We’re Giving More Profits Away – To Animal Lovers League, a No Kill Shelter for Abandoned, Sick, Injured Dogs and Cats

For those who already know, we currently have an ongoing Christmas project to help the kids of Cotlands – a non profit organisation in South Africa that focuses on the education and social crisis in Africa by organising early learning playgroups and toy libraries in under-resourced communities. More about it can be read by clicking this link: Our Profits are Going to Africa to Make Some Children Smile this Christmas. Here’s How You Can Be A Part of It.

A New Project to Help the Abandoned and Rescued Dogs of Singapore

We have created a new Christmas project and in this one, we will be aiming to help stray dogs – beautiful creatures that we have a very soft spot for.

From 25 November 2015 to 25 December 2015, we will be giving 1/3 of all sales proceeds from two of our products, R02 – Spirited Away and C14 – Doggy to Animal Lovers League.

Why Are We Helping Them?

“With a rental of at least S$20,000 per month to cover, and more than S$35,000 owed to their vet, they mostly rely on donations from the public.”

Animal Lovers League (ALL) is home to at least 700 rescued cats and dogs. These animals that were taken in have either been abused, abandoned, sick, or injured. They are also a no kill shelter. This means that all the animals under their care can enjoy the peace that they will always meals to look forward to, volunteers to mingle with and care for them, and treatment should the need arise. They will never ever have to worry about the possibility of being euthanized. ALL’s efforts to save so many animals have put them in a very difficult financial position. With a rental of at least S$20,000 per month to cover, and more than S$35,000 owed to their vet, they mostly rely on donations from the public. They also depend on dog lovers to adopt their current cats and dogs, so that they may have more space in their kennels to rescue more animals.

With so many dogs and cats to care for, it is a blessing that they do have sufficient volunteers to help out. The co-founders of the shelter, Cathy and Mohan, have never failed to compromise on their own well-being just so their animals can have a better tomorrow.

Because of their lack of space, volunteers of ALL make it a necessity to travel to areas in Singapore whereby there are many stray dogs. These dogs are fed daily, and they are often taken in to be sterilised, and then released onto the streets again. Dogs are incredibly intelligent. When they know where to expect food everyday, they keep to themselves and wait for the food to come. They do not cause trouble by hounding people with food, unlike the monkeys you see in MacRitchie. The sterilisation also helps to curb their population growth. With so little organisations in Singapore caring for our street dogs, it is important that they be sterilised.

Their only fixed income is through a boarding service they provide. It costs only 5 dollars a day and it has not been effective in making ends meet.

Most of the dogs they rescue have complicated health problems. There is no surprise to why they owe the vet more than S$35,000.

My Experience With Them

For those of you who have read our previous blog posts, you would know that we are not affiliated with ALL in any way, but we love to help. It started when my beloved Jack Russell of 16 years passed away on 2 December 2014. My family, including my helper, are big dog lovers. We decided that as dog lovers, we do not need a beautiful looking pure breed dog such as a Golden Retriever or Labrador. Any dog can give us happiness, especially if there is that certain fondness of first sight. We sourced for shelters and found ourselves at ALL. We were so inspired and touched by the selflessness of Cathy, and it was there that we found Elliot, a lovely mongrel that we have grown to fall in love with.

Elliot just outside the shelter.

Elliot just outside the shelter.

Elliot when he first came to our home.

Elliot when he first came to our home.

 

He has since grown into a big boy now!

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A few months ago, my helper spotted a sick looking stray loitering in our estate. It was drinking from the dirty puddles of water on the roads and it looked like it needed urgent help. I managed to locate it and lure it back to my home. From there, we arranged with Cathy for it to be housed by ALL. My family paid for its bills and we named it after the street we lived at. It looked to be abandoned, due to its collar mark at its neck. It was also very domesticated, unlike a normal stray who would be very cautious of humans. His condition has since improved a lot and he’s now looking for a new home. He’s expected to be about 10 years of age. Due to his age, not many would want to adopt him. We would love to take him in if we had the resources but we will not take in any dog that we cannot care for.

 

We had to restrain Springside until the van arrived.

I visit him at least once a week to feed and walk him, but he still looks very depressed.

There Are More Dogs that Need Help

This stray that we rescued had a catheter inserted into his private parts because he could not urinate. He was suffering badly. However, there are so many other dogs that need greater medical assistance.

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Meet Ubin, a lovely stray that was rescued from a wild boar trap in Pulau Ubin. Ubin lost a leg due to being trapped, but he is so happy now. We cannot save all the dogs in the world, but we can do our best.

Please Note…

Floral Garage Singapore did not mark up any prices for our project with Cotlands South Africa and ALL. The decision to donate these profits is a personal decision made by us. If you have no one to purchase a bouquet as a gift during this festive season, and if you would like to be a part of ALL efforts, we strongly urge you to make a donation directly to them by clicking this link.

 

This Christmas, we want to be their Santa. Please share this post to spread the word 🙂 Thank you!

She is the Ultimate Saviour of Dogs and Cats – Meet A Woman of True Compassion and Courage.

He hasn't forgotten Cathy at all :)

By now, you would realise that apart from having the love for flowers, we are also very passionate dog lovers. Today, I will be sharing with you in brief, the life story of a lady whom I have much respect for. I admire her strength, courage, and will, and I hope that my readers today can learn a thing or two from this post.

Her name is Cathy Strong. Together with Mohan, they founded an animal shelter – Animal Lovers League (ALL) (please click here to follow their Facebook for updates on their dogs).

As mentioned at the start, what I am going to write in this post is going to be brief yet insightful. The full and detailed story should be published by Cathy herself.

I first met Cathy one to two months after my beloved Jack Russell passed away at 16 years of age. When my family felt we were ready for a new dog, we decided to adopt instead of buy. For those of you who would like to know the reasons to our decision, check out our first article about dogs – The Truth about Local Pet Shops You Probably Didn’t Know.

Our Search for a New Dog – How ALL Captured Our Hearts

We visited many animal shelters with the hope of finding a mongrel puppy that we could really connect with. After educating ourselves about the dog situation in Singapore, we were determined to save a stray through adoption.

ALL

During a weekend in January, we found ourselves at ALL in Pasir Farmway. To be honest, the physical state of ALL is below the standards of other shelters. But there is a special magic about this place that kept us there a little longer than usual.

From what I saw and confirmed, ALL is home to about 700 dogs and cats. Some of the dogs looked really sick and injured, but there was this happiness in their eyes that helped me develop a certain attachment to this shelter.

Inside ALL

It is a struggle to maintain minimum hygiene standards at the shelter. With so many animals and so little volunteers or helpers, Cathy really looked like a superwoman at work. There were so many animals to feed, clean, treat, and walk. Every dog had a need. Somehow, by hook or by crook, ALL could fulfil it. I like to refer to ALL as a shelter of miracles. ALL has even seen a paralyzed dog regain mobility!

ALL

I immediately symphatised with Cathy and wondered how she could do this every day. I asked myself, doesn’t she have to go home? Doesn’t she have to work for her basic necessities? This shelter is big and so many of the animals look like they need frequent medical attention. How do they cope with the funds? Not to mention, the animals need food several times a day. I looked at the ground and the dogs were peeing as they please. My final question to myself was, how in the world does this superwoman cope!?

My Conversation with Cathy

I spoke with Cathy to find out more about the organisation and herself. As it is already known, ALL was founded by Cathy and Mohan (I have only had the opportunity to briefly speak with Mohan once, and that was about Springside, the sick and injured stray I brought to ALL).

Cathy developed a love for cats and dogs many years ago. She began as a feeder and would travel long distances just to care for and feed stray animals.

Through great blessing, Cathy’s home then was a landed property in which she rented for a very cheap price. She housed and cared for many dogs and cats. I cannot remember the number but I am absolutely sure the number was not a small one. It was also to no surprise that she received many complaints from the neighbours about her furry friends. She then had to move out of that home and rented another place.

Through their own pockets, Cathy and Mohan slowly built a pet sanctuary that many of the abandoned and abused could call home.

During the SARS outbreak in 2003, many of the cats she fed daily were culled. I believe that there is no relation between SARS and cats. For all we know, this culling was done to simply show that something was done with regards to the health crisis. This was heart-breaking for Cathy. She managed to save some of them by bringing them back with her.

ALL is a no-kill shelter. That being said, they will never ever put an animal to sleep. They also aggressively encourage adoption and responsible pet ownership.

Her Sacrifices and Worries

Cathy spends most of her time with the animals in the shelter and she constantly worries about finding money to cover the shelter’s expenses for each month. Their main source of income is through donations. Especially those who pledge a monthly amount of money to them.

Insane Bills With Close to Zero Income

ALL is already experiencing difficulties and yet their expenses are increasing by the day. Can you imagine? ALL’s rental is at least 20,000 SGD per month. Life is really not fair, isn’t it? But somehow, they have managed to persevere. Despite owing their vet about 30,000 SGD, their mission and goal will never change. Their strong characters are admirable and it would do them much help if other people practiced better consideration.

It is really ironic that ALL’s landlord are breeders. I am not quite fond of breeders. If you read my first article, you will know why.

She is always compromising on her comfort and standard of living by using her personal funds to fund the shelter. ALL provides a boarding service to help defray their monthly cost. They charge 5 SGD a day if you require their boarding services. A typical boarding home would charge 25 SGD.

Your Help is Needed

I have visited ALL several times and I am actually guilty for not providing much help to the organisation. It makes me sound so hypocritical to claim that I care and yet not do much about it. I am hoping to start as a weekly volunteer the following weekend and I hope to see you there.

ALL need all the help they can get. If you are unable to provide financial assistance, I am sure your time will always be valued. These dogs can put a smile on your face any day and any time. I urge that should you come, you come with an open heart and mind. It is unpleasant to see a volunteer pulling a long face just because he does not want to get his hands dirty. The fact that you are delegated to do something means that it is something that has to be done. I believe they are too short of manpower to be delegating redundant tasks.

I have started by starting a crowd funding campaign for a stray I rescued in my neighbourhood. For those of you who are unaware, check out these posts on how we rescued Springside, and an update of him.

Crowd Funding Campaign

I started a crowd funding campaign for Springside because his bills are expensive and the money we gave to Cathy can only cover a fraction of the total bill.

Since starting the campaign, I have now had two donations, amounting to 120 SGD. This may be a small and slow step, but it has motivated me very much.

I hope to be able to start a crowd funding campaign for the other dogs of ALL that are in greater need, and for ALL as a whole. If you would like to make a donation to the medical fees of Springside, please click here. If you are not able to donate (no obligations at all), a share would be greatly appreciated.

I guarantee that all funds will go to subsidising his medical fees and I will be providing some form of documentation to the donators when the campaign ends in November.

If you would like to join me on this adventure to raise funds for the lovely dogs of ALL, you could do so by emailing me at justin_chua@msn.com. I have a plan that I cannot wait to execute. I am currently trying to get a team of influential bloggers to create greater awareness with regards to this issue.

Thank you

Everybody, thank you for your time. I hope this post has provided you with a greater understanding of the dog situation in Singapore.

Just to side track a little, 2 months after adopting Elliot from ALL, we decided to bring him to pay Cathy a visit. He is extremely shy and is only playful with family. He is afraid of other dogs and strangers. We thought he would fear meeting Cathy just like how he is afraid of everyone else. But no, his reaction to seeing Cathy was just beautiful. She is truly the voice of the voiceless.

Elliot meeting Cathy for the first time in 2 months.

Elliot meeting Cathy for the first time in 2 months.

Elliot shaking Cathy's hand

Elliot shaking Cathy’s hand

He hasn't forgotten Cathy at all :)

He hasn’t forgotten Cathy at all 🙂

I suck at taking photos. But these are beautiful.

Till next time 🙂

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An Update On Our Rescued Stray Dog, Springside – Every Share Helps

He looks really depressed. Probably because he was abandoned..

Hello Everybody,

 

Today, i’ll be providing an update on Springside, the beautiful stray we found and saved. For those of you who are hearing this for the first time, you can click here for the previous and first ever post about him.

The last time I wrote about him, we found him, fed him, and arranged for him to be brought to Animal Lovers League, a shelter we love very much, and also the shelter we adopted our beloved Elliot from.

Initially, I was not able to visit him until the following week due to my schedule. However, because he had to be admitted to the animal hospital, I was able to visit him almost everyday until he was discharged.

My First Visit to Springside at Animal Lovers League

The first time I visited him was when he returned to the shelter after his first visit to the vet. Because he was not urinating, they had to insert a catheter into his penis. It looked really painful but it did help in draining out his urine. I was told that he had a high count of white blood cells, which usually suggests that he is suffering from an infection. The vet also told the caretakers from the shelter that he is having some kidney/bladder stones which would require surgery.

Here are some pictures of my first visit to him at the shelter:

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He requires the help of a catheter to drain his pee.

He requires the help of a catheter to drain his pee.

He looks really depressed. Probably because he was abandoned..

He looks really depressed. Probably because he was abandoned..

He wasn't eating or drinking but he finished a whole bowl of food when I fed him by hand.

He wasn’t eating or drinking but he finished a whole bowl of food when I fed him by hand.

My Subsequent Visits to Springside at the Vet

A few days later, his catheter came off. The caretakers from the shelter also reported to the vet that he has not been passing motion. The vet could not diagnose him anything with regards to his inability to pass motion. All she could think of was that he was probably in a lot of pain and therefore decided to ‘keep it in’.

In my first post, do you remember that I said Springside was walking with a limp when we found him? The vet analysed him further and concluded that there was nothing wrong with his legs. As a matter of fact, he was walking in such an uncomfortable manner because his testicles were twisted. They performed a surgery on him to remove them. Can you imagine the kind of pain he was enduring during his time on the streets?

I visited him almost everyday when he was at the vet. I was able to do so because they had flexible visitation hours, whereas if he were to be at the shelter, I would not be able to enter after 7:00 p.m.

Here are some images from my visits to him at the vet:

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Back to the Shelter & A Crowd Funding Campaign

Now, Springside has been discharged and he is back at the shelter. I will be visiting him tomorrow (12 September 2015). At the same time, I would like to gather photos and stories of the other resident dogs of the Animal Lovers League.

The other dogs in the shelter have stories and beginnings that are far more heart touching and depressing than Springside’s. Most have been abused, traumatised, and abandoned in the most cruel ways possible. The reason why I am starting a campaign with Springside is because I have developed a bond with him and I cannot bear to let him suffer silently. My only obstacles are money and time.

Therefore, I have started a crowd funding campaign over here: Please Help Us Raise Funds for this Rescued Stray (click link to view).

The health complications of Springside are not as severe as the other dogs in the shelter, and his fees are already above 2,000 SGD. Images of the test results and receipts are below. Can you imagine how much the shelter has to pay for? They have about 700 dogs and cats, and most of them require frequent medical attention.

 

Please Help, A Share Would Do

I urge all of you dog lovers to support me in the raising of funds for Springside. Because the shelter has so many dogs to save, they are constantly in huge debt and making ends meet at the end of each month would be more of a miracle than a reality.

I’ll be writing another post about Animal Lovers League tomorrow. All shelters are amazing as they have the common goal to help rescue street dogs. But the story of Animal Lovers League simply blew me away.

If you are unable to donate, please help to share this article! An effortless share could go a long way in helping our best friends 🙂

If this crowd funding campaign can gather more funds than expected, more dogs can be helped, and the debt owed to the vet can also be reduced.

I will be providing proof to show that every single cent goes to the dogs. Whatever profits (if possible) will be reinvested to giving more dogs a better tomorrow.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 photo 5

How We Saved a Stray Dog and How You Can Too

This is a detailed documentation on how we saved a beautiful stray dog.

Sightings of A Sick Dog

On the nights of 27 August 2015 and 28 August 2015, my Dad and helper said they saw a stray dog that looked exactly like the one we adopted. For those of you who do not know, we adopted a saved stray, named Elliot, from Animal Lovers League (click HERE for their FB) earlier in January 2015!.

They also mentioned that it was walking with a limp and it looked very sick. They initially mistook it to be a female and felt it could possibly be the mother of Elliot, since Elliot was rescued from a construction site relatively near to my home when he was a months old.

 

The Beginning of Our Mission

I was determined to find and save this dog. A few thoughts came to mind but I first decided to inform Animal Lovers League as I might need their assistance the moment I find this dog.

According to my helper, this dog was most commonly seen at the park nearby our home. We therefore began this search at the park and covered a few lanes of houses nearby.

On 29 August 2015, my Dad and I went out to search for this injured and sick stray at about 9:00 p.m. We brought along a plastic bag of dog food and treats, hoping to be able to lure the dog. The search was futile but we managed to obtain some valuable information from some of the neighbours we conversed with.

 

Helpful Neighbours

We were walking aimlessly, hoping to bump into the dog by coincidence. We knew that we could not carry on like this because luck should not be the main ingredient of an accomplished mission.

We first approached the construction workers at two of the nearby construction sites but they claimed that they did not see any stray dog that matched our description. We also approached passers-by and residents who lived near the park. Through these conversations, we gathered findings that made our search a lot easier.

We met a domestic helper who lives nearby the park and she walks her employer’s dogs at least four to six times a day. She mentioned that this stray dog is usually at the park early in the morning from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m, and in the evening from about 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. She also mentioned that she suspects the dog survives on leftovers from some homes in her lane on a daily basis. Knowing which house feeds the dog is essential as dogs tend to return to the spot where they know food will be present. She also told us where she once saw the dog sleeping at 3:00 a.m.

A lady walking her Golden Retriever also managed to provide us with some useful information. She mentioned that this stray dog was sleeping outside her home the previous night.

I exchanged contact numbers with all of the people we talked to so that they can contact me if they see him again.

 

The Continuation of Our Search

On 30 August 2015, I began my search at around 6:00 a.m. After a good 45 minutes, I spotted the dog at the corner of the park. I was so happy and called my helper and Dad immediately so that they could help with the necessary preparations. Check out some images of this beautiful boy below!

First sight of the stray at 6:45 a.m. By looking at his neck, we can tell that he once wore a collar and has most likely been abandoned.

First sight of the stray at 6:45 a.m. By looking at his neck, we can tell that he once wore a collar and has most likely been abandoned.

The stray was extremely hungry and thirsty

The stray was extremely hungry and thirsty

He just wanted more and more! He must have not eaten for a long time.

He just wanted more and more! He must have not eaten for a long time.

I was following him around before gaining some trust.

I was following him around before gaining some trust.

He was really lovely and obedient. Unlike a typical stray, he was not very afraid of humans. Though he was a little cautious with me, he became less insecure when I began patting him and giving him more food. I followed him around the estate for about two hours.

He walked towards a domestic helper who was washing her employer’s car outside a house. He desperately tried to drink from the puddles of water on the road and I stopped him immediately. Thankfully, I managed to get a bowl of clean water from the helper and he finished the whole bowl at one go!

 

He Is Really Sick – Some Suspicions About His Past

He walked really slowly with a limp and looked really sick. There was a lot of mucus surrounding his nose, and he seemed to be suffering from some underlying conditions.

I saw him pass motion and by observing his watery stools, it is apparent that he has very bad diarrhoea. His urination is also extremely slow and disrupted. I can roughly conclude that he could be suffering from a prostate problem.

He looked pretty old. I would not be surprised if I was told he is more than seven years old. But there was one observation I had about him that lingered with me. From the previous images, you can see that there is a collar lining at his neck. This suggests to us that he has worn a collar on a very regular basis before in the past.

It is obvious that he once wore a collar. This explains his tameness.

It is obvious that he once wore a collar. This explains his tameness.

His excellent temperament and obedience also suggests that he was once a domesticated pet.

The shop houses opposite my estate were forced to move out as there are currently plans to develop a condominium there. I suspect that he was owned by one of the store owners there who later abandoned him when they had to move out. Of course, this is just a speculation and it is not worth to spend time speculating. For now, saving and treating him is my utmost priority.

 

Bringing Him Home

At 9:00 a.m. my Dad managed to get in touch with Animal Lovers League. The plan was to send him to the shelter and he would be scheduled for an appointment with the vet on the following day (31 August 2015).

I managed to gain his trust and he followed me back to my home. We fed him with some organic food and gave him more clean water to drink. He soon started to wag his tail a little and it was really a beautiful sight.

We had to be very careful and made sure that he did not come in contact with the grass in our garden or Elliot. He might possibly be suffering from tick fever, heartworm or have some other kind of viral infection that could be easily transmitted to Elliot.

Springside finished his meal so quickly, I did not even have time to take a picture when the plate was filled with food!

Springside finished his meal so quickly, I did not even have time to take a picture when the plate was filled with food!

We had to restrain Springside until the van arrived.

We had to restrain Springside until the van arrived.

Springside in the van

Springside in the van

 

To the Shelter – The Responsibilities of Saving A Stray

We engaged a van to transport our new found friend to the animal shelter. We had to give him a name for easier identification and so we decided to name him ‘Springside’ since he was found in Springside Park!

Springside was isolated from the other 400 plus dogs just in case he had something that could be spread. We met with Sprinside at the shelter shortly after he was transported there and we will be visiting him again soon.

We are currently awaiting news regarding his test results and we are hoping for the best.

By the way, Animal Lovers League is a no kill shelter, dedicated to helping injured and sick strays. That being said, it must not be treated as a dumping ground as a result of irresponsible behaviour. I will be writing another post soon to talk more on how they operate and also touch on the difficulties they go through daily.

Here are some things that the dog lovers need to know when it comes to saving a stray:

No matter what you do, be careful

Always have food or treats with you to gauge how approachable the dog is. Not all strays are as tame as Springside. Some are actually very fierce. It is always safer to engage the assistance of experts from the shelter.

Animal shelters rely on donations

Most shelters owe the vet too much money (as much as S$25,000 to S$40,000). Therefore, the vet will strictly disallow any form of credit payment. We cannot depend on the shelter to foot the bill as they already have so many dogs to care for. As a rescuer, we have to offer a sum as much as S$500.00 for the dog to go through relevant blood tests and vaccinations.

A monthly donation is necessary

Animal shelters that have no vacancies for new dogs usually suffer from serious manpower issues. If you do not intend to foster or adopt the stray that you have rescued, it is necessary to provide the shelter with a monthly donation of at least S$150.00. This cost can barely cover the daily meals of the dog. If is a dog which requires treatment, it means that the shelter has to fork out more funds.

If you cannot afford to help a stray

If you are not financially stable, do speak with the people from the shelter before performing a rescue or engaging them to do one. Most shelters might not be able to accommodate to a new stray as it might inevitably affect the other dogs who are already under their care. However, do still get in touch with them as they are beautiful and compassionate people who are fighting every day to give our furry friends a chance of a decent life.

Locating a stray

When trying to locate a stray, try leaving food outside of your gate. Dogs will always revisit a place where they think they can find a source of food.

 

Your Dog, Your Responsibility

Making a decision to own a dog is a huge responsibility that will be with you for about 8 to 20 years.

Before saving a stray, how can we first save a dog we would like to call our own?

Managing your finances: Visiting a vet when your dog is ill can amount to a minimum of S$250 just for a minor illness. When your dog is much older in age, it might require daily medical treatment which will be a cost as well.

Managing your time: If money is not a problem for you, ask yourself, is time a problem? Are you able to spend enough time with your dog? Bringing your dog for frequent walks is necessary for its mental and physical health.

Proper care: This is one thing that all dog owners must provide. If you take good care of your dog, you will not need to bring it to the vet so often. Not harming a dog is as good as saving a dog. Provide your dog with a proper and nutritious diet. Avoid foods that could be harmful to a dog. Improper diets can easily lead to common health complications such as liver or kidney issues. Having to see your dog suffer is a painful experience. Even if you are filthy rich and can afford any kind of treatment from the vet, please provide your dog with decent care.

Proper care and time are just two of the basic factors that can determine if your dog will be categorised as ‘need to be saved’ or ‘saved’. They are beautiful creatures that have emotions and they never fail to show love to their owners. No living thing deserves to be brought into a life of misery. If you cannot fulfil these requirements, you will not be able to save any dog and you should definitely not get one.

So, how can we save our beloved street dogs?

ADOPT!

If you are a dog lover, you might want to try adopting. Yes, dogs at the animal shelters are mostly strays and they might not be as ‘good looking’ as your S$4,000 pure breed dogs. But if you are able to meet one whom you can really connect with, why not give it a chance? It will be a decision you will never regret.

These strays come from extremely humble beginnings and they will truly appreciate you for giving them a new home. Unlike your pure breed dogs, they are never demanding, and they will always be protective of your family. It is as if they are trying to pay a lifelong debt to you!

The animal shelters in Singapore need to rehome the dogs under their care ASAP. I actually feel guilty by sending Springside to them but we simply do not have the means to provide the best life for him. The least we can do now is to visit him and try to pay for or raise funds for his future treatments.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I urge you readers to spread the word on adoption, and raise awareness on the sufferings our abandoned friends go through. My future articles will be aimed towards raising greater awareness about the truth of stray dogs in Singapore. Some of these strays suffer very inhumane fates. Together, we can make a huge difference!

 

 

 

 

Dogs: The Truth About Local Pet Shops That You Probably Did Not Know

Having a dog is a great joy. Although there are a lot of responsibilities to having one, we humans tend to grow overly attached to our furry friends. We even become depressed when they pass away and we somehow regret all the times we complained about the inconveniences of having a dog. Given the choice, we’d clean up their poo a million more times just to see them again.

But, have you ever thought of the origin of your beloved pet? More importantly, are you aware of how your local pet shop operates? In this article, I will be covering the whole process of how a pet shop acquires its product (the dog), and what happens during the course of business. Please read this article all the way till the end as what is written in the second half of this article is something many are unaware of.

I had the opportunity to speak to the owners of some local pet shops in Singapore and they were not at all secretive about how they ran their business. Before I continue, I will have to mention that I do not speak for all pet shops. However, the logic behind what I am going to write about makes me feel that all of them operate the same way. It is up to you to come up with your own conclusion.

 

Where do the Dogs Come From, and How Do They Operate

This is something most of you might already know, but I will still write about it in order for this article to be a complete story.

Most (if not all) of the dogs from your local pet shop come from puppy mills. Puppy mills are no different from a factory producing products to be sold. After all, dogs are products of pet shops. The main aim of a puppy mill is to breed and produce as many cute puppies as possible, with the shortest amount of time, and at the lowest possible cost.

They basically do so by getting a beautiful and pure bred adult female to go through continuous cycles of pregnancy and birth. This is usually done until the mother dog dies of exhaustion or illness. It is also done with the hope that the puppies will inherit the good aesthetic qualities of their mother.

That being said, reputable breeders still do exist. They are not as profit driven and they do follow a certain set of standards.

Puppy Mill

Puppy Mills are frequently left in bad conditions to cut costs

Maintaining a Low Cost

Just like any other factory or retail shop, managing their expenses and overheads are also a priority for puppy mills or breeding farms. Therefore, the dogs they breed are given little to no care or medical attention. They also do not see a need to maintain the cleanliness and hygiene of the mill as it will be an extra cost that is very significant. Having the dogs live and sleep with their own poo and pee will be a common sight. As a result, these dogs suffer and die from various illnesses very easily.

 

What Happens After Birth

A female dog typically gives birth to a litter of puppies. The rut of each litter is usually put to sleep or left to die because it is seen by the breeder as defective goods. The remaining puppies that are born healthy and fine will be put up for sale to the pet shops. For those that cannot be sold, they are also usually left to die or put to sleep as well. Reason being, keeping them alive means they have to be fed and looked after, which is a cost to them.

 

At the Pet Shop

Now, here comes the interesting part that I think many of you are not aware of.

 

Upon Arrival at the Pet Shop

Many years ago, puppies from Australia were very popular among Singaporeans. Local pet shops could charge a significantly higher price for puppies that were bred in Australia. They have a more admirable coat of fur and usually looked cuter than the locally bred ones.

The Australian breeders would send images to the Singaporean pet shop owners via e-mail, who will then reply them with what they have decided on. The selected puppies are then imported to Singapore, and delivered to the shop.

Most of the pet shop owners I spoke to mentioned that there were times whereby the puppies delivered were not cute enough. This problem of inaccuracy soon became a big problem and they decided to purchase their puppies locally to minimise the risk of not being able to sell the puppy. This way, shop owners could exercise greater control by visiting the farm to physically view the puppy.

 

Puppies That Cannot Be Sold

Just like any other product, puppies do become obsolete too. This happens when they are of a certain age that will deter customers from purchasing them. Would you pay S$4,000 for a 9 month old Golden Retriever? I think we all know the answer to that question. Customers will only purchase puppies that are at a maximum age of 6 months old. The younger the better.

According to the pet shop owners I spoke to, they usually slash the price each time the puppy becomes a month older. By the time it is 9 months to 1 year old, the poor puppy will be seen as an obsolete product, unwanted by any buyer.

Every additional month that the pet shop has to maintain and feed the puppy is not only regarded as a cost, but is highly labour intensive too. By the time the puppy reaches an age of 9 months, the money they had invested in it would probably be equal to or more than the amount they are selling it for.

So, what happens now when the puppy is unwanted by both shop and buyer?

It is sadly put to sleep. Can you imagine how many puppies are put to sleep every single time an inaccurate order comes in from Australia?

 

Q: Why put them to sleep? Can’t you just have it up for adoption or sell it at a loss? It beats paying more money to end the lives of beautiful living things that can bring joy to families and even singles.

A: They could have it up for adoption, give it away, or sell it at a loss. However, if members of the public become aware of this practice, no one will purchase a puppy from a retailer anymore. They will just wait for a few months, and adopt it F.O.C. These pet shops also usually have a special rate with the vet when they have to euthanize their puppies.

 

My Conclusion

Being an owner of a pet shop seems stressful. One of the shop owners I spoke with told me that she is already numb when it comes to putting puppies to sleep. She used to feel horrible initially, but as the years passed, it just became something she had to do. She now does her part by only choosing to sell extremely cute puppies that she is absolutely certain of selling.

This problem will always be present as a pet shop is nonetheless a business and it will always operate like one. The least we can do as dog lovers is to adopt instead of buy, and create a voice to proclaim that we do not appreciate such practices. I am currently doing a mini project on how we can find out whether or not the puppy came from a reputable breeder who makes it a point to emphasise the minimum standards of care for their puppies. If this can be established, we can still happily purchase pure bred puppies from retail shops.

A good next step would be to encourage pet shops to purchase their dogs from breeders who observe acceptable practices. I can understand their unwillingness to do so as to them, there is no point in purchasing something that has a higher cost price.

Thank you for reading this article. Do stay tuned for my next article whereby I will create a list of dog shelters in Singapore, and also share with you a story of a particular shelter that I am very fond of.

Happy SG50!