June was supposed to be a hot summer month where time slows down and you feel too lazy to do anything. But as usual, Gentle Paws was a hive of activity. We have good news and bad news. Which would you like to hear first?
Let's start with the good.
Xena was a sweet and gentle miniature bull terrier who was once a breeding dog. She came to our shelter along with Doris and Dollar, our golden and lab retrievers respectively. With Xena's exceedingly good nature, small size and pure breed, her chance at adoption was pretty high. A nice family adopted her but due to certain reasons, had to give her up. They figured that putting Xena up at a pet shop would increase her chance of adoption. With our agreement, they went ahead. Unfortunately, Xena landed in the hands of a Chinese national under whose care she went missing.
We searched desperately for her, wondering what the harsh elements would do to our gentle girl. Could she fend for herself? Would she have enough water and food? Would she be captured and put to sleep? We put up posters, sought the help of the press (see http://www.asiaone.com/Digital/News/Story/A1Story20091020-174748.html) and used the Internet... but our efforts were futile. After some months, we were prepared to accept that Xena was never coming back...
Except she did.
Maybe there was a reason she was christened Xena. She's a warrior through and through. Xena went missing in October 2009. But in early June 2010, by a miraculous twist of fate, a relative of our volunteer found her under his car. The rest, as they say, is history.
She was in quite a terrible condition when she came back. She was discoloured, had a skin condition and had one ear damaged so terribly it could no longer stand.
And boy was she hungry. What you see above was her first meal back at the shelter. But no worries. We have sent her for a full body check up and she is looking much better than before.
Sometimes, we look at her and wonder just what she met with all alone in the scary world out there. But we're glad to announce that Xena is still very much Xena, friendly, gentle and endearing.
No more pet shops for her in awhile. We like her safe and sound at Gentle Paws.
One more piece of happy news to report is the little birthday celebration we had at Gentle Paws.
It was in honour of our furkids' favourite human being - a certain Benjamin Wee.
5th June was coincidentally a Saturday and we put together a fruit cake and some drinks for a make-shift birthday party. As Wee blew out the candles, I remember him remarking that the return of Xena was the best birthday present he could have asked for. To that, we just have one word to say: TOTALLY.
And now for the bad.
Last month saw the return of Donna. This month, two of Debbie's boys were returned to the shelter. Everyone, meet Daelle.
He sure looks happy here. But oh, you have no idea the misery he was put through.
Daelle was named as such because of the distinctive white "L" on his back. Daelle is the literal translation for "Big L" in Mandarin. This is the second time Daelle is being returned to the shelter. The first time wasn't so bad. That was for just a short while and he was so young then we don't think he has much memory of that. This time round, though, we could tell he really didn't want to be back. How would you feel if you were tossed around like an unwanted rag?
Next, we have DakDakDei. Yes, we have no doubt everyone would go... huh when you hear his name.
The boy was so tiny and irresistible as a young puppy he was christened by one of our volunteers after her favourite Hong Kong drama character. Perhaps you have heard of it before?
DDD (for short) was very distraught at being sent back. He stuck to Wee and cried his lungs out whenever Wee left the shelter every day. To be frank, we didn't expect DDD back. Everything felt right about the adoption. The entire family came down to view the dog, check. They lived in a private house (DDD is not HDB approved), check. They already had a cat and seemed to be animal lovers, check.
The family took his puppy days away and now that he is big and strong, they do away with him. Perhaps they're not so ideal after all.
With one dog being returned after another, it was quite a horrible time for Gentle Paws. Having to rehabilitate the dog is not an easy thing. As compared to the safety and warmth of a home, the shelter is not exactly the most desirable place for an 8 month old dog to be in. We don't mean to be naggy but we have to say this again, a dog is a lifetime commitment. If you can't commit, then don't get a dog. Leave it well alone and save it the heartache.
No, the bad news doesn't end here. There is still Deckie's injury to report. Deckie came from a boarding house. Because his boarder ceased to make payment for his lodging, he could no longer remain. We took him in. Due to space constraints then, we had to put him up with Xiaobai and Emily, two of our more dominant dogs. The latter seemed to pay no heed to him and we thought they might just get along fine.
When we moved to the new shelter, Deckie was placed with other dogs. He was still bullied and we could place him with only the gentlest at the shelter. When we let him out, Deckie always plopped himself in front of the store room, far away from the other dogs. He was always pining for a walk and was most reluctant to return. We knew Deckie was bullied. But living in the shelter with 40 other dogs meant that one dog or another would be bullied at some point. They had to learn to live together. That is the sad reality of shelter life.
But we didn't know just how scared Deckie was. When he was bitten on the ear by one of the other dogs at the shelter, we immediately tended to it, expecting it to recover in good time.
But the wound got infected and spread to the rest of his body. It was so bad that his body split open and we could practically see inside it. We sent him to the vet immediately. Turned out that he had autoimmune disease where his body worked against itself and attacked good cells. This probably cause his muscles to detach from his skin.
Deckie is still currently hospitalised. After undergoing two surgeries, his condition seems to be improving. His spirits are good and his appetite is growing. We are keeping our fingers crossed that he will make a full recovery.
So this is it for the month of June. July beckons. So does our adoption drive and the PAW program. We hope they turn out a success and for that, we will need your help. Until then, we wish you a good July. Adieu!