Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Our weekend in an entry

Last weekend was one crazy weekend. 

So please brace yourself for a long entry ahead. I really do have a lot to say. 

On Friday, upon the invitation of hansel, a local designer womenswear label, we travelled to their store in Mandarin Gallery to set up our little booth at their first anniversary party. hansel is named after the jack russell terrier that their founder and designer, Jo Soh, rescued off the streets. Besides proceeds from our booth, hansel would also be contributing 10% of all sales over the weekend to the shelter. Their partner, Haworth, a market leader in the design and manufacture of adaptable work spaces would match the amount raised, every dollar to dollar. 

Technicalities of the event aside, it was an interesting new experience for us. We were used to selling our merchandise at the shelter to people who already knew of our existence and came down specially to volunteer or see the dogs. Here, in this charming shop in the heart of Orchard Road, we were faced with a completely different type of audience. 

Our self-manufactured badges on display

Everyone at the party was dressed to the nines. Most of them have never heard about Gentle Paws. Attired in our Gentle Paws shirt, selling the Gentle Paws calendar and the badges, I felt like we were bringing Gentle Paws and our dogs to another part of the world. Everyone at the event was very kind. They stopped by our booth to listen to what we had to say and some of them even took home a calendar or badge with them. 

You couldn't miss our booth!

We are grateful for the opportunity to spread the word about the shelter. It isn't just about our shelter per se but about the plight of homeless dogs as a whole. The further the word spreads, the more people learn about them, the more beneficial it is for the stray/abandoned dog community. So, we would just like to say.. thank you hansel, for giving us the chance to reach out to a different group of people and do something more for the dogs. Thank you for selecting us, over many other equally deserving shelters around. 

Lovely hansel staff Shengjuan (right) and a hansel patron

If you are interested to see the range of clothes designed and manufactured by hansel, please click here. Having been down to the shop myself to see the clothes, I should add that every item there is gorgeous in an understated, simple way, be it for every day casual wear or office wear. 

Next, of course, was our Adoption Drive and Flea Market which I have been fervently advertising on this very blog. I am extremely happy to let you know that this time around, the event was a success. 

On Saturday, it seemed like even the heavens were rooting for us. It was an extremely sunny day and we all know how much of a rarity sunny days are these days. It took about an hour or so for visitors to start streaming in. I can't say we had a huge crowd or that the response was overwhelming. But there was a constant flow of generous, big-hearted visitors and for that, we cannot wish for anything more. 

When marketing the Flea Market in my previous entries, I couldn't specify what we were selling. There were of course the usual merchandise like our calendars, badges and T-shirts. But in true flea market fashion, we also sold a whole array of quirky, kooky items like Japanese brand dog poop bags, dog figurines, dog cookies, dog accessories, doggies wear, donated blog shop clothes, an assortment of human accessories, stuffed toys, money boxes, secondhand books, handmade pouches, foldable chairs, keychains, cardholders and even pom poms. 

With a congregation of new visitors, visiting dogs and volunteers past and present, the atmosphere was one that was casual, relaxed and very... kampung. Dooney came back for a visit. He seemed to be in great spirits. His adopter John proudly informed us that he just gave Dooney a spanking new hair cut the day before. It was wonderful learning about Dooney's new life post-shelter and all the Dooney stories that he had to tell. 

Dooney - Shelter dog no more

Donny and Randy, our other pair of husky-cross brothers also came back to the shelter. While their adoptor decided to keep Randy for good, Donny was put up for adoption once more. Unfortunately, nothing panned out over the weekend and Donny is still up for adoption. He is a very gentle dog with the bluest eyes and the calmest temperament. Donny is now being fostered at the adoptor's place until he finds a permanent home. If you are interested in adopting, please drop us an email and we will happily link you up with his rescuer.

Donny on the left, with Wee

Funny Dana also came for a visit. Dana is Dior's sister and one of Debbie's puppies many moons ago. She was adopted as a tiny puppy and is currently living out her happy ever after with her owner Jasmine, a regular volunteer of our Furry Day events. Whenever another dog so much as came near Jasmine at the Flea Market, Dana, her self-appointed protector, would bark at the top of her lungs. Wee fondly remarked that as Dana grew older, her resemblance to mommy Debbie only became greater.

Dana and Jasmine

Comical scaredy-dog Droopy was another one of our canine visitors. Wee rescued Droopy as a puppy from a drain one rainy day early this year. He wormed his way into the hearts of our regular volunteers Long and Feng and has since been adopted by them. This little boy keeps growing taller and longer each time I see him! Looking at that adorable face of his, I completely understand the enthusiastic response we received when we first put him up for adoption.

Say hi to Droopy boy

Perhaps Saturday was too good to be true. It poured heavily on Sunday morning for over three hours. By tying a flimsy canvas over the wooden planks above, we set up a makeshift booth at the car park. The combination of the relentless downpour, the empty carpark and our isolated booth made rather a forlorn sight. As I sat in the shelter hugging a wet, sorry Dribble, I whipped out my iphone to check out the weather app. It was 23 degrees Celsius. With the cold breeze sweeping across the shelter, the temperature was bound to be lower than that. 

Thankfully, at about 1+ in the afternoon, the skies began to clear and the rain pitter-pattered to a stop. We quickly set up our booth proper and said a quick prayer that business would be brisk. With half a day gone, we had plenty of ground to cover. 

When I saw people braving the unpredictable weather and strolling into the car park that led to our Flea Market, I felt an inexplicable warmth. These are the very people who helped make our event complete. The drama queen in me wanted to fling my arms around them and cry out thanks. But I kept my impulses in check. I didn't want to scare our lovely patrons away.

See our red and blue canvas?

On the adoption front, our results weren't too shabby. I am pleased to inform you that Dippy, Duchess and Dexter went for a trial homestay. Dribble will also be going for a homestay this weekend. Dexter's adoption has been confirmed but results on Dippy and Duchess are still pending. We hope that the adoptors take to the dogs during the homestay but even if they don't, we would be here to receive them back with open arms.

Trial homestays are just that - a trial. There are no guarantees about a trial. As much as adoptors want the homestay to work out, sometimes, the dog just isn't a good fit for the family. There is no one to blame for the outcome. We just have to keep trying.

Active Dippy

Lovely Duchess

Dexter's got a home!

We have quite a few people to thank for making this event a success. First of all, there are the Neo sisters for sponsoring our ad on the Today paper. Next, there is Yulin who contributed her tasty home made dog biscuits for sale. Finally, there is a Ms Diana Tan who popped by the shelter with a $500 cash donation and helped propped up our Sunday sales. 

With that, this self-appointed roving reporter completes her duties at last. Do remember that adoption is a year round event. It doesn't stop with the passing of our annual Adoption Drive. We believe that home is truly where the bark is. So if you have any adoption queries at all, please feel free to drop us an email at

Thank you once more for all the love we received this past weekend. We have nothing in return but deep appreciation and many well-wishes for the holiday season ahead.

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