August 22, 2009

POMCHI (POMaranian n CHIhuahua) Puppy for adoption

* Born on 19 May 2009
* Colour: Brown
* Father: long-haired Chihuahua
* Mother: Pomeranian
* Vaccination: 2nd vaccination on 16th august 2009 (done), deworming done
* Personality: Active and playful, like all pups

Interested parties, please write to Thank you.

August 10, 2009

Been thinking more lately

about what we're doing and the direction(s) our animal welfare work is going.

For one, our caregiver's route has been cut down and she now only plies certain spots and visits the shelter to enjoy interacting with her favourite Mama Rock, and son, Bruno. The tapioca pack resides, eternally joyfully, in the enclosure and enjoys their dip in the pool each occasion we let them out with a supervisory eye for potential scuffles.

Ginne and Junior are still as cheerful and affable, the most hospitable chaperones to all of us. John John looks forward to the chunks of boiled chicken thigh each time I enter his kennel, he loves them just the same.

Then at times, I lapse into thinking, "So what? And then...?" What's next for our animals? Am I acting upon the long-term plan to rehome them or have I lost faith in sourcing for and locating the right owners for mongrels, or are these potentials completely extinct in Singapore?

Some waves of stagnation and some urges of inching forward. Attempting to make progress in things.

Years ago, we already recognised that we could be, well, combating the little bushfires in the whole scheme of animal welfare rescue. Some individuals are good at fighting the mini bushfires, they too have their niche roles to play, and we should let them carry them out the best they can stretch.

And maybe it's because I've been trying to extinguish the little bushfires for too long, too much, that I feel I've become held back in certain areas. It's hard to inch forward or out of the quagmire of mini hotspots fighting when one is strapped.

So, what is it in for me? So what is it in for everyone of us interested to make a change in the current animal welfare status, to better the lives of the animals?

Certainly, we don't want to miss the woods for the trees. We want to do what we're best at, in areas where we can unleash supernatural potential, effect change and impact the welfare world significantly -- and with a satisfaction that tastes so good.

No inhibitions, no reservations. Just go all out to do it.

August 9, 2009

Followed up with little blackie, now named as

"Schnorkz", an approximate of her full name in German.

Save for a few pictures at the top not in sequence, here's the full chronology of Schnorkz' growth from 'rescue to rehome':

First day into domesticity: this is Schnorkz in the blue basket. Still with fleas crawling all over her tiny body. March 2009.

Playing in her litter pan. Barely a few weeks old. This is the cage she called home for a fortnight, siphoned from my two adult cats

T, her new owner, sent me this MMS of her perched on the cage of another cat at home. By the second day, she was already pally-pallying with other bigger cats

Snoozing on T's bed -- she's given the authority!

When we visited Schnorkz... she was struggling to wring herself free!

Significantly bigger now

Schnorkz now plays constantly with Bluhenzi, another black female a few months her senior

July 2009: beautiful posture. Schnorkz in her forever home.

August 5, 2009

Another visit to one of our rescued dogs,

that is, Chocho.

Indeed, today's visit came as quite a random decision, on a random August afternoon.

Knocked on the door of the apartment and the pack in which Chocho didn't have much of a problem integrating sang to me with their affable barks. I'd fondly called the pack the 'United Colors of Benetton' -- for the obvious diversity of breed, size, shape and colour all under one roof.

We've got in descending order of rank: Gigi, the shiba inu, Lil' John, the cocker spaniel, Dizzy, the retriever, Wawa, I presume, a terrier-mix, and Chocho, our chocolate medium-sized mongrel. What a sight, what myriad splendour of the canine world! A's pack epitomizes, truly, the global village of dogs of different sorts.

Chocho's deep-throated bark, which I heard for the first time, was part of the pack orchestra. While Lil' John and Dizzy literally stood on their hinds and greeted me as if to offer a welcome embrace, Chocho squirted pee in the back of the party -- out of the chain effects of excitement mixed with anxiety, perhaps.

And then, her tail upright, she was prancing confidently and happily with the rest. Her eyes sparkled bright. Her body language gave her wariness away, that was yet tempered by a familiarity of my scent and figure that she still cannot quite put a finger to. She would duck her head away when I went so close as to rub her forehead, but very visibly, there was less stiffening of her limbs, as compared to previous times, and vibes that spelt she was opening up to me -- just still quite cautious.

Save for Wawa, each had a oral-hygiene rawhide bone. It was most interesting to watch how Chocho who naturally doesn't take fancy of such commercial flavours actually observed how Lil' John zeroed in on the treat so comfortably, received her assurance from the exuberant feasting displayed by everyone else, and then, chewed on her share of rawhide just the same.

Next, in the cool of the late hours of the afternoon, R and I took Dizzy and Chocho out for their earlier-than-usual walks. I say 'earlier-than-usual' because in the foster's pack, the routine inclusive of pee/poo time, walks, meal times, treat occasions and slumber hours has been built into the dogs' individual body clock and their system.

R with Dizzy, and myself with Chocho. Our chocolate mongrel took lead and showed me her afternoon route through the pathways cloistered by hedges and trees, the nooks and crannies of the neighbourhood. This girl sure knows her walks.

Every so often, she would look up to me, as if expressing uncertainty over the bizarre timing of the walk and as if most likely expressing, why the heck is he walking me and not my pack leader, R? At the same time, she would gaze back at R and Dizzy, who looked joyfully living in his own bubble, to keep her newfound family in sight and perhaps make sure she wasn't just stuck with me.

As A informed, Chocho doesn't like men in general and in particular, men donned in dark clothes. Upon such encounters, her tail would droop down and be burrowed between her legs. We attribute this to either an unpleasant experience with said figures when she was living out at the farm, or the occasion when the professional dog catcher strategized to capture her after she ran away from her foster home.

As a result of her escape, A and R have since opted out of leashing her to merely a collar, but securing the leash to a harness with double rings. Less chance to wriggle out of the harness' straps at times of unpredictable paranoia. Simply, we cannot afford to lose her again.

For a dog who's been through a series of 'misadventures' -- from darting from unnecessary human attention at the farm to fighting with other strays for food to repeatedly asserting her position, however low, in the stray pack to being captured by the authorities and brought to the pound to being handled by strange hands of her rescuers to being tackled by a man in dark clothes -- the transformation that we see in Chocho now is, indeed, encouraging.

The socialisation into the pack, the socialisation with other dogs and humans, the routine built into her system... have established in her a sense of belonging to A's family, enhanced her receptiveness to the ways of domestic dogs, effected a boost in her confidence and improved her potential, behaviourally, as a pet dog, a family companion.

Not so much that she's less of a stray and more of a dog in 'captivity', but that she now lives and sleeps peacefully within the boundaries of SAFETY. There's a warmth she is experiencing and can seek solace in, being a social creature, a sentient being.

In time, we will make efforts to rehome her.

Lil' John and Chocho at the door

Wawa -- she's already 20 plus years old

Lil' John savouring his treat privately under the chair

Alpha female Gigi taking time to nibble her treat

Dizzy wasted no time in breaking his rawhide into smithereens

Chocho testing out hers

Dizzy and Chocho

August 4, 2009

Lovely... Doby


A day out -- at the vet's. Doby's mini excursion.

Ah... the little paths and the grass
And the sun
Feet on the grass, it feels good to be outdoors

Doby's thyroid blood test

turned out to be negative, so we are rest assured that it's not a matter of his health, but a matter of the lack of socialisation, of going out for walks to stretch, smell and work out his pent-up energy at home that's, perhaps, contributing to his somewhat aggressive tendencies.

To relieve J of her existing commitments to raising a baby (and one more to come!), housework and her profession, we finally took Doby out of his foster home and boarded him at a boarding facility.

Doby will be quarantined for a week.

We laid out his favourite mat on the floor, his Tigger toy, soccer ball and treats, in the hope that these familiar objects and their scents will reduce any potential separation anxiety. When J's husband left from one door of the quarantine, Doby kept his gaze at the door. The sights and sounds of other dogs in the surroundings did unsettle more than excite him, I feel.

And he wouldn't want to budge into his kennel after I let him out for a walk along the quarantine walkway since there were no other animals boarding, save for a cat at one side. A mistake I made.

An hour of futile coaxing and tugging left me with no choice but to double-muzzle him (for he may snap when hands are slipped under his armpits) and lug him into the kennel.

Pacing along the length of the quarantine.

To prevent Doby from bolting out of his cell and from leaving him in it with his leash still around his neck, I leashed him to the furthest corner, and with a tip from K who'd be tending to him for the week, looped another string into the hole of the loop of the current leash; next, I walked out of the cell and into the neighbouring cell to unhook his leash... and very carefully and steadily, unlooped the leash from around his neck by tugging it with the extra string. Simple device, but clever.

If there's anything I'd learnt in my walk in animal welfare thus far, it's the often impermanence of adoption or fosterhood that we have to handle in many rescue cases. Even if it is voluntary.

On the very positive side of things, J did provide very significant foster care -- in the face of the challenges she had to grapple with and the forces of opposition, I'm sure, from her family. Not easy to raise a gungho, territorial dog in an apartment, that's for sure.

In this fosterhood, Doby has gained a much closer step in moving in sync with humans, by his successful compliance to the commands of "sit", "down", "heel", "stay" and a zestful "okay!", when we permit him to lunge for his reward, after "stay".

The growls when one takes his food bowl, the snaps should one quietly approach him from behind, the baring of teeth when the vet tech draws blood from his front limb... to be frank, these are understandably natural reactions of a territorial dog, but perhaps in the opinion of those who'd prefer the cuddly sort or used to home dogs, Doby is not that easy to handle, as a pet.

For this matter, we're looking for a trained hand in succeeding J in fostering Doby. Best if it's someone or a family with the experience in rehabilitating dogs with behavioural problems, or who knows what to expect from a dog of Doby's sort.

Doby's not a fight dog, as some may presume, but like any mongrel, any dog, a man's best friend who swears by his life to fervently guard his property and loved ones. That's Doby, that's his loyalty.

If you have a foster or adoptive home in mind, please contact us at