Friday, 15 February 2019

Fri 15th Feb: Just in time for the weekend

The 4 new puppies are (from left) Jet, Woody, Chipper and Dotty
The poodles we were expecting on Thursday arrived today instead, two very happy siblings, a girl and boy.  They were surrendered due to serious illness in the family meaning they no longer had the time or ability to take care of pets, not because there is any problem with the dogs themselves.  Both licenses had expired so I had to take the poodles to AFCD for a rabies vaccination, and while there I was told there were four puppies waiting for me.  They are lovely, healthy and very friendly, and just at the right age for adoption, so Chipper, Woody, Dotty and Jet will be at Concordia Pet Care on Saturday afternoon if you're interested.   The poodles are staying at our Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre of course, so you can meet them any day of the week, every day of the year.

Inky and Jacob are just that little bit older
There are lots of puppies of all ages waiting to be chosen, from the very young ones who have recovered from parvovirus to the slightly older ones, four to five months old.  Every age has its pros and cons, with the older ones being already fully vaccinated and ready to be taken for walks, although while still growing the walks should be short and frequent, not long hikes.   At four months you can also see more of what the personality and character is, and the baby teeth will either have started to be replaced by adult ones, or almost totally.  That means no frenzied attacks with needle-sharp baby teeth, something that all very young puppies do.  It doesn't mean they are aggressive or have a behaviour problem, it means they're behaving in a totally normal and natural way, and that's exactly why we always recommend a sightly older puppy if there are young children in the home. As a reminder of the older puppies here's a link to last Sunday's puppy afternoon
 Puppy Adoption Day 10 February 2019 — at Whiskers N Paws (Hong Kong)

The younger puppies almost always attract more attention than the older ones and they tend to be adopted first, but you need to remember that there's really only a few week's difference between two months and four or five months, but a lot less work in terms of training and cleaning up.  The benefit of the young ones is that they will grow up never remembering anything else but their adopters, and the transition from Homing Centre to home is pretty much instant.

Pancake's only eye will be removed
We ended the day at Ap Lei Chau with a horrible emergency, thankfully just in time to send pug Pancake to Acorn for immediate vet attention.  Like other pugs that came from the breeder-from-hell, Pancake already had an eye problem when she arrived, with one being under-developed and blind.  The latest arrival, Twiggy, had the same small and useless eye, and she has now had that one removed. Another one of the first group of pugs that came to us had to have immediate surgery to remove a bulging eye that looked as if was about to drop out and was already blind, and this is exactly what happened to Pancake, very suddenly and without warning.  It's clear that all of these pugs are related and being bred with a genetic eye problem that's being passed from generation to generation, and it's as shocking as it is cruel.  Pancake will have her eye removed on Saturday which will leave her totally blind.  That's not entirely the end of the world, but it will certainly greatly reduce her chance of adoption unless an understanding family can give her a home.   (Apologies for the horrible photo but it's important to show what inbreeding means and the result).

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Thurs 14th Feb: Beauty's only skin deep

Pollen's dream come true
There was an adoption confirmed today that was extra special to me, and probably to all of us at the Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre and Whiskers N Paws.  Doglet Pollen had been taken for a trial, mainly to see how she could get along with the resident chihuahua, and just like her sister Rose she settled in immediately.  I have to admit when I see photos of lovely homes with expensive furnishings and decor I can only think of how long that would all last with my horde of Lamma hooligans, but Pollen has behaved like an angel.
Pollen and the chihuahua get along fine

The reason Pollen's adoption is that extra bit special is because, like sister Rose, she isn't beautiful in the classic sense.  She's a standard brown short-haired dog with nothing fancy going on, but what matters is her character and lovely personality, and I know she's going to be loved in return.   A dog is, or should be, a family member not a status symbol or something to show off, and it's often the very plain ones who have the most to offer.
Stinker's new lease of life

There was a second lovely surprise today when old beagle Stinker was also taken for a trial adoption.  As I'm sure I've written before, Stinker wasn't expected to live for long when I took him from AFCD in a really awful condition.  He had been caged for a long time, maybe all of his life, and his owner spent most of the time in China so it's possible that Stinker went days without care.  He was very thin and his coat was sparse and smelly, and we assumed he was very ill.  Days and weeks went by, then months, and Stinker's skin got better and he put on weight, and more importantly he was still very much alive.  Now he has the chance of a real home, and even if it's only for a short time it means a lot.
Stinky Stinker last July

Another trial adoption that was confirmed (and was needed because of the resident cat) was German shepherd Harper's, another lovely dog from our Tai Po Homing Centre.
Harper passed the cat test and is now a confirmed family member

As mentioned yesterday, I made the big decision to send some of the Lamma dogs to Tai Po today, six of them in fact.  It's time they also had the opportunity to be seen, and maybe - hopefully - adopted.  Even if not they will meet lots of volunteers and be taken out for walks, and learn about things like cars and traffic, everyday life that they have never experienced.  Sweep, Nancy, Casper and his sister Isobel, Spotty and Sybil are all six years old now, but they still have many years of active life ahead of them and I wish them all a long and happy life.

Our puppies will be at Concordia Pet Care in Happy Valley on Saturday afternoon, but please also remember that you can meet all except those in foster homes any day at our Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre, 10am to 6pm.  The young puppies that survived parvovirus are well and healthy, but they will have to wait a bit longer before going to the puppy afternoons to ensure they're no longer contagious.  They are however available for adoption if you want to meet them at the Homing Centre.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Weds 13th Feb: Paying the price for human failure

Today was more about planning for the coming few days rather than anything else, as I have a number of dogs moving from Lamma to Tai Po arranged for Thursday, while two poodles will be surrendered in the morning.  Also two Ap Lei Chau residents have already had their first successful adoption interview so we hope to be seeing them leave by the end of the week.  As usual, no names before the adoption forms are signed, or at least the foster agreement.

As I'm sure you know, many adult dogs that come to us have been abandoned or surrendered due to behaviour problems caused by poor or no training, as well as a lack of understanding about the nature of dogs and their basic needs.  Apart from the obvious food and water to keep them alive, companionship and the desire to be part of a family are also important, as dogs are by nature social animals that naturally live in family groups, or packs.  I'm very aware that many dog owners are at work during the day and that means their dogs are left alone for as much as twelve hours, resulting in a very unhappy and solitary life.   Even worse is when it's a puppy that is left on its own, because this is the time of life when socialisation, play and training is most important, vital in fact.

The "Red Dogs" (not the black or large dog here) are fine with volunteers they know
Our "Red Dogs" are those who have behaviour issues as a result of their past, and sadly it's only the smaller ones that can be saved if they have such problems.  Large dogs that have developed a mistrust of humans due to old-fashioned training (punishment and dominance), or lack of early socialisation, are too dangerous to keep at our Homing Centres.  In the end it is always the dogs that pay the price for human failings.

Gumbo is still a puppy so he  has a good chance of finding a home
Caught at an early age most behaviour problems can be dealt with, or at least modified to the point where they're manageable.  The shiba inu puppy, Gumbo, that I took from AFCD on Monday is already doing really well with the help of our trainer Cactus, and his food guarding has been downgraded from red to amber.  Whether it can be completely eradicated isn't clear at this point and we would not home Gumbo to a family with young children, but with the ongoing use of very simple training methods I think it's fair to expect that Gumbo will forget that he needed to protect his food.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Tues 12th Feb: Small, medium and large

Two of the three labradors, mother, father and son. 
We took in a family of three chocolate labradors when their owner was too old and sick to take care of them any longer, and although the dogs themselves are mature adults we're hoping they will find new homes before too long, given their breed.  It was sad to see how excited they were when arriving at the Tai Po Homing Centre as this was the first time they had experienced anything outside of their home since they were puppies eight or nine years ago.  Too many people think that having a garden means never having to walk their dog, but that's not the case.  Taking a dog out is more than just good exercise, it's also an opportunity to experience new smells, and to socialise.  Being kept in a garden is nothing more than a large prison in the end, and all dogs deserve more than that.  If you are interested in giving these sweet labradors a home, please complete the adoption questionnaire on our website (under Adopt).  Preference will be given to potential adopters who can take more than one, as you can imagine these three are very closely bonded.
3 little "kittens"

At the other end of the size scale, the three Kitten Pups that are still at our Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre will be making their debut at Concordia Pet Care this Saturday, along with Guppy who was taken for fostering with Kipper, now adopted.  Of course they are available before Saturday if you want to meet them at the Homing Centre, and the same adoption questionnaire applies.
Medium-sized Jack (with Gumbo) is in charge of play at the office

While medium-sized young Jack was showing the new shiba inu puppy Gumbo how to play for hours on end, ex-office dog Nancy dropped by after having donated some of her blood at Acorn for a sick dog.  She wanted to go back upstairs to her old home, and it makes me very sad to know this super-sweet girl is still waiting for a home.  She was originally adopted as a baby pup before being abandoned when her owners left Hong Kong, and of course we took her back.  I hope that someone will give her another chance at showing what a lovely girl she is.
Nancy wanted to go back to the office

Monday, 11 February 2019

Mon 11th Feb: Cats and Kittens

I can't always write about everything that happens on a daily basis because there's always so much going on between the two Homing Centres and the office.  Dogs arrive and need to go to the vet, meet potential adopters or move to and from foster homes, while the fundraising aspect of our work is essential to bring in the money to pay for everything.  As much as possible we rely on our team of dedicated volunteers, but full time staff are essential to ensure the continous functioning of HKDR.  For example the upcoming Flag Day requires a huge amount of administrative planning well in advance, but on the day itself it will be volunteers who will be out on the streets.  If you can help please let us know.

Date: 6th April (Sat) 
Place: HK Island
Time: 7am to 12pm 
Sign up NOW:
Group (School/Corporate)

🐕We need 300 volunteers on the day so please invite as many friends to join as you can! We will email the details after you filling the online form. 
🐕You can bring your dog to join 
🐕Children under 14-year-old must be accompanied by adult or guardian
🐕For any inquiry regarding the Flag Day, please email to 📩

HUGE THANKS to &dear for the fabulous design of the flags and Hill’s Pet Nutrition Hong Kong 香港希爾思寵物食品 for sponsoring the production of the coin bags. Buy a flag and support our rescue work. See you on that day!

Jack and Carlo run the playgroup upstairs at our Ap Lei Chau Centre
I was told there was a shiba inu at AFCD who had been surrendered because of food guarding issues, so I took a look while I was there anyway having puppy Bumpy licensed.   Shibas are such a popular breed but not the easiest in terms of temperament and behaviour, and as we already have a young female at the Homing Centre who is what I would politely call challenging, I needed to discuss with Iris whether or not we could realistically cope with another.  What I didn't know until I finally gave in and took the shiba out, was that he is only six months old according to his license, so we introduced him to the upstairs gang of Carlo, Jack and other young adults, and within a very short time they were all racing round and playing very happily.  The big test came at feeding time which our trainer Cactus supervised, and of course Gumbo (his new name) was separated from the others.   It's quite possible to change the guarding behaviour with proper training, so that will be a job for Cactus over the coming weeks.

"Kitten Pup" Kipper was adopted today
It was finally time for the first adoption of one of the "Kitten Litter", and while Kipper was the lucky one he didn't go home alone as sibling Guppy went along too on a foster basis.  I have a feeling now that the ice has been broken that the rest of the litter will quickly go too.

Pollen on Sunday
There was further very happy news from the Homing Centre that older puppy Pollen had been taken on a foster-with-a-view-to-adoption basis, and I was thrilled to get a photo this morning of Pollen in her very smart new surroundings.  Fingers crossed that she will be allowed to stay.
The cat approves!

Many of our dogs have been with us since they were young puppies so we know them well, but when we take in adult dogs from AFCD or with no known history, we really have no idea about their background.  So it was wonderfully heartwarming to see a photo of Bali in her new home, where the main condition was that she would have to be able to get along with the six resident cats.  Can you believe this photo was taken on the very first day of her arrival?  It's quite incredible from both the cat and dog aspect, as it's common for cats to loathe and despise any new dogs in the home.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Sun 10th Feb: So many happy moments

All puppies dream of being one of the adopted dogs on the other side
I'll jump straight into the photos from today's puppy afternoon at Whiskers N Paws because there are so many fantastic shots that I couldn't choose the best ones.  Eric Tang has been our volunteer photographer for many years and he really knows how to capture the essence of our puppies, and their enthusiasm for life. Take a look here Puppy Adoption Day 10 February 2019   

We decided not to take the smaller and younger puppies this week so they stayed at the Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre, but they'll be at Whiskers N Paws next Sunday unless the weather is really bad.  Those who have recovered from parvovirus will also soon be ready to be adopted, and they are gorgeous puppies too.
The "kittens" will be at Whiskers N Paws next Sunday

Dribble has been in foster for a while and her adoption was finalised today, along with her new name of Mia.  Like her siblings, Dribble-now-Mia is a ball of non-stop energy and I'm not sure what's in the litter mix but whatever it is I'll have some please!
Dribble is now officially Mia

The weather was just right for all of the puppies to enjoy playing, and once again Zara and the malamute was the centre of attention.  Ben is now getting to the age when he's becoming interested in the ladies, and luckily for him Zara enjoyed his attention and the two had a lot of fun together.
Zara and Ben - another wonderful shot
Ivo got lots of attention and cuddles today

Little Ivo was also a very popular boy and I suspect he won't stay with us for much longer, while big puppy Bernard has his adoption confirmed even though he wasn't there for his official photo.
Bernard needed the resident dog's approval

Thank you to the two kind children who came to hand over their Lai See to go towards the puppy fund.  It's always lovely to see the younger generation wanting to help (and thanks to the parents too of course, for steering their children in the right direction).
Lucky Lai See from the two children 

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Sat 9th Feb: Happy Saturday at Tai Po

Mork the doberman will be rottie girl Gina's brother
It was a great day for the Tai Po dogs, with doberman Mork going home to become ex-HKDR rottweiler Gina's "brother", and German shepherd Harper leaving for a trial adoption.  Puppy Trudy was also picked up from her foster home after having been successfully interviewed during the week.
Trudy will soon be much bigger than her new poodle brother

Puppy Mello was also a lucky boy today, going home with a lovely family who also have another ex-HKDR adoptee to show Mello the ropes.
Puppy Mello has a big sister to look after him

New collie-mix girl Bali was also chosen, but there was concern about her not yet being desexed when there was a male older puppy, also not yet neutered, in the home.  I explained that female dogs will only mate when in season and can't get pregnant at any other time, and as the desexing surgery will be carried out very soon there shouldn't be any issue with the male-female combination.  I'm happy that this family are responsible enough to not want to take chances with an unwanted pregnancy, but I'm obviously also eager to see sweet dog Bali going to a home.
We haven't been able to have Bali desexed yet

Other than the fact that female dogs will only mate when they are in season, which happens twice a year, there is another issue that has dog owners confused and that's regarding vaccinations.   There is no disputing that puppies absolutely must be vaccinated against infectious diseases, with the current outbreak of parvovirus all over Hong Kong and the New Territories really hammering that point home.  This also applies to adult dogs that have never previously been vaccinated even though they will have a better natural immunity and are more likely to recover if they become infected.   Young puppies will need to have three DHPPiL vaccinations, three to four weeks apart, while older puppies (over four months) and adults only require two.  Puppies can also have one vaccination booster one year following the first set if there is any doubt. The rabies vaccination is required to be given at five months of age, and by law every three years thereafter, but that's a separate issue.

The confusion isn't about the first round of vaccinations as they are necessary to protect against diseases that can, and do, kill, it's whether or not subsequent annual vaccinations are needed for continued protection.  If you go round the vet clinics on Hong Kong and asked different vets you'll get varying opinions, so I would suggest you decide for yourself after doing some research.  It's easy enough to Google and the first site that shows up is this one, which I'll use as an example:

Basically what it says is that yearly vaccinations are recommended by the drug manufacturers (no surprise there) but it's not backed up by the facts.  Immunity doesn't suddenly stop after a year, and three years, five and even much longer are the more updated periods given.  In fact vaccinating every three years is now the most widely accepted protocol, although even that is an arbitrary period, a compromise between the old way and the latest research.   Do I believe that dogs need vaccinating every year?  No I don't.  However as the article I used as an example says, that doesn't mean your dog (or cat) doesn't still need general health checks, especially older pets who may have things going on that you can't see, but I would definitely skip the vaccinations for these senior dogs too.

These little pups are ready to go to homes
Our puppies will be at Whiskers N Paws on Sunday as always, and as I write I'm still debating whether or not the "Kitten Litter" of small-sized babies should join this week.  The wind's blowing strongly outside and I'm afarid they might get blown off the terrace.  I'm joking, but regardless of whether this litter of youngsters is at Whiskers N Paws or at our own Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre, they're available for adoption.