February 23rd, 2012 | Uncategorized | 2 Comments
What is it that makes me think the dogs will understand or appreciate that Wednesday is supposed to be my day off, and that means I don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn as I usually do? Of course the day is no different from any other to them, so crack of dawn it is despite the fact that I stayed up much later than usual. I had also arranged to take the remaining pair of sharpei pups to Hong Kong and their new foster, and while it would have been possible to postpone that for a day after many years in the business I have learned that you strike while the iron is hot (as they say) or you may miss out. I know I’m impatient but so many times when potential adopters have asked for a specific type of dog and we don’t have one immediately, when one arrives, even just a few days later, and I email to say so, the reply comes back thanks, but we bought a puppy.
Out of all the adoption enquiries I get the majority are asking for a small breed puppy under four months old. The thing is we do get these puppies from time to time (but not often) and if you’re prepared to wait you may get just what you wanted, but for the most part our dogs are those that have been bought as puppies and then discarded, or they are larger mixed breeds. We don’t breed dogs and those small sized puppies that we do get in already have a waiting list of adopters so they never get posted on the website. We also don’t have any golden retriever (or most purebreed) puppies for longer than twenty four hours because these dogs are very easy to place. I’m never quite sure what a lot of peoples’ perception of a dog rescue organisation is, based on these requests.
Ironically – and sadly – most of the puppy requests come from the types of would-be adopters that would be turned down anyway, the ten hours alone, walk once a day for ten minutes homes. And no doubt they will head straight to Mong Kok or Causeway Bay and buy themselves a “baby”, and subject it to a miserable and lonely existence before they pass it on because they get bored, and so on. It’s frighteningly easy to damage a puppy’s behaviour treating it like this, and much harder to undo. A puppy learns very quickly, just as a human baby does, and a growing brain absorbs information like a sponge, and retains it. Early experiences will have a lifetime effect, and is it any wonder that so many small dogs are nutcases? Luckily they can still be sweet nutcases, and the behaviour can be moderated to a large extent with time and proper training, but the number of young poodles we have now that are so terrified of people is really upsetting. I’d say every one of these dogs has already had several homes before ending up at AFCD at only a year old, and while Puddle (the poodle) got many, many offers of a home, and was even adopted (and returned), it’s only now that he is starting to learn new behaviour. He’s with someone who is willing to be patient and is working with our HKDR trainers, Foster Wong and Eddie Choi, to help Puddle understand that he’s not going to be hit or hurt any more, so he doesn’t need to behave defensively. Poodles are naturally very smart and loving, and Puddle is extremely affectionate, so it’s sad to know that his love and trust have been so badly abused in the past.
We have two one year-old poodles who are also in need of homes like Puddle’s. Billy is a red poodle and Chimney is black, and both are very fearful. If you are willing to help either of them please do let me know. You will have the support of our trainers, but you will need your own patience and knowledge, and be willing to give the dog space and time to re-learn the trust they must have had as little puppies, so willing and eager to please and so badly let down. It would obviously be best if anyone thinking about taking on one of these poor boys had potential adoption in mind, as once a bond of trust has been forged it will be very hard on the dogs to lose that, but even a foster will help.
I feel that this is the second time round that I have written my blog, as I did an e-interview for some magazine or other, and that meant answering (typing out) long answers to many questions. It wasn’t just dog-related, a lot of it being about my arrival in Hong Kong and what it was like back then compared with how it is today. It was interesting thinking back, because a lot has changed tremendously since 1984 when I arrived (I sailed in on a yacht), and then again since 1997 and the handover. Thankfully one part of Hong Kong that has changed very little is the bay where I live, and long may it stay that way.