Monday, 17 May 2021

Mon 17th May: Waiting for confirmation

 With yet two more dogs coming to us from AFCD on Tuesday, as well as surrender requests for dogs that were adopted as puppies from other organisations (be aware that for many once you adopt there is absolutely no return at any stage),  we're reaching capacity at our Tai Po Homing Centre.  There are so many beautiful, sweet and loving dogs in need of new homes, and just because they're what are called "rescue dogs", that doesn't mean there's anything wrong with them. They have varied stories, some being left behind when their families moved, others coming from AFCD, and many having grown up with us since they were puppies not lucky enough to be chosen when they were youngsters.   They're not just dogs, they're individuals with characters, likes and dislikes, and as different from each other as humans in a crowd are different.  What we do it to try to match the adopter with the dog that's going to fit in best with the home and lifestyle of the potential family, and dissuade people from choosing a dog based on looks and breed.  You can take a look at the hundreds (yes, literally) of available dogs on our website, on our HKDR Facebook page, or on volunteer pages like, or find valuable advice from trainer Cactus on her Rescue Happiness site. 

You can also check out the Instagram page called why_i_foster to watch current Beach Baby pups demonstrating why we always insist on young puppies being fostered in pairs, as well as past success stories of previous foundling orphans.  

I'm waiting to share the photos and updates of foster puppies that have moved to forever homes and dogs or puppies in trial adoptions.  For now here's a lovely photo of two of the "P" puppies waiting for their new family to take them home.  

Say hello to Penny and Pickle

Sunday, 16 May 2021

Sun 16th May: Puppies out, puppies in


Kiwi's big moment

It was another scorching hot day, too hot for both myself and the dogs to want to be outside for long, and I suspect others were preferring the air conditioning to the sun's rays. Tai Po staff member Yannie accompanied the puppies from the big Homing Centre to Whiskers N Paws, stopping off on the way to get due vaccinations given at ALCVC.  Two of those puppies didn't make the return journey, one being Romeo and the other Kiwi. Take a look at Jimmy Tsang's lovely photos of the afternoon here:  Puppy Adoption Day 16th May 2021

Romeo has to be accepted by the resident dog

I mentioned puppy Parsley being adopted from her foster home yesterday, and today another foster puppy, Lyra, was chosen, and this is really the ideal situation when a puppy moves directly from one home to another.

Bailey growing up

Another "puppy" who has been in a loving and wonderful foster home until today is Bailey.  His stubborn tick fever meant he was either not ready for adoption or his potential families had plans to move to countries that won't allow dogs with a history of tick fever.  It will be a huge wrench for Bailey to leave the home he has been in for over a year now, and I'm sure the same feeling applies to his foster family, but we're incredibly grateful for the patience shown during the very long treatment and wait for a forever home.  

This older girl pup needs a home

Inevitably as puppies are adopted more arrive, and today there were two of them, not related and of differing ages.  They also went straight to a foster home together, but I think the older of the two is bullying the younger so we need a new home for the fluffy pup.  Both will have their check-up and vaccination on Monday, so if interested please complete the adoption questionnaire at

The younger pup can stay in foster care

I forgot to mention that we took in another adult from AFCD Pokfulam on Friday, a handsome boy who was given the name of Gerald at Tai Po. 

Handsome Gerald arrived on Friday

Saturday, 15 May 2021

Sat 15th May: Puppies in waiting

 I keep forgetting how many litters and puppies are still in foster homes after coming to us as newborn babies, so when Foster Coordinator Cindy forwarded photos of two gorgeous little black pups I had to ask who they were, meaning which litter.  They're two of the Baby Blacks, remember them?   They're still too young to be adopted unless going together as a pair, but it won't be long before they're ready.

The Beach Babies are also growing up and starting to eat from a bowl rather than a bottle, and one of them has already got a home waiting.  However this is all still to come and I need to talk about today and the double adoption of sisters Lola and Bella from the Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre, as well as terrier Johnnie leaving for a trial with the resident dog. 

Bella (l) and Lola heading home

Puppy Parsley also had a successful adoption interview at her foster home today so that's another very lucky youngster who won't be coming back. 

I only have this early photo of Parsley

Sunday is puppy afternoon at Whiskers N Paws as I'm sure you all know by now, and we have also another litter of eager hopefuls ready to go to new homes, and that's the "P" Litter that came at the same time as Parsley and Pizza, but were much younger.  Sadly they also turned out to have mild tick fever, so while they're all doing well this does mean there would be a problem getting them into countries like Australia (possibly) and New Zealand (probably) at a later stage.  We'd been expecting two of the "P" Litter to be picked up from their foster home and I even wrote about their adoption, but once again I should know better than to say something in advance.  The adopter vanished without a trace, so there are  still four of these gorgeous smaller-sized pups available. 

The "P" Litter a month ago

Percy now

I said yesterday that we were waiting for photos of poodle Amber after her grooming session, and honestly I would never have believed it was the same dog.



Can this really be the same Amber?

Friday, 14 May 2021

Fri 14th May: An emotional rollercoaster

Sweet boy Cider came to us with one eye

 It's an emotional rollercoaster these days, with so many sick puppies and not knowing what the day will bring in terms of those whose lives end far too early.  Today we said goodbye to Tickle who was already unlucky in that at least one eye, possibly both, was blind, and we know from our sweet dog Cider that one-eyed puppies aren't easy to home.  Cider is now at Tai Po and still waiting to be chosen. 

I also said goodbye to my Lamma dog Haggis, and spent the day at home with him suspecting it would be his last.  Although after so many years and so many dogs there's an acceptance of the inevitability of death, and for Haggis there was more a sense of relief for him that his struggle was over, as far as the puppies are concerned it's always very hard. We all feel immense sadness and a sense of the unfairness of life when they fall victim to terrible diseases like distemper. 

All healthy and ready for new homes

This period will pass, just like all other outbreaks have, and thankfully there's a plentiful supply of healthy puppies at our Tai Po Homing Centre, and they'll be at Whiskers N Paws on Sunday for the puppy party/adoption event.  If you're thinking of coming along please complete the adoption questionnaire in advance:

Amber needs a haircut

Recently-arrived poodle Amber was adopted today, and we're waiting for a photo of her post-haircut to see what a difference it makes.  Poodles are popular because of their special wool coat, but it does require regular grooming and cutting or it can easily become matted and a total mess, as we've seen in many previous cases. 

It's been an exceptionally hot and dry year so far, and I'd love a big rainfall to water the plants and fill the water holes my dogs love to splash in during the daily hikes.  Please remember the heat when you take your dogs out, whether walking them on hot roads or hiking in the hills, and never ever leave them in a car, even for a short time.  Every year dogs die from heatstroke and it happens very quickly.  Don't be that person who has to feel the guilt of seeing your dog suffer because of one mistake.

Thursday, 13 May 2021

Thurs 13th May: Remy is approaching the Finnish line

Remy will be flying to Finland

 Sometimes you really need some good news to get you through the day, and today that came with the message that Tai Po dog Remy was finally going to be flying to Finland on 18th June.  This has been in the pipeline for so long we'd actually given up hope of ever being able to get him on a plane and had even started promoting him on our website again. Suddenly everything fell into place with a flight volunteer ready to go along with Remy, so he's off the available list again and we'll start preparing for his big day. 

The Tai Po puppies will be at WNP this Sunday

With the puppies at the Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre temporarily held back from going to Whiskers N Paws on Sunday, we'll be sending the Tai Po puppies over instead, as well as any foster puppies that are old enough to be adopted.  It's another chance for "The Edibles", the litter that outgrew the smaller Homing Centre after their beginnings as tiny foster babies.  

Look how they've grown!

I want to take a moment to mention something we get so messages about, that being the volunteering applications.  Due to the months when we were unable to hold any orientations for new volunteers we have a backlog to work through, and that means that any available slots are quickly filled.  We're really trying our best to deal with the number of names on the waiting list, but there's only so much time and only a few volunteers to hold the training sessions.  We will give priority to those who are free to help out on weekdays, but for weekend-only volunteers please be patient.  Please also bear in mind that the Volunteer Coordinators for both Homing Centres are themselves volunteers, so they may not be available to reply to messages immediately. 

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Weds 12th May: The good, the bad, and the devastating

Lucky Esme and Edgar are healthy and adopted

 I can't deny that we're all struggling at the moment, meaning myself, staff and volunteers at the Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre, as the "T" litter were sent back to ALCVC today for further testing and treatment as needed.   In fact as a precaution we sent ALL of the Ap Lei Chau puppies to be tested, whether or not they seemed to be affected. 

Kennel cough and distemper start off with the same kind of symptoms but the outcome is very different, even though some puppies do survive distemper and never have any later problems.  However this a sneaky virus that usually pretends it's gone but is actually just waiting to hit again at a later stage, the second time with far more devastating effect.   I don't know if we can say we've been lucky in that only one puppy who tested positive is now running free in the Big Kennel in the Sky, a decision made in the evening when it was clear Tammy wasn't going to make it.  So far, other than Tickle who has pneumonia on top of parvovirus, the other puppies are OK with almost all having negative test results, but we are putting all meetings and contact on hold, with only a few experienced volunteers who understand the need for very strict hygiene being allowed to go near the quarantine area upstairs. These outbreaks start as suddenly as they go, and I have heard there are parvovirus cases in other clinics and areas too. 

Our slightly older puppies, meaning they will have had at least two vaccinations against infectious diseases, have kennel cough if anything, so we're not worried about them even though they too will be carefully monitored and given treatment as needed. 

We have experience of such times, and as such know exactly how to deal with it and how to prevent the spread of the viruses, and although the Sunday puppy afternoon at Whiskers N Paws will take place as usual, we'll only be sending the puppies from the Tai Po Homing Centre and those in foster homes who haven't been anywhere near Ap Lei Chau for some time. 

Meanwhile, just to add to the current difficulties, my Lamma dog Haggis is also not doing well with the biggest challenge being just to get him to eat something, anything, because he can't have any medication on an empty stomach.  I've been speaking to the vets at Concordia and have decided that I won't send him back to hospital as he was really stressed and unhappy being away from home, so it's really up to him now to fight or not. 

I can't even begin to imagine what our vet bills are going to look like at the end of the month, and I suspect I'll just have to close my eyes while I sign the cheques, but if you can donate towards the massive costs it will be hugely appreciated.

Unloading and storing the big donation

There is some good news despite the over-riding sense of gloom at Ap Lei Chau, and that includes potential adoptions coming up for the weekend as well as a big donation of food at Tai Po from Buddy Bites so our dogs can taste test before we start promoting and  partnering with Buddy Bites.  Apache and Malcom were the first tasters and they approved with gusto. 

Big Malcolm said yes to the Buddy Bites food

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Tues 11th May: Putting a dog's needs first


Hopefully the second set of "P" puppies will pass their adoption interview taking place this week, and if all goes according to plan that will leave just two from the litter still available, Pringle and Percy, so if you'd like to be the lucky family that will take one or both of these little boys home please contact Cindy to arrange a meeting at  I'd love to set a record by having another double adoption, which would make it the first time that an entire litter went home in pairs. 

Joshua had his surgery today to remove what was left of one front leg so he's gone to a foster home for the recovery period, while Jilly will also be heading for her post-sugery foster home on Wednesday.  The last of that group of six that came together is terrier Johnnie, a gorgeous young boy who loves playing.  

Johnnie is estimated to be 2 years old

Along with the "T" litter of smaller-sized puppies, Percy, Pringle and Johnnie are also small-medium size, however that doesn't mean they don't need proper exercise. As I've said before, that's like saying tall people are more energetic than short people, which is obviously not the case, and the only size-related truth in the dog world is that giant breeds take up more space but need less exercise than standard types.

The "T" puppies back at the Homing Centre

It's often very difficult to explain that to potential adopters, as many equate small size with small needs, but even chihuahuas love to get out for walks, playing and even hiking. 

The need for a large living space is obviously less for a small dog than a big one, but at the same time many Hong Kong homes are so small that once you have the basics of a bathroom, bedroom (or even just a bed), kitchen or cooking area and furniture, there's not much space left for a dog.

It should always be remembered that no matter how much we love our dogs and treat them as family members, they will always still be dogs and never humans.  They have to adapt to living in a human world and many do so quite happily, while others find the confines of a small home and the heavy traffic of urban areas extremely stressful.  If there's no place in a home for a dog to have some privacy and quiet, especially if there are children, then it puts an enormous amount of pressure on the dog.  I know this to be true, not only because of my experience of living with so many dogs for so many years, but because of the surrender requests that we get which indicate that the family dog is suffering from stress and anxiety  and is exhibiting fear behaviour as a result. 

Many times I struggle with trying to balance the need for homes with the needs of the dogs in terms of the size of the apartment, the location and surrounding environment.  I believe there are minimum requirements for a quality of life for any dog which extend beyond having food and shelter, and companionship of course, and I'm sure we get it wrong sometimes but our priority will always be the welfare and happiness of the dogs.