Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Weds 31st Oct: T-shirts coming soon!

The big news of the day was that the Peak to Fong T-shirts will be ready by Monday, something we'd been a bit concerned about following initial delays.  Please make sure you get your order in early to ensure the right size, or your can buy directly from our Homing Centres or the outlets that will be selling the T-shirts for us.  The T-shirts are the tickets so you will need to buy (and wear) on the day itself if you want to participate in the best dog event of the year on Sunday 25th November.  This year's design is by the well-known fashion illustrator Mickco Chan, who is himself an avid supporter of HKDR and adopter of Minnie, also known as "Le Petit Aventurier".
Mickco's muse ex-HKDR Minnie Chan

A few of my Lamma dogs are just there, meaning that they live their own lives and do their own thing without wanting any interference from me (other than  food and accommodation of course).  They tend to hang out in groups of friends they have chosen themselves, and they never mix with others outside their gang.  It all works perfectly until they get sick, as happened today when I saw Mayo was staggering and with a bad head tilt.  She's one of the siblings of Chippy who recently died so I was concerned that there might be a genetic connection and that Mayo could also have cancer, so I sent her to Acorn to be checked by Dr Tony.

The problem with dogs that are very timid and don't like to be handled is that they can't be checked while conscious, so any vet has to rely on a verbal description for things like the staggering and the head tilt, and keeping such dogs in hospital on a drip is pretty much impossible.  It was too late in the day to send Mayo back to Lamma once she had been checked so she had to spend the night at the Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre, which I'm sure will be quite traumatic for her.  The same applies to quite a few of our Tai Po dogs who may be quite happy to be around people but prefer not to be touched, so it's always a challenge when they need veterinary attention.

Mayo and her surviving siblings Bun and Hamburger are ten years old now, still not what I would consider a senior age as ten year-olds are normally still very active, but heading towards that stage of their lives like many of my Lamma dogs, and those at Tai Po too.  As part of my planned retirement, at least from actively taking care of so many dogs, we will all be slowing down over the coming years and I envisage that in say ten years' time I will be left with just a few geriatrics to keep me company.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Tues 30th Oct: Nancy and Cello

With quite a few dogs at AFCD waiting to be taken out, I continued today with a pug and an older puppy and will move the others as I am able.  With large sized adults each one has to be assessed and introduced individually at the Tai Po Homing Centre, and as space allows of course.

Fugu will have his ears flushed and checked on Thursday
Today's pug, now called Fugu, was apparently found wandering on Lamma Island and without any identifying microchip.  His ears are badly infected and smelly, as are his teeth, and he will need to be sedated for a proper ear flush and examination as they are too painful to be checked while conscious.  I found out the hard way while trying to guess his age for the license, so made an external assessment of ten years based on eyes and general condition.

The puppy is a happy and friendly boy, five to six months old, and while I was initially thinking of keeping him at the Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre in the end I changed my mind and sent him up to Tai Po.  I think he'll have a better chance of being noticed and adopted there, and in fact I think it's time to send others from Ap Lei Chau to the big Homing Centre to give them a chance. (Update just now from Tai Po that Impi made himself at home in two seconds!  That's the thing about puppies, they are very adaptable, especially if there are other puppies for them to play with).

Nancy and Cello are currently staying in the upstairs office area at Ap Lei Chau, and the problem is that they are very happy there and consider it to be their forever home.  However both of them are really sweet and lovely girls who are missing out on being seen by potential adopters, so as hard as it will be for both humans (who love Nancy and Cello) and dogs initially, I think this is the only way they will find the homes they deserve.  Maybe someone reading this post will consider meeting them before they have to move, and save us the inevitable sadness.

Cello on one of her last WNP Sundays

Cello (l) and brother Ollie in January
Cello was one of a large litter who ended up at AFCD as very young babies.  There were ten of them initially but two died, so I took the remaining eight and they went to foster homes in pairs.  One by one they were adopted until only Cello was left, and when she became too old to attend the puppy afternoons at Whiskers N Paws she stayed full time at the Ap Lei Chau office where she fitted in well with the other dogs there.  She's a lovely medium-sized girl, very affectionate and sweet-natured, but as with all of the dogs who have become used to their living environment and daily schedule, she will almost certainly take a bit of time to settle in a new home.

Nancy came to WNP the other Sunday 
The same applies to Nancy who was adopted as a young puppy and then returned when her family left Hong Kong (and yes, I was furious).  Nancy is a really easy girl who loves everyone and all other dogs,  but she too is now accustomed to life as an office dog and her routine of going to the Ap Lei Chau dog park, so any change will be hard for her initially.

We all love Nancy and Cello dearly, and would be over the moon for them to find homes. 

Monday, 29 October 2018

Mon 29th Oct: Every day's a busy day at HKDR

At any given time in the working day of HKDR staff there's always something going on that requires special attention, whether it's an event like the recent Gala or the upcoming Peak to Fong, or something dog-related.  Sometimes it's settling in new dogs, taking care of the sick like husky Nigel, or working with the very shy ones.  Currently at our Tai Po Homing Centre there are a few like this, most notably Taylor and Samantha, two older puppies that until recently wouldn't even emerge from their hiding places.

Taylor at Whiskers N Paws in July
Taylor, with less-shy sister Tinker, was initially on Lamma before moving to a foster home, but nothing persuaded her to interact with humans.  Finally the sisters were returned and sent to Tai Po, and now with the help of staff and volunteers Taylor is even going out for walks, something I never thought would be possible.

Samantha was also an older puppy when I took her from AFCD, and although easy to handle and not at all aggressive, she was completely terrified of everything, even other dogs.  She hid in her dog house all day and only emerged at night for the necessary toilet visits.  Now after a relatively short time at Tai Po she's playing with the other dogs, again something I really never thought would happen.
Wolfie was also a really shy puppy, now going for walks

While Nigel the husky is happily showing signs of improvement after eight-hourly injections, over at Ap Lei Chau we recently said goodbye to one of the very old dogs who were rescued from a horrible shelter situation.  Ronnie and Reggie were very close and had probably been together their whole sad lives, and with the natural death of Reggie last week, Ronnie seems to be ready to join his old friend.  This is our promise to all of our HKDR dogs, that we will take care of them until the end.
Ronnie (l) is missing Reggie I'm sure

Ronnie and Reggie came from this sad situation

Yam on her way to Acorn 
Today I took an older dog from AFCD, one of a few from a boatyard that were no longer wanted.  I have to take a chance with the adult larger dogs, so getting to know them a bit first is important.  Many (most) dogs react with fear and confusion when they find themselves locked up in a kennel at AFCD, so it's hard to tell what they are really like initially.  As boatyard dogs they would have been free-roaming, so being confined is very difficult for them even just in terms of toilet habits. These are dogs that would have had a private place where they would have gone to for toilet needs, and they will hold their pee and poo for a long time.  I always know the importance of walking dogs around before putting them in the van if I want to avoid a nasty mess a few minutes into the drive, and now-called Yam certainly needed that walkabout today, poor girl. She turned out to be very sweet and easy, even when having blood taken at Acorn, and by some miracle she is free of heartworm after nine years of outdoor living.  That's a huge relief.

Now that the build-up to Peak to Fong 2018 has started, one clever dog has already started collecting for the Sponsored Walk section of the event.  Anfield knows that there are fantastic prizes to be won so she got her daddy to organise a Simply Giving page to get the ball rolling.  Good work Anfield!
Be smart!  Be like Anfield!

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Sun 28th Oct: One month to go

In exactly four weeks time it will be Peak to Fong Sunday, the fifteenth such event to take place, even though the first few years were very small in comparison.  Now this annual Dog Walk combined with Street Party is the hotly anticipated date for many dog lovers, and in the past month or so I've been getting a lot of messages asking when Peak to Fong will be happening. The answer, as you will probably already know, is Sunday 25th November and tickets are already available although the T-shirts haven't yet arrived (sorry).
T-shirt/tickets are available for pre-order now

Today it was Halloween at Whiskers N Paws, and although I spent the afternoon on the terrace I couldn't help but notice the bat wings and witch's hats that quite a few dogs were wearing, and the store was full of treats and all sorts of spooky decorations.  For our puppies however, all the focus was on having fun and playing on the terrace, so even though only one of the young "triplets" found a foster home everyone had a great time.   Simon Li was the volunteer photographer today and he did a great job as you can see here  Puppy Adoption Day 28 October 2018     
Every Sunday is puppy playtime

Chow Mein fits in well with the other small dogs
Over at our own Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre small-sized chow chow Chow Mein was moved down from the office space upstairs where she has been staying, to be with the rest of the small dogs.  She's a very sweet and gentle girl and got on well with all of the others so she can stay downstairs full time.  That way she'll be seen by potential adopters rather than be hidden away, the same idea as I had for our smaller-sized older puppies Jack and Frisbee.  It's hard to tell from the photos that they are both really petite. as is Dimple, another mixed breed who will be no larger than medium size as a fully grown adult.
Blake (l) is the same size as Jack but several months separate them in age
Petite and dainty Frisbee

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Sat 27th Oct: Toto and Bitsy

Pretzel hasn't been waiting long for his new family to come along
It wasn't a busy adoption day despite the perfect weather, but at least poodle Pretzel found his forever family at our Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre.

Toto is also a popular boy and has lots of interest, but we are all keen to keep him and Bitsy together if at all possible.  These two boys are best friends and 24-hour playmates, but Bitsy's handicap means that Toto's companionship is so much more important to him than it would be to a perfectly able-bodied puppy.   Toto is the perfect age, size and weight to be just right, and without him Bitsy would be quite lost.  Surely there's a family somewhere that would want two beautiful, sweet and very funny little puppies whose antics make everyone laugh.  What could be better than having your own home entertainment in watching Bitsy and Toto rolling around?
Bitsy and Toto together

Astrid has a new friend now
Astrid the German shepherd was Tai Po's lucky dog, and she was adopted despite coming to us with heartworm.  She leaves beind her companion Marina, also a German shepherd, so we hope it won't be long before Marina is also chosen.

It was a good day for the group of dogs taken out for a walk by volunteers from HGC Global Communications.  We always welcome corporate groups at either of our Homing Centres, so if your company is interested please contact for more information.
Volunteers from HGC Communications and some lucky Tai Po dogs

Of course I'll be at Whiskers N Paws on Sunday afternoon, 2pm to 5pm, and as well as the puppies providing fun and cuddle opportunities, there will be a Halloween party at the store too, so check out the video here

Friday, 26 October 2018

Fri 26th Oct: Happy little stories

There were a few nice surprises today, one being that I realised quite late in the day that it was Friday, not Thursday as I'd had in my head due to the fact that I'd had to be on Lamma on my usual working day. 

There had also been some very happy updates about recently adopted smaller dogs, one being older puppy Nattie who had to be accepted by, as well as accept, the resident cat.  She had started off being a bit scared of the strange animal that wasn't another dog, and she had to learn everything about her new home and life of course, which included going for walks in unfamiliar places. Now this:

Lovely Nattie is fitting right in
"Just to keep you updated that Nattie had a fantastic week.  She learned to walk steep stairs, she went outside for walks, most importantly, she is settling down with our cat and not afraid any more. She is becoming more playful with our cat and very curious."

As a reminder, Nattie's brother Frisbee is still available for adoption and he is just like his sister except for the colouring.  Frisbee is staying at our Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre full time and will be at Whiskers N Paws on Sunday if you'd like to meet him. 
Frisbee is also a petite size

The second dog was the senior dachshund (without a tail) Heidi.  She also had to fit in with the already-resident dogs.  

Heidi looks comfortable enough!

"Wanted to drop you another quick update.  Obviously, we are past the trial period for Heidi – I hope you took our silence as confirmation that we are very happy with her and want her to stay as part of the family J !

She’s very settled, continues to get on well with all the other dogs.  She’s still full of energy and enjoying her daily trips to the beach and walks around Lamma."
We don't know why Heidi has no tail

Amigo the poodle is now Milo and also already a real part of the family, while schnauzer Pixel also won the adoption lottery : "Thought I would give you an update in case you wondered.   Pixel is doing great and has settled in.  He loves our garden and sleeps with my son every night on his bed.   Very loving and friendly dog."

Please keep sending us your successful adoption stories because it not only makes us happy but it also encourages others to adopt instead of buying. 
Two very happy boys!

Amigo-now-Milo enjoying a family meal out


Thursday, 25 October 2018

Thurs 25th Oct: Remembering old friends

Obviously I get to know the Ap Lei Chau dogs and puppies a lot better than those at Tai Po, and in truth the most I see of the bigger Homing Centre dogs are while they are at AFCD before I take them out, or when I meet up with them again at Acorn.  That doesn't mean that I don't think about them, even if there are so many that it's easy to forget until their names are mentioned and I wonder how they're doing. 

Ivory came from AFCD on 2nd October
The most recent additions of ex-Stanley Barracks Ivory and latest rescue Portia quickly blend into the hundreds of others that are waiting to be chosen for adoption, many of whom have been there for all of their lives.   The recent typhoon success stories have proved that far from being a lost cause these dogs make perfect and very easy companions, as they are just happy to have a quiet  space, a soft bed and a family to call their own.
Latest recruit Portia is one of the gang now

A lot of the dogs at Tai Po started off as puppies on Lamma many years ago, so they obviously still mean a lot to me.  I see their names on the volunteer's Hiking Applications and feel a mix of happiness that they are enjoying outings, and sadness that they are still waiting for a home.  I remember them as they were when they were babies, then older pups and finally the time when they were sent up to Tai Po as young adults. A few were even adopted when they were babies, then returned when the novelty had worn off. 
Now 10 years old, Tai Po dog Felix saw his sisters Alison and Jersey adopted recently
Jimbo as a baby, now a senior at Tai Po

It's always worth remembering that the cute and wiggly-tailed baby pup will quickly become a doglet, and by a year old be a young adult.  Children in particular will always make a beeline for the babies and insist that this is what they want, so it's the parents who must make the final choice based on their own knowledge of the family, home and expectations.   Young puppies bite with sharp teeth, chew furniture and pee on rugs, and all of these things are a normal part of raising and training a puppy, yet many to many adopters this still comes as a shock.

Coming back to Ap Lei Chau and the older puppies that have yet to be chosen, the time is fast approaching when they too must make the trip to Tai Po to join the others that made exactly the same journey before them.  Unfortunately a few of these pups have had a skin problem which has meant that they were held back from the Sunday puppy afternoons at Whiskers N Paws, but Addy, Jack and Frisbee are such lovely and easy characters that I hope potential adopters can overlook such a minor and temporary issue.  With a whole life ahead of them, what matters most is a puppy's character and these three boys are the best.

Meet them any day of the week at our Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre, 5 Wai Fung Street, 10am to 6pm.
Jack is a young man now, still small and with a great character

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Weds 24th Oct: Everyone needs a friend

Tracker (r) and his family
There was good news, and really not unexpected, about beagle Tracker as his adoption was confirmed.  He has a lovely family and ready-made dog friends to play with, so it's all good for this lovely boy.
Kobe's big smile

I was also very happy to get photos of poodle Kobe after his haircut, and to see how this little dog had changed into such a happy and affectionate boy.  As always there was no magic trick, certainly no drugs and really nothing in terms of training other than to allow time and patience to do their work.   Having the pressure of expectations is hard for any animal, so if you remove that and give the dog space to work things out by itself then change will happen.  Kobe will be staying at our Ap Lei Chau Centre now, and I really hope he finds his new forever family before too long.

Our three happy sisters
One of the reasons that dogs grow into adults with behaviour problems is that they were taken from their mothers and siblings at too young an age and then never given the opportunity to play or socialise with other dogs and puppies.  For any animal, humans included, the early stages of life are vital to healthy mental development, so buying or adopting a young puppy and leaving it alone for long hours isn't right or fair.  You wouldn't do that to a human child without serious consequences and the same applies to puppies, and young adult dogs too.

After play, having a sleep buddy is important too
We took in a shiba inu puppy recently, and although he does have some neurological problems I suspect he is also suffering from Lonely Puppy Syndrome (I made that up) meaning that he has never played with other puppies.   At first we had to keep Monty separated from the older pups because he wasn't big or strong enough to be safe, but now we have put him in with the three little sisters and he seems to be much happier.  He is starting to play and interact, albeit rather clumsily, so we look forward to seeing ongoing improvement.
Kobe loves a tummy rub now

A new member of the Ap Lei Chau Club

We also took in another new dog at the Homing Centre, an 11 year-old pom boy, and I suspect this one will also need a bit of time to settle.  Although eleven seems quite old, small dogs live for much longer than larger ones, so while fourteen would be an average lifespan for a big dog, it can be much longer for the little ones.  I realised when checking licenses that my Murphy is seventeen now and still King of the House.

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Tues 23rd Oct: Poodles again

My plans to take a further four Lamma dogs to AFCD for their license updates were thwarted by the low tide, meaning the sampan  couldn't get to the end of the pier and I had to walk to the far end of the bay and the nearest floating pontoon.  I did however take two small dogs to the  Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre for grooming by Iris, and they were poodle Kobe and terrier type Connor, now very much a senior who has been with us for many years.  He's one of our Small Delinquents, the dogs that nobody would want to adopt but who are fine doing their own thing and being left alone.

Kobe in March after his last grooming by Iris
I'm hopeful for Kobe however, as he's actually a very loving and affectionate boy who was unlucky to have spent the first five years of his life in a cage, which meant he was an angry little dog when surrendered to AFCD.  In fact I fought hard to save him from being put to sleep, insisting that his fear and resentment towards humans could be changed, and I'm happy to say I was right. Now that we have space at the Homing Centre Kobe can stay rather than come back to Lamma, and maybe another dog that needs some rehabilitation can have a chance.

I've written so many times about poodles and their need for mental stimulation as well as lots of exercise, but they are still being bred and bought as toys or baby substitutes, dressed up and pushed around in prams as though they were incapable of walking.  Then when they have been turned in completely neurotic basket cases they are thrown out, ending up at AFCD or who knows where.  The majority of our "Red Dogs", the small dogs with serious behaviour problems, are poodles, and it's really very sad.

A throwback photo of ex-breeder poodles that arrived with matted coats being shaved
The other thing about poodles is that they really need regular grooming, because although they are popular for not shedding, that doesn't mean their hair doesn't grow.  It certainly does, and if not brushed and trimmed constantly you can end up with a matted mess very quickly.
Charcoal and Sheeba are now officially family

There are a further two Typhoon Foster happy endings to add to the list, and this time it's Clipper and Charcoal who are the lucky dogs.  I certainly don't want to ever experience another typhoon like Mangkhut but I have to admit it's been very lucky for the twelve (so far) Tai Po dogs who were taken in for emergency fostering and never came back.
The typhoon was lucky for Clipper too

Monday, 22 October 2018

Mon 22nd Oct: A special outing and Nigel's story

A groups of dogs and volunteers at Petfield today
When I went to the Ap Lei Chau Homing Centre today it was unusually quiet, and looking inside I saw nothing but empty spaces.  At first I assumed all of the dogs were at the dog park, but then I was told someone had sponsored a day's outing to Petfield in the New Territories, and twelve dogs had joined: Nancy, Cookie, Cello, Carlo, Jack, Asher, Dimple, Frisbee, Bitsy, Toto, Tibs and Meg.  
Bitsy had a lovely day out at Petfield

I was especially happy to see best friends Toto and Bitsy included as they are two of our Special Needs puppies, although Toto has improved so much that he is now just special and not really needy in the health sense at all.  His video was posted on Facebook yesterday and we have since had a lot of enquiries, so now it's a question of choosing the home that we think would be best for Toto.  He is a typically playful (and mischievous) poodle puppy and he has a best friend in Bitsy, the bichon frise pup with paralysed back legs.  These two friends play endlessly, so if we had an offer of a home for both of them together we would obviously be thrilled.  It would be hard to find another friend for Bitsy who could give him the kind of full life he enjoys now, because being paralysed doesn't mean he's not a normal, smart and happy boy in every other sense.  When he's fully grown and can be fitted with wheels he will enjoy going for walks the same as any other young dog. 
Bitsy and Toto play all the time 

Monty is our shiba inu puppy with special needs but also improving

While some of our smaller puppies have varying physical problems, husky puppy Nigel has a different kind of health issue which may well be the reason he is small for his breed.  He was one of the thirty-plus dogs we took from a breeder, and he came with persistent breathlessness.  After antibiotics failed to treat the pneumonia, tests showed that his problem was resistant to almost all drugs except one type that needed to be specially ordered.  This antibiotic is only injectable and it has to be given every eight hours, and that means a Tai Po staff member being on site to be able to administer the injection as required.  Nigel appears to be more lively after ten days of treatment but he will need a month's course at a cost of $300 a day, as well as regular blood tests.  We really need a foster home for this lovely boy, and one that is able to give the injections without fail and take Nigel to Acorn for his blood checks as needed. I should mention that we are looking for a home without children as technically any bacterial infection could be contagious.
Please contact Cindy at if you can offer a foster home to Nigel, thank you. 

Nigel is a small-sized husky puppy

We would also very much appreciate donations towards covering the cost of Nigel's treatment, just one of the many dogs who come to us with varying health issues that require expensive veterinary care.  Our bank account is HSBC 502-423825-001 (Hong Kong Dog Rescue) and of course we are happy to issue receipts for all donations over $100.