we did with Doby on Saturday and Sunday, while he boarded at a landed home -- while his foster family was out of town. For 4 consecutive weekends of training Doby, I had never so much as broken the barrier between Doby and myself that was wrapped up in my fear of his aggression -- until when I personally visited him as he awaited in his large-enough playpen, enticed him with treats that took place along with basic commands fulfilment and brought him out for his walk.

Just me and Doby. Trooping upslope while the neighbours' dogs peered and barked at us. Trotting along the concrete pavements of the park in the cool of a raintree's shade. Exploring the turns of the streets. Linked by a leash and his harness. Connected by a mutual fancy of the experience of walking, just walking.

At 3 years-plus old, it can't be truer that Doby is at his prime. Each time he lunges to catch the treat in mid-air, stands on his hinds to suss out his triple "A" treats in the trainer's pouch or intently studies a foreign passer-by in a position as if ready to charge -- I come to terms with his superb agility as a young, active dog and his potential as a guard dog. Faithful and loyal to his owner and property and potentially ferocious to any alien intrusion which compromises safety.

This is Doby, notwithstanding the fact he is sterilised.

And like any regular domestic ol' faithful, he looks forward to his walks. At the sight of the leash, he is perked up like an eager birthday boy ready to unwrap and open up his present.

And I learnt also that he is, after all, not that 'hopeless', as most may perceive of a 'pariah' dog that bares his teeth and looks so unfriendly to cuddle or be patted on the head.

(Great thanks to A.) If anything, Doby has proven to us his outstanding mongrel intelligence and his ability to accomplish the basics of obedience training. I would say he has pretty much mastered his 'sit', 'down', 'stay', 'heel' and with A's positive reinforcement-based training, Doby has come against our perceived odds in:

* Being able to continue his walk harmlessly to the public via distracting and guiding him to a new point of attraction or direction of walk
* Being able to nicely trot beside owner/walker without pulling and lunging via enticing him with treats
* (Just today) Being able to search for his reward underneath obstacles such as plastic bags at the prompt of 'find'
* Being able to physically 'stay' and then go for his reward placed at a distance at the quick command of 'ok'
* Being able to run towards owner, in one direction and as if single-mindedly, without being distracted by external noise in recall

No need for electronic collar, choke chain or the whip. Though I haven't experienced the full spectrum of the positive reinforcement training, I feel aggression challenges can be overcome without having to shock the nerves, painfully desensitize, inflict pain and suffering, enforce punishment or reducing the dog into a miserable non-dog.

It takes an experienced trainer and definitely patience and consistency, on part of the owner, to see changes which will be so life-changing, rewarding and beneficial to the entire family. And it requires that the dog is walked adequately throughout the week. All to work together for constructive behavioural improvement.

Thanks to A for training with care and love, and J for her motherly fostering in these few years, in spite of the difficulties to juggle baby, family and work. Progress is on it way.

Doby in his playpen of boarder. After his walk, he practically spread-eagled on the floor. Panting tongue, heaving chest -- happy dog

Doby training over weekends -- alert, eager, praise-worthy

A. rewarding Doby with his AAA treat which varies every week to whet his appetite and help make him look forward to each training session

Doby transfixed at A. as a source and provider of yummy treats. After 2-3 weeks, we could see how we can walk Doby without him tugging his leash taut but in unison with the walker's pace

June 24, 2009

This Siberian Husky was

'presented' to a stray feeder as the new kid of the farm -- apparently a discarded pet that his previous owners did not want anymore. Colly, as he's been named, now resides in a boarding facility and seeks an adoptive family.

I have not interacted with Colly personally but you may find information about this beautiful dog below these pictures:

* Name: Colly

* Sex: Male

* Age: Estimated 3 yrs

* Size: Stout

* Sterilised: Cannot confirmed as yet, but testicles found missing

* Behaviour & Temperament: walks excellent on leash, does not tug and pull / understands basic commands like 'sit' and 'stay' without aid of treats / very friendly with people / so far, okay with other large dogs but not sure of reaction with small dogs

* Comments: On first encounter, Colly appeared with a neat set of coat and trimmed nails, boasting a healthy husky shape.

Interested parties, pls contact 9727 7359 / noelleohm@yahoo.com

June 19, 2009

It's been about 2 months

since we transferred Chocho from the shelter to her new foster family comprising the resident shiba inu, who's the queen of the pack; a golden retriever who loves a mouth-hand tug-o-war over his prized soft toys; a soulful cocker spaniel who's 'larger than life'; and a old female shih tzu who's crooned over and protected by her owners, living her sunset years in peaceful dignity.

Thankfully, the foster stepped forward to offer Chocho a new lease of life--into domesticity.

The first day Chocho entered, A. locked her in the laundry section of the kitchen, which at least offered Chocho an 'infrastructure' of safety and comfort, with the makeshift pens and window grilles. At the first instance, our girl even tried to clamour through the square of the window grilles and got us a tad panicky of her escape tendencies and the endless possibilities a stray 'escape artist' can conjure and act upon, and catch the humans unawares.

A routine of 3x walk per day and regular meals was built into her, together with what was 'administered' to the rest of the pack. Just when we thought Chocho was beginning to take comfort in the regularity put in place that one late Sunday morning, one week into her fosterhood, Chocho, by a sheer occasion of accidence, wrangled out of her collar and took off!!!

The next thing I knew, we had a 5-man search team frantically combing industrial estates, buildings, fields, petrol kiosks and the neighbourhood; frantically scrambling after her, after we failed to corner her within a hedge of bushes; waiting for her at the periphery of a forested area while she suspectedly hid behind the clumps of greenery and peered at us--her pursuers.

A very wild ride indeed.

It was such an experience: locating her at several junctures, asking people if they'd seen our chocolate-brown girl, sprinting after her, (literally) diving for her, losing sight of her again from time to time, pacing beside her--all the time taking care not to unnerve or scare Chocho, in what seemed to be an existing state of pandemonium.

A dog which wanted to be free but completely clueless that all that we were doing was to protect her from harm. And Chocho, according to the security guards of the building, was almost knocked down by two vehicles--one of which a double-deckered bus--when she tried to cross a busy carriageway. A scenario that we feared to think about.

What ensued after Sunday was the establishment of even more troubled hearts and while we grappled with the wounds and aches sustained from Sunday's event, each of us was worried: Is she safe? What is she eating now? Where does she sleep? Has anyone discovered or seen her? Did she join another dog or a stray pack? Is she still within the area or has she crossed over to other parts separated by the highways and roads?

At least for me--I couldn't control my mental monologue series of speculations and the what-ifs.

A dog that 'outplayed' and outran us, but alas, clues of Chocho surfaced when A. caught news that others had actually seen Chocho on the loose in the estate; further clues that showed she'd returned to the doorstep and ate the food put out for her; and finally, a good confirmation that she was alive when they (the foster family) as a matter of fact saw her, our chocolate girl resting right on the doorstep. Cautious of her surroundings but seeking refuge in a 'familiar' place, even though it had only been one week since she settled in from a completely different environment and location.

We figured that the one week of routine did her good and helped provide her leads with which she managed to smell and track her way back home. A. was playing cautious with her cards and strategised to rebuild confidence in Chocho--hopefully influencing her to associate this very foster home as her source of food, water and a place of rest. And smartly, Chocho did return intermittently in the next few days.

After yet another failed attempt to corner her with human bodies, we engaged a professional dog catcher, who with methods unbeknownst to us, actually successfully and effectively captured Chocho in the wee hours of the morning.

And a burden was lifted from all of our hearts, stress disintegrated.

With due vigilance, Chocho is now watched over and taken care of by the foster and we are sure glad she's found a pal in the resident retriever, played chase with the alpha female and am showing all signs of guards lowered and submitting to the comfort and safety of her foster home.

Here's an update from foster family: -

Chocho is doing fine and I am so surprised that Gigi, my queen plays with her. She is not normally so relaxed about another dog i.e. play with them. The 3 of them were making so much noise playing in my living room over the weekend, Gigi, Diesel and Chocho. It is just so nice to see them happy, especially Chocho.

I think I have totally spoiled her with our choice of menu at home. Sorry, whoever adopts her will have to adapt to her style!!

I am going to give her a bit more time and probably do some basic training with her. We shall see how that progresses.

Now isn't this wonderful?

June 8, 2009

Trial between animal welfare group ACRES and contractor begins

Channel NewsAsia - Tuesday, May 26

SINGAPORE : The company had allegedly dumped wood chips on the site of an animal shelter construction project, which contaminated the land. Now it is not only disputing the claim, it is counter claiming S$180,000 from the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES).

ANA Contractor and its director said the animal welfare group had defaulted on payments since September 2007.

The arrangement between the two parties, rather than the contamination, took centre stage at the start of ACRES' lawsuit.

The animal welfare group had appointed ANA in September 2006 to construct a Wildlife Rescue Centre to save animals from illegal trade. It was supposed to be finished by April 2007.

ACRES claims that the contractor did not meet the deadline and did not finish works, including an entrance porch for the office block and volunteer house.

But ANA's lawyer Lee Kwok Weng said in his opening statement that "throughout the construction of the project", ACRES did not state "any requirements or covenants".

He added that "the time of completion is at—large, with no fixed completion date" since the progress of each stage of work depends on "the availability of funds" from ACRES.

The non—profit organisation is still unable to operate the rescue centre because of toxic waste from wood chips dumped into a landfill.

ANA was supposed to level the plot of land by transferring earth from higher ground to lower ground.

ACRES is asking for damages of $180,000 for wasted rentals paid to the Singapore Land Authority and also wants ANA to pay for the costs of excavating the waste and re—building structures that have to be demolished because of the excavation.

So far, ACRES has received two quotes of between $4.5 million to $8 million for this.

The group claims that ANA director Tan Boon Kwee should bear responsibility for the dumping of wood chips, as he was the supervisor of the construction project.

Mr Tan's lawyer Gwee Hak Theng argued that Mr Tan's work was to "supervise the construction of critical structural works" and not to offer any technical expertise.

The wood chips caused a foul blackish discharge to pollute Kranji Reservoir, which was discovered in September 2007 and resulted in the National Environment Agency initiating prosecution against ANA last September, under the Environmental Protection and Management Act.

The agency said it is still consulting the Attorney General's Chambers on the "appropriate action to take".

"It is premature at this point to speculate if any cases will be submitted to the court for hearing," said a spokesperson.

The hearing continues. — TODAY

Source: http://sg.news.yahoo.com/cna/20090525/tap-767-trial-animal-welfare-group-acres-231650b.html

June 5, 2009

Anti-piracy pup sniffs out 35,000 illegal DVDs - M'sia

AFP - Thursday, June 4

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - - A DVD-sniffing anti-piracy dog named Paddy has uncovered a huge cache of 35,000 discs in Malaysian warehouses, many destined for export to Singapore, industry officials said on Wednesday.

The black Labrador helped enforcement officials who carried out raids last week in southern Johor state which neighbours Singapore, the Motion Picture Association (MPA) said in a statement.

Paddy was given to Malaysia by the MPA to help close down piracy syndicates who churn out vast quantities of illegal DVDs. The dog is specially trained to detect chemicals in the discs.

"Paddy led enforcement officers on a successful weekend operation to shut down the supply lines of pirated movie DVDs in the Malaysian state of Johor," the MPA said in a statement.

"Post-raid investigations revealed that two of the targets were actively involved in exporting pirated DVDs to Singapore," it added.

The raids carried out by officials from the MPA and Malaysia's trade and consumer affairs ministry shut down six warehouses storing pirated products, it said.

The MPA said just-released titles such as "Terminator Salvation", "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian", "Angels and Demons" and "Star Trek" were among the movies seized.

"This is a clear signal to the pirates that we will not waver in our efforts to shut them down," said Mohamad Roslan Mahayudin, director-general of enforcement with the Malaysian ministry.

"We are glad to hear that Paddy's skills are being put to good use against the large, organised network of pirates involved in exporting illegal pirated DVDs to Singapore," said Mike Ellis, the MPA's Asia-Pacific managing director.

The MPA said its member companies lost 6.1 billion dollars to worldwide piracy in 2005. Of that lost revenue, about 1.2 billion dollars came from piracy in the Asian region.

Source: http://sg.news.yahoo.com/afp/20090603/tap-malaysia-crime-counterfeit-film-anim-0193655.html