Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Weds 19th July: No long-term commitment, no adoption

One of the 2 golden retrievers
Two new golden retrievers are expected to be arriving this week from a breeder, and we were told they're both four years old although that will need to be verified once they're with us.

A one year-old poodle is also coming, and the reason for this little dog's lucky escape is that she (I'm assuming female) has a leg problem that will need surgery, maybe even amputation. As far as the poodle's concerned three working legs is a far better option than carrying along a useless fourth, but we'll see what Dr Tony can do in terms of repair of course.
Let's see how we can fix this little guy up

There was another unexpected newcomer to our Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre, a little peke with a variety of lumps and bumps to match his fleas and dirty matted hair.  There was a note attached to him saying he was nine years old and needs surgery but the owner can't afford to pay the vet bills. Let's see what can be done to fix him up and make him adoptable.  We started with a bath and a haircut, and getting rid of the fleas of course.

Nana is exactly 1 year old

We have also received a surrender request for a young dog, now exactly a year old, who was adopted from us as a baby puppy just last year, and once again I'm left feeling frustrated and yes, angry.  This is an expat couple, one of whom has unexpectedly lost his job, forcing the pair to leave Hong Kong and with nowhere for the dog to go. I say unexpectedly because that's the word that was used, but as every expat on a contract knows, there is no certainty attached.  I don't at all doubt the sincerity of the apologies, or the fact that giving up their dog after such a short time wasn't planned, and my anger is in part directed at myself for letting a puppy go to a situation where this might happen.   There is a specific question included on the Adoption Questionnaire regarding this matter but that is quickly forgotten, and really all I care about is the fact that a young dog is about to be made homeless.  Maybe someone is looking for a dog that has already been living in a home, and if so please consider Nana.  Email me at or complete the Adoption Questionnaire on our website (under Adopt).

And please, if you are not a permanent Hong Kong resident and know that at some time you will be leaving, either factor in the cost and practicalities of taking your dog with you or don't adopt at all. Fostering is a perfect option for those who can't commit long-term, and it works for both sides.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Tues 18th July: Staying dry

Minty and Waldo are best friends now
I didn't even attempt to go across to Hong Kong Island today knowing that it would be a waste of time trying to do anything or get anywhere, and definitely not wanting to bring any more puppies back to Lamma.  In fact I'm hoping to find a foster home for Minty and now-called Waldo, the fifth sharpei-cross puppy, who have become good friends but need more space than their current table top home.  Minty's pink skin is now looking more of a grey shade as the hair is starting to grow back and it won't be long before she has a full covering.  What's left of her original coat shows that she's black with a white chest and paws, and although she was very timid and withdrawn when she first arrived Waldo has made a huge difference to her life. In fact I spend too much time watching them playing so sweetly together, just wishing that they had a bigger space.

We have a few labradors and golden retrievers at our Tai Po Homing Centre, not all of them the easiest dogs despite what most people think about those breeds, but their behaviour issues are specific.  By that I mean they are lovely in every way except one, such as Milo not being good with small dogs even though he's very friendly with people.  Our long-term labrador, Hugo, is also great with people but doesn't like bicycles so he's difficult to walk in an area where bikes are common. Corey wasn't too good with other dogs when he first arrived, no doubt due to a lack of socialisation, but he improved a lot over time and today he won his freedom and a new life.

Toro and Cara are still waiting

Our two ex-breeder chocolate labradors have no behaviour issues at all and are totally sweet and loving ladies, but they are still waiting to be chosen if anyone can give one a home, if not both.

Syrup is the lighter colour
Another small foster dog also had her adoption confirmed today, and Syrup officially became ex-HKDR Scooter's sister.

There's often a rush of interest when new dogs arrive, especially the small ones, and that was the case with Mandy.  However she's still with us, and the sweetest - and tiniest - girl.
Mini Mandy

Surely someone would love Cara?

Monday, 17 July 2017

Mon 17th July: Let puppies play!

Edward must be thanking his lucky stars that he was taken home on Sunday
There are times when you just have to accept that nothing can happen with the weather as it is at the moment, and I was just extremely grateful that today's non-stop rain had stayed away on Sunday for the puppy afternoon (and looking back that was some kind of miracle).   Even if there had been new puppies at AFCD I would have chosen to leave them there, because those that are with me on Lamma are having a miserable time of it and I'm getting desperate for foster homes where they can stay dry. It doesn't seem to matter how much shelter you try to provide, the incessant downpours get in, through and under everything.

Luckily for Elsa, returned from her foster home yesterday, she was needed at the Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre to provide a playmate for puppy Benji, a strange and funny boy that we can't quite work out.  He's still being assessed, but at least his original health issues turned out to be tick fever-related, so that was able to be dealt with.  It's his behaviour that we wonder about as although perfectly normal most of the time and constantly improving, when he first came to us as a very cute and fluffy five month-old, he was walking in circles and liked biting legs.  It could have been because he was kept caged in his formative months and had no socialisation at all, or a faulty brain.  That's what we are looking out for and why he's still with us at the Homing Centre where he is getting better in all respects.  He's a small-sized boy, probably a Sheltie mix, and hopefully someone will fall in love and will want him "warts'n'all".
Benji has fortunately stopped this leg biting now

The importance of socialisation for puppies is often underestimated, but without play - including fighting - and other physical interaction, the puppy will grow into an adult that doesn't know how to behave with other dogs.  The lunging and aggression are all signs of a missed "childhood", of a puppy that has been kept isolated and never been allowed to mix with others.  Seeing dog owners pull their puppy away from others when they want to play is very upsetting, and these people are setting themselves up to face behaviour problems with their adult dogs in the future.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Sun 16th July: What a nice surprise!

Enzo had no trouble hopping over the fencing
I honestly thought the whole day would be a complete washout with the sporadic downpours, so I left some of the older puppies behind when I set off for Whiskers N Paws.  I assumed we'd have to be indoors and I know how easy it is for the larger pups to jump the low fences, and Enzo proved me right several times as he headed off into the store looking for something interesting on the shelves. I love this puppy, and although he's big he's also a very easy boy and I'm just waiting for the day when someone will choose him.

Liverpool Football Club supporters will know why this puppy is called Anfield
Roma was another constant escapee, but for her it was because she had so much fun being chased, and darting this way and that trying to evade being caught.  Her happy and loving disposition won her a home where she has now been called Anfield, her adopter being an avid Liverpool Football team supporter.

Today's photographer faced a real challenge trying to get good shots with the pups being both inside and out, although it didn't rain at all for the three hours we were at Whiskers N Paws. In the end Elena Mathew did a fantastic job and you can see the whole set here

Callum and Inky will have so much fun
As well as being hugely and pleasantly surprised at the way the weather turned out, there were a few adoptions during the afternoon including a double one,  Callum and Inky.  I'm sure these two rascals will have a lot of fun together, and their new family will be kept entertained.
Dougal became Happy today

Foster puppy Dougal also officially became Happy with his adoption, and older pup Edward got his big chance when he was taken for a trial with ex-HKDR dog Deebee.  I was expecting Edward to spend at least a day hiding as he was quite nervous about having a harness fitted and going off on his own, but I heard later on that he was actually doing quite well and had settled himself on a nice big soft bed.  I'm so happy and excited for him, as moving from Lamma to a home can be quite daunting for an older puppy.
Potter found his new home today

Edward wasn't at all happy having a harness put on

There were three lucky dogs leaving our Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre today, pom Potter and poodle Google, with black Magic being taken for a trial.  He's still new and quite scared so we're not sure how that will work out, but it was nice that he has a home to stay in rather than the overwhelming busy-ness of the centre.
Google was adopted

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Sat 15th July: Finally a good day for Outdoors Yoga

Minty and the sharpei pup are asleep at one end
I had to do some rearranging at home today,  not having had any suitable offers of a foster for Minty the almost-bald puppy, or her new companion the spare sharpei-cross baby.   The Giant Cage is fine for very young pups that require minimal space, but not for those who have to have a separate living/toilet area, as instinctively all baby animals will move away from their "nests"to pee and poo.

This is the reason I'm so against the use of crates and cages,  as in my opinion and experience they are not only cruel, but they go against natural behaviour.  Ideally Minty and the sharpei pup would have a floor-level area to run around in, but since that's not possible in my house given the number of dogs around, the next best thing was to expand the Giant Cage.  That meant moving everything off the table tops to make space, but at least there are now two separate compartments, one for sleeping and the other one with a toilet area at the end.  Both pups are fully using the pads and keeping the rest of the space completely clean, as expected.  I would still prefer foster homes for these two, but failing that the new space will do for another week at most, and it's nice for Minty to have a friend, something I feel she's been missing for a while.  I've been watching the pair playing, and have noticed Minty is very unsure of what to do and spends more time gently batting the sharpei with her paw, while he is busy rolling around and wrestling.  It's really very sweet and entertaining to watch.

Minimus has a curly coat
Two puppies who were lucky enough to go straight to a foster home together when I took them from AFCD will be making their first appearance at Whiskers N Paws on Sunday.  Minimum (Mini) and Maximus (Maxi) are beautiful boys, happy and healthy, and they'll be joining the many other hopefuls coming back for another try.  Please remember that we will be there regardless of the weather as there is space indoors if needed.  The rain seems to be intermittent so hopefully there will be at least some playtime possible on the terrace.
Maximus is a fluffy boy

After a couple of bad-weather postponements, today's Yoga For All took place and there was a great turnout of people and their dogs. Thanks to everyone who came along to support and have some fun, and we even raised over $2,000 as a very welcome bonus.  Even the rain stayed away and the cloud cover meant it wasn't too hot, so all in all it was perfect.
After 2 postponements, the Pure Yoga Event took place

After a very long wait, sweet dachshund girl Phoebe finally left our Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre, and she has already settled right in with the other resident dog, and ex-HKDR Sheltie, and cats.
Phoebe is now re-named Malibu

There were a further two adoptions confirmed by their foster homes, this time the golden retriever, Birdie, and her poodle friend, Martini, who came to us from a breeder and very close friends.  At first they were staying together, but then Martini moved to another foster and settled in so well that she will be staying.  The adopters of both dogs are friends so everyone gets to meet up regularly, and it's really a lovely end to this particular story.
A very happy ending for these 2 lovely dogs

Friday, 14 July 2017

Fri 14th July: Operation Sharpei Family

Top right is "Spare"
It was "Operation Sharpei Family" today as I took the mother and her five babies from AFCD and then on to Acorn where the mother, now called Clementine, was picked up by her foster.  She's an incredibly sweet dog who must have been a pet up until whatever happened that landed her in jail, and she just wanted to cuddle with everyone.  Unfortunately, of all the breeds that there are in the world, sharpeis are the worst for anyone with sensitive skin as not only is their coat quite prickly but the skin also contains extra oil glands which can cause redness and rashes to some, including the vet nurse who was assisting today.  Luckily Clementine has gone to a sharpei-loving home and her pups don't seem to have inherited the typically harsh coat.
Clementine is incredibly loving

Four pups went straight to foster homes in pairs while the one spare had to come home with me, where I assumed singleton Minty would be happy to have company and the baby would similarly accept his new friend.  I was wrong.  Minty seemed to be quite horrified at the appearance of an intruder, while "Spare" just wanted to get out of the Giant Cage and either be cuddled or explore. (As I'm writing this on Saturday morning and finally had to put the puppy back with Minty so I could type with both hands, the two started to play and interact.  It's really quite sweet watching them, and when I've finished with the blog I'll make some changes to their living area which will give them more space).

For terrier lovers 
I also took the newly-surrendered poodle to AFCD for licensing, while we are expecting more surrenders to arrive at Ap Lei Chau soon; a white schnauzer (owner passed away) and a very cute terrier (public housing victim).  Someone was also asked about surrendering a shiba inu with aggression problems, and I can't begin to count the number of these dogs that we have seen who are the same. It's a breed that's very popular based solely on looks, and people buy the puppies without a clue about their often difficult temperament, and they end up being given away because their behaviour is too much to handle. In the dog's defence, the onwers are out at work all day so have no time to devote to training, and the aggression is only directed at other dogs. If, and really only IF, you know the breed and can help to change already-established behaviour, please email me at, and please, if your work and lifestyle mean you are out all day and have to leave a dog alone for long hours, don't get a dog!
This shiba inu needs an experienced home

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Thurs 13th July: Poor misunderstood poodles

All new dogs are scared to begin with
Of all the dogs that are bred, bought and subsequently abandoned, the poor poodle is right up there at the top of the list.  Very smart and active but also demanding in terms of attention, exercise and grooming, very few poodles have the life they deserve and subsequently develop behaviour problems. We will have to see how today's newly surrendered boy turns out, but the Homing Centre at Ap Lei Chau is far from ideal when a little dog is thrown in at the deep end with so many others and expected to settle and relax.  I hope the fact that he is not even two years old yet will mean that any potential issues aren't too deep-rooted, but he needs to be in a home sooner than later.

Toffee and Treacle in foster care
To be fair not all poodles that come to us have behaviour problems and there are some who are very sweet and easy, like Toffee who is enjoying the luxury of a foster home with another one of our poodles, Treacle.  If only all of our dogs could stay in such temporary homes it would make the world of difference to their adoption prospects, and the rest of their lives.  This applies to any dogs of any age, puppies included, and once again we are always looking for foster homes who can help by taking in a four-legged guest.  Please email Cindy at if you think you would like to try.

All 5 babies
The latest call for urgent fosters went out today after I made a special visit to AFCD to take photos of the five sharpei-cross babies who are there with their (pure sharpei) mother.  To get the little ones on their own the mother was distracted with some food so I wasn't able to get a photo of her, but I'm happy to say she has an offer of a foster home anyway.  At this age the pups can eat by themselves but will need to go as a pair or as three, unless there is a resident dog who won't mind taking care of a little orphan. The family will leave AFCD on Friday so I need places for them all to go by the afternoon.