Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Exploring Singapore

From December 2014 to March this year, we, along with many of our dogs, have been busy exploring Singapore.

Due to the rescue of over 20 puppies and the end of our lease just round the corner, we had to step up to explore different avenues to find homes for our dogs. We brought our dogs to participate in adoption drives at different places all over Singapore. With the overwhelming number of puppies we had, rehoming them became our priority. We would bring them to every adoption drive we attended, along with some adult dogs if we had enough manpower for the day. Puppies, we reckon, would stand a higher chance with potential adopters than the adults. Besides, some of them were too young to stay in the shelter.

It was a difficult journey sourcing for different venues to hold our adoption drives. We are a small shelter with limited manpower. We were considerably inexperienced in organising external adoption drives. There was a lot to learn. We were grateful for the kind guidance we received along the way.

We kickstarted our series of adoption drives at the shelter itself. Well, you have to begin everything at the place you are most familiar with! Despite the weather (it rained thrice in a single day!), we were thankful for the people who came down to support us, buying what they might not have needed, just for our dogs. We also saw many of our adopted dogs who dropped by with their families to lend their support.

Some of our adopted dogs were back for support!

Even the heavy rain failed to stop our 
desire to continue the adoption drive

With kind agreement from the management of Sunny Heights to use their rustic premises, we held our first external adoption drive of 2015. We started the day not knowing what to expect. The crowd started streaming in despite the hot weather, and 6 of our puppies managed to find themselves a home by the end of the 2 days adoption drive! It was a marvellous result.

Our dogs who went for homestay!

With such a good start, we were encouraged to continue working hard to find homes for the rest of our dogs.

For the next adoption drive, we decided to explore somewhere nearer to our home ground. Mutts & Mittens generously allowed us to use their premises for our second adoption drive. Because they were situated just a five minute walk from the shelter, we could bring more dogs over. The result of the drive was pretty satisfactory. A few of our dogs, including the adult dogs, managed to find homes as a result.

Darius went on a trial homestay during the adoption drive and was adopted. His family went on to adopt another of ours, Dikam.

Deenie was adopted, and thereafter renamed Juliet.

Next, we went on to hold adoption drives at T.A.Z. Cafe & Bistro, Torte Cafe and Canine Wellness & Rehab Centre for 3 consecutive weeks. The crowd was smaller, but there were still interested families who dropped by specially to take a look at our dogs. In the course of the adoption drives, our dogs also gained more exposure to busy places, away from the shelter. We wouldn't have managed to hold our adoption drives at these venues without the generosity of the respective management. We would just like to take the opportunity to express our heartfelt gratitude again.

Daya (left) and Drainy, both at the adoption drive waiting for their chance. Both were subsequently adopted. 

Worried that the crowd might get tired of the back to back drives and seeing that the Chinese New Year was round the corner, we decided to take a month’s break. Instead of venturing out, we began introducing the idea of "open houses" on weekends and public holidays, whereby interested parties could come down to the shelter to view and interact with our dogs. Our volunteers and dogs could also take the chance to recharge and get ready for the next adoption drive.

As time passed, we began to worry. Many of our little puppies had gone to good homes. But those left behind were rapidly growing bigger. Would they still stand a chance?

Sensing the urgency, we decided to grab the bull by its horns and organise yet another adoption drive. The management of Sunny Heights once again acceded to our request to use their premises. We held an adoption drive there for the second time in March. We were not sure if we had exhausted the pool of potential adopters. Response this time was mild. Nevertheless, we managed to spread word about our shelter and directed interested parties to drop by.

We concluded the series of adoption drives with a final one back at our shelter at the end of March.

From then on, we continued with the Open Houses, bringing potential adopters to the shelter to meet the dogs directly, giving them the chance of interacting and walking the dogs. They saw for themselves what we did at the shelter and how our dogs got by each day. It enlightened them about shelter work and exposed our dogs to more new faces. The Open Houses resulted in at least two successful adoptions. This made all our efforts worthwhile.

The series of adoption drives this year taught me many things. I learnt that it is not necessarily the outcome of these drives that matters the most. Sometimes, the response for a particular drive is so overwhelming we get lulled into assuming that the next one would be just as good. The mild response we eventually get at the next one reminds me not to take the generosity of the venue providers and the kind support of the public for granted. We are humbled by and thankful for each and every one who turned up, who shared our posts, who donated, and the list goes on.

We might feel discouraged when the adoption drives do not result in any dog going for trial home stays, or when dogs come back to the shelter because the trial home stay failed. However, at the end of the day, we must not lose sight of the fact that it is the experience gained by both the people and the dogs that matters. The dogs get to interact with new faces, be in places where there are more humans than dogs and explore new grounds. The luckier ones get a chance to widen their horizons and feel what a home is like, even if it may be for just a few days. People come to learn about our shelter, about adoption, and about Singapore Specials.

We also gained experience organising adoption drives. Holding adoption drives is no one man’s show. It requires the cooperation of the main organisers, the venue providers, the volunteers, the dogs and the public. We cannot tell you enough just how much we appreciate the support. We would also like to thank some of the community centres that agreed to put up our posters on their notice boards. We also benefited from the generosity of the Starbucks community for allowing us to use their notice boards to publicise our events. 

Finally, there are our Facebook followers who tirelessly shared our posts about our adoption drives, thereby increasing the chance of potential adopters coming across our poster and adopting one of our dogs. We know it gets tiring when our posters flood your newsfeed day after day. Thank you for continuing to share and giving hope to our dogs. 

To each and every one who helped in one way or another, let us say a great big thank you! See you again at our next adoption drive. Till then, our shelter is open on weekends and public holidays from 1-4pm for viewing of our dogs. 

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