Mon 16th April: Ap Lei Chau dogs and volunteers
I’m sure I wasn’t the only one taken by surprise by the sudden change in the weather today. I knew that rain was due and maybe I just wasn’t paying enough attention, but what started as a hot and sunny morning was anything but that by the time I got on the sampan in the afternoon. I had four puppies with me who had gone for desexing (and in the case of Opal and Lima, removal of their extra toes, or dew claws) and by the time we arrived at the pier on Lamma they were all soaked and miserable. Apart from getting them inside as quickly as possible, there was a mad rush to get all the other dogs and doglets sorted with the discovery that my newly re-built shelter, of which I was so proud, wasn’t quite as fantastic as I had thought. Suddenly what seemed like a reasonable number of beds and sleeping places for the dogs had turned into a serious shortage, resulting in several puppies being moved to my bedroom for the night. They were delighted, and I have to say very well behaved even if there were numerous yellow patches on the floor covering (towels and ex-hotel donated bath mats) by the morning.
Going back to the start of the day and my morning walk, the tide was low when I reached the rocky shoreline where the dogs have their daily swim, and I made the mistake of walking close to the water’s edge where the surface was slippery. I was talking to someone on my (new) mobile, another mistake, because when I (inevitably) slipped, the phone dropped into the sea. I quickly fished it out and opened it up but it was still too late, and I had to replace it with my last spare handset when I got home. Luckily the SIM card was still working so all was fine, until getting back to Lamma in the afternoon when I discovered I had no phone in my bag. This time it wasn’t lost, I had just left it in the van (as I found out when I used my Blackberry to call the number) but I’m starting to wonder if there is a curse on me and mobile phones.
I made my Monday visit to AFCD in Pokfulam knowing there was a pug there, as well as the mother-with-babies and a young bull terrier waiting to get out. Luckily we have a foster home now for the previous mother-with-babies, so when she moves from her special room at Tai Po I can take the family at AFCD. Still, as I pointed out before, that’s twelve puppies and two adults to add to the total of HKDR dogs. I just find it impossible to see newborns and to leave them to die. I don’t want to have that burden of guilt, the slaughter of innocents, hanging over me, and I really don’t how the AFCD vets cope with the amount of killing they do when they are trained to save animals’ lives, not destroy them.
Looking in the other kennels there was a very small Yorkshire terrier sitting motionless inside one of them. It looked like one of those cases where I needed to put a dog out of its misery rather than just leave it there, but just like Chester the pom, this little girl perked up as soon as I had her on my lap in the van and by the time I arrived at Acorn she was full of life. With no microchip to confirm her age I guessed she was around ten years old, and Dr Tony thought the same. So welcome Rocket, a speedy little thing, and very sweet too.
I had seen the pug last week but hadn’t been able to take him because he needed final approval from the (new) vet, and at the time I hadn’t noticed that his back legs were bent and wobbly. I can’t think how someone can have a dog like this and not do something about it. Burger, as he is now, is coming up for seven years old and I would guess has been like this for a long time. I left him at Acorn to be X-rayed and to see just how bad the situation was, and I’ll find out in the morning.
You’d think that there would be a steady number of dogs coming and going at our Ap Lei Chau Centre, but it doesn’t work like that. Dogs seem to arrive in waves and get adopted in the same way, so we go from having a shortage to being full of very homeable little ones, and that’s the way it is right now. There’s Tolliver the shih tzu and Subo the chihuahua, Tibet the Tibetan spaniel and Sophie the poodle to name just a few. And not only do we have a high number of guests at the moment, but one of our most dedicated and reliable volunteers, Norma, has gone on long leave so we are in desperate need of a replacement, and preferably more than one. If you would like to get involved with helping at the Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre please get in touch. More than anything we need volunteers who can commit to coming more than just once or twice, or only weekends, so please help if you can. Email email@example.com