August 3rd, 2011 | Uncategorized | 1 Comment
I made a now-rare appearance at Tai Po Today, all previous attempts having been side-tracked with this and that. On my way to the Far North I stopped off at our Ap Lei Chau Centre to drop off two puppies to their foster home, and to pick up a couple of newly surrendered dogs who had to go to the vet for all of the standard procedures. One of these I’d been told (by the owner) was a corgi, and all I can say is if that’s a corgi then I’m the Queen of England. Admittedly there is a corgi in that huge body somewhere, and the ears and colour are right, but this is a big dog even if it has short legs. Another Mong Kok special, and another sucker of a customer. The sad thing is that people who buy these puppies quite happily keep the dogs for some time (and in the case of the “corgi” it was ten years), thinking that they have what they paid for. I suppose it’s like buying a fake designer handbag or watch and thinking it’s the real deal, so being quite happy with showing it off. It’s only when someone points out that it’s clearly a fake that the item suddenly becomes undesirable, even an embarrassment. Actually the “corgi” had a growth on its lip and that’s why it was dumped (not that the owner admitted that because we got one of the standard lies – oops, I mean reasons – for surrendering, this time Option A, moving to a new home that doesn’t allow dogs).
The other dog was yet one more white peke which I called Snuffy, and he seems to be an exceptionally friendly little chap though not too keen on other dogs. He’s probably never met one before.
When I arrived at Acorn Vet Hospital there was a volunteer from Pokfulam days there with a very cute puppy that she’d found abandoned in Discovery Bay. Thinking such a lovely little thing must have been lost, attempts had been made to find an owner but nobody came forward to claim the puppy so it had clearly been deliberately dumped. This puppy is another example of the growing number of small dog/big dog mixes that is the result of pet toy breeds mating with big ones (probably after having been abandoned), and the reason why I really, really want to see compulsory desexing introduced. Maybe there are still a lot of dog owners out there who can’t believe that a shih tzu can mate with a Great Dane but, as I always say, where there’s a willy there’s a way. When a female is in season she will be as desperate to mate as any male dog, and size is no deterrent.
I wanted to get some photos of the dogs at Tai Po in their new splash pools, but thanks to the recent wet weather and a lack of helping hands, a pile of ’pools’ were still stacked up in the driveway and had become lodged together as a solid block. A group of us pushed and pulled and struggled, but they wouldn’t budge. Finally I spotted a lone pool in a corner, and we carried it up to the ex-Lamma doglet enclosure, filled it with water, and then stood by to watch the fun. It took a minute or two for the doglets to catch on, but once they realised what it was they were jumping in and out, splashing and digging, just like my Lamma puppies do. (Photos coming).
By then some of the other pools had somehow been detached from the stack and we were able to get more of them up the steps and into the enclosures, but there are plenty more to be moved (volunteers, please help out when you’re next up at Tai Po if you can). Many thanks to everyone who sponsored the cost of these ‘pools’ (which are actually very large cut-down water tanks). They’re nothing fancy but they do the job, and that’s what matters.
I got a welcome lift back to Hong Kong in the HKDR van when Hing reminded me (using our sign language method of communication) that there were Tai Po dogs waiting to be picked up from Acorn. We got to the clinic at the same time as the foster/adopter of Button (now called Duncan) the poodle puppy. He had been brought in that morning to spend the day in hospital on a drip and for his condition to be assessed, and was now being picked up again. The question of whether or not to hospitalise sick puppies is a tough one. There are times when it’s absolutely necessary, but being alone in a cage is very hard on a puppy and very stressful. Especially when they’re sick, they crave and need to be able to snuggle up to what would ideally be their mother or siblings, but failing that a human lap will do and, as with humans, the mental condition plays a very important part in the physical.
It’s incredibly sad and cruel to keep puppies (or dogs) in cages, isolated and with no human or other contact, but so many have this kind of life. I often talk about the questionnaires that I receive from potential adopters and I know that many more dogs than not can expect to be left alone for up to ten hours, maybe more, with nothing to do, and more often than not in a cage where they have to share sleeping, eating and toilet space. Today I got a request for a young beagle, walking time two to three times a MONTH! Our education programme for people like this (tragically already a dog owner) starts in September, and hopefully we can reach enough potential adopters/buyers and dog owners to make a difference.