Sunday, 24 September 2017

Sun 24th Sept: A day best forgotten

Big thanks to Luke for sharing his birthday 
There are some days that are just best forgotten and today was one of them, brightened only by the lovely puppies and a Two Presents birthday donation from Luke.  His family adopted puppy Cherry some time ago and they love her to bits, which is always nice to know.
Cherry's adoption photo from last year

Dennis Cheng was today's volunteer photographer, and thanks for a great set and many wonderful shots:  Hong Kong Dog Rescue (HKDR) added 88 new photos to the album Puppy Adoption Day 24 September 2017 — at Whiskers N Paws
I also had a visit from the adopter of Waldo and Minty who showed me long-awaited photos and promised to send them so I can share.  The two best friends are also much loved and doing really well.
Minty has a full and healthy coat these days

Unfortunately there were no adoptions to write about, and the bag containing all the files and paperwork remained firmly zipped for the whole afternoon.

It was, however, a special day for the Positive Partners training class for September as they graduated and will hopefully take home not only their certificates, but also the tools to help both families and dogs continue to enjoy a mutual respect and understanding.    Thanks to our trainers Alice Lau and of course, Cactus Mok and all participants.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Sat 23rd Sept: Another windy Sunday coming?

A couple of the new small dogs left Ap Lei Chau, with one of them hopefully bound for England before too long.  Porter is the little Yorkie who may be joining ex-breeder Yorkie Wobbly, so we'll just have to hope that his health checks out OK.  The second dog to go was Rosie, one of the breeder poodles that came via AFCD, and she has gone for fostering with a potential adoption if all works out.

Dachshund Stan was also finally given his chance as he was taken to see how he gets on with the other two dogs in the home, and hopefully we won't be seeing Stan back again.  He came to us from a breeder as well, and needed major surgery on a double hernia which would have inevitably killed him without treatment.

We have been taking in ex-breeder dogs for some years now, and nothing has really changed.  I hope that we will start to see the effects of the new Animal Trader Laws in the coming years, but here's a reminder of the day a whole load of breeder dogs came to us.  They were all crammed into a couple of crates, and it seemed like a never-ending stream when the door was opened:

Brandy is so happy to be going home
Although Saturday is her day off, Cactus (and husband) kindly offered to pick Brandy up from Acorn after we got a message saying she was very unhappy there and was fine to leave.  I'd guessed that she wouldn't be the easiest of patients because although she's still a fairly young dog at four years, she acts like the grumpy and bossy grandma in the office.  She likes her comfy bed and long snoozes, and the youngsters (Lara and Nancy) playing irritate her.  She'll recover from her acute gastroenteritis far better at "home" than stressed out in hospital.

Jinks leaves Tai Po
One of the remaining "J" litter was adopted at Tai Po, and Jinks has grown into a very handsome doglet.  There are still a number of ex-Lamma puppies that went to Tai Po in the hope of being adopted, and of course it makes me very sad to know that they're still waiting.


I imagine I wasn't the only one to be woken in the small hours of Sunday morning by the "typhoon" that came out of nowhere, and with the T1 up and the wind still quite strong I'm in a bit of a panic about getting over to Whiskers N Paws for the puppy afternoon.  Whatever happens there will be foster puppies there, but I've got Laura and Harvey and the two new recruits that came from AFCD the other day.  It's also time for Paris to go at least to a foster home if not for ever, because although she loves island life, the beach and her best friend Jet, she's never worn a collar and has never even seen a leash.  At six months she really needs to start school and learn these important life skills.
Paris last Sunday

Friday, 22 September 2017

Fri 22nd Sept: Ten new Ap Lei Chau residents

It always happens like this, we get all the new dogs in at once and today was no exception.  The first group were picked up from AFCD in Sheung Shui and taken to Acorn for the usual checks and vaccinations before going to Ap Lei Chau.  The four poodles are definitely ex-breeder dogs and have various health problems between them, one having heartworm and another luxating patellas (kneecaps) which need surgery.  At least two of them seemed fairly OK if in urgent need of a dental and presumable multiple extractions.  There was an older puppy, Portman, who was lucky enough to be taken straight to a foster home, and three other pups, all of which will be at Whiskers N Paws on Sunday.
Lucky Portman went straight to a foster home

All the poodles are 6 years old
Volunteer Harryn gave the poodles a much-needed bath before taking their photos and adding names that I'd prepared, and all of them are now available for adoption or fostering.  Desexing and other surgery/dental work will be covered by HKDR as needed.

We were expecting the second group of dogs coming directly from a breeder, which I was hoping to be able to take straight to Acorn after the first batch were dropped off at the Homing Centre, but in the end they didn't arrive until after I had already left.  I needed to move the puppies to Lamma anyway to make space for the new arrivals, but it was around five in the afternoon when they turned up, squashed into rusty old cages as is usually the case.  Some had licenses which had already long expired, others nothing, so we will have to get them all to AFCD for updates and registration.
Two poor worn out shiba inu girls

It infuriates me that these disgusting breeders are still getting away with keeping unlicensed dogs, and that nothing is done about safeguarding the health and welfare of these animals.   The fact that so many have preventable heartworm is unacceptable, not to mention the hernias and mammary tumours that are so common.  I don't know if the new Cap 139B Animal Trader Licensing rules include heartworm prevention, but nothing is worth the paper it's written on if not enforced.  Any breeder flouting the laws should be closed down without question and the license revoked.

All in all the new dogs that will be staying at Ap Lei Chau are six poodles (four via AFCD), two shiba inu (both nine years old), a Yorkie (age unknown) and a shih tzu, age also not known yet.

I also got the news that a breeder had died and there are sixty four dogs left behind.  I can't help but feel happy for these dogs that they may have an early and lucky escape from their life of hell.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Thurs 21st Sept: Is Cap 139B biting?

2 of the 4 AFCD poodles, all 6 years old
It's possible that the breeders who are surrendering groups of dogs to AFCD are doing so because if they want an Animal Trader License (ATL) they have to comply with the regulations which limit the number of dogs to the space available.  Most of the breeders, legal and illegal, are in the Yuen Long area of the New Territories, which is why these dogs end up at Sheung Shui AFCD, and although not confirmed yet I suspect the four poodles arriving on Friday are ex-breeder stock.

There's another breeder who has apparently applied for an ATL and has to clear one hundred dogs to get it, yes, one hundred.  If that doesn't tell you anything about the conditions in which these dogs are kept then nothing will.  I have agreed to take in as many throwaways as necessary and have been told that six will come on Saturday: two poodles, a Yorkie, a shih tzu and two shiba inu.  I have no details about age or anything else other than the poodles are male and female.

We will choose the best home for Dottie
We also have a young pug available, not a breeder dog but a pet who needs a better home.  One of the things that we ask on our adoption questionnaire is if it is the child or children who want a dog, have the parents considered that the child will grow up and quite possibly leave home or lose interest?  That is exactly what's happened with pug Dottie, only three years old but without his human friend who has left home.  At least the parents acknowledge that Dottie (a boy) deserves a better life than his current lonely one, so I have to give them credit for that.  If you are interested in adopting Dottie or any of the breeder dogs mentioned, please complete the Adoption Questionnaire on our website (under Adopt).

I had an important appointment in Central today, a meeting with a lawyer to sign the new two year Agreement for our Tai Po Homing Centre, which of course I was very happy about and eager to do.  I hadn't planned a trip to the vet but as it happened one of our office dogs, Brandy, wasn't feeling well and we were all worried, so I took her to Acorn on my way to the lawyer's office.
Brandy didn't want to move from her bed

I was told Brandy had refused to go out for her morning walk so I was careful not to walk her on the pavement when we got out of the van on Second Street, anticipating that she may have to pee or poo.  What I wasn't expecting was the torrent of blood that came rushing out when she squatted down in the gutter, and all I could do was watch helplessly while bystanders showed the horror in their faces.  The bottle of water I poured on the bright red/brown liquid hardly made a difference there was so much, so after I had taken Brandy inside I grabbed the bucket of water with disinfectant left out for mopping the floor and flushed the blood away.

Thankfully I had seen this Haemorrhagic Gastroenteritis before in my Lamma dogs so understood it didn't mean Brandy's insides had liquified and were falling out, but the amount of blood was still quite shocking and obviously required hospitalisation and fluids.  I'm hoping and assuming Brandy will bounce back and will soon return to take her place in the office, where she is top dog.

Haemorrhagic gastroenteritis or HGE is a very serious condition affecting dogs. HGE is characterized by a rapid onset of haemorrhagic (bloody) diarrhea in an otherwise normal, healthy dog. Haemorrhagic gastroenteritis can affect dogs of any breed, gender or age although younger (2-4 year old) toy and miniature breeds appear to be predisposed; stress and hyperactivity in these breeds may play a role in this syndrome.  The actual etiology of this syndrome is unproven and unknown.
What are the clinical signs of HGE in dogs? 
Dogs affected with HGE will often have:
  • A sudden onset of profuse, bloody diarrhea with a foul odor
  • Vomiting
  • A loss of appetite
  • Depression
  • Acute abdominal pain
  • Dehydration
HGE in dogs can occur very rapidly. HGE is not contagious and can occur without a change in the dog's diet, environment, or routine. A fever with HGE is uncommon.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Weds 20th Sept: Post adoption training

The start of last year's Peak to Fong
I've been starting to get a lot of enquiries about the date of this year's Peak to Fong event, so for those of you who haven't yet marked it in your diaries it's Sunday 19th November.   The organising team have been busy for a long time and much of the background work is already done, T-shirts made, stalls sold out and brand new HKDR merchandise in the production line.   Tickets will go on sale next month so look out for the announcements, especially with regard to the special prizes for those participants collecting money for the sponsored walk as we have a surprise in store.

Harvey will be back on Sunday
Inevitably we have a group of new dogs and puppies arriving from AFCD on Friday, including four poodles we assume are from the same breeder.  They are all six years old so not puppies, although for this particular breed six is still a fairly young age.   The puppies that are coming are all mixed breeds, so for the many potential adopters wanting small breed puppies we really don't see too many of them. The newcomers will be at Whiskers N Paws on Sunday along with the rest of the young hopefuls.
These 4 sisters are also still waiting for homes

Many of the dogs and puppies need some training after they are adopted, and while our own HKDR trainer, Cactus, is available to offer help to all adopters, some like to hire their own "at home" dog trainers.  If you choose to do that, please be careful about the trainer you pick as not all are good, and many not very nice.  We're happy to make recommendations if needed.

The biggest mistake you can make is to send a dog away to one of those training kennels in the New Territories where threats and punishment are the methods used to terrify a dog into being obedient. We know only too well what happens later, when the fear factor turns the dog into a biter, because we get many surrender requests from those very dog owners.  Apart from anything else, it's the human side of the equation that's important too, because what's the point of sending a dog for training when you as the owner have no idea yourself?  The dog and family need to work as a team so everyone understands each other.

As is well known, at HKDR we insist on Positive Reinforcement methods only and always recommend the training videos for those dog owners who want to learn at home.   Following these videos and being consistent in their use will result in a happy and well behaved dog, allowing of course for occasional errors and general puppy playfulness, and you can find them all here:

I really want to be able to post new photos of Matchstick
After yesterday's poodle post I'm happy to say that Matchstick's foster home has now been confirmed as permanent.  She has been through so much with first of all a leg amputation, then needing an eye conjunctival graft for a deep ulcer, followed by a knee repair on her remaining back leg.  She made it through it all with flying colours thanks to the care of her fosters and Dr Tony at Acorn, and now she can relax and enjoy the rest of what I hope is a very long life.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Tues 19th Sept: All about poodles

I talk a lot about the benefits of foster homes and what a difference it makes to the dogs and their chances of being adopted, and we currently have three poodles who were very kindly offered special training foster homes.  By that I mean these were little dogs who couldn't stay at our Homing Centre because it was literally driving them crazy, and in fact most poodles don't do at all well at Ap Lei Chau simply because they need space, exercise, mental stimulation and attention.  Without this they develop behaviour issues, which is why they ended up at HKDR in the first place.  With poodles you can't cage them or leave them on their own all day without suffering the consequences.

Maya is only 4 years old and very pretty
Maya is one of the poodles who has been transformed in her foster home, and she is now a completely different character from the crazy lady she was at out Homing Centre.  All she needed was the chance to show what a smart, funny, happy and affectionate girl she really is, and she's certainly done that.

Nobby and Teddy are in the same foster home although they aren't friends so don't need to be adopted together.  In fact each would love their own home where they can be the one and only receiver of all the tummy rubs and cuddles, and in Teddy's case keeper of all the toys.  This is what their foster says about them:
Cuddles are Nobby's favourite things

I think Nobby is ready for adoption to a forever home! He is cuddly, affectionate, seems a lot happier and very playful, walking well - once you get him out there - and he even sits on our outside terrace to listen to the birds. He will just need time to develop a trusting relationship when he moves home.

Teddy is a happy active boy. You can tell he is a very loyal bonded dog. He will sit, shake hands - very motivated by treats! He loves a cuddle. He is probably best being the only dog in the home as gets a bit jealous.
Teddy asking for tummy rubs

Most poodle are highly strung and demanding of attention, so we prefer that they go to adult-only homes, although some of course are perfect family dogs. One of those, Treacle, was adopted from her foster home today, leaving her "sister" Toffee still waiting.  Toffee is a larger-sized poodle who enjoys outdoor activities like hiking and swimming, and she's not a stay-at-home kind of personality although she's patient and loving with the young children in the home, and loves cuddles too.

Toffee and Treacle are perfect family dogs
These were ex-breeder poodles who came with the usual health problems and shyness from their days of living in cages as money-making machines, but again thanks to their wonderful care in a foster home both have blossomed into very sweet girl who are absolutely fine with children.
Toffee is a larger-sized poodle 

Tiny Matchstick is another very sweet ex-breeder poodle, but so small and fragile and with her three legs as thin as matchsticks, that she would be at risk with young children who could play too rough with her.   Being still only a year old she loves running around and high energy games with her Yorkie friend, but we would still prefer a home with older children rather than toddlers.
Matchstick is really tiny but active

Wizard is also a smaller sized poodle boy, though not teacup-tiny like Matchstick, and he is also fine with people but still undergoing training with the help of Cactus for his dislike of other dogs.  He's improved a lot and I don't think he can be labelled as a problem dog at all.
Wizard is small, young and very sweet

All of these poodles are in foster homes and available for adoption, and meetings can be arranged through our Foster Coordinator Cindy at email

Monday, 18 September 2017

Mon 18th Sept: From death to resurrection and adoption

Freddie (front) chose a new life and home for himself
I ended up working from home all day as one thing led to another, and I was still glued to my desk and computer until the evening.  One of the cases that dropped unexpectedly into my lap started with a strange message from AFCD telling me that a dog someone had found on the other side of Lamma was registered as mine, and I had reported it in early July as being dead.  I checked my diary for dogs that had died around that time and there were a couple, but I was quite sure they were who I thought they were and that they really were quite dead.  I called the number AFCD gave me but had to wait for someone to call me back before the mystery was solved, which it was and in the happiest of ways.

I had a four year-old dog called Freddie who mastered the art of fence climbing, as some do, and he started to let himself out every day so he could wander freely outside and on the beach.  It wasn't really a problem and it was pointless trying to persuade him to stay in the garden, and he became one of the gang that saw me off every day and greeted me when I came home.  He seemed to be happy with his life, but one day in June he disappeared.  I waited for him to reappear while searching high and low for a body, but after some time I had to accept that he was gone, and had either taken himself off to the woods to die or had maybe died on the beach and been washed out to sea by the tide.  Eventually I reported his death to AFCD, as everyone is supposed to do in case you weren't aware.

The Whatsapp message that came later in the afternoon was from an old friend of mine who told me she had come across a stray dog some time ago and had been trying to befriend him, eventually succeeding and managing to get a harness on.  She had called him Sambal, and she asked the local rescue group to scan him in case he had a microchip, which he did.  Lamma Animal Welfare Centre (LAWC) contacted AFCD who found that the dog was registered under my name, but it was only when I was sent the photo that I immediately recognised Sambal as being my missing "dead" Freddie.

Baby Freddie in 2013
The best part of the story is that my friend Carey wants to officially adopt Freddie Sambal, so now I have to resurrect him and his paperwork at AFCD and then transfer ownership.  It's an amazing story and a very happy one, and I was grateful that I had been at home and able to spend the necessary time to sort everything out.