Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Tues 31st Dec 2019: Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone, and the start of a whole new decade too!

Billy hasn't stopped smiling
But I want to end 2019 with news I've been bursting to write about and which you may already have seen on our HKDR Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/hkdogrescue/photos/pcb.2971557872856925/2971548789524500/?type=3&theater  Yes, Billy is adopted, the first of our "cruelty case dogs" as we call them, but maybe it's time to drop the label and put that terrible episode in the past, just like Billy has.   This beautiful and loving boy doesn't waste time dwelling on what happened, as he only knows that he has a wonderful home and loving family now.

Robin and Jemma are two other dogs from that same place and case, and they are also very much ready for a new start and home.  Both are happy, friendly and loving dogs who show no sign of any trauma.

Tawny is halfway to letting go of her fear, while Lily is a work in progress and still needs time.  I hope that they will all have their chance in this new year.

Angelo had a big send-off 

Another special adoption took place at Ap Lei Chau when Angelo went home with staff member Zing.  Angelo came to us as a troubled puppy, a very lovely boy who had lots of offers of a home, but he had some issues for whatever reason so we felt it best to let him work those out before leaving.  In the meantime Zing and Angelo became best friends, and today it became official and permanent, and there was a big send-off from the Ap Lei Chau team.

Recent arrival Ferris the poodle seemed to be a little bit better today so we decided not to send him for hospitalisation.  No dog likes to have to stay in a cage on a drip, and the stress of that works against the obvious benefits of professional care.  In cases like Ferris we weigh up the pros and cons, bearing in mind that our staff are pretty experienced in handling sick dogs, and as Ferris ate a little bit in the morning he stayed at the Centre.

Lindy (l) and Mia
We also took in two new small-sized dogs from the same source as Ferris (that is, not AFCD), and both are young mothers, no more than a year old.  In fact they could well be sisters even though they don't look alike, and I called them Mia and Lindy.
I strongly suspect these are Mia's babies

Female dogs can come into season (become fertile) as young as five months, although usually it's six to seven months, which means they give birth while still puppies themselves.  If you don't desex your female puppy then this is an inevitable outcome if there is any possibility that male dogs can mate with her, and believe me your sweet little girl dog will be just as eager when the time is right.  Thousands and thousands of unwanted puppies are born this way, and looking at Mia I think it's very possible that she is the mother of the Seasons Litter, who also came via the same source.  (They have all been adopted now).  Please PLEASE be a responsible dog owner and desex your dog before this happens, otherwise you're contributing to the huge problem of homeless and unwanted puppies.
Two of the lucky ones:  Willow and Santa at Ap Lei Chau

Some of these puppies get lucky and end up in homes via HKDR or other rescue groups, but that's the tip of the iceberg when it comes to numbers.  Going back to Billy's story, there are many dead-end shelters out in the New Territories where dogs live the most miserable of lives, many in cages and without any freedom or release from mental torture.  This is the result of not desexing and then abandoning a dog, so let's all work together to stop this cycle of misery. 

Monday, 30 December 2019

Mon 30th Dec: Poor little Ferris

I posted the photo of poodle Ferris prematurely, because although he looks lovely he's not a well boy at all.  I'd been told he was off his food before he arrived but it's more than that, he's not only refusing to eat but vomits even glucose water.  Of course he and Schnitzel the schnauzer went to Acorn today for their health checks, and the blood test result for Ferris weren't bad enough to suggest anything majorly wrong. However we're going to have to send him for hospitalisation onTuesday so he can at least be hooked up to an IV glucose drip if he can't drink himself.  I had many applications to adopt Ferris and a couple even came to meet him once we were back from the vet, but everything will have to be put on hold until we can fix whatever's wrong with him.

Schnitzel is a sweet boy
Ironically, although Schnitzel is older at around eight years, his health is fine other than completely rotten teeth and infected gums which will need to be dealt with as soon as we can get an appointment.   Dental problems are so common in smaller dogs especially, and it's because they're only fed soft food.   Dogs need hard things to chew on, whether it's big bones or dog chews (please not cheap made-in-China rawhide), otherwise problems can start as young as a year old.

We have a further two new small-to-medium dogs coming, but for now we still have those already available such as Igloo the pom cross and Romeo the French bulldog, Mercury the poodle, Midge and her sister Renee, Bonnie the corgi and others.
Gorgeous Ivory and Tusk

Over at Tai Po we have literally hundreds of dogs, and so many of them are perfect for any family.  The last remaining Stanley Barracks pair of Ivory and Tusk are a good example, and I don't know why they haven't been chosen.  We recently said goodbye to Stan (now Arthur) and Violet, also from Stanley Barracks, and I've since seen them at Whiskers N Paws and looking so happy with their new families.   It gives me the best feeling knowing that these dogs were saved and have completely new lives now.
Violet was also a Stanley Barracks dog 

Jumping a day ahead (because in real time it's the last day of 2019) I wonder what the New Year and new decade will bring.  I hope it's all things good, but I'll settle for a record number of dogs adopted and the breeding businesses closing through lack of interest. Is that too much to ask?
Stan is now Arthur and a very happy boy

Sunday, 29 December 2019

Sun 29th Dec: A happy final 2019 Sunday

Ferris is a young boy poodle 
Before talking about the great day we had today, I should correct the information from yesterday's post when I said we were taking in a poodle/schnauzer cross.  As it turned out it was two dogs, a poodle and a schnauzer separately and both boys, so they'll be heading off on Monday for their vet checks and licensing.  The poodle (Ferris)  is young, schnauzer Schnitzel older, but I haven't met them yet so can't be sure of their probable age.  They're both very sweet dogs though, and I have to thank Kaz of Freedom Rides for delivering them to us on a Sunday.
Jonah is now an official family member

Schnitzel is a schnauzer boy

Back to today, we had a busy last-of-the-year afternoon at Whiskers N Paws, with the adoption of foster babies Jonah and Marina confirmed, plus little Kayak although he wasn't actually present. 
Miley left her brother Merlin behind to move to her new home
Jonah's sister, Miley, was also given the gift of a forever home, while the biggest, in terms of size and surprise, came right at the end when Maddie was adopted.  Sweet Maddie finally got her family, and while it will almost certainly be scary for her at first having to adjust, I'm sure she'll soon be fine. 

We had two photographers doing the honours today, Aaron Howland
 Puppy Adoption Day 29 December 2019 - Part 1
and Rodger So  Puppy Adoption Day 29 December 2019 - Part 2 and thanks to both for not only helping in such a valuable way but also being such a great addition to our volunteer team.
Marina's foster status was changed to adopted

Maddie will be missed as she's such a sweet girl

Another older puppy who had to wait a long time for her forever family is Dorothy, and I can now confirm that she's slotted right in and is loved by everyone in the home, children included, and she won't be coming back.
Remember Dorothy?  She has her own family now

Mercury  has transformed from the terrified poodle that he was
Before choosing Maddie in the end, her family had visited our Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre and were also considering older puppy Melanie and young poodle Mercury.  Melanie is a very sweet girl but shy at first, while Mercury has delighted everyone by dropping his fearful shell and becoming a happy and cheerful young poodle, full of energy and enthusiasm for games.  We would still not recommend him for families with young children but overall the transformation has been quite amazing.  Mercury needs adopters with an active lifestyle, including hiking and swimming, so if that's you please come and meet him.

Going back to the adoption of puppy Jonah, his family are first-timers and they took advantage of our promise to all adopters that you are never alone with an HKDR dog.  It was a struggle at first with a young puppy and never having had any dog experience before, but with the help of our trainer Cactus (any myself on Sundays), they persevered and finally took the big step today. 

As I tell all puppy adopters, baby puppies and baby humans are basically the same when it comes to their need for gentle guidance and training, the difference being that you can see progress week by week with a puppy, and the growing is compressed into a matter of months rather than years.  What seems like an insurmountable problem one week will have disappeared by the next, and before you know it you have a new member of the family who understands you and the the house rules.  All it takes is a little patience with lots of praise and reward when the puppy gets it right, and that's it.

Saturday, 28 December 2019

Sat 28th Dec: Last Sunday of 2019 coming up

Alice going home 
Starting with the happy adoption news, small mixed breed Alice went home today from our Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre.  She's a lovely little dog, just a year old and with the sweetest temperament, and I'm sure she will make a fantastic addition to her new family.
Lula at her last Sunday session

Also having her adoption confirmed was puppy Lula, so she won't be coming back to Whiskers N Paws on Sunday, the last puppy party of the year, and decade.  As a reminder here are the photos from last weekend's session, an event which takes place every Sunday from 2pm to 5pm.
Puppy Adoption Day 22 December 2019 - Part 1

The $100 Challene ends on 31st December

We'll be bringing the $100 Challenge to a close at the end of the year, so if you've been thinking about taking part and haven't yet got round to it, now's the time.  As you'll all be aware this has been a tough year for HKDR, and most animal charities too I think, so every bit helps.  If you would rather just donate and not take part in the $100 Challenge that's obviously fine too, but whether it's for Christmas, the New Year or the upcoming Lunar New Year, please remember the dogs who need your help. https://hongkongdogrescue.com/donate/one-off-donations/

As I keep reminding everyone who comes to our Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre looking for a dog and doesn't find the perfect match immediately, we have new dogs arriving all the time so please keep checking back as well as reading my blog.  You'll always hear about newcomers here first, and I'm sure the anticipated poodle/schnauzer will be a popular boy.  He hasn't arrived yet but is expected on Sunday, and we're told he's two years old. I'll call him Schnitzel.

Lucy has a coat that's suitable for allergy sufferers
A lot of people ask about exotic poodle mixes, whether or not they have allergy problems, and I'm not sure what a poodle-schnauzer is called but both breeds have the type of coat that suits those who can't tolerate most dog hair.   It's not only poodles and schnauzers that are suitable for allergy sufferers, as there are several breeds or types that work too. 

Lucy at Tai Po is a mixed breed who is suitable for anyone needing that low-shedding type of dog, and she's a gorgeous mix of possibly giant schnauzer and Old English sheepdog (that's a guess).  She would love to be the only dog in the home and gets upset with young children playing and screaming around her, so what we're looking for is a home who wants a beautiful, sweet and gentle girl who can cuddle on the sofa as well as enjoying long walks in the countryside.  We know that perfect home is out there somewhere.   If you would like to adopt Lucy, or any of our many dogs waiting for homes, please complete the adoption questionnaire as a first step.  You can find it at https://www.hongkongdogrescue.com/adopt/adoption-questionnaire/

Friday, 27 December 2019

Fri 27th Dec: Give the "Red Dogs" a chance

Cinder, Santa and Georgia (photos thanks to Harryn again)
I got the best greeting when I dropped by the Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre today, as several of the puppies now staying there know me from their Lamma days or Sundays at Whiskers N Paws.  Maddie started it (her foster parent is a volunteer so Maddie comes to "work" with her), then Georgia and Santa joined in the excitement, and that prompted the others to rush over even though they weren't really sure why.  There's nothing better than to have so many happy and friendly faces looking so pleased to see you, with tails wagging like crazy.  We have such a lovely group of puppies at the Homing Centre and you're welcome to come and experience the "puppy rush" any day, or come to Whiskers N Paws on Sunday afternoons.

I think the one on the right is Santa, Anna on the left
One puppy who won't be there this Sunday or any other is Anna, Santa's sister, and while I'm always happy about any puppy or dog finding a home this adoption makes life much easier for me.  Why?  Because when I've been trying to add names to the photos taken at the puppy afternoons I could never tell which one was Santa and which was Anna.  Anna was taken home last Sunday for fostering and we got the message today that she'll be staying.

Sweet Vera leaving the Tai Po Homing Centre
I forgot to mention another confirmed adoption yesterday, that of Vera, a Tai Po dog who went home recently.  There's been a good number of adoptions in these past few days which helps boost the total for the year to close to five hundred, and that's not bad at all.

Our Ap Lei Chau volunteer Harryn made a great video of the dogs playing in the dog park, and you can see it on our HKDR Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/hkdogrescue/videos/598510734232230/

A few of the dogs shown are "Red Dogs", meaning they're not suitable for homes with children, but you'll see that corgi Bonnie is lovely with the volunteers and she just needs the right adopter.  Mercury is coming on leaps and bounds, literally, as you can see he's a poodle with loads of energy.  The other name for mercury is quicksilver, and that's exactly right.  Mercury is a dog that would really benefit from long hikes, swimming, and all of the things that few poodles get. 

A dog that is impossible to rehabilitate or re-train is extremely rare, and as I've said many times before it's often poodles that end up with behaviour issues because they're incorrectly thought of as being lap dogs or baby substitutes.  Maya was a "Red Dog" who was given the chance to prove herself, and our regular volunteers can vouch for the fact that all of the "Red" poodles are lovely once they know and trust you.  Here's Maya's Christmas update:

Maya was one of the very lucky "Red" poodles given a chance
"I thought I would take this time to wish you all at HKDR a very Merry Christmas. I have been reading your blog and know you have had some very sad cases lately so thought I would cheer you up a bit by giving you an update on Maya. She is doing great. She is a very different dog from when I picked her up from Ap Lei Chau a couple of years ago.

She will always be a little doggie with a large personality, but she is very playful, smart and funny, loves her ball (s) and Teddy (a Rogz thins toy that is looking slightly worse for wear) and is a very loving and sweet companion as long as you are not trying to bath her! We have recently moved to Lantau which has been really good for her. She still gets a bit nervous when it’s busy so now I take her to the beach where it’s quiet so she can run around and play. All in all she has come a very long way. She no longer bites or resource guards but you do have to be very patient with her and just give her a bit more time to get used to things.

You can teach her anything and quickly providing there are treats involved and she in particular loves to learn new games."

Thursday, 26 December 2019

Thurs 26th Dec: Lovely Boxing Day surprises

It was a lucky day for Fanta
There were lovely surprises for us today in the shape of adoptions, the best present we could wish for at any time of the year. 

At Tai Po puppy Fanta was chosen, proving the point that while at Ap Lei Chau the older puppies are seen as being too old, at Tai Po they're correctly considered to be still babies.
Lovely Troy has a dog sister too!

Troy was also one of the ex-Ap Lei Chau older puppies, and although he had to wait longer than Fanta for his special day to arrive, it came eventually.

Thankfully a new foster stepped up to take the two babies that were suddenly returned to our Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre, and at the same time Molly was picked up by her adopter.  He had taken advantage of our special holiday offer of "adopt now-take home later" meaning Molly actually had all adoption paperwork done earlier and just waited until her new family were ready to welcome their new puppy.
It was time for Molly to leave the Homing Centre

Molly's brother Aiden was our surprise adoption, as apart from anything else he's a shy puppy who always hid during the Whiskers N Paws afternoons.   Siblings in a litter can have very different personalities as well as looks, as you can see from this earlier photo of the four brothers and sisters.  A female can mate with more than one male during her fertile season so there can be more than one father in the same litter, as well as the genetic melting pot that makes up all mixed breeds.  That's what I love about the mixed breeds, they're not all the same and you can choose whatever size, colour or personality you want, like picking your favourite chocolate from an assortment box.   Dare to be different, and don't follow the "all the same" breed path.
Same family, different looks and personalities
Aiden's eyes are always like saucers

Wednesday, 25 December 2019

Weds 25th Dec: Open for Christmas

Tatum heading off to her forever home
I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday today, and thank you to all volunteers who ventured out to help at the two Homing Centres. Facebook was, of course, awash with greetings from round the world making me appreciate the more positive side of social media and how it keeps people connected.  Our ex-HKDR dogs and their families are scattered around the globe, enjoying their special day in sun and snow, and I do love to see photos and receive updates.

Also proving that yes, we were open on Christmas Day as on every other day of the year, Tatum left our Tai Po Homing Centre with her new family so she could celebrate in the comfort of a real home.  There's no better gift in the world than that.

It wasn't quite such a happy day at Ap Lei Chau as two of the baby pups in foster were suddenly brought back without notice, so Iris had to quickly rearrange the other puppies and their living space to accommodate the returnees.  As much as we really value and appreciate foster homes there has to be some level of commitment, or at least warning if dogs or puppies are coming back.

Now we have two little puppies, five to six weeks old and in need of a new temporary home if anyone is open to taking them.  All food, beds and everything else will be provided, and they don't need to attend the Whiskers N Paws Sunday adoption afternoons yet as they're still too young.  Please email Cindy at foster@hongkongdogrescue.com if you can help out.
One of the babies when they arrived from AFCD

Which reminds me, we'll be at Whiskers N Paws for the last puppy session of 2019 this Sunday, and the first of 2020 the following weekend. Here again are the photo albums from last Sunday afternoon to remind you of the gorgeous puppies available (photos by Matt Baker)
 Puppy Adoption Day 22 December 2019 - Part 1 
(and Aaron Howland)
 Puppy Adoption Day 22 December 2019 - Part 2
Sweet Georgia at our Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre
You can also visit our Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre any other day to meet those that are staying there, like beautiful Georgia and her friend Santa.

Thank you to everyone who sent greetings today, and while I had my usual Wednesday at home I will be enjoying a lovely break on Boxing Day Thursday so will be out of touch for the afternoon.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, 24 December 2019

Tues 24th Dec: The day before Christmas

Reindeer Melanie
Although this post is about Christmas Eve, as it's actually Christmas Day now I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, along with thanks to everyone who will still be working throughout the holidays at our Ap Lei Chau and Tai Po Homing Centres.  Yes, every day is adoption day at HKDR, so you don't need to wait for the weekend or any special adoption event to come and meet the dogs and puppies (and reindeer) and take one home.
Reindeer Blake

We were lucky to be able to send the remaining three new baby pups to a foster home today, as well as Jack Russell girl Russo who was adopted.  In fact she has a stand-by home too, so even if this doesn't work out we know Russo has a forever home.
Russo was adopted today

As I was leaving the Homing Centre to go home I passed the dog park where I like to watch the Ap Lei Chau dogs playing if they're out.  I was especially happy to see our new poodle Mercury skipping around like a lamb and really enjoying himself.  When he first arrived he was untouchable, but it's only been a couple of weeks and he's improved so much.  He still needs some time but I think he'll be fine, maybe not with young children (at least not yet), but the change has been quite incredible, and as he's still a very young dog, just one to two years old, he's got a long time ahead of him to enjoy. 
Mercury has been with us for just 2 weeks 

If you're interested in meeting Mercury, or any of our HKDR dogs or puppies, please complete the adoption questionnaire as a first step.  It's at www.hongkongdogrescue.com/adopt/adoption-questionnaire/

Monday, 23 December 2019

Mon 23rd Dec: Some happy stories for Christmas

I realised this morning that far from being a day off (due to our driver Ming being on holiday all week) I had a lot of things on my "to do" list that couldn't wait.  Anyway, if it's good news I'm more than happy to be working, and today there were a couple of special cases that brightened my day.
Isaac's ready for Christmas!

This was how Isaac arrived, left outside our Homing Centre
The first was that little Isaac, the senior pom who had been dumped in a cage outside our Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre, was picked up by his new foster parent, with adoption on the cards if all goes well.   Just seeing the photo of him snuggled into his soft bed made me smile, and I bet this was the best day of his life for a very long time.

The other great piece of news was that the adoption paperwork has been completed for Billy, and he'll be leaving Tai Po to start his new life on Thursday.  Billy was the first of the shocking cruelty case dogs that I took from AFCD when the trial had finally been concluded, and after the six-plus months all of the surviving dogs had to stay as case exhibits. 
Beautiful Billy the day I took him out of AFCD

It should be said that their life at AFCD was a step up from the horrors of where they'd come from, and at least they had food, water, and also veterinary care for the extreme cases.   When I first saw them after they'd been rescued from the shelter they were emaciated, and Billy was the first to stand out as being "normal" while most were unresponsive and in shock.   The AFCD staff gave him the name of Billy, and they helped him and the others recover from their trauma.   I believe Billy is the first of all of those cruelty case dogs to have been adopted, and I hope this is the start of a trend for the others still waiting at the AFCD Centres and other rescue organisations.
Jemma's also a sweet and happy girl 

We also have have Robin, Jemma, Lily and Tawny from the same cruelty case waiting at Tai Po, and even if you can't adopt perhaps you could consider sponsoring their care through the Life Saver Club.  You can email volunteer Ellen at lifesaver@hongkongdogrescue.com for details.
Tony-now-Mocho is so happy in his new home

I was reminded today by Yannie at Tai Po that Toby, who had his adoption confirmed yesterday, was the same dog that his now ex-owners had wanted to surrender to us.  I hadn't connected the dots myself as I'd taken him from AFCD where he'd been abandoned, and the worst thing is that Toby had actually been adopted from HKDR as a puppy and I'd agreed to take him back, even though I was furious that he was being left behind when the family were leaving Hong Kong.  The only thing I asked for was a surrender fee, and that was the last I heard from the scrooges.  The irony is that the way the ex-family had described his temperament is nothing like the sweet dog he really is, so I guess Toby just didn't like them and is in a far better place now.

Sweet deams Maddie
One final happy Christmas scene from Maddie's foster home, which she returned to after a stay at Whiskers N Paws.  They'd missed her so much they asked if they could take her back, so everyone's clearly very happy now.

Sunday, 22 December 2019

Sun 22nd Dec: A fruitful afternoon

Adele is one of the super-friendy older puppies
Usually when we have a variety of ages in the puppies at Whiskers N Paws we have to separate the babies from the older ones to prevent bullying, but currently all the puppies have such amazing temperaments that it hasn't been necessary.  Even the two older girls, Maddie and Rio, have never bothered the little ones, and that's carried on right down the line of four and three month-olds who leave the youngsters alone.  It's really unusual not to have to rush to help when the big puppies ambush the small ones, and we had another peaceful afternoon on the terrace as seen in the two lovely sets of photos by Matt Baker
 Puppy Adoption Day 22 December 2019 - Part 1 
and Aaron Howland
 Puppy Adoption Day 22 December 2019 - Part 2

Echo joins ex-HKDR Amy in her new home
The session started off very quietly and I was anticipating a slow three hours, but suddenly the terrace started to fill up with people.  Only one puppy, Echo, who had been taken for a trial last Sunday, had her adoption confirmed, but quite a few went off to foster homes.   Six month-old Maddie, who had been staying at Whiskers N Paws full time with water-mad Rio, had been missed so much by her previous foster home that they asked if they could take her back.  It's true Maddie is a very sweet girl, a real cuddler, while Rio is the type who loves games and playing.   Big puppy Tiger has replaced Maddie at Whiskers N Paws, and no doubt he and Rio will become friends very quickly.
Rio and Tiger are now staying together at Whiskers N Paws

In case you're wondering we will be back next Sunday as usual, but in the meantime you can meet all of the puppies that didn't get taken for fostering at our Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre, open every single day over the holidays from 10am to 6pm.  We have all ages, from very young (five weeks) to a few months, so drop by any time.

Toby was already smiling when he left Tai Po 
We have a few Tai Po dogs waiting to have their adoptions confirmed, and today it was Toby's turn.  This sweet ten year-old boy had been cruelly abandoned at AFCD by his owners, who said they were leaving Hong Kong, and luckily he didn't have to wait too long to find his new family.  A video posted on our HKDR Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/hkdogrescue/videos/pcb.2951306744882038/446314976277018/?type=3&theater show how quickly Toby has settled, and how happy he is. 

Many people think ten years is old for a dog, and while it is considered to be senior in terms of age a dog should still be fit and active at ten.  Many of my Lamma dogs who are well over ten years are still running and playing as they always did, and it's important that you still exercise older dogs just as humans need to keep fit to stay healthy.

With our driver Ming taking the coming week off, I'm hoping to be able to make a start on the long list of overdue things I've been meaning to do.  I'll still be keeping you up to date on news and adoptions of course, but my blogs might be brief.