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

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Overcoming Fear with Canine Angels

On 7 January, a group of girls from CHIJ St. Nicholas  Girls School (Secondary) got to know about Zeus Residence through their friends Clara and Clarice, who volunteered to help out during their school holidays in December 2011.

When the girls first visited Zeus Residence, they did not know what to expect. And from their expression on their faces at the first sight, it was an expression of shock and awe. "Oh My God! These dogs are roaming free - will they bite me? What are we suppose to do?".  These were the questions that ran through their minds at the sight of a pack of dogs free running and upon seeing them, began barking and charging towards the gate. As this is their first visit, they stood rooted in fear, screaming and locking themselves in the kennel to prevent the dogs from going near them.

Most of the girls were non dog owners and we salute them for their bravery and for overcoming their fear.  It took them some time to understand that the dogs are ok and the dogs will do no harm - we shared with them that our youngest volunteer is Kaelyn a 4 yr old kid - and whenever she visits the shelter, she would always had such a fun time with the dogs that she doesn't want to go home. So this would mean that our dogs are harmless and they are ok with kids.

We explained to the girls to stay calm, focus on positive thoughts and the dogs would feel at ease with presence.  But when you are fearful, you would emit negative energy and when the dogs senses it, they will approach you and tease you continuously. 

By the end of the day - you can see that the girls were so comfortable and they started playing with the dogs. 

Indeed, Positive Energy at its Best.

Mental Wellness
Dogs make good theraphists - when you are with them - you forget about your problems for the day - the dogs will entertain you and make you laugh - better than watching TV.

We must thank our mascotts especially Angel and Rover for giving the girls confidence and for believing in themselves. Since then, the girls have been visiting the shelter regularly to socialise with the dogs which is what the dogs need.  We are pleased to see that students are putting their positive energy and time to help animals.

To read about their first encounter Emmalin Chong, Karen Koh, Ellysya Lee, Ng Yen Wen, Amanda Seh and Amanda Tee have written about their reflections with our Canine Angels.

Connecting with Animals Helps Builds Relationships
by Emmalin Chong

Dogs are man's best friend, sometimes better than other human friends as animals judge you by their level of comfort and the trust they have for their partner and not otherwise (though I'm not saying that humans are horrible hahaha). And to be honest, I have seen relationships between people improve because of animals (like dogs and cats) or we can even say that it is a supplement to any relationship between two or more, like how vitamins act as a supplement to the already healthy body.

To date, I visited the dogs on two separate occasions and dogs being dogs, sometimes they can't contain their excitement and they would run towards you barking, pawing and whatnot but I have to say that I enjoyed being with them because animals are just so indescribably awesome!!! Not to mention animals look so adorable.
Anyway, I am sure that these dogs need our help to survive and sometimes I rage at the thought that some owners still choose to abandon these poor little helpless creatures that once depended on their owners to provide their needs. Nonetheless, as people keep abandoning millions, we can definitely try our very best to cater to the simple rights of all animals and make their stay on earth a good one by donating and caring. By the end of the whole race that we are just beginning to run, i hope that we succeed in conveying the message about animal rights or even soften their hearts towards the animals in whichever way we can and try our best to let the number of people know what the issues we face be more than just a drop in a bucket!
Always loving animals.

Super Action Heros at Zeus Residence
by Ellysya Lee

“$60 a month to sponsor a bag of dog food for a dog? Seriously?”

That was my first thought when I heard about this project. But being a dog-lover, I decided to give it a go. Having to leave two dogs back home in Malaysia, I figured that this may be a chance for me to work with dogs again.

Before setting foot into the animal shelter, I saw the picture of 3 sibling puppies, Spiderman, Batman and Robin, and I was determine to see them. It turns out that the three of them were inseparable.  Somehow or rather, when I looked into their eyes, it made me think of what they’ve been through and how rough life has been for them. So I decided there and then that I’ll try my best to communicate with the three dogs.

When I took my first step into the kennel, I was greeted delightfully by a pack of dogs, sniffing and jumping all over me.  Fed them with treats and knowing that by visiting I can bring so much joy to the dogs, it made my day. 

In the beginning, Spiderman was the easiest to recognise because he was the only white dog with brown patches.  It took me quite a while to recognise Batman and Robin because they both looked similar to the other dogs and I had to find something special about them so that I can differentiate them. Robin has a brown coat mixed with a little bit of black and he has black ‘fingers’ and Batman has a black coat with streaks of brown down his legs and chest.  Spiderman has a thing with the dog house and Robin is forever
extending out his front paw to ‘shake hands’ while Batman just… acts cute.

Playing and getting to know the Super Heros on my first visit to the animal shelter made me feel so refreshed and alive. To know that these dogs were homeless for one reason and it really broke my heart. What happened to humanity?

Right after we left the animal shelter, I couldn’t resist asking, “So, when’s our next visit?”

Going there for a second time made me realise that I didn’t choose the dogs, they chose me. When they feel that there’s a connection, they’ll automatically approach you. We were able to bring the dogs out for a walk this time round and I got Candy. She’s a very obedient girl and I felt that she could really understand me and what I expected from her so she tried her best to meet my expectations and she really did which “wow-ed” me. And whenever I praised her, she would wag her tail real hard and just seem to bask in the moment of me praising her. There was also a puppy which was so spoilt that she just climbed all over me when I was carrying her. So I guess it’s partially my fault that she’s so spoilt. Oops, my bad. And she’s such an adorable ball of fluff.

Now, here I am saying that I need and will be committed to my weekly dose of doggie cuteness overload. Through this project, I sincerely want the dogs to realise that not all humans will abandon and disown them. I want them to feel loved and hence able to trust humans more by slowly regaining their trust through interacting with them as often as I can.

$60 is not a huge amount to sponsor a bag of food for a man’s best friend and it’s for a very good cause.  I hope that you will be so kind to sponsor food for the shelter dogs.

Sponsorship of Dog Food
For $60 a month, you will help to buy a bag of 15kg of ANF dry dog food for Spiderman.  To contribute towards dog food, you may issue a cheque to “Noble Advance Pte Ltd” and mail to 8 Raffles Avenue, #02-04 The Esplanade, Singapore 039802.

To be continued on Friday, 10 Feb  - please stay tune for the girls' reflections on our Canine Angels.

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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