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

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Little Black Bear (Sharpei's Lil' Sister)

Bear, a 9-month-old puppy, has come a long way. 
Bear at the Vet for her vaccination when she was just 3 months old
She grew up on the streets, fended for herself, and was barely 3 months old when volunteers spotted her wandering in an industrial estate.  To protect her from the harsh environment in the industrial estate, volunteers housed the little Bear in a nearby friend’s factory, together with a larger 2+year-old stray dog called Sharpei (so named because of his resemblance to the Shar-Pei breed). Perhaps that was meant to be, because soon the friendship between the two blossomed.  Big brother Sharpei grew to be very loving and patient with Bear and even stood guard over her – such that other dogs had to think twice about bullying Bear. That was the first time Bear had a roof (albeit a temporary one) and a true friend - one she could rely on.

Bear at an adoption drive when she was 4 months old
Over the span of the next few weeks, several events took place, which saw the frequent separation of the two good friends. For most part, Sharpei had to be hospitalized due to an unfortunate injury. You could see the sadness that lingered in the dogs’ eyes whenever they were separated and the joy that prevailed at reunions.

Time has since passed and fast forward approximately half a year, we have witnessed the separate adoptions of Bear and Sharpei, now known as Duke and how they have grown in the care and nurture of their newfound families. We have endeavored to have some kind souls adopt them both together but that was not possible, given that most people live in HDB flats or already have dogs of their own.

Bear was duly adopted by an Assoc Professor, Mr. Wu, who already has a senior Shihtzu. He was looking into adopting another dog and after having chanced upon Bear in a dog forum, emailed us to say that he would take her (just like that – how kind of him!)

Lynda playing with Bear at her foster home, before she was adopted by Mr Wu and his family
We brought Bear to his home that weekend and spent some hours with Bear there. Lo and behold, Mr. Wu’s shihtzu (Mao Mao) was not too pleased, having been the only dog in the household all his life. He literally wanted to eat the little Bear up.

This is Mao Mao, a Shihtzu.

For the next two nights, they had to be separated.

By the third day, they became best friends… and are now inseparable. (We attribute this to the nature and temperament of Bear – Bear is easygoing and humbly gives in Mao Mao, whom she respects as her senior.)

We visited Bear a few days back – it warms our hearts to see that she has put on weight. Her coat is beautiful; she has grown into a black beauty indeed. She is still playful like a puppy and chews the occasional shoe or slipper.  The entire Wu family adores her – the family helper, Mr Wu’s wife and two teenage children. Interestingly, Mr. Wu’s wife’s surname is also “Bear” in Chinese.

Bear in her new home!
A big bright smile from a very happy Bear!
We hereby extend our dearest thanks to Mr. Wu for adopting Bear and giving her the life she deserves.

Contributed by Dave Goh (Volunteer writer)

Horrific Dog Abuse - Shame On Humans

Updates (25 January 2011)

From SPCA Singapore's Facebook Page-
"We have been informed by SPCA Selangor that information about the potential suspect has been passed to the Department of Veterinary Services (Malaysia's equivalent of the AVA) who are the investigating authority. 

SPCA Selangor has been working hard on this case and will be doing all they can to ensure the suspects involved in this abuse are tracked down and punished.

Once again, thanks to everyone for playing their part in solving this case."

APPEAL FOR INFORMATION - Dog Abuse Video (message extracted from SPCA Singapore's Facebook)

 A case of horrific dog abuse has just surfaced on Facebook. The video can be viewed at
http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1688604428314&comments&ref=mf. (You will need to have a Facebook account in order to view the video as all the videos on Youtube have been removed. If you do not have a Facebook account, you can create an account here.)

 It is not clear at this time where the abuse occurred although the person who uploaded the video says she found it in a "pendrive" in Kuala Lumpur. We have alerted our contacts in Malaysia and we understand that they are trying to identify the abuser.

The SPCA is appealing for information on the man in the video (see pictures). Please call 6287 5355 ext 9 if you have any information.

Please share this post to pass the message.

We would like to thank concerned members of the public who brought this case to our attention. We hope that the persons involved will be identified soon so that firm action can be taken and justice served.

Friday, January 21, 2011

From Pauper to Duke. (From Sharpei to Duke)

We didn’t think to have another dog, at least not just yet. Rex (almost 5 yr old yellow Labrador) would be the only dog until we return to Australia. That, of course changed when Duke happened.

Duke a.k.a Sharpei
Reading about Duke’s (aka Sharpei) plight on the blog and several correspondences with the volunteers, I had the pleasure of meeting him and Bear when they were at the vet for their health check. I was amazed by his sweet and calm disposition. Truth be told, I wasn’t prepared to meet a dog with such rough experiences to be so well-mannered. Apart from his skinny frame, he is actually a fine-looking, goofy lad.

Things escalated when Duke was attacked by some stray dogs the following day. Seeing the extent of his injuries, Rob and I decided to foster him while he was on the mend. He was mostly very considerate and polite with us, even with Rex. In the beginning, his consideration did not extend beyond our home. Little did I realize, this boy could hold his fight. During our initial walks together, it’s his way or the highway – which meant carrying this injured 23kg boy, wearing this big Elizabethan collar all the way home. Looking back, we would have made quite a sight since I looked as battered as him after each walk.
Duke (Sharpei) attacked by stray dogs (Picture taken from Hp)
This is Rex, my big bro. He used to wish for a Sharpei - his wish came true!

The initial reception from Rex was a little lukewarm. That got us very concerned until we uncovered one of the issues – Duke’s weapons, which is the Collar of Oblivion (having his side vision blinded by the e-collar) and his whipping tail. Rex had his untimely moments when he was at the receiving ends of slaps and accidental “bangs”. They both had their silly and laughable episodes. Needless to say, we were won over, including Rex.

Duke and Rex - best of buddies!

 I'm a pet, not a stray anymore! And I love swimming!

 That's my Daddy and Mommy and my big brother, Rex.
In a short time, Duke had made a difference to us. For Rex, he is a happy and bossy big brother – having Duke following him in almost everything. Even when Duke has no clue why he might be doing it, he is just happy to follow suit. The mornings have been rowdier with two big boys banging and bashing away with their happy tails. For us, they are simply a joy to be awakened to, having 2 happy faces greet us every morning.

Rex is a blood donor for Zeus Communications
Today, Duke has transformed from a lost and sad dog to a happy and affectionate boy. He has found a home where he can sleep soundly every night, without any more fear. My validation is his loud and deep snore most nights. He never has to go hungry again unless Rex finishes his food (not that Rex is a bully but he is an absolute greedy foody!). He now knows where home is and is happy to walk home each time. He loves people, walking up to them each time for some rubs and pats. And he can be very relentless and unabashed about wanting more – that’s why he follows daddy like a bad smell. Most importantly, he wears a beautiful smile that tells us adopting him was a right decision after all.

Living the life he truly deserves
Daddy and his boys
Thank you to Lynda and Fiona for rescuing Duke and making it possible for him to be part of our family.
Photographs and story courtesy of Rob & Stephanie

Monday, January 17, 2011

Feed The Factory Dogs (And Cats)

Almost a year has gone by since Zeus Communications was formed, and we have seen many dogs and cats come our way. You have journeyed with us and witnessed the different street animals suffer from various injuries, illnesses and even great emotional turmoil. We always do our utmost best to help them but we know there are still many others needing our attention and kindness. We can't possibly do it all on our own.
Their food bowls are often filled with dead leaves, ants and rain water. 
 Leftover food thrown by workers. You can't imagine the stench which can be smelt from afar. The bad sour smell was so awful, yet that is the only food these factory cats have. 

Help us fill their food bowls and their little tummies
You may think that street and factory dogs are similar in many ways, but they are slightly different. Street dogs lead a very sad life. They have absolutely nowhere to seek shelter in, having neither food nor water for days and have no caregivers at all. No one would know or recognize these dogs even if they were to pass away. On the flip side, factory dogs are able to find refuge from the weather in factory buildings, away from the sweltering heat of day and the chilling cold of night. If they are lucky enough, factory workers or guards may keep a lookout for them and might even give them daily scraps of food. Dogs are known to repay kindness shown unto them and are likely to start guarding the factories from intruders and provide companionship to lonely workers.
Little Joe now lives in the same factory with Venus

The workers take good care of Little Joe and Venus

There are some factories that have workers staying at the factory 24/7. These workers accept the factory dogs as their friends and kin; trying to feed and care for them even with their meager salaries. Despite most of them earning less than $800 a month; an amount barely enough to support themselves or their families, they try their best to share with the dogs whatever food they have. We want to and will help these people because of one main reason – they CARE. We, as volunteers, often do not have much time to go around feeding all the factory dogs, as our time is spent on other doggie stuff, but with the help of these kind factory workers, these factory dogs are able to get their stomachs filled.

Venus now has a factory she calls home and the workers take good care of her.
Tiger is temporarily living at a boarding kennel, waiting to be adopted

Zeus Communications’ ‘Feed The Factory Dogs’ programme aims to provide food to security guards and workers who have dogs or cats living on their compounds. By providing the food, we hope to see more workers befriending and caring for these factory dogs. Our volunteers will send the food to the factories on a monthly basis and when a dog is injured or unwell, the workers can contact us to get the needed medical attention. When the dog recovers, we will take them back to the factory to recuperate. From past rescue operations, we learn that some factory workers even go the extra mile to give the recovering dog their daily medication after they have been discharged from the vet!
Literally rubbish food fed to the factory dogs. The foul smell was overpowering. We have been providing food to the workers for the cats and dogs in their compound, and could do with your help too.
Is this the way man's best friend should live? Every dog or cat deserves a decent meal.
 An old factory dog, too weak to stand and eat. Sweet as she is, asking for someone to take her home and love her might be asking too much, so we'll just be contented with feeding her proper meals. And this furry one loves cat food!

This doggie gets the head of a roasted suckling pig, remnants from a wedding dinner!

Factory cats. Help us help them, and many more like them!

This programme yields many benefits. As the workers feed and care for the dogs daily, they develop a strong human-animal bond and become friends. This way, the workers can care for the animals, in turn gaining friendship and extra security for their factory. Also, with the help of the workers, it will be easier for us to catch the dogs to undergo sterilization under Zeus Communications' Street Dog Sterilization (S.D.S) program. Another plus point is that the workers who have formed a relationship with the dogs can help to protect them from people who may attempt to attack the dogs. It is unavoidable that some humans have a strong distaste for dogs and may want to harm them, but with strong kinship between man and dog, fewer dogs will suffer from abuse and injury.

Rein Biotech kindly offers Zeus Communications a one-for-one food deal. When you buy a bag of dog or cat food, Rein Biotech will sponsor another bag of the same item. This donated food will be directed to dogs like Little Joe, Venus and Tiger who were rescued from the streets and now live in factories where they have caregivers to feed them, as well as other factory dogs, whom we know have caregivers caring for and feeding them. We kindly appeal to you to contribute to this programme - the factory animals need your compassion.

Care-givers who care for and feed the factory dogs and cats

Life is hard enough for them. Let's try to help them in every little way we can.
The launch of this programme doens't mean that we will neglect other stray animals who have nowhere to call ‘home’. We are merely trying to save time – only by entrusting some factory dogs to the workers, thus allowing us to devote more time to wandering strays who are in dire need of our help - a proper meal and a friend who cares. 

This is a ‘one for all and all for one’ effort. Please help us feed the factory dogs by buying the dog  or cat food. We will deliver the food to the respective security guards and factory workers whom we already know, as well as others who are willing to genuinely care for their factory animals. Similar to this saying, 'a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step', we make this small step forward to help these factory dogs. You may not think your contribution is much, but eventually, everyone's pocketful of kindness can snowball into a wonderful outcome for these unfortunate animals. Help us to help them please.

They need help. We are trying our best. Will you help them too? Yes!

Article written by volunteer - Jo-Ann Teo

Editor's Note :
Dear readers, I would like to introduce you to our young writer, Jo-Ann, who is all of 16 years old. Not only is she able to juggle her studies and help us write articles for our blog, Jo is also a wonderful writer who is extremely passionate about animal welfare. I hope you enjoy reading her regular contributions as much as I do and I would like to thank her for helping us in our work.

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Dog With A Job

Blackie remembers his puppyhood in a canal and being brought to our factory where he has called home for 9 years.

At our factory he plays an important role, and because of him we have a unique corporate culture. Blackie feels that he is very much part of the team, being particularly proud and appreciated when all his colleagues would introduce him to new faces. He comes to work in the office with us in the day, and stands guard for the factory by night. In the mornings he would wait faithfully at the entrance to greet and see us to our desks. At meetings, he goes round to all participants to acknowledge every one of us. In the evenings after work, he would escort us by running alongside as we pull out of the driveway.

Over and above these small gestures, Blackie considers his main purpose as being the catalyst for happy vibes around the office, to be by our side, to comfort us from our work stress.

He has seven favourite colleagues in the office, whose desks he can freely roam about and laze at our feet. With each one of us, he has a special relationship. Among us, we have unspoken roles in bringing him his home cooked meals, showering him, and even jesting with him around the office with his favourite milk sticks. Of all, the person he likes best has to be the boss who would bend over to whisper encouragement into his ears for the job done well all these years.

Probably the only dog with the best of both worlds, Blackie is allowed a fulfilling corporate career with his human colleagues in the day and the life of a free dog in the night.

He is known to his doggie friends as the good Samaritan who would always fight for a good cause, perhaps because he knows that he would be treated and well taken care of should he be hurt in the process. Blackie has a notorious record with the vet, for the cuts and bruises inflicted for nosing around on his nights off duty.

We were in a happy state of mind when we were first invited by Fiona a couple of months back to pen the glorious life of our beloved Head of Security. Lynda and Fiona came into Blackie’s life when we approached the ladies for expert advice when we noticed Blackie behaving differently – he started to cough excessively and breathe heavily. The ladies went beyond their call of duty to take him to their regular vet, which has since taken good care of him.

Blackie was then diagnosed with an enlarged heart, a condition that must have been brewing but would not show until symptoms could be recognized clinically. In spite of which, we were sure that he could overcome this episode with consistent medication and reviews, just as well as he would emerge victorious from his regular street adventures.

In a matter of 3 months, Blackie has checked in and out of the vet for a fast deteriorating heart and we saw his demeanor reduce from a charismatic alpha male to becoming helpless and resigned. We are wrought by worry and heavy hearts about Blackie as we tell his life story.
Blackie is so well-loved that the staff at the factory even took him to the studio for his picture taken!
Sadness is apparent in his eyes as we take Blackie regularly to see the vet these days. As we keep vigil, we are conscious to keep our spirits up as well so as to encourage Blackie to go on. Blackie reciprocates by holding on for us, simply because being part of our team means the world to him, and he believes that he still has a job to do.

 We cannot thank Blackie enough for his unconditional friendship and companionship. He has touched many of us in more ways than one. We are fortunate to have Blackie as much as he is lucky to have found a good home with a family that cares for him. We are comforted that he has enjoyed a happy and contented life.

Blackie may not return to his pink of health, but we want him to be the fighter he has always been.

Written by Pey Pey, Blackie’s colleague.

Editor's Note :

Not all factory dogs are this fortunate. Blackie is possibly one in a thousand that is loved, appreciated and cherished by the people working at the factory.

There are dogs that live on the factory compounds and are considered a nuisance by the people there. These people kick the dogs, beat them with chains, ride their bicycles and try to run over the dogs or call in the authorities to have all the dogs removed. We have personally witnessed these acts of cruelty. So these dogs that live in the factory may just be there for the food scraps left behind by the workers, or for shelter from the sun and rain. They may not necessary have a care-giver feeding them or caring for them.

Care-givers could either be people working in the factory, or the security guards there. On our feeding rounds of the street animals, we have come across workers or guards who do feed the animals on their compounds, and with their measly earnings, buy food and share them with the strays. These are the people that Zeus targets to help; these are the people who do call us when the strays are injured or unwell and they help us catch the dogs and cats for sterilization too. These are the people who make the difference in the lives of the street animals, giving whatever little they can afford to give.

Stay tuned to our next blog post where we share more about Factory Dogs and how you can help us to help them.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Discovering Angel

Many weeks have passed and Angel is still adjusting to life without her owner, Salma. And like Salma, she misses her freedom on the streets. Angel is making some improvement - she does not seem as attached to Salma as she previously was and is starting to eat three meals a day! But she still jumps for joy when she sees Salma, although she doesn't cry too much after leaving the home in which Salma is in. Her desperate cries and whines never fail to tug at our heartstrings and bring tears to our eyes. Salma is still missing her Angel. She calls us frequently, begging and pleading with us to discharge her from the home to be with Angel, promising to get a job and to take good care of her guardian Angel.

Angel in her foster home
Last week, Salma called again and sobbed badly into the phone, telling us she misses Angel. Our hearts went out to her once again and we arranged for a friend (CG) to bring Angel to visit Salma. Both were so delighted and after Angel had left the home, Salma called to thank us. We would also like to thank CG for bringing Angel to the home and also for buying biscuits, Kit Kat (Salma's favourite!) as well as for giving Salma some pocket money to buy her favourite snacks at the home. 
On her way to see Salma

Angel enjoying her time with Salma.
(The home does not allow photography of its residents. As such, we are unable to show pictures of Angel with Salma)

 As always, Angel is a different dog when she is with Salma. Her eyes come alive!
Also some time last week, we took Angel to Mt Pleasant to see Dr Heng, an eye specialist. We were concerned about the cloudiness in her eyes as well as her wobbly hind legs. Very much to our surprise, Dr Heng estimates Angel to be at least 9 years old! When we first rescued her, the vets at Redhill estimated her to be about 2 or 3 years old since her teeth looked really clean and good. We were extremely shocked that Dr Heng told us that Angel is definitely 9 years old or more, because a dog's eyes don't lie; Angel's eyes have become cloudy due to old age. She has extremely young looking teeth, probably because Salma may have fed her chicken wings and chicken bones, and this gave Angel’s teeth a good regular cleaning.  
Angel's hind legs are weak and wobbly from years of poor nutirtion and lack of proper food
This discovery saddens us greatly as this means both Angel and Salma walked hours each day from Rowell Road to Orchard Road, every day, to while away time for so many years and poor Angel, walking for hours at her age, with no proper food nor nutrition.

Angel was fostered by Ms L for two weeks and we're grateful to Ms L for buying lots of supplements for Angel to beef her up but the years of malnourishment and hard life has taken its toll on her body. Salma, on many occasions, told us that Angel was 12 years old but looking at Angel's teeth, we often felt that Salma had remembered incorrectly. Now we think that she may be right and it pains us to think that Angel has perhaps spent at least 10 years of her life with Salma, only to be separated by us. Did we do the right thing by separating them and putting Salma in the home and taking Angel off the streets, but in the process, causing grief to both parties? We are still hoping to find a home that would allow Angel to live with Salma but as the days go by, our hopes are getting dimmer each day. 

Angel loves human companionship but does not get on well with other dogs, especially those bigger than her! We don’t blame her though. She has spent her entire life living on the streets, with humans, not other animals.

Stay tuned to this blog while we continue to do our best to find the ultimate solution for Angel and Salma.

Written by our young volunteer - Jo-Ann Teo, 16 yrs old

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Home For Tiger

After surviving the many ordeals life as a stray has thrown at him, Tiger is now ready to go home. This time, however, we have decided that Tiger needs to go to a real home, not the original factory where he came from. A home with family members who will protect him and shower him with love and care. It is hard to imagine how much pain Tiger has been put through and it is too high a risk for him to be returned “home” to be a stray. If we put him back on the streets, chances of Tiger being attacked and injured again are very high due to the scarcity of food and abundance of heavy machinery in the industrial area. Plus the fact that Tiger had been hit by a car previously and his legs won’t carry him as well as they used to. That was probably why he had been in three injuries in four short months.

 The handsome Tiger

Look how nicely Tiger's wound has healed! 

We would like to say big thank you to all who contributed to Tiger’s vet bills, Trempest, June B, Christopher W, and all the other who helped in their own way. His strength has touched many hearts and we are hoping for someone who will take him in. Never again will Tiger have to fight with other dogs for a meal or dodge moving vehicles.

Tiger is obedient and easy to train because he is extremely food-motivated!

Unfortunately we could not find someone to foster Tiger, so he is temporarily being housed in a commercial boarding kennel and the sooner we find him a home, the better it is for him. It also costs us money and these funds could be better spent rescuing and helping other dogs instead.

Despite his age, Tiger behaves like a real baby.

If you know anyone who is able to give Tiger a place in your home and hearts, please contact us immediately. Do take note that Tiger is a mongrel and is not HDB approved. Tiger has no problems getting on with other dogs. He loves company.
Written by volunteer - Jo-Ann Teo, 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