January 31st, 2012 | Uncategorized | 1 Comment
Today was the first real ‘normal’ day of work since before Chinese New Year. With everyone – and van – back I was able to start the post-holiday catch-up in earnest, and that included seeing which dogs had been surrendered to AFCD as part of the seasonal house clearing.
But before that I had to stop by the Ap Lei Chau Centre to drop off a puppy going to foster and to pick up puppy Sophie who had been returned after her adoption on Sunday. It was nothing that she had done, rather second thoughts about the reality of having a dog at all, and I suggested that handing her back immediately was the best thing to do for Sophie’s sake. Actually her name is Diva, and maybe the adoption was ill-fated so I could rectify my mistake. I forgot to take the microchip scanner to Whiskers’n'Paws with me on Sunday so mixed up the sisters’ names, and it was Diva that was adopted, not Sophie (for a day as it turned out). One thing I have to say is that now I have seen Diva out and about, my certainty that these two girls are very special pups has been reinforced. Diva spent the whole afternoon with me and she was so well behaved and easy, and I have a very big soft spot for both of them.
With Diva in the van, the next stop was AFCD where my fears proved to be well founded. The kennels were full of surrendered dogs, but I could only take two as I had a van full of Lamma puppies and doglets and no space for many more. I had also sent Bea back to Acorn in the morning as her wound had re-opened and needed stitching up again, and one of my very long-term dogs, Echo, had a swollen and infected toe (which now had to be amputated). Knowing they would be coming back with me limited my space options even more.
The lucky dogs that I ended up taking out were a miniature pinscher (meaning we now have four of them) and a scruffy grey-black terrier type. I was told that the mini pin had a broken leg and I could see that he was not using one of his front legs, but it wasn’t clear if this was a new or old injury. The little guy is eleven years old and was surrendered for being “sick and old”. Was the “sickness” the leg? Nobody knew, but I wanted to get it looked at as soon as possible.
The terrier cross is a type that I love, a shaggy and loveable medium-sized boy I called Monty. He’s now at our Ap Lei Chau Centre, and although he’s not a puppy any more he was still bouncing around with joy at being released.
The drive to Acorn from AFCD was awful as the poor mini pin was howling in agony, and as soon as we arrived the vet nurse called the vet to give some pain relief. It didn’t take long to establish that the problem wasn’t with the leg but rather a slipped disc in the neck, an excruciating condition I was told. After pumping the screaming dog with a variety of painkillers, I was told that he must have strict rest and was given bags of pills that would keep Hoppy (new name) comfortable and sedated. (Ap Lei Chau volunteers please note – no lifting, walking or putting on of collar/harness or anything round the neck).
Thankfully by the time all the other dogs and puppies had been seen and dealt with, the painkillers had taken effect and Hoppy was like a new dog during the drive to Ap Lei Chau. He stood on my lap looking out of the window, turning his head occasionally to lick me, and I swear he was saying thank you. He needs other things done like removing two large warts on his eyelid, hernia repair, desexing and dental, but these are minor details compared to his neck problem. We’ll sort that out first and then get the other stuff seen to.
Finally it was time to get the sampan back to Lamma and I was happy to have Diva on my lap to keep me warm, because by now it was starting to get very chilly again. As we came into the bay I looked across at “Dog Island” as I always do, and saw something lying at the water’s edge, being rolled back and forth as the waves came and went. I strained to see what it was as it was quite large, and then I saw it lift its head and realised it was a dog. It was obviously too weak to do anything else about its situation and I knew it would quickly drown if nothing was done. I keep a rowing dinghy tied up at the edge of the beach, and ran to untie it as soon as the sampan touched the pier, leaving Diva, Bea and Echo to run around while the dog was being picked up and brought back to the “mainland”. I can only think that he fell – or was thrown – from a fishing boat and managed to swim to the island, but by the time he reached the beach he was too exhausted to pull himself up. He looks like a young adult, under a year old, and a nice looking boy. He’s safe now, but saving him from a watery grave was only the beginning of the rescue as he needs a home, and that’s the hard part.
That should have been the end of the day’s work, but later in the evening I got a call from an old friend who had adopted two dogs from HKDR some years ago. One of them, a beautiful scruffy terrier, has always been a timid girl and she got spooked by some loud bangs while out walking in Tai Tam Country Park and bolted. Despite hours of searching Scruffy was still missing, and the call was to ask for advice. Knowing that the walk was a regular one and the car was always parked in the same spot, I suggested that waiting in the carpark was the best option, and in the meantime I would post up a photo on Facebook (which I did). Although the owners were prepared to spend the night in the car waiting for Scruffy to find her way back, in the end she turned up before that was necessary, and just in time for me to be able to take down the “Lost” appeal from Facebook before going to bed. In case your own dog gets lost while out walking, bear in mind that if they are able to they will make their way home, or if you have driven to the walking spot they will head back to the car. Searching for a dog in a the middle of the countryside is like looking for a needle in a haystack, so it’s best to let the dog find you instead. They are much better at that than humans are.