thoughts

Much ado about dogs

I spotted this poster on the Facebook page of the SPCA and felt compelled to blog. There’s a page called Purely Adoptions on Facebook which helps to rehome dogs that have been given up for a variety of reasons. Have a look:

Here’s more dogs up for adoption from HOPE Dog Rescue‘s FB page:

Given up because of a baby.
Abandoned at temple.
Abandoned at bak kut teh stall.
And my favourite: Because family no longer wants him.

It gets me speechless with anger and frustration whenever I read such notices. Why do you give up your dog just because you’ve had a baby? Call me naive but I think that it’s perfect to have a little one growing up with a pet. Also, as far as I know, I’ve not heard of any dogs (or cats, for that matter) clawing out the eyes of a little baby or chewing off the baby’s head. If your pet has given you years of happiness pre-baby/child, why are you giving your beloved pet away the moment a baby enters your life?

If a child develops a serious allergy towards the pet and is life threatening, then yes, I can almost understand why one has to give up on his/her pet because let’s face it, a human life is dearer than an animal’s. I just don’t get the “Couple just had a baby so have to give up dog”.

Now, let’s talk about those who abandon their dogs. I find it hard to fathom that a human being can simply walk a dog to a random place, tie it to a pole, and then walk away. I can’t quite understand how people can simply abandon a living, breathing pet.

When I saw the last photo of the terrier who is being given up ‘because his family no longer wants him’, my heart broke. You may say that the dog would never know the real reason why it was given up by his family but I like to think that dogs know. And despite being given up, the terrier looks happy and joyful. The ad says that he is sweet and friendly. So why in the world is he being given up??!

I’ve also noticed that dogs are usually given up when they are 3-4 years old. We adopted Moon last year when she was 4+. Perhaps this is the time when pet owners decide that their dog is no longer cute and cuddly so let’s just give him/her up.

Let me share with you Moon’s story:

Moon’s previous owners bought her and his brother, Sky, from a pet store. They couldn’t decide who to buy, so they decided to buy both of them. I noted from her papers that she had her injections, etc before she turned one but sadly, there was no longer any record after. I also understand that Moon and Sky’s previous owner were rather well-off and had a maid to take care of them. However, they were kept in a confined area and were only taken out to do their business outdoors.

When we first met Moon, she was fat. No, make that obese. She was the fattest schnauzer I have ever seen in my life. I wish I had taken a photo of her wide girth. She had problems walking because she was so very fat. She couldn’t stand on her hind legs because they couldn’t take her weight. Accordingly, Moon and Sky were looked after mainly by the maid and since they were greedy (as all dogs are), they were constantly over-fed.

Apparently, when they were taken away to be given up for adoption, the owners did not bat an eyelid. They simply pointed at the 2 dogs and said “Here, take them”. No last hugs, no tears, no nothing. I have problems giving up an old pair of shoes that have served me well so I find it unfathomable that they simply gave Moon and Sky away as if they were last year’s no-longer-in-fashion toys.

Despite being given up, Moon has the sweetest disposition. The moment I met her, I knew I had to have her. She’s sweet, friendly and affectionate. She wags her tail at everything and everyone. The boy and I joke that she’s best friends with everyone. She allows everyone to pet and play with her. She’s good with little kids who attempt to pull her tiny tail or poke her in her right eye. I have never seen her being aggressive to anyone which is why we thought that she’d be good as a therapy dog.

So yes, Moon has made a positive impact on our lives and not a day go by without us talking about Moon. She’s part of our little family and our weekend activity pretty much revolves around her. I know how everyone tells me that we won’t spend as much time with her if and when we have a child but until that day comes, she will be always be the first baby of our family.

There you go. That’s the story of Moon and how she came to become part of our family. I like to think that she’s having a happy time with us and sometimes, I wonder how her brother, Sky, is doing. There are soooooo many dogs given up for adoption every single day that it’s mind-boggling. And mind you, these are “pedigree” dogs. We’re not even talking about street dogs here! Many a times, I see older dogs being given up. Many of them are not in very good health, usually with some sort of condition that requires treatment. But hey, you don’t give up on a family member if he/she falls ill, right? So why do pet owners simply give up their pet when it becomes old and less healthy? And with so many dogs up for adoption, older dogs who are less than 100% healthy have an even lesser chance of being adopted.

So if you are looking to get a dog/pet, do adopt instead of buying one from the pet shop. There are TONS of animals out there looking for a loving home. Many people are under the impression that it is “better” to get a puppy so that you can “bond” better. However, you will need to spend time and effort to train the puppy as it will not know where to do its business and will require A LOT oftime, patience and training. Recently, the boy told me that his colleague’s mum bought a toy poodle from a pet shop. Soon after, she is looking to give up the toy poodle because “he pee and poop everywhere”. If it was up to me, every person who wants to purchase/adopt a dog has to go through some sort of test/interview before he/she is allowed to take home the dog. Seriously, did she think that the puppy was going to automatically know how to pee/poop?!  The ignorance is shocking, to say the least.

Older dogs, especially the ones who have been given up, will probably be very attached to their new owners as they know that they were given up by their previous owners. When Moon first came to live with us, she suffered from separation anxiety. She’s much better now but if we were to leave her tied to a lamp post while we run errands (e.g. buying food at the hawker centre), she still looks anxious and nervous. Perhaps she thinks that she’s being given up again…

Anyhow, I’m helping a friend (we adopted Moon from her husband’s pet shop!) to help find a good home for this little one:

Name: Ah Boy
Breed: Schnauzer + Silky Terrier Mix
Colour: Grey
Age: 2 years +
Characteristics: Spunky, playful and lively

You can find more details here. If Ah Boy doesn’t find a home soon, he will be sent to the SPCA 😦

[Update 2 July – Ah Boy has found a home!  Woohoo!]

Here are some pages to “like” if you would like to consider adopting a pet:

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2 thoughts on “Much ado about dogs

  1. I adopted my miniature schnauzer when she was 8 mths old. Her owners are foreigners & intend to return back to their own country. Their teenage kids calmly gave her a hug, some petting before we left. I originally intend to buy a puppy but friends told me to adopt one instead. When I decided to have a dog, I’ve factored in the ‘maybe if I get pregnant scenario’. For good or for worse, my Molly’s here to stay. It’s a living thing after all.

  2. It really saddens me when I hear of dogs being given up just like that with a snap of a finger. A few months back, one of the families in our neighbourhood obliged their (dare I say it, um, demanding) young daughter and bought her a Shiba Inu puppy. For a couple of weeks thereafter, I would see the little girl and her puppy going on walks. Soon after that, their domestic helper was the sole person taking care of the puppy. Just last week, I noticed that the puppy was no more to be seen. Curious, I asked the little girl what happened to her puppy. She said the puppy was given away because he kept shedding. *gasp* Then the little girl told me that her family is going to get another dog soon. *double gasp* How I wish I had enough courage there and then to write a letter to this little girl’s parents about the responsibilities of being a pet owner. But, the only thing I was able to do that afternoon (with the help of Lil’ Miss Maple by my side) was to introduce the concept of ‘adoption’ to the little girl. I don’t know if my explanation made any sense to an eight year old, but I can only hope that the word ‘adoption’ is now part of the expanding vocabulary of this child.

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