Sunday, 31 May 2020

Sun 31st May: A "Red Dog" turns green

Bell has a home of his own!
I don't know how many times I've written about our "Red Dogs" saying that if only given the opportunity they would be fine in a home, and now one of them has been given that chance.  Poodle Bell's now-adopter has been visiting and getting to know him, until finally today it was the right time to take him home.  Harryn, one of our long-term volunteers who knows all of the Red Dogs well, made this heartwarming goodbye video as all of Bell's human friends came to see him leave the Homing Centre and board the ferry taking him to start his new life. .

All of us want to thank Bell's adopter, and hope that seeing this will encourage others to step up and do the same.  The "Red Dogs" aren't bad, they just need someone who will take the time to get to know them and build trust, just like Bell's adopter did.

Sabre is already out hiking with his big "brother"
Even the mild-mannered poodles may initially show stress-related behaviour when they first go to new homes, as happened with Scribble, now re-named Sabre.  Scribble-Sabre had taken a day or two to settle at our Homing Centre so we had seen his fear-based reactions, and when the same happened with his new family we were able to reassure them this would quickly pass.  And it did.

Having moved puppy Mandy to Whiskers N Paws to keep Harley company after sister Hattie's adoption, Harley also left with his new family today so it's Mandy's turn to need a friend.

Berry  going home
We had a lot of visitors coming to meet the puppies at our Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre and there are many "maybe" adopters trying to decide on if, when and who to take home.  We don't hold dogs or puppies  after having been let down too many times in the past when promised homes never materialised, so sometimes when a decision is made that puppy has already gone, as happened with Berry today.   There are still many others available and I'm sure new puppies will be coming in, so just keep checking in here.

I was very happy to hear that Ginny was also given her chance at a new life as she was taken home for a trial with the two resident dogs, adopted from HKDR many years ago.  I really hope it will work out as Ginny's a very sweet girl and I dont want to see her coming back.

Saturday, 30 May 2020

Sat 30th May: Rain, rain, more rain and thunder

The last time I didn't walk my dogs was during Typhoon Manghut, but today every attempt to get out was a waste of time as the dogs ran back inside as another roll of thunder was heard.   I don't need to talk about the rain as that too was relentless, so I'm especially grateful to everyone who came out to meet the dogs or to help with the Tai Po flooding and cleanup.

Bye Buffy, enjoy your new life and home
I bet Buffy was especially happy to be taken home to be inside, safe and dry with her new family, and I hope there will be more leaving the Tai Po Homing Centre this weekend.

Sweet Hattie was adopted from Whiskers N Paws and while everyone forgot to take a photo in the excitement of the moment there is a video (I hope it plays).
Now smaller pup Mandy has joined Harley at Whiskers N Paws, and while there's quite a size difference between the two puppies Mandy is a confident little girl we think she'll be fine with Harley.
Baby Bunny going home

Baby pup Bunny was adopted from our own Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre, with Barbie going along on a foster basis to keep Bunny company for a short time.

Sadly puppy Byron was returned from his very short trial home,   so the less said about that the better.  Not all adult dogs will instantly accept or be happy about having a little intruder in their home, but it's rare that this situation lasts for long.

I want to mention one of the medium-sized adults staying at our Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre for a couple of reasons.  Firstly Ginny is an incredibly sweet dog, very affectionate, fully toilet trained and just all-round lovely.  She's not happy at the Centre because she's bullied by some of the others, so she tends to hide herself away when things get too tough.  Even a foster home would be appreciated, because it makes me very sad to see Ginny in this situation.  Most of the dogs like the Homing Centre and all of the activity, but Ginny wants to be in a home.  Can you help?

Friday, 29 May 2020

Fri 29th May: Looking ahead to a wet weekend

As I'm writing this the sky is as black as night and the rain is thrashing down, and I heard from our earlybird Tai Po volunteer that the Big House up there is completely flooded.  I'm sure help will be needed if the weather improves even slightly and volunteers can get up to the Homing Centre.

Coco was picked up from Ap Lei Chau
One more lucky Tai Po dog is tucked up safe and sound in her new home, and that's Coco.  She was picked up from our Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre after being driven over by Ming, and I bet she doesn't even realise what she's missing.

At least the puppies are also staying dry inside the Ap Lei Chau Centre, and thanks to volunteer Harryn once again for the very sweet photos taken today.   You can meet the puppies any day between 10am and 6pm, as well as the Whiskers N Paws current residents Hattie and Harley.

Two puppies left today, one adoption and another a trial with the resident dog. Fizzy was the lucky forever puppy and Byron the other.
Fizzy's there somewhere!

Another long-term volunteer, Eagle, has also been busy taking and sharing photos of The Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre dogs, and here's the three latest additions, ex-TNR dogs Kimmy, Pebble and Dobby.  Of the three only Pebble is relaxed enough to enjoy human petting and attention, but as you can see they're all settling in well.

It seems that the rush of surrenders that many thought would be taking place when the coronavirus first came to town but didn't actually happen is starting now, as we've been getting more-than-usual surrender requests.   One of these is for an ex-HKDR Yorkie, and of course we'll take her back.  I'm not sure of her details because the name has been changed but I'll post as soon as I know more.

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Thurs 28th May: Always the perfect time to adopt

Bella leaving Tai Po
Another month is almost over, and that's half a year which has been a very strange and difficult time for everyone.  I feel lucky to have had my hideaway island location where the rest of the world can be ignored, but life and the rescue work has to continue while there are dogs to be saved, and we've been open for business every single day throughout the coronavirus crisis. In fact not only have we remained open, but we've been finding homes for many of our beautiful dogs and I look forward to seeing the list that Kathy puts together at the end of every month listing the happy adoptions.

Yes we have puppies!
While once again there won't be a specific puppy adoption afternoon this Sunday, that doesn't mean we don't have puppies available because we do, and you can meet them any day of the week at our own Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre between 10am and pm.

You can see from the photo that our puppies enjoy freedom to play and socialise without any cages, and during the time they're with us they quickly learn to use the designated toilet area.  That's why we ask all adopters not to confine puppies in crates or cages, but to allow them to continue doing what they have been used to because why would you try to fix what's not broken?  Remember all HKDR adopters have the support of our very experienced trainer Cactus, so whether you choose a puppy or an adult you can always ask for help if needed.

I just wanted to mention two adorable little dogs, brother and sister couple Fidget and Ticket .  I'm always surprised when potential adopters say they can't handle two when the dogs in question are  tiny, very sweet and easy, and are also a bonded pair which we won't consider separating.   Rather than being twice the work, a pair are so much easier as they keep each other company and make everything double the fun.

Our Homing Centres are open at both Tai Po and Ap Lei Chau every single day so it's always the perfect time to adopt!

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Weds 27th May: Choosing a dog

We get a lot of adoption enquiries coming in all the time, and while some can offer great homes unfortunately many would mean very unhappy, lonely and under-exercised dogs.  It should always be remembered that dogs are animals, not babies or little people, and while they're intelligent and loving companions they have different needs from humans.

Lizzie has abnormal heart valves
The other frustration are the requests for purebreeds only, with some wanting such exotic breeds that I've never even seen one, let alone had such puppies for adoption.   As a rescue organisation we don't breed our own puppies or have any Portugese water dogs hidden away in the back, and labradoodles are not a breed, they're a cross, and you can't mate a labradoodle with another and get labradoodle puppies.  That's not how genetics work.

Cavalier King Charles Lottie has the typical heart problem of the breed
If you want a labrador or a golden retriever please make sure you research the very common, almost inevitable, inherited health problems, and understand that bad hips are just one of many.  In fact all breeds by the fact that they're created by inbreeding until the look becomes the norm will suffer from almost-guaranteed problems.  Some are extreme, like bulldogs, German shepherds and Cavalier King Charles, but without exception every named breed comes with a predisposition to some kind of health issue.

I have to admit that while in earlier times the "pure" Village Dog or tong gau was a healthy and hardy breed, it's quite rare to find any dog that isn't a mix of this and that, and sadly that does mean some having inherited those purebreed weaknesses.

Sometimes we see very strange things like the tuft of hair growing out from under Brush's eye, which isn't a health problem more an oddity which makes him special.  However, in the recent puppy intake of twelve there is one who has a similar tuft of hair growing IN his eye, so poor little Ben will need surgery to fix that unusual problem.  Luckily Ben is in foster (with brother Biggles) so he'll be fine.

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Tues 26th May: Life is a lottery for puppies

Not related, but still puppy friends
It was another day of rain and storms so not too much happening, but all of the twelve new puppies are now microchipped, vaccinated (first of three required) and ready to start their new lives.  Unless adopted as a pair, which doesn't happen too often, every one of these babies will head off with their respective adopters alone and without any choice in the matter.  Their lives may take very different paths, and as much as we do whatever we can to ensure that the new homes are ready and willing to provide the best care for the whole of the dog's life, it's inevitable that some will be luckier than others. 
The full twelve

Beatrice and Barbie
In the natural order of things puppies would stay with their mother and siblings for life, forming a pack (and interbreeding).  Of course this isn't possible in a world where dogs are pets and have to adapt to a human's way of life, but at the same time ideally puppies shouldn't be separated from their mother and siblings until a minimum of eight weeks, and preferably even older.  If a mother isn't around, which is usually the case, then brothers, sisters, or any other puppies provide comfort, companionship and play.  Play is as important to a healthy development as food and water, and it's how puppies learn about behaviour and socialisation, and why we ask adopters of young puppies  to foster a second for at least a short time so as babies they both have a friend.

Charlie and other shy dogs like him need the company of another dog
Even most adult dogs love to be around others of their kind, I was very happy to see that new boy Kimmy has started to play with Pebble, and hopefully this will be the beginning of his transformation.  Kimmy is the size of a Sheltie and with similar looks, and being only two years old I know a lot of people will be interested but I suspect it will take time to get him used to wearing a harness and leash and going out for walks.

Coco was today's lucky Tai Po dog, and although she hasn't left the Homing Centre yet she'll be going home very soon.

Coco came to us from AFCD and without any known history, but like so many others she's a beautiful, soft and gentle girl who was probably one of those who was adopted as a baby puppy and later abandoned.  I'm happy that we can save at least some of these dogs who are homeless through no fault of their own, and only wish we could help more of them.

Monday, 25 May 2020

Mon 25th May: Three more puppies out of the rain

Three new puppies, safe from the storms
I was so happy to hear the remaining three puppies from the two litters we recently took in had been caught, as the rain in the morning was incredibly heavy.  I don't know if anyone else got caught out in the storm like I did, and although I don't mind getting wet the lightning really scares me - and terrifies the dogs.

I hadn't met the latest arrivals at the Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre before so hadn't realised how small the baby pups were.  We can't know what their eventual adult size will be except that they won't remain small sized, but they could be medium.
Some of these babies are very small at the moment

Of the three new adults, Pebble is a very friendly and sweet boy, while the other two are still adjusting and remain shy.  At least Kimmy is wagging his tail even though he doesn't have the courage to allow touching yet, but I think he'll be fine.
Kimmy is no bigger than medium and very pretty

I forgot to mention one of the weekend adoptions
Guinness is staying for ever!
yesterday, as Guinness was a foster doglet who has now had his forever status confirmed.

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Sun 24th May: Busy working from home

Although I wasn't physically at the Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre I stayed in constant touch via Whatsapp or email as potential adopters arrived or more enquiries came in, and both Iris and Zing were rushed off their feet all day.  It's good being busy of course, but it's often the case that everyone arrives at once and wants to ask about the dogs and puppies when there aren't enough staff to help answer questions.  Apologies to anyone who felt left out for any reason.

Abie going home 
The Alphabet Litter are down to two now after the adoption of Abie and Eggy, and the first of the newest group, Byron, was also chosen. 
Eggy going home

As Magic was picked up from Whiskers N Paws where he had been staying with brother Wizard, so too was chinchilla Poncho. 

Not wanting to leave Wizard on his own, he'll come back to the Homing Centre while brother-and-sister pair Harley and Hattie move to Whiskers N Paws.  I love these two pups, as they're both beautiful and very sweet-natured and lovely.  Don't take my word for it, meet them and see for yourselves.
Magic leaving Whiskers n pAWS
Poncho's adopter knows about chinchillas

I'm sure you know that it's the Tai Po dog adoptions that mean the most as these are already larger-sized adults or at least doglets who are no longer puppies.  Roland falls under that heading as he came to us as an older puppy and stayed until he was very much a doglet-young adult.  It was his initial shyness that put people off adopting, but the family who took him home today saw that once Roland was given a little time he was very sweet.
It's taken a while but Roland left today
We also received Ivory's adoption photo

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Sat 23rd May: Puppies and more puppies

The B babies
Trying to remember which puppies came in with others and belong to the same group, if not actual litter, I try to assign a theme when giving them names.  It's not easy and I usually come up with great ideas when I'm out walking the dogs and then forget, so a lack of inspiration today resulted in the latest group of nine becoming the "B" group.  Four are a little bit bigger and older, so they're not all from one litter, but they're still all "Bs".
Magic is adopted

We had a lot of visitors again today and two lucky puppies found their forever families, Magic and Didi.
Didi and her new family

Magic moved to Whiskers N Paws the other day with his brother Wizard, so now it seems we'll have to send another puppy over, or maybe even two if Wizard is lucky today.   We won't be at Whiskers N Paws with all of the youngsters but our Homing Centre is very close in case anyone strays and ends up at the wrong place.

I should also mention that the chinchilla I took from AFCD is also at Whiskers N Paws, and he's a lovely and very young boy, now called Poncho.  Chinchillas can live for a long time so that needs to be taken into account for anyone interested in adopting.

Poodle Scribble was also one of the lucky dogs today, and we know he's going to have the best life in his new home. 

The Alphabet Litter are now 4
Our Tai Po Homing Centre also welcomed quite a lot of visitors today, so hopefully I'll be able to write about adoptions from there very soon.  It's easy for the small dogs and young puppies, but the older and larger dogs are the ones that have to wait, sometimes for a very long time.  

Friday, 22 May 2020

Fri 22nd May: Suddenly we have a lot of puppies!

Kimmy in his travel cage and not sure about getting out
It was certainly what I would call a challenging day today after two nights of no sleep thanks to the thunderstorms scaring the dogs, an early call for a very important meeting, three new dogs arriving and then suddenly nine puppies, with more to come.


The three adults were TNR (Trap, Neuter and Return) dogs who never made the "Return" part and were kept by the volunteers who do such amazing work.  However as they don't have any way of finding homes for the dogs I agreed to help, and now Kimmy, Dobby and Pebble have moved into our Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre.  They're medium sized and around two years old, and although obviously scared and confused at finding themselves in a new place and surrounded by unknown dogs, I hope they'll soon settle.

Nine new puppies
The nine puppies also came via a TNR volunteer but were in a different area from the three adults, and because they have been fed and cared for since birth they're all healthy and friendly.   You can meet the new pups as well as those already with us at our Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre any day between 10am and 6pm, but please help us by completing the adoption questionnaire in advance of your visit.  It's at

These TNR volunteers operate throughout Hong Kong and the New Territories and they do incredible work in trying to get as many stray dogs desexed as possible. It's a job that should of course be carried out by the government, but years of trying has resulted in nothing so it's left to individuals and groups of volunteers who are out from morning until night and in all weathers doing what they do.  I really can't say enough about these people who have to work secretly to avoid prosecution apart from anything else.

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Thurs 21st May: When it's time, it's time

As so often happens, a dog that has been waiting a long time is offered multiple homes at the same time, and so it was with Ivory. Just as I was reading an email from one potential adopter who had met Ivory on Wednesday and was now wanting to take her, I received a message from Tai Po telling me that Ivory had just left the Homing Centre.   Obviously when it's a dog's time, it's time.

Volunteer Harryn has been busy taking photos and videos of the dogs at our Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre, and I love this one of Ginny, Feta and Salty playing in the dog park

Feta has been with us since she was a very shy puppy, and I've already written about Salty and his story.  Ginny is a recent surrender, one of those many dogs that was passed to someone when the owner left Hong Kong and subsequently handed on again.  She's such a lovely, happy girl, and like the other two in the video only medium sized.

Although we're not restarting the Sunday puppy afternoons just yet, we took the first step by sending two of our puppies, Magic and Wizard, from the Homing Centre to stay at Whiskers N Paws full time.
These girls and boys will stay at our Homing Centre 

Lizzie is so sweet

Two year-old pom-cross Lizzie has been waiting to have her desexing and hernia repair surgery combined a proper heart scan, and she'll be going to Concordia for everything on Friday.  Since going to her foster home Lizzie has been doing very well and is a very sweet little dog.  Hopefully the news about her heart will be good and she'll soon be ready to move to her forever family.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Weds 20th May: Every day is Adoption Day!

Hopefully Ivory will be in a home very soon
I was very happy to see so many enquiries coming in for Ivory after her details were posted on the HKDR Facebook page, but a lot of the potential adopters had failed to notice that Ivory is a big dog, well over the medium size that most imagined.   Luckily I think there's still a very good chance that she'll find a lovely home, and maybe even by the time you read this she will be on her way.  Let's see.

Daisy the springer spaniel 
I mentioned a springer spaniel that was looking for a new home, and in case anyone is interested she's available to meet.  As often happens in life the family situation changes, and a dog that has been used to being the only "child" suddenly finds that a little human (or two) has taken over and their up-until-now peaceful life has become something quite different.  Daisy is nine years old and doesn't have the patience to deal with a baby and toddler, so her new home needs to be child-free, or at least without young children.  "Daisy is a lovely, loyal and cuddly dog and we think she would be happy and relaxed in a child-free home, where she could do her own thing, swim in the sea and have evening cuddles."  

If you're interested in Daisy or any of the dogs and puppies, please complete the adoption questionnaire at as a first step.
Ticket is the bigger brother, with Fidget his tiny sister

Two little dogs who are also available are clearly enjoying their time at the Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre, and anyone who adopts this pair would have two very special characters.  Ticket and his sister Fidget are chihuahua-terriers and we won't consider separating them.

I was thinking about re-starting the Sunday Puppy Afternoons at Whiskers N Paws but decided against it in the end, at least while the social distancing rules are still in force.  It doesn't help that off-and-on rain is forecast for the rest of the week, so for now if you're looking for a puppy to adopt please visit our own Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre at 5 Wai Fung Street.  The best thing is you don't have to wait until Sunday because we're open every single day of the year from 10am to 6pm, so every day is adoption day and both of our Homing Centres.