July 29, 2009

Visited our boys,

Junior, Ginne, Mama Rock and Bruno for one last time on Saturday. I like my time there with our dogs, and oftentimes I wish to stay longer. To just relax and watch them enjoy their time out of the enclosure, running free, jumping into the pool, sniffing the grass, greeting the dogs over the other fences (though not always friendly greetings!).

We let Mama Rock out free and she assured us of her steadiness and cool attitude in the face of warning barks from other resident dogs. She will stand her ground for a moment and then walk away. I am personally certain that she can be let free without any concern.

She was tentative around the pool area, but once she got over the first wet paw, she totally sprawled herself in the water. Lovely to watch.






We're not that sure about Bruno's temperament yet so we had him on leash as we led him around the area and also into the pool.



Our tapioca pack of boys all came out for their free runs and swim. Star, as usual, headed right for the pool. Ben followed. Jamie, Jordan, Tiger, Tommy are not quite water babies. Jonah is the funniest dude. He would head right for the pool and jump right in, always underestimating the depth of the water and his stature - so every time he would jump into the water, paddle to the edge and come out all coughing and gagging from water rushing up his nostrils I guess!


The boys back into the enclosure after their free time. Ginne watching from beyond their fence.



Tommy is now living away from the boys in the inner kennels, mainly cos his enclosure is now taken up by Mama Rock and Bruno. Thus, we hope to quickly socialise Mama Rock and Bruno into the outer packs and Tommy can return to his enclosure soon.

For now, while we are there, we'll take him out for his run and to get some sun and wind on his face. He is a very good boy on his own. How much we had hoped that he would stop picking fights, but unfortunately he still does, and for that, he cannot free roam.

After his run around the pool, we placed him in this small area (while we let the other dogs out) which was put up for one old crippled dog to get some outdoors beyond the kennel hours. Tommy will watch the scenes from the fenced up area and when it was time, we walked him back to his kennel.



This tapioca pack of boys have gone through a lot in their days on the streets. Constantly hit by sticks from the foreign workers, hit by fast vehicles, dumped into dirty pools of water....and of cos, the constant threat of being caught and culled, despite being already sterilised.

Since they were rescued off the streets and relocated to the shelter last year, the boys had got into ocassional fights likely due to the close proximity now among 6 male dogs in an enclosure. Thus, the priority for each visit is to let them out for free runs.

All of them have a good long life ahead. And it is not my wish for them to spend their whole life behind the fence of the enclosure. Even more not so when each of them are so human-friendly and affectionate and smart.

Jamie and Jonah are so sweet. Star is fiesty and fun. Ben is a big baby boy, affectionate sometimes to the point of being clingy, but that's just him. Tiger is quite a coward beneath those 35kg of fats. Jordan is full of life. Tommy has a sad doggy look about him that makes you kind of wants to find the best family for him.


Click for larger view

* Thus, it is our hope that you keep them in mind when you're ready to adopt a local breed.

* It is also our current appeal for donations towards their regular upkeep and boarding fees (we are behind by a few months due to a delay/temporary pause by a few sponsors). They have all recently received their vaccinations.

We also appreciate your support towards the boarding fees of Mama Rock and Bruno, and the constant needs of dog food, tick/flea repellents, kennel sprays, supplements for the many strays/farm dogs out there.

Every dollar counts. Kindly email us at projectjkteam@yahoo.com.sg for more details. Thank you.

Taking some final moments

here in the wee hours of the morning, to share with all of you our experiences of the past week, before I fly off again in not too many hours from now.

I had the privilege to meet Colly in this return trip. A handsome young Husky who is so full of life and joy, ever glad to meet a human-friend, and ever eager to check out a canine pal (though not all of them are equally pleased to see him, since he could be over eager in his greetings).

My first meeting with him was a brief one as Y took him out of his kennel for a walk. I only got to know him better when we took him for his vax and microchip. After spending a few hours with him, Colly proved himself a very amiable fellow, easy-going and pleased to come to you for pats and hugs. A little nippy when he gets excited but otherwise a very good boy who understands basic commands.


On his way to the vet.

Thus, we reckon he must have been owned and trained by his previous human before he was rescued from the farm, where he was kept 24/7 in a dirty cage with no proper shelter. A Husky in our climate, without proper shelter in the heat of the day. Totally unacceptable.

While at the clinic, he impressed the vets so much that Dr O contacted a family who came right down to meet him, with their female local breed, who didn't quite like him at first sight, especially not when he got too up close with her. However, the family likes him and a second meeting was arranged for yesterday, where the 2 dogs met up at the shelter's dog run.

A romp and a chase and some playing in the rain. Colly was so thrilled by the rain that he stepped into the only stream of water he could find (which is a narrow drain filled with rain) and waddled about, stopping now and then to lift up his head, with mouth wide open, to catch the raindrops falling into his mouth! Classic. I love that sight. :)


Happily wet!

The 2 seemed to be getting on better and things look favourable as the family decided to take Colly home. As of this morning when we visited, Colly has settled down well, having constantly been on the move checking out his new home and ocassionally getting into little scuffles with the resident dog when he tried to get too close. We're sure they two will sort out their mutual feelings and level of intended intimacy with each other, and come to an agreeable living arrangement. Our best hope is they become good mates for life!

For now, we are very thankful for his new family who is willing to put in time and effort to help Colly adjust to his new pack and environment, and is forgiving of any of his misbehaviour while he learns his ways with his new humans and new canine pal. He'll be looking forward to many long walks and runs and swims. Thank you M and family!

Blood test

for Doby turned out to be normal, as likely expected by us.

His is a pretty straightforward case of too much pent-up energy in a street-smart local dog's body, that simply needs to be released and redirected by long walks/runs/play to stimulate body and brain which cannot be provided by his current caregivers due to family commitments and priorities which we fully understand.

Thus, the best thing now for both family and Doby is to find him an immediate foster home/adopter. Someone who is familiar with local breeds and is patient yet firm in re-conditioning Doby to an amicable human-dog family life.

Being as smart as he is, we are pretty certain Doby will make an impression on his coming new family. So, keep him in mind. Email projectjkteam@yahoo.com.sg for more info.

July 25, 2009

A very satisfying day

for me personally as I get to meet Doby again after quite a while. It was an early morning meeting with him, amidst some tension and fear from the family as there had been unfortunate instances of biting before and recently as it seemed that Doby's temperament was a bit unpredictable.

So naturally, the family was concerned about us handling him as they had our welfare in mind, having suffered some bites from their very own pet of about 4 years.

The Doby I met today was young, vivacious, alert, full of energy. Raring to go.



The family's fear rubbed off a teeny bit on me as I find myself being more cautious in the beginning with him. However, after a few minutes of fast walk, with him pulling (more out of eagerness than lack of manners), and asking him to wait if he pulled too strongly, praising him when he walked well - he was looking just like any other perfectly normal, young local dog. It is a pretty normal case of pent-up energy with other social misinterpretations that sort of relegated him as being an 'aggressive dog'. From my time with him today, I would not agree. Though I would not invalidate the caregivers' feedback and shared observations about Doby, as they had firsthand experiences of his seeming unpredictability and have been putting in effort for the past years in having him go for obedience training and adjusting their lifestyle to try and fit him into their family structure.

Doby was eager on his walk. His pulling and lunging at other dogs and edginess at the vet clinic I can understand. He was good in the car, alertly scrutinizing the moving scenes and lying down when he was tired. At one time, on his way back home, he was getting more comfortable with me to lie close with his body against my leg. Earlier on, he would keep his distance.

Did a blood test on him to rule out possibility of hyperthyroidism (where dogs may show signs of hyperactivity, nervousness, irritability), as advised by A, which is not that common as also he doesn't display other symptoms related to that condition but we got him the blood test to completely rule that out for peace of mind, and a confirmation that it is simply a case of lack of walks, social activities and pent-up energy. Also had his vax up to date. We'll get the blood test results on Monday.

Meanwhile, as his current caregiver cannot handle him anymore due to family commitments and a general sense of fear in the family that does not work out well both ways for humans and dog and a young baby, it is best for both parties that we find a new foster/home for Doby as soon as possible.

He is a good, loyal boy who simply needs a family who's familiar with local breeds/big dogs and is able to give him long walks everyday and lots of social interaction to boost his confidence and downplay his over-eager lunge-greetings to other animals,. A family who is calm and assertive to show him that his human is his pack leader, and he can trust his pack leader's steadiness and calm regularity. A family who is gentle and patient to give him time to relearn his place in his pack and be reassured that he does not need to be on high alert all the times, that he can relax and be a happy family friend.



In my personal opinion, Doby will offer his new family many good memories of the simple, honest, steadfast human-dog relationship.

Email us at projectjkteam@yahoo.com.sg for more info. Thank you.

July 20, 2009

Hitting animal as serious as hitting a human

Mon, Jun 16, 2008
The New Paper

If you hit someone on the road and flee from the scene of the accident, you will get into trouble with the law.

But what if you knock down an animal? Well, don't think you can just drive off.

Be it a person or an animal, the same law applies.

Under the Road Traffic Act, if you are involved in an accident where a person or an animal is injured, you have to stop your vehicle and help the victims.

If not, you can face a fine up to $3,000 or be jailed up to a year. For a subsequent conviction, you can be fined up to $5,000 or jailed up to two years.

Lawyer Luke Lee told The New Paper: 'Animals are protected under the same law as humans.'
And those who injure an animal in a hit-and-run case face the same penalties if the law is violated, he added.

Ms Deirdre Moss, executive officer of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), said: 'Most people, unfortunately, do not think that such cases are important just because (the victim) is an animal.

Student Andrew Teo's dog was one such victim. On 4 Jun, the 23-year-old took his 2-year-old miniature schnauzer, Vodka, for their usual evening walk. At 9.45pm, they were about to cross Choa Chu Kang Crescent when a white van sped towards them.

Mr Teo said he was standing on the pavement while Vodka, who was on a leash, was already on the road.

On seeing the van, Mr Teo tried to pull the dog back, but Vodka slipped out of his collar and dashed across the road.

It was hit by the van and blood oozed from its right ear and nostrils.

Mr Teo saw the van had stopped a few metres away and two men came out. Mr Teo said that when they saw him, they quickly got back into the van and allegedly drove off. But he managed to take down its licence plate number.

Three passers-by, two of whom are Mr Teo's neighbours, helped him move Vodka onto the pavement.
He said: 'By that time, I knew Vodka was dead. His body was intact, but you could feel that his skull had been crushed.'

Mr Teo took the dog to its vet to get a death certificate and then went to a police station to make a report.

A police spokesman confirmed Mr Teo's report and said they are investigating the accident, which happened between Block 662 and Block 691A at Choa Chu Kang Crescent.The road has no pedestrian crossings or traffic lights, but Mr Teo and other residents said that it has low traffic even during the day.

The vet's medical report declared Vodka dead on arrival. It suffered severe trauma to the head and chest.

Mr Teo is upset that the van occupants did not stop to help and feels they must take responsibility and be punished accordingly.

AWARENESS NEEDED

Motorist William Neo, 28, was unaware that the penalty for hit-and-run cases is the same for both humans and animals.The project coordinator feels that motorists need to be better educated on road rules.

He said: 'Most people would probably think hitting an animal is much less serious than hitting a person.

'Informing motorists of the consequences would make them think twice about driving off after hitting an animal.'

The SPCA said that when pets are injured in road accidents, the owners should alert the SPCA and try to move the animals to the side of the road.

But those with little experience in handling animals should not try to pick them up. They should wait for SPCA staff members to arrive, while alerting motorists to slow down and drive cautiously - the traffic police will generally assist in this area.


Source: AsiaOne Motoring http://motoring.asiaone.com/Motoring/Story/A1Story20080616-71108.html

July 18, 2009

Today's activities

started off with a homely lunch with A and pals, P and J, and their 3 goldie girls. The weather was kind with a breezy light rain as we dine under the outdoor shelter, the rain stopping just in time as we finished the mains to walk the girls around for a bit.

After a good interaction with fellow dog lovers, we set off to meet Mr G for whom we've recently sterilised his young female dog and 2 female cats. A very kindly and welcoming family, albeit still stubborn in the belief that sterilisation is 'cruel' to the animal. Thus the current situation of more than a handful of cats at his farm which we are steadily convincing him towards the benefits and finality of sterilisation. To ease his mind once and for all from any worries of yet another impregnation. The next batch of cats for sterilisation should be set for next week.

Then off to visit Ben and bros, Junior, Ginne, Mama Rock and Bruno. Gave all of them a treat of steamed chicken, cleaned out their enclosure, cleaned their ears, fixed the roof abit and took Mama Rock out to explore the outer areas on leash to give us better control against any unexpected reactions from the other residents.

Mama Rock displayed all the calmness of a mature dog. No sense of threat from her to the older residents, the only moments she stopped was to sniff and be sniffed, before moving onto other interesting scents on the grass. To the common eye, she seems a good candidate to be let free very soon. We have yet to see how Bruno will react to the outside crowd. We hold onto the hope that both of them integrate well with the outer packs so that they can roam more freely and also for Tommy to re-emerge from the inner kennel and back into his enclosure. We plan to try the integration again next weekend. Have hope!

July 10, 2009

Back in town

for a few weeks, with a heart excited to meet the boys tomorrow for a couple of hours.

6 boys in an enclosure could be getting a bit too close for comfort. Thus, whenever we visit, we strive to let each of them have a free roam in the bigger area. To run off any excess energy, stretch those long legs, cool off in the pool. A fast free dash to feel the wind in their face.

Can't wait to see Mama Rock and son together, finally, in their enclosure. No longer confined 24/7 to a small dirty cage or tied up for extended periods with no proper shelter. I'm sure mother and son are catching up on so much lost time of play and simple togetherness.

Wanting to meet Cho Cho again also after these few months. And see how the wonders of home fostering has transformed her.

For those who are unaware, I have been away and out of action for the past 5 months. JK work has been handled mostly single-handedly by K with great help from J, Y, S, A, T and others who've given their time and effort along the way. Thus, we have not been able to meet every one of your requests for help, which would be an impossibility even if the whole team was active. An area where we seek your understanding.

Will start getting into some action now, while I can.

J.

July 6, 2009

"Cruel", that's what

the farmers of a (floral) nursery told us. Not that they are heartless owners but that they were too entrenched in a mindset that sterilisation is against the order of nature and is bodily and psychologically 'cruel' to the animal. It cripples the animals, it deprives the animal from its entitlement of being an animal, on its most primordial terms.

As a matter of fact, sterilisation does remain a debatable issue.

We tried many times to persuade the farmers into getting their dogs and cats sterilised and the furthest they budged was allow a volunteer of one animal welfare society to take one of their female dogs to be spayed.

After what must have been time in memorial, a few weeks ago, they finally rang me and said YES to sterilisation. Just last Wednesday, T brought one female dog and two female cats to the clinic for spaying. I arranged for all three animals to be vaccinated (I mean, since they were all already at the clinic...) and perhaps not quite to the farmers' expectations, to have the female dog microchipped as well.

The total expenditure for this batch nears $300. By right, onus is upon the owners to pay for the fees, but where farmers are more often than not ignorant of the benefit and purpose of sterilisation, unreceptive to animal welfare ideas and make claims that they are not legitimately or legally responsible for the dogs based on the premise that the dog was dumped on my farm by someone else and I took pity on her and took her in, I need to execute sterilisation asap without the farmers changing their minds.

A spayed female dog means saving future litters of the dogs produced from one fertile mother. It's that important.

If you would like to contribute to our street animal sterilisation cause, kindly email us at projectjkteam@yahoo.com.sg

Updates and receipts of expenditure will be followed up accordingly.

Thank you.

July 5, 2009

Freedom

video

Merrily they run. No pretense.

Saturday, we set off early

in the morning to the shelter to bring Junior and Ginne for their annual health check and vaccination at the vet's. Itinerary included a day of fun and relaxation at the dogrun, to the foster's for bathing, ear cleaning, feeding and reunion with foster, and then back to the shelter.

Thanks to J for holding on to both girls and keeping an eye on them while I drove. Thanks to S for steadily walking the girls both at the same time. Great teamwork!


Ginne noseying through the potted plants of the foster's miniature garden



Junior combing the stretches of the dogrun. This is a place she's familiar with, having visited the run quite a few times already.

As usual, she would go from tree to tree, scanning the barks for tree lizards or any moving insects. A true-blue hunter dog with an eye for detail. Anything that so much as rove an inch.



Even during playtime, the twin work like a closely-knit duo exploring the field together, in sight of each other.


At one point in time, Junior went into 'hysteria' when I untied Ginne's leash and took her for a short walk. Like a dog with separation anxiety, dear Junior was whining and struggling to free herself from being tied to the bench.
As we walked further away, Ginne kept turning her head and stopped in her tracks to look at Junior.
Separation anxiety, I guess, with respect to me and Ginne.


At the clinic, both girls were taken for blood tests to check for presence of heartworm, lyme disease and E. Canis and also for their annual vaccination.
While Ginne is cleared of these known afflictions, Junior is diagnosed postive for tick fever.
The second dot was transparent on the test kit which meant her 'exposure' is slight (the other dot solid), particularly in view that Junior displayed no detectable sign of weaknesses or lethargy and her gums looked a healthy biege-pink.




A joy to watch


Junior and Ginne at the clinic. We returned the girls to the shelter and informed the caretaker of Junior's minor tick fever condition.
Junior will take doxycycline for two weeks and most likely be given more after this course by the caretaker to keep tick fever at bay. I was told the anti-bodies stay in the affected dog and will manifest as tick fever when the dog is stressed.
There is however a method to treat a dog by purging both good and bad bacteria, that is, flushing out the anti-bodies and getting the dog back into health by giving multi-vits.


Momo, a people-friendly Daschund (belonging to owners who obviously love the dogrun) which made affable contact with her newfound, bigger-sized mates, Ginne and Junior



Unintended symmetry: Junior and Ginne chomping down their late lunch of wetfood and sausages



Ginne. Isn't she beautiful?




Perhaps like an excited parent, I looked forward to taking my girls, Ginne (pronounced as "Jeannie" by previous owners) and Junior for a day out. Approximately three years have whizzed past they were abandoned heartlessly by their ex-owners, as domestic[ated] pets in the wilderness some 40km away from their home and some four years have passed since I decided to take in Junior, then a dog whom no one really wanted nomading from home to home, as my first and till date, only dog I ever fostered.
Walks in dog-friendly nature parks. Beaches. Dogruns. Streets of different neighbourhoods. Just me and my dogs. Quiet companionship and a real connection to canine behaviour, experiencing and witnessing how these intelligent mongrels navigate through familiar routes, lunge for squirrels, monkeys, monitor lizards and occasionally turn their heads to look straight at me, as if, asking, "Is it okay? How are you doing so far? Is this where I should go?"
And then continuing -- with their great strides. Paws on tarmac and their noses highly sensitized to the whiffs of the likes of passing bikers, dewy grass, sand from construction sites or the lab behind the gates of a duplex.
In a world of animal communication. Companions that are so manageable. They don't require much, they just love their walks, love their time with their master, their pack leader.
For dogs I have grown emotionally connected with, I bear no shame in romanticizing my time spent with them. Each snapshot of memory doused with so much sentimentality. Simply, I just love my dogs.

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If you would like to contribute to Junior's and/or Ginne's boarding fees at the shelter or Junior's tick fever medical treatment or the girls' consultation at the clinic, kindly email us at projectjkteam@yahoo.com.sg
Thank you.

July 1, 2009

How apt

"There are many social psychology experiments which suggest we do not challenge the status quo or authority, and that we prefer to stand with the majority. These include the Stanley Milgram experiment in Yale University on how people bow to expert authority, and the Solomon Ash experiment on the length of lines, which demonstrated how we conform to popular opinion.

In real life, Ms Kitty Genovese was murdered in New York, in the early hours of March 13, 1964. Thirty-eight witnesses saw her being stabbed 64 times over 30 minutes in three episodes. No one called for help. There was diffusion of responsibility - the 'bystander effect' - and social information suggests doing nothing is the appropriate thing to do.

The thinking is that, surely, if something were really badly wrong, someone else would have acted. As for oneself, one would go along with the group first.

...

Very often, we do what the group wants, not what is right."


Taken from "Why no one seemed to see the crisis coming" published on the Straits Times, Review - Others, 23 Jun 2009, by Tan Suee Chieh, NTUC Income's chief executive.