Monday, April 18, 2011

A Little Birthday Cheer

We just turned one on 3rd April. Needless to say, it was a happy occasion for us all. We know that the days can get mundane for the furkids, confined within the four walls of the shelter all their lives, save for the three, four hours of human company each day.

Therefore, if there is cause for any celebration... we grab.

That is not to say this day didn't mean anything to us. It is a great source of pride to know that we survived a whole year... that though some of our dogs have left us for good, most of them remain healthy and what appears to be happy (we hope). The past one year has also given us the chance to meet so many new volunteers from all walks of life. The joy of working together for a common purpose has made many of these new faces our lifelong cherished friends.

And this explains why we were in the mood to party party party when 3rd April came around...

A bunch of our super dedicated regulars got together and decided to make party packs for each and every furkid. Remember how we used to be so thrilled to receive candy-filled goody bags during those good old preschool days? That was exactly the effect Ann, Edwin, Wei Feng and Chin Leong aimed to achieve with the handmade party packs. Except... as opposed to candies and toys, these were filled with pork ribs, knuckle and other interesting bits... Sounds gruesome? Haha I would have you know that they were extremely well-received by our 40 residents.

On the menu were also some yummy pasta, chicken feet and the usual fragrant rice they have every day.

It was sinful and oh yes, cholesterol-laden. But hey, days like these are also pretty rare at the shelter. For once, we decided to kick back and let the furkids have a chompin' good time.

Looking at these furry faces makes me glad that we started Gentle Paws. They also bring back memories of those initial days when we had nothing at all save for a few castles in the air.

One year on, we have a few people we would like to thank... without whom our mere daydreams wouldn't have become a concrete reality.

Let us now take a step back, count our blessings and thank our lucky stars for sending these people our way when we really needed them.

First of all, there is Ms Eve Neo and her family, who generously contributed $2,185 on behalf of her late father-in-law, Yap Chin Fah. This contribution came at a time when we had nothing at all to prove ourselves. The only link that Eve had with us was our dear friend Eelin. Nevertheless, they decided to take a leap of faith and entrusted us with their contribution.

Next, there is Mrs Jenny Yeo and family, who ever so readily contributed $2,000 when she heard that we were in need. Aunty Jenny didn't only help financially. She also adopted of one of Debbie's puppies, Jake and their father, the husky Dash. Dash passed away due to a persistent kidney problem but from what I know, Jake continues to live a blissful life with his family. To date, this remains one of our most successful adoptions ever.

In the past few months, it really does seem like our shelter has settled down, doesn't it? But if you have been a reader from the start, you would know that we really had quite a rocky start. Do you recall the Delilah fund, the Bobby fund, the SOS fund? Our dogs were down and out and you guys helped us send them to the vet. I recall feeling extremely helpless just seeing one dog after another succumb to the perils of sickness and death. We felt terrible sending mass emails to reach out for help time and again. But each time we did, you guys responded and you have no idea how encouraged we felt over at our end.

And what about the Roof fund? Clara, her family and her company, Red Hat, helped us put up one side of the roof. But it was the proceeds of the Roof Fund and our takings from the flea markets that helped put up the other side. Rainy days at the shelter would have been so much colder and gloomier if you guys hadn't responded. I can't even begin to imagine how our days were like when we survived on flimsy canvas to shield the dogs from the rain!

And then there are about our sponsors behind the Sponsor-A-Dog program. We have a small but strong bunch of sponsors in this program who have stood by us throughout it all. Come rain or shine, these guys never fail to make their monthly contributions. It doesn't matter whether it is $10 or $50 each time. Just knowing that these guys have us in their thoughts each month and trust that we would put their contributions to good use makes us feel all warm, fuzzy and extremely heartened.

Finances aside, there's also our Pledge-a-Walk program under which we aspire to bring each dog for a walk at least once a week. An old sage once said... a walk a week keeps the doggie woes away. Okay, okay, that old sage is me... But, have you ever been down to the shelter to walk the dogs? If you have, then you should know how eager and excited they get when we so much as hold on to a leash and walk towards their compound.

When you live in the shelter twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, the opportunity to get out for a breath of fresh air takes on a whole new meaning. Without your help, the PAW program would have been nothing but a dismal failure.

I don't know if we say this enough... but let me just say it once more.

Thank you for everything... and happy birthday to us!

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