If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. Mark Twain

Monday, December 27, 2010

Abandoned For His Loyalty

Limping in agony, a forlorn-looking dog searched desperately for a familiar face as he walked feebly on his badly injured leg. Hope of finding his home began to fade as the days and weeks passed. He probably was once a happy dog showered with love and affection but alas it was not to be. He was callously abandoned by his owner whom he faithfully trusted and loved. Growing thinner and weaker as the weeks went by, his heart sank as he didn’t understand why he was left on the streets to fend for himself. He yearned for human affection and compassion and hoped some kindhearted soul will take pity on him and end his suffering. His desperate cry for help was finally answered when a European couple spotted him limping helplessly along Bedok South Avenue. There was finally a glimmer of hope, he thought to himself as he whimpered pitifully.

Just rescued. Check up at the Vet

Braven warded at the Vet for a battery of tests. He was found to have an enlarged liver, enlarged spleen and an enlarged right kidney.
It was 30 November at 11pm. The couple kept him for the night. The following day, the couple brought the injured husky to the Mount Pleasant Bedok clinic for examination. There, they saw some rehoming posters for 2 huskies and the couple decided to seek help from the lady who posted them. This lady then posted information of the injured husky on some dog forums that very night, but to no avail. The European couple had no experience with dogs, nor did they know how to cope with his leg injury. Furthermore, the abandoned Husky could not control his bladder and bowel movements, so they decided it was best to surrender him to the SPCA. When this lady found out from the couple that the dog had been surrendered to the SPCA, she immediately went and bailed him out. She then approached Zeus for assistance. We helped her ward the dog at our regular vet. For his courage and will to live, she named him Braven.

Looking much happier and in less pain after his leg amputation
Upon examination, the vet concluded that Braven was in excruciating pain as his leg was badly wounded. His thin frame indicated that he had probably been running or walking for days before he was found.. An X-ray was done, and sadly it showed a broken hip and leg. Braven had probably been injured for weeks or months, evident from the signs on his paw pads and the angle he had been tip-toeing at. The vet is unable to verify if his injuries were caused by an accident or if he had been beaten up. To our utter dismay, Braven’s leg needs to be amputated as it cannot be salvaged due to his prolonged injury. Braven is still warded at the vet and we are hoping for a miracle that he will be adopted.

I still vividly remember my mum (who was in her 60s) climbing up 16 floors of stairs from block to block calling out and looking for our lost poodle. My mum had a phobia of taking the elevator but that did not stop her from searching for our lost poodle. She enquired with neighbours, passers-by, road sweepers, and nearby schools to keep a lookout for our dog. We called the SPCA and advertised in the newspapers. Our efforts and prayers were answered and we finally found our poodle a week after it was lost. My mum taught me resilience, compassion, hope, and responsibility.
Braven, finally happy and comfortable after his amputation. Look at him run!

I strongly believe that we should all act responsibly and try everything possible to help our pets. They are precious living things and not a piece of furniture that can be discarded or a product with an expiry date. A pet is a lifelong commitment. To you, he may be just a dog, but to him you are everything. Your pet cat or dog is a domesticated animal living under the same roof as you. They have not been taught to hunt for their food and were born and raised to be dependent on their owners for food and shelter. Dumping them on the streets is cruel and subjects them to starvation, disease, injuries, and is basically a death sentence. Please think twice before getting a pet if you are uncertain that you can provide a home for the animal for the rest of its life. Adding a pet to the family is an important decision. Animals deserve our love and sensible care; finding another appropriate home for your pets is your responsibility and any local humane society or animal welfare league can offer you good advice. Please also spay and neuter your pets to prevent unwanted animals. Therefore, I appeal to all those pet owners out there to have a heart and act responsibly.

Written by Susanna Gan

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Gratitude

Message from Lynda, Founder of Zeus

I have been a volunteer in animal welfare for the past twenty years, with organizations and on my own. It has been challenging; there have been many highs and lows, but working with animals has been far from a chore. For me, being with animal is a labour of love, it is my ultimate passion.

About eight years ago, I added education to my animal welfare work. In a nut shell, what I do is knowledge sharing. It is what I do with my knowledge that helps and benefits animals, pets and pet owners.

We started a blog for Zeus Communications because we realized not everyone knew about stray animals. In fact, many people did not know stray animals exist, how many are actually out there and the sad, miserable lives they lead. Our blog aims to share with readers the reality, their courage and resilience.

There is a risk when working with stray animals. You never know when they will bite or attack; usually out of fear or pain, rather than aggression. We don’t blog about how we catch the animals, but believe me, they are not like your pets, who come when called!

The years of blood, sweat and tears have definitely been worth it. Our values and priorities are sometimes questioned when people ask why we release the strays back to the streets when they have recovered. Where would we house them? In a boarding cubicle for the rest of their lives? That’s what we call “prisoners of love”. What kind of a life is it? Besides, the money we spend boarding the dogs, could be put to better use helping more dogs with the provision of food and medical aid.

I would like to thank those who have helped and supported me along my journey, and to those who share my passion for animals, making Zeus Communications into what it has become today.

Thank you.

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Message from Fiona, Co-Founder of Zeus

Fiona and Sharpei (now known as Duke)
Those who had known me a decade ago would never imagine that I would care so passionately for animals, for I grew up with a tremendous fear of them. Compared to Lynda, I have been volunteering in animal welfare for only four short years but these four years working with animals have taught me so much and shown me a side to animals that I otherwise, would never know existed.

Many times, I have been humbled by them and amazed by their gratitude, loyalty and will to live. If you would only walk the streets with us, you would see how high their tolerance for pain is and how sad their lives are; but we know not everyone can bear to walk the streets with us, so we’re happy that you’ve chosen to take this journey with us instead. A journey of faith and love for the animals.

I would like to thank our Mentor and Animal Communicator, Ms Rosina Arquati, for her guidance and believing in us, all our friends who read our blog and support our work, and most of all, the animals who trusted us and allowed us to help them and work with them, believing that we would remove them from their pain and danger and know that we would give them our very best.

Happy Christmas Everyone. May 2011 see a slight advancement in animal welfare.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Getting Angel Back on Track

Today, Angel was treated to another visit to Salma. Before visiting Salma, Angel had 5 cans of Cesar (dog canned food) plus some brown rice I brought for her. This was after the vet had fed her 1 can of Cesar with dry food earlier that morning. It sure is a good sign that her appetite is improving.

Angel looking better
Thinking that Angel will visit again on Thursday, Salma only sat with Angel for about 45 minutes (or perhaps I was just too boring for Salma!). We were not allowed to stay within the Home's parameters, so the three of us (including Angel) had to sit under the HDB block across the road. Salma was allowed to be out of the Home's premises so as to be with Angel during our visit. Usually, the Home’s residents are not allowed to venture beyond the Home. Surprisingly, after we left Salma, Angel only cried for a short 3 seconds. She stopped even before I drove onto the main road.

Since Salma didn't spend so much time with Angel at the Home, and the vet would not open till 2 pm, I had some time on hand and took Angel to the Botanical Gardens for a short walk. Unlike my dogs who would dive straight into the little streams, Angel did not seem to know what to do with the water. Just to get her started, I played a bit with her near the stream and splashed some water on her. Despite the shaky first time, Angel clearly enjoyed walking in the park, sniffing the grass, flowers and trees along the way, her tail wagging happily in the air. She would gamely run alongside me when I started on a jog. All in all, I'm sure she had a good time albeit the brevity.

From the visit today, I think Angel is growing less attached to Salma. She is now able to eat in the absence of Salma – she burrowed her head into the food container while I was fixing up her meal, long before Salma appeared. Angel clearly could not wait to eat. This was in stark contrast to her behaviour last week, when she was desperately searching for Salma before she ate. She was also happy walking in the park and did not appear forlorn at all. In fact, if she did not have to visit Salma, I can use the time to bring her to the park more frequently since she seems to enjoy herself there. I just wish Angel would put on weight more quickly and she will definitely be a very pretty girl.

Contributed by Mun Ee.

The New Paper, 5 December 2010
We have just been informed by the vets that each time Angel goes out to visit Salma, she spends the next two days crying and pining for her owner. As such, we have decided not to bring Angel to visit Salma so frequently. Perhaps a month or so down the road. In the meantime, friends still take Angel for outings and we thank Mun Ee for taking Angel to the Botanical Gardens, Chiew Guat for taking Angel to Labrador Park and we thank Delphine for her time.

Angel learning to be sociable

Angel and Tiger are slowly becoming friends as the both of them spend quite a bit of time together at the clinic.

Contributed by Fiona. Photographs courtesy of Irene Ong.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Book Can Feed Many Street Animals

Dear Friends,

A dear friend, Ms Lai Choi Kuen, the author of "Romancing History and Art" has generously donated 200 copies of her book to Zeus Communications. She could have opted to sell her book at the book stores, but she didn’t; she wanted to do her part for a few special organizations that hold meaning to her and we thank her for her generosity.

Ms Lai Choi Kuen

Please buy a copy of the book, at S$40 each and the entire proceeds will benefit the street animals. Zeus Communications is committed to improving the lives and welfare of the strays we work with; be it providing food or medical aid.
Business Times, 26 November 2010

To purchase a copy of the book and support our work, please email Fiona at dogs_ink@singnet.com.sg

Thank you for helping the street animals. It means a lot to them.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Zeus 2011 Calendars SOLD OUT! Thank You!

Dear friends,

Our Zeus Communications 2011 Calendars have been entirely sold out.

Cooking up a feast for the strays

Having a Christmas feast - Pork knuckles!
Thank you for supporting us and our work, helping us do our best for the animals that we care so dearly about. Life in industrial areas and on the streets are definitely not the ideal place for these animals to be in, but the least we could do is to care and provide for them. Proceeds from the sales of the calendars will go towards the sterilization of street cats and dogs, as well as the provision of food and medical aid.

Little puppies with neither food, love nor shelter
This old factory dog had to be put down not long after; he was too weak and could hardly stand nor walk.

 Giving them the gentle touch that they couldn't find . . . .
From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU everyone.

With Love from
Lynda, Fiona and all the volunteers with Zeus Communications

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Spirit of Giving

Christmas is a time of loving, giving, being with family, friends and loved ones. Some of you may appreciate and treasure your pets as part of your family. What about the strays living on the streets? Do spare a thought for them this Christmas while you feast and celebrate the season of love.

Think about AngelTiger, Venus, Sharpei and Little Marcus. Despite their misfortune and injuries, these are the FORTUNATE ones we chanced upon and helped. I often feel that these poor strays need to be injured or risk their lives in order for us to notice them and offer our help. That’s such a sad fact.

Angel pining away for her owner and your support helped Venus get through her pain.

Tiger healing well.....

Sharpei cross abandoned at an industrial estate.

A stray dog drnking muddy water
Spare a thought for all the other strays out there; hundreds of them who continue to roam the streets, searching and hoping to find some food scraps or shelter from the storm or sweltering heat.

Buy a ticket to our Christmas Dinner & Concert on Saturday, 18 December 18 and support our animal welfare cause. Your attendance will make a positive difference in their lives and hopefully give them a Happy Christmas.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dreams are Made of These...

It has been exactly a month since Venus was discharged from her “Redhill Suite” and brought to her new factory as we felt it was safer for her. At this new factory, hopefully there would be lesser heavy traffic, fewer strays dogs and the workers there would feed and care for her.

During her stay at the vet, she was together with Little Joe who was there for severe tick fever.  They were together at the vet for about two weeks. Initially Venus would always growl at poor Little Joe each time he even went near her or accidentally bumped into her. Staff at the clinic had to keep a constant watch over the both of them lest Venus took a chunk out of Little Joe. Both Joe and Venus have quite opposite personalities. While Joe is sociable, easy going and loves humans; Venus is wary of people and keeps her distance. This probably stems from all that she has been through. Joe is an extremely fussy eater while Venus simply loves her food. Don’t they sound like true opposites that would attract? It sure wasn’t love at first sight but by the end of two weeks, Venus became more tolerant of Joe and slowly gave in to him.

Lynda decided we should bring both to the new factory together since they had gradually become good friends during their stay at the vet, and also being in an entirely new environment, having a familiar face would make it easier for them to cope and settle in.

Venus’ story touched many readers’ hearts and gave us many learning experiences. She not only fought to live, she gave back by donating blood  to save a little Chihuahua. Just a few days back, Venus’ story was featured in an American Animal Welfare newsletter and we’re extremely proud of her.

Baby Venus when she was just 2 mths old and living on the streets
Watch a short clip on Venus taking her first few steps a few days after her surgery.

Venus arriving at her new factory.

They never have to worry about food.

Once again we’d like to thank everyone for your contributions, volunteering, care and concern. Everyone helped in whatever way you could and we truly are blessed to have such wonderful friends and readers. Without your belief, we would not have been able to help Venus and provide her with the care and support she required to heal.

Venus and Little Joe are now the best of friends. Little Joe is still picky with food and Venus gives in to him. She allows him to eat before her and will only eat when he is done. Perhaps she knows there will always be food for them. They spend their days lazing under the sun, or rough and tumbling on the safe compounds of their new factory. Venus still tires easily and after a few rounds of running and playing, will need to rest. She is extremely attached to Little Joe and will always seek him out. She runs almost as good as new and Drs say this is as good as it gets.

A picture paints a thousand words. Look how happy and healthy Venus is today. Gorgeous isn't she? It’s all thanks to all you animal lovers out there who gave her a reason for living.

Venus Our True Inspiration.

Watch Venus run like the wind in her new factory.

These are what dreams are made of and what makes all our sleepless nights worthwhile.

If you would like to support our work, please buy a ticket to our inaugural dinner on Saturday, 18 December where we will present a slide show of Venus, Tiger, Little Joe, Angel and all the other animals that have made a difference in OUR lives.

Written by Fiona

Little Joe

Remember Little Joe, the sickly dog that we rescued a few months ago in August? He had been put on treatment for tick fever and a wound on his neck, had healed completely and was returned to the factory. However, some weeks back while on their regular feeding rounds, volunteers found him in skin and bones once again. It was a heart-breaking sight for these volunteers who had hoped that Little Joe could lead a healthy life after recovering. Such is the life of a street animal; anything ranging from illnesses to even death can happen at any time.

Joe getting a blood test.
The volunteers took him back to the vet where he was checked and diagnosed with another two strains of tick fever. The tick fever could have made Little Joe very sick or even be fatal. This time round, Little Joe was also found to have an auto immune-related problem which meant that he could no longer live in dirty factory conditions. His two-week stay at the vet had not only cost volunteers a huge amount of money, but they now also needed to source for an alternate home for Little Joe.

During the time Little Joe stayed at the vet for treatment for his second bout of illnesses, he met Venus, who was recovering from her injured limb. Initially, Venus would try to attack Little Joe and would growl each time he walked in front of her but in a few days, Venus and Little Joe had learnt to live with each other. By the time Venus was ready to be discharged, they were best friends, playing and running around the clinic with each other.

They did not start off as the best of friends.

Joe and Venus at their Redhill Suite

Volunteers saw the friendship that was forged between the two and decided that they would go to a new factory together, since they could have each other's company. It seemed the most feasible decision as Little Joe was two and Venus had just turned one. They would be able to take care of each other and explore the new compound together. Animals need friends and companions too!

Little Joe leaving the vet for his new home at the factory.

Little Joe already found a new best friend.  Venus is a little cautious as always.

Joe and Venus exploring their new home.

The work of rescue volunteers is an on-going cycle that will never be complete, due to the innumerable number of animals out there who need their help. It may be taxing and tiring at times, but they still go the extra mile with the best interests of those dogs and cats in their minds. In the end, it is all worth the while.

Written by Jo-Ann Teo, 16 yrs old

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tiger's Pain In The Butt

Warning. Some of the pictures may upset you.

More often than not, animal rescue volunteers release animals back to the streets, with very heavy hearts, when the animals have fully recovered. Lives as strays or industrial animals are full of danger and uncertainties, plagued with fights against other strays for food, being set upon when they are on heat, or even constant encounters with ignorant humans.

Tiger's pain in the butt

Tiger was initially found in the industrial site in July. He was badly injured with a bleeding scrotum, most likely from a typical dog fight. Not only that; he also had been hit by a car and suffered from a broken leg. After sufficient treatment, Tiger was sent home to the factory to recuperate. 

Tiger's huge gaping wound from his 3rd accident

All was well during the subsequent feeding rounds until one day in September; volunteers discovered that Tiger was injured again. They saw that his anus had been bitten so badly that it was protruding and bleeding profusely. He could not pooh as it was too painful and blood dripped onto the roads.

Tiger's second injury had his anus protruding
Again, the volunteers had to bring him to the vet and after cleaning him up, the doctors found his wound infested with more than fifty maggots. Tiger must have been in extreme pain for a few days. Had the volunteers not rescued him in time, the maggots could have bombarded his vital systems and might even cause him to die. Tiger was treated and this time round, the vet bill amounted to $800. Friends raised enough money for the bill and discharged Tiger back to his home at the factory hoping that such misfortune would not befall him again. Little did they know that Tiger would be injured for the third time! Volunteers lovingly called him a “pain in the butt” as all his wounds were at the back; his scrotum, his anus and now, a huge chunk of flesh was ripped off near his anus. Volunteers reckoned that Tiger is too old to run and because of his previous car accident and broken leg, he can’t outrun the other younger dogs. As such, he is often attacked from behind. Drs estimate him to be about 6 or 7 years old.

His wound was the size of an apple, deep and huge
Two weeks ago, the workers at Tiger’s factory called to inform us that Tiger was hiding under a lorry, refusing to come out. Knowing Tiger, we knew at once that he was in pain. Tiger loves his food and will only hide away from everyone when he is in tremendous pain and feeling miserable. The pet transport was called immediately and the workers helped put Tiger into the pet carrier. This time, his wound was so bad that you could just imagine the degree of pain he was experiencing.

Tiger's private ambulance

The wound was so huge and deep, it measured the size of an apple! It was just below the anus and looked like it had been a week old. Think about how much suffering Tiger has been through; getting bitten in the behind THREE times in just four months!! At the vet, Tiger cried and whined so badly, it was impossible not to feel sorry for him. Even pain killers did not ease his pain. The doctors found almost 200 live maggots in his wound; could have been more but the vet tech said after 150 maggots, they lost count. . . . On top of the huge wound, Tiger was also found to have two strains of tick fever. His gums were almost white and he looked as if he would go anytime. Had the workers not called us for help, it may have been too late to save Tiger. 

Maggots from Tiger's wound
The volunteers have been so busy helping Angel and Salma that it is only now that they could find time to update the blog on Tiger. Doctors estimate that he would have to stay at the vet for about two months as the wound is still raw and huge. Also, he needs injections on alternate days for his tick fever. Despite strong pain killers, Tiger is still whining and crying very badly. A two-month stay at the vet will incur a huge bill of up to nearly $2000 to treat his wound, tick fever and low blood count.

If you would like to help us and contribute to Tiger’s vet bills, please email Fiona at dogs_ink@singnet.com.sg  Your contribution will go a long way!

Tiger feeling extremely miserable
If you would like to adopt Tiger, please sms Lynda at 9199 6247. He will be easy to take for walks; he definitely won’t be dragging you as his legs are way too weak! Tiger can't go back to his factory because for a street dog, he is not terribly street smart.

We thank Ms June B. for generously contributing to Tiger's vet bills.

Written by Jo-Ann (16 yrs old)

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"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion."- Unknown