July 11th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 7 Comments
Seeing the condition of some of the dogs that arrive at the AFCD Animal Management Centre really makes the mind boggle. I mean these have been living in someone’s home as pets (and I know that’s a controversial word and concept these days, but I’ll use it for the sake of argument) and have been allowed to get hugely obese (today’s pug) or bald and smelly (today’s shih tzu) before finally being thrown out.
What a dog eats is what it’s given, so a fat dog is that way because it’s fed too much or is under-exercised, something that’s also under the control of the owner (another controversial word). I’ll make an exception with breeds like beagles or labradors, both of which are greedy and the canine equivalent of dustbins (they’ll accept anything), but really, the weight of the pug was obscene and the poor dog can hardly walk because of it.
I assumed the shih tzu was an old dog because of the state of her, and had it in mind that letting her go may be the only kind option. However when I was handed her license it showed that she was only six years old, still fairly young for a small dog, and once she had recovered from the confusion of her circumstances and started to feel safe, she perked up considerably and began taking an interest in everything around her. Her eyes had been completely gummed up with ‘goop’ which volunteer Norma cleaned up while we were waiting for all the paperwork at AFCD, but I suspect too much damage has already been done and Jojo (new name) may have permanent damage. She certainly doesn’t seem to be able to see much at the moment, but we now have all the medication and eyedrops that will start her on the (long and slow) road to recovery. She’s such a sweet girl though, and was clearly so happy to be out of ‘prison’ and to have her tummy rubbed. What a shame that nobody did something about her skin and eyes before. Now she will have to wear light summer clothes to cover her nakedness and protect her skin from the sun and her own scratching, so when you see the little dog in the pretty dress you’ll know why!
Another really sad case is that of Cherry, a pretty mongrel who was found in a back alley in Kowloon, very thin and unable to walk. Luckily for Cherry the person who found her was a friend of one of our long-term volunteers, and because of her small size I agreed she could come to our Ap Lei Chau Centre, (although having been told she was a small adult I subsequently discovered she’s still a puppy). It seemed at first she couldn’t walk because she was weak from starvation, but when I saw her later in the afternoon as I dropped off the new dogs Jojo and Julius, I guessed the problem was more serious than that. Cherry will have to have a proper examination and X-ray, but just seeing her trying to stand made it clear that general weakness wasn’t the issue. The poor little dog is such a sweet girl and there’s no question that we won’t do what is required, but like Jojo the shih tzu, it might be a long and expensive process.
The reasons people give for surrendering their dogs is more often than a made-up story. Like the sheltie/terrier cross (Wally) who was brought to us on Sunday with some story I can’t even be bothered to try to remember (barking or moving home or one of the standard excuses), the real reason was almost certainly that he had a very large lump on his shoulder that required surgery to remove. Although it was only a fatty lump and nothing serious, it was big enough that the incision had to be very long too, so now poor Wally is wearing a bandage ‘harness’ for a while. Funny that his ex-owner never mentioned any lump.