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, April 24, 2012

A Fruitful Holiday with K9

By Clara Chua and Claris Yeo
Since our end-of-year exams ended, we started searching for an animal shelter that would let us volunteer despite being only 14 years old. After failures at several shelters, we found Zeus Communications. We contacted Lynda and soon, we were at the kennel.
On that first day, Hilda brought us into the kennel. She introduced us to Ida, the  dogs's favourite caregiver and Jinxuan, a youth volunteer who is a year older than us. We were welcomed with open arms and enthusiastic barks by Ryan, the Golden Retriever. We were quite amazed at the number of dogs that are actually living here and roaming around. They, too, greeted us with wagging tails.

Clara posing with Daisy.
Then, Ida taught us how to bathe the dogs. Thereafter, with the help of the other volunteers, we spent the whole afternoon bathing the dogs at Zeus Playhouse, including the dogs at Uncle Khoe's side. After so, we felt satisfied to see all the dogs looking so clean. Despite feeling tired and aching, it was truly a great first day at the Zeus Playhouse.
Upon leaving, we already started missing the dogs. It was amazing at the kennel, with everyone so light-hearted and carefree. We returned to the playhouse several times a week for the rest of the holiday.
One of the most significant residents at the Zeus Playhouse was Ryan, the Golden Retriever, who never failed to make us feel loved by constantly coming to us to request for a pat. His love for water amused us as he would happily drink from the hose and purposely tried to get all wet! Ryan also has an amazing appetite as well as the ability to eat a humungous amount of food, which made us stuff him with lots of treats. We would play ‘tug’ with Ryan’s toy sometimes and it was considered a challenge for us because Ryan was a really strong one!

Despite being clumsy and inexperienced in the beginning, Hilda’s confidence in us spurred us on. This moulded us to become assured dog handlers within such a short time.  She taught us to be more daring in everything we did, and to at least try if you weren’t sure. She was also very caring and selfless, constantly offering a lift out of the farmway to either buy lunch or to the bus stop to go home. She also kept us entertained by sharing many interesting experiences with us. We cannot recall a single awkward moment with Hilda because of her bubbly personality. Also, Hilda’s hospitality helped us feel like we belong to this big family of passionate volunteers and special dogs.  Ida is the ever-so cool and efficient caregiver. Her hardiness always gave us a sense of security. Knowing that no matter how complicated the circumstances were, we could always rely on her to be our superhero and save our day. When looking at Ida work, one can’t help but notice how devoted she is to her job. It may not be the best job in the world, but she loves the dogs so much that the amount of energy she has to invest in this did not seem to matter. 
Claris posing with MiMi.
Lynda was also a wonderful fairy godmother who linked us up with Hilda in the very beginning and giving us the incredible chance to spend time in the kennel. She invited us along for vet trips as well as a dog owner seminar to train us up as dog handlers. Lynda gave us many opportunities to grow and learn priceless lessons.
Of course there were other volunteers who also taught us many things about dogs along the way. They also made our experience at the kennel a more wonderful one!
At the kennel, we’ve gained countless of priceless experiences that we could only dream of before finding Zeus Communications. We were part of the Big Move to the new kennel, hosting visitors at the playhouse, trips to the vet and bringing our adopted dogs to their new homes. Being at the kennel this holiday has motivated us to be just like the other volunteers, dedicating endless time and commitment to these lovely canine companions. The time spent here has also made our love for dogs and passion to make their lives better has become even stronger. Even though the school term has started and we are busier than ever, we try our best to visit the dogs as much as possible. The subsequent weekends and the next school holiday will definitely be spent at the Zeus Residence again!

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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