Thursday, December 9, 2010

That Elusive Little Thing Called Home: Adoption Drive 2010

The past week or so, the humans at Gentle Paws have been scurrying around trying to drum up publicity for the upcoming Adoption Drive. We worked together to distribute more than 2000 flyers to private estates in Pasir Ris, Loyang, Simei, Kembangan, Telok Kurau and Yishun. To date, the calls that we have received querying about the drive are few and far between. Should we be getting worried?

Rescuing dogs off the streets is the glamourous part of the process. But dog rescue doesn't stop there. Dog rescue is a process of trying to find a better home for the dog as compared to the streets. While we try to build as good a home as possible for our dogs, the sad truth is... the shelter shouldn't be a permanent abode for the dogs. The shelter was meant to be the go-between place where dogs stop over before they find an owner and a home. Adoption doesn't sound like much but it is the most critical part of the rescue process. Being an adopter, it is you who puts the "happily" in the dog's happily ever after. Without adopters coming forward and stepping up to the plate, it is hard for dog rescue to go on. So if you are thinking of getting a dog, on behalf of the furkids at Gentle Paws and every other shelter out there, we beseech you to adopt and not buy. By that simple decision alone, you have no idea the world of good that you're doing.

While adoption is important, we are only on the look out for suitable homes. We're not so desperate to send our dogs packing to the extent of shoving them into the arms of adopters who are uncertain about what they are doing or those with ulterior motives. Dogs are habitual creatures. Uprooting them from their daily routine will disrupt their lives in very negative ways, be it physically or mentally. Because of our past experiences with a string of bad adopters, we are now more wary and more guarded. Nevertheless, we still hold out the hope that a good home exists somewhere out there.

While the flea market will be held with the adoption drive, the event will be no carnival. We are on the look out for serious adopters. There will be an adoption booth for adopters to discuss the type of dogs that they want and we will recommend dogs that suit their requirements. This event will not be a free-for-all where adopters simply choose dogs based on their looks. The look of a dog is one factor in a decision. More often than not, it is the personality of the dog and the interaction between dog and adopter that is more critical in helping the latter make his decision.

If you can't adopt but would like to help sponsor a dog at the shelter, you may want to come down as well. There'll be a Sponsor-A-Dog booth manned by our members who will introduce you to the program and the dog that you are interested in sponsoring. In short, the Sponsor-A-Dog (SAD) program involves a monthly contribution that goes towards the expenses of a particular dog which includes lodging, food and medical supplies. When times are hard and we're facing unexpected medical crises, it is the SAD program that helps props us up by contributing to the ongoing daily expenses that still have to be paid.

The shelter will be closed to all new volunteers this weekend. The Pledge-A-Walk program will take a hiatus for one week to facilitate the adoption drive and flea market. If you're interested in sponsoring a dog or even better, if you're thinking of adopting one, we urge you to make a trip down to Gentle Paws. If you wish to browse our flea market to see what goods we have, please come on down as well! We'll be having a short obedience performance conducted by a few of our volunteers and their selected dogs. These dogs have trained on short notice and we hope you watch on with open hearts.

For all our worries, at the end of the day, it matters not whether we manage to get any successful adoptions. What is more significant is that by organising such events, we are effectively raising awareness of not just our shelter, but also the plight of shelter dogs all around. Shelter dogs have been subjected to the negative side of human nature. They have witnessed firsthand the carelessness, heartlessness and cruelty that us humans are capable of doling out. Some have sworn off humans for good. But a good majority continue to yearn for human affection, ever ready to forgive the wrongs that we have committed. Every day I flip through the Classifieds and see pet shops advertising the sale of puppies. It's time we stood up for shelter dogs and let the world, in particular, fellow Singaporeans, know of their existence and their plight. If anything, we hope the 2000 flyers that we distributed went some way in achieving this goal. Even if 1% of the recipients actually read the flyers, it's something. It's a baby step but it's a step anyway. It's also the perfect way to round up what has been a rather fruitful year for us.

With that, I've said all there is to be said. Wish us luck this weekend! We'll be reporting back to you guys after we've wrapped up Adoption Drive 2010. I apologise sincerely for the intermitten updates. Until then, I'm over and out.

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