Monday, 31 October 2016

Mon 31st Oct: Breaking Peak to Fong tradition

Xena was picked up today
I had a day off from dog work as I was at the dentist, but I'm happy to report that puppy Xena left the Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre today after having been left behind on Sunday at Whiskers N Paws, so I'm ready to receive the new batch from Stanley Barracks on Tuesday.  They're not baby pups however, and are already six or even seven months old, but they are lovely and hopefully will find homes too before too long.
Shiba inu daughter

We're also expecting a couple of new dogs from a breeder, and while I was told they are shiba inu mother and daughter I'm not convinced they are purebreeds,  Still, that has never stopped any breeder or pet shop from selling the puppies as such, and we've seen some very strange variations of "breeds" over the years.  The fact is that as baby puppies it's very hard to tell what they will look like as adults so it's easy to pass them off as whatever the breeder wants to call them. As long as these two new dogs are small enough to stay at the Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre that's really all that matters, not whether or not they are "real" shiba inu.

Breaking tradition by wearing the Peak to Fong T-shirt
This year has flown by and I really find it hard to believe it's already November with Peak to Fong now just under two weeks from now, and Christmas just around the corner.   I was wearing my "Beauty" T-shirt on Sunday, not something I usually do before the event itself but there was a reason for me breaking tradition.  It was because the naughty dogs in the office had secretly opened some T-shirt packets for a game while no one was looking, and left several with holes in them.  I took one with an almost-unnoticeable hole, while Cactus took another that had more serious damage, and the remaining few can be used for our Tai Po dogs to wear on the day itself.  The rest of the stock has been moved out of reach, but there are really very few remaining that haven't already been sent out to the various outlets shown, and the additional Sai Kung Pets Central selling point.
Pets Central in Sai Kung are also selling the Peak to Fong T-shirts

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Sun 30th Oct: A busy end to October

April's adoption left a space for Lizzie to be fostered
It was a happily busy afternoon at Whiskers N Paws with quite a few puppies moving on from their foster families to permanent homes, while little Combo stayed put and will be relocating to Italy early next year.  By the end of the three hours of fun and play only two puppies were left; Xena and Lizzie, but even then Lizzie was lucky enough to be taken by April's ex-fosters as her adoption left a vacancy.  Only Xena is now left without anywhere to stay and had to go to our Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre for the night.  If you can offer her a foster home please contact Cindy at as soon as possible.
Curry was adopted in the morning

Xena needs a foster home PLEASE!

Combo's foster parents couldn't give him up

Curry had been interviewed and adopted in the morning, and Tanner was also adopted by his foster home after worming his beautiful way into their hearts.
Tanner is staying in his foster home for good
Bagel left our Homing Centre today

Bagel the beagle and new poodle Bowie left our Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre, while over at Tai Po I was thrilled to hear that Suzie Wong had been chosen.  She was taken from AFCD as an adult, and being of mixed parentage I knew it wouldn't be easy to find her a home even though she was incredibly sweet and still young.

Golden retriever Larry also had his permanent residency confirmed after finally settling in, and he is a very lucky boy finding such a patient and understanding adopter.  Larry is yet another example of his breed not always being sweet and easy family dogs, but love finally persuaded him that being a good boy was the way to go.  We're very grateful to his adopter for not giving up in the early stages when Larry was feeling stressed and unhappy, because it is very easy to do just that.
Larry is a very lucky dog

I was so happy to hear Suzie Wong had been chosen

There was another very nice surprise in the form of a $30,000 donation from Meech Apsden of Pure International, money raised by Meech's special fundraising fitness classes.   So huge thanks to both Meech and Pure International for being such great supporters of HKDR.
Huge thanks to Meech Apsden and Pure International
For those of you who are planning to come to Peak to Fong in two weeks' time (Sunday 13th November) please hurry to get your T-shirt/tickets as we have already sold out of some sizes and styles.   We are re-filling where we can but you may have to accept being a Beauty instead of a Beast, or the other way round, or buying another size.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Sat 29th Oct: Little hopefuls

Beautiful Stanley
It's always upsetting to receive emails from adopters wanting to return their now-grown up puppies, as it's a completely different matter finding homes for adult dogs as opposed to babies.  Stanley, as you might guess, was a Stanley Barracks pup from 2015, and as it happens one of the latest group currently at AFCD is clearly one of the same whiskery family.  Anyway, despite being (according to his adopter) a very sweet boy which is great with children, she needs to re-home him as she is currently in hospital.  I really really hate to send family dogs to Tai Po because it's too much of a shock for them to go from much-loved pet to having to cope with the hundred of other dogs at the Homing Centre, and although still looking at options such as employing a dog walker it is likely that Stanley will have to go.  As you can see from the photo he's an exceptionally beautiful dog and if anyone is interested in meeting him please let me know.  He's still just a year old.
Stanley when adopted

In the meantime and before taking the latest Stanley Barracks recruits, I'm obviously hoping to see the puppies already with us in homes, including two that arrived as young babies and are just about ready to make their Whiskers N Paws debut, not this week but possibly next.

Arrow's adoption is confirmed
At Tai Po it's still the breeds that are those most likely to be chosen, and as husky Arrow had his adoption confirmed, German shepherd Xavier left for his trial period.  He was thrown out by a breeding kennel for being too thin, which he undoubtedly was, but it turned out that he had a simple case a coccidea, a very common intestinal "bug" that is easily treated with antibiotics.  He's an incredibly sweet boy and I'm sure his new family will love him.
Sweet boy Xavier

The weather seems to be turning cooler, which is great news for the dogs who can start to enjoy the hiking season.  It's also a good time for the Sunday puppy afternoons on the terrace at Whiskers N Paws, and I'll be there as always with the little hopefuls.


Friday, 28 October 2016

Fri 28th Oct: Goodbye Perry

Sadie (front) is much older than Chrissie
 The two "collies" that were surrendered to our Tai Po Homing Centre turned out to be Shelties (Shetland sheepdogs) who, although very similar in looks, are much smaller.  From what I had initially understood the dogs were the same age, but when I went to pick them up from Acorn to take them to Ap Lei Chau, while one was happily bouncing around the second was having trouble even standing let alone walking and jumping, and is clearly much older.   It's very sad to see an old dog like this suddenly wrenched from its lifetime home and wondering what on earth has happened, and I hope after a good clean and grooming session she will feel a lot more comfortable.

Bibs by Marco
Following on from my post the other day about our Ap Lei Chau "Red" dogs, new volunteer Marco Lam has been busy taking some lovely photos of the smaller dogs, not all "red"ones, and I hope they will persuade potential adopters to come and take a look.  Although a lot of them are initially wary of strangers and won't instantly jump into your arms, they are all fine once they know you.
Momo is a very sweet "Green" dog

Pom Ginger by Marco

In contrast all of our current puppies are very loving, sweet and confident, and having now been in foster for two weeks I'm sure they will adjust to new homes very easily.
Sweet puppy April in foster

We had to say goodbye to Perry today

There was some very sad news from Acorn about Perry the basenji after he had been in hospital for a few days after refusing to eat.  His weight was dropping quite drastically, and when it got to the point that he couldn't even keep water down and was obviously very ill I agreed it was time to let him go.  We are all extremely sad about losing this lovely little boy so suddenly, but after a lifetime of no veterinary care at all it's not really surprising that we see so many older dogs in unnecessarily poor condition, and even being poisoned by rotting teeth and gums.  If nothing else it's really worth getting your senior dog's teeth checked and cleaned, and a routine blood test to make sure that organ function is normal.  Catching kidney problems at an early stage, for example, can make the difference between life and death as it's something that can be treated.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Thurs 27th Oct: Return of the Stanley Barracks dogs

Justine and Biba, now adopted, were from Stanley Barracks
We've tried to sort out the problem of the dogs at Stanley Barracks, under the control of the PLO, and even thought we had reached an agreement with them that they would let us try to desex the dogs and let us know when there were puppies.  However it seems that was just a fantasy because there are now ten new dogs that were picked up by AFCD after a call from the barracks.  It's impossible to gain entry to the military complex and it doesn't even come under Hong Kong jurisdiction being a Mainland China army site, so laws such as having to have dogs vaccinated against rabies don't apply. The dogs are well fed and cared for, and this time the youngest ones even had identification tags round their necks, and as always they are friendly and very sweet.  However they are around six to seven months old and although lovely with their floppy ears, it's not that easy to home puppies of this age.  At least three of the dogs are adults, maybe four as I didn't check them all that closely, and maybe that means someone in charge decided to have a mass clearout.  Whatever the reason there are now ten more dogs to add to our already bursting-at-the-seams Homing Centre.
Sweet Flanders from Stanley Barracks is still waiting

I didn't take any of the dogs today as they have to do their four days in case claimed back by their owner, which yes, is a huge joke considering AFCD were asked to go and collect them but this is the way of any government department, never known to let common sense interfere.  We will have to work out where the puppies can go bearing in mind that they aren't babies or small either.
These collies will have to stay together

We had two more new arrivals, lovely collies that were at first accepted at the Tai Po Homing Centre but will be moved to Ap Lei Chau on Friday after their vet check because they aren't full sized.  This pair have been surrendered due to a marriage break-up, and the wife who ended up with them works long hours and accepts that it's not fair on the dogs to leave them on their own for most of the day.  I wish all dog owners understood that fact, even if they are a pair.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Weds 26th Oct: Zippo has his wheels

Zippo and his new wheels
We have a superstar in our midst, a beautiful ex-breeder bulldog called Zippo by us, and Bentley by his foster parents.  After posting the most recent video clip of Zippo-Bentley trying out his new wheels, there was a huge response on Facebook and lots of encouraging comments as well as suggestions.  So thank you for all of those "likes" and views, and I have forwarded any relevant messages to the fosters.

Of course it's wonderful that so many people care about Zippo-Bentley, but let's not forget how and why he came to be in this situation in the first place, and that there are many bulldogs being bred who have twisted and deformed spines just because that's part of their genetic makeup.  The same applies to French bulldogs, a breed whose popularity is increasing despite the fact that they suffer also from many health problems, something that is completely overlooked because all people see are how "cute" they are.

You all know that my own personal preference is for mutts, mongrels or whatever you want to call them, and I can honestly say that if I could choose any dog I wanted it wouldn't be a breed.  In fact I haven't ever chosen a dog in my whole life they have always come to me by chance, and maybe I have been incredibly lucky but they have been the best dogs.  My first few Hong Kong dogs were those taken off "Dog Island", including my amazing Inky who was one of a litter of babies I found there, and the rest came from AFCD over the years.   These were the ones that never found homes, or were adopted and returned like Murphy and Griffin, two very funny boys who definitely chose me rather than the other way round.  Bali was also an adoption reject and he is another funny boy with a huge character, although now struggling with the gradual loss of use of his legs.
Ranger was chosen while in foster

There was more good news about a "bad-weather" foster dog today, although as with Goa it's not the actual foster who is adopting Ranger but someone who met him while he was on his short break from the Homing Centre.  Of course we are thrilled, and it just goes to show once again what a huge difference a foster home can make, in whichever way it happens.  You must know the contact person by now, volunteer Foster Coordinator Cindy, and the email, so please let her know if you are able to help by taking in a temporary guest of any age or size.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Tues 25th Oct: Giving little "Red" dogs a chance

I really thought Maya would be in and out
I met up with volunteer Project Manager (and Events Organiser) Jamie, and Iris, at the Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre today to discuss the proposed renovation.  We've been there a few years now and the place is in need of a refit, and now is as good a time as any.  The problem, apart from the obvious cost, is the number of dogs staying there and what we will do with them during renovation as well as long term.  Many of them are what we call "Red" dogs, which means they have behaviour issues.

There are several reasons for small dogs becoming biters, or aggressive towards other dogs, one of them maybe being that by nature small dogs seem to be made that way, but there are many that are sweet natured and loving. The main reasons for the common behaviour problems are:

- Puppies being bought at too young an age when they should still be with their mother and siblings.
- Being left alone for very long hours at an age when they absolutely need company
- Never being taken out or socialised with other people or dogs
- Being kept in cages for long hours
- Being smacked or punished for "bad" behaviour
- Being passed from home to home and never staying long enough to feel secure

The result of all or any of these is much the same as you would expect with a human baby in the same situation, and indeed deprived and abused human children end up with the same antisocial behaviour as any animal does.   Although dogs aren't human, if I could offer one very simple piece of advise to anyone wanting to know about puppy training I would just ask "would you like to have this done to you?".  If the answer is no, then don't do it to the puppy.  Don't lock it in a cage or crate, don't leave it alone for long hours with nothing to do and nobody to play with, don't smack or scold it for accidents, don't automatically expect it to know what you want without being taught,  and so on.

I have just received a lot of adoption questionnaires from people who already have (pet shop) puppies and who are looking for a second dog, so I know from these that there are many puppies living exactly as I have described, alone for the whole day and locked in cages.  I had hoped that by now people would have learned how this damages a puppy's brain development and adult behaviour, but sadly I was wrong, and many of these dogs end up at rescue centres like ours.

For some the damage is too deep-rooted and will never really change, but for the majority it's fixable given time and patience.  There isn't a single "Red" dog at our Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre that doesn't have at least one volunteer who can handle them, and many whose behaviour problems are only due to the stressful environment of the Homing Centre itself.  Some dogs enjoy being around lots of other dogs, while some just don't tolerate it well at all.

Bomber is so sweet and loves affection
What's very sad is that the longer a dog stays at the Homing Centre the worse the behaviour becomes, so we are really desperate for experienced dog owners to take the fixable dogs home to given them a chance to breathe, relax and unwind.  Two of these dogs, although there are many more, are poodle Maya and Boston terrier-cross Bomber.  When I took them from AFCD they were so sweet, and being young and small I assumed they would be in-and-out cases.  Sadly that didn't happen, and as time has passed they have both deteriorated in terms of behaviour.  Bomber is still incredibly sweet with people but not other dogs, while Maya only needs to get through the settling in period and she'll be fine.  She had some sofa guarding issues that adopters didn't have the patience to work through, but in my eyes as long as there are no young children in the home that's not a huge problem.

If there are any homes without children or other small dogs who could help rehabilitate smaller "Red" dogs like Bomber or Maya, please let us know.  You can email Cindy at or me at

Amber is today's lucky girl
Of course our bigger mixed breed dogs don't have the same pet shop and breeder experiences that these poor so-called "pure" breeds have, so they don't have these issues and are on the whole easy and well behaved.  Amber is one such dog and she was today's lucky Tai Po resident who now has a home to call her own.  Thanks once again to all adopters who choose temperament and character over looks and breed name.

You will notice from the photo that it's getting dark earlier now,  and although we officially close for adoption at six o'clock we do ask that during the winter months potential adopters come early enough to see the dogs without the need for street lighting or torches. It's quite difficult to show dogs when you can't really see!

Monday, 24 October 2016

Mon 24th Oct: Peak to Fong is getting close

I realised that this year's Peak to Fong event is only three weeks away and I need to decide if I'm going to be a Beauty or a Beast on the day itself.  T-shirt/tickets are now available online as well as in the various retail outlets and are selling fast, as they always do, so take this as a nudge to get yours now while both styles and all sizes are still available.  You can check the sizing on the chart before buying, and this year we've made everything just a bit bigger than in previous years so please note.  Not that it really matters if the T-shirt is a little bit large, but too small is difficult.

Peak to Fong is always a huge success and an event we believe to be the biggest and best "all included" available. Due to demand we have also arranged for dog-friendly transport up to The Peak and the start of the walk, so please go to our website for details on how to book, as well as everything else you need to know.  Remember too please, that this is a Sponsored Walk and there is a Sponsor Form in every T-shirt package, and you can download extras from the website.

Personalised stickers by &dear
This is also a last call for custom-made "&dear" merchandise with your own dog's image! Place your order at within this week and the products will arrive in time for Christmas.  They make wonderfully unique gifts for yourself and your dog-loving friends, and on top of that all proceeds after deducting material costs will be donated to HKDR.  I love the "&dear" designs and the fact that the young team who are behind the company are true animal lovers as well as being HKDR supporters.

Sweet Hopper
Doglet Hopper was sent over to Acorn from Lamma for desexing today, a surgery that was delayed time and again for several reasons, some health, some weather-related and some because we didn't have a driver at the time.  He's a special boy and it seems he has chosen to stay on Lamma, even though I would really prefer him to have a home of his own.  When I brought him back from Ap Lei Chau because he got too big for the small Homing Centre, it was as though he'd always lived with me.  There was no settling in period, no getting to know the other dogs, he just fitted right in.  On the couple of occasions when I've taken him to Whiskers N Paws he's just hidden until it's time to go home.  It's not that he's unfriendly to people, in fact quite the opposite as he's really sweet, it just seems he doesn't want to leave.  I still have hopes that someone will want this lovely boy though because I know it would be better for him in the end.

Momo the bichon frise
I also took the newly surrendered bichon frise, Momo, to AFCD for her rabies vaccination and then on to Acorn to see Dr Tony about her short leg and deformed paw.  He is optimistic that he can do something surgically to help, so that will happen as soon as we can get her booked in.  Momo is the sweetest girl and her foot doesn't bother her at all, so if you are looking for companion who loves cuddles, and walks too, please consider this dear little dog.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Sun 23rd Oct: 3 Long-term fosters converted to adoptions

Donald and Gordon are getting a bit big for our Homing Centre
It was quite strange going to Whiskers N Paws with no puppies, and it wasn't because there weren't any needing homes but that they were all in foster homes due to the recent bad weather.  So instead of my usual pick up point I went to the Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre to meet the van and our new driver, Ah Sing, and the older puppies like brothers Donald and Gordon, who are staying there.

The other puppies duly arrived at Whiskers N Paws with their foster parents and it didn't take long for them to start their usual games, and because they were almost all youngsters today we didn't need to set up the baby pen.  Beautiful eight month-old Barbie had been sent over from Tai Po at my request, and although I had no idea how she would behave around very young puppies she turned out to be very sweet and no problem at all.  Unfortunately when I asked volunteer photographer Eric to make sure he got some photos of her he must have misheard and thought I said don't, so there are none in the set posted on our Hong Kong Dog Rescue (HKDR) Facebook page.
Hong Kong Dog Rescue (HKDR) added 104 new photos to the album Puppy Adoption Day 23 October 2016 — at Whiskers and Paws
Barbie is very lovely, and as I can now confirm is also very calm and gentle, so if anyone is interested in meeting her she is staying at our Tai Po Homing Centre.
Beautiful Barbie

Big puppy Titan
The three new and very large puppies, Titan, Bongo and Xena, drew the most attention, but it was Artie who was the lucky one today, although Titan did go for a trial week to see how the resident dogs took to him.  I have to admit to having a very soft spot for the last remaining pup from her litter, April, as she is not only very pretty but also incredibly sweet.  It's really a mystery to me why she wasn't chosen as soon as her little paws set foot on the Whiskers N Paws terrace, but it's been a few weeks now without any takers.  I'm pretty sure there's some cocker spaniel in this family as their tails have been cut off and they have the same coat and longish ears, and I don't think April is going to be any larger than medium sized.
Lucky Alice and her family
April is incredibly sweet

Artie was the lucky pup today

Combo is another smaller-sized puppy, and you can really see it when comparing him with a similar-aged puppy like Titan.  Again Combo is the last of his litter, with sister Alice having had her adoption confirmed today.
Combo is a smaller sized puppy

There was a surprise and very special adoption during the afternoon, when big Banjo was officially made a member of his family after months of being in foster.  I had no idea this was even on the cards, so it was particularly happy news.   Now it must be the turns of Banjo's sisters, Sophie and Babette, who have been at Whiskers N Paws every single Sunday from the time they first came to us as babies.
Scout was one of the 3 pugs found abandoned in a cage

Banjo's home is now for ever

Away from the puppy afternoon two long-term foster dogs moved to their new forever homes.  One of them was corgi Emily, while the other was pug Scout.  Their respective foster parents did a fantastic job caring for them as they both had their own health issues, with Emily's ear infection and Scout's chronic skin problems, and once again I need to say thank you to all fosters for making a huge difference to the dogs and puppies in their care.
One-eared Emily is now adopted