Sunday 24th May: A washout

Sandy surprised me by coming along the morning walk even though she was still officially in hiding. An added bonus were the big pools of rainwater that form on the flat grassy areas of the quarry during heavy rain and the dogs, including Sandy, love nothing more than to race through them.  Sandy has a hatred of any sort of grooming so the rain and the pools are the closest thing to a bath she’s had in a while. She doesn’t play in the pools today but can’t avoid getting a thorough soaking anyway.

It’s Dragon Boat Race day here today, and the temple behind my house is filled with people from the local fishing community as well as the lion dancers, drums, cymbals and very damp incense.  The older dogs seem immune to the constant drumming and loud hailers giving a running commentary, but the doglets join in by barking just as loudly.  It’s the one day of the year when my normally very sleepy village (well, collection of a few houses) takes on a carnival atmosphere and is packed with people and fishing boats of all shapes and sizes.  I feel sorry for the participants who must be struggling to even keep their dragon boats afloat with all the heavy rain, let alone cross the finishing line first.

 Knowing that the outside terrace at Whiskers’n’Paws will be off-limits today, I choose just 6 puppies to take for the adoption afternoon.  Milky and his brother, Jools, both proven crowd pleasers, Minnie, another regular, and 3 new ones, Maddie, Wilson and Solara.  I’m pretty sure if any puppies are adopted today it will be Solara as she is a very unusual colour and looks like a koala bear.  Solara adoptedSure enough, she is soon on her way to her new home.  There are lots of other visitors and each one of the puppies is declared a favourite, but there are no other adoptions.

 We see some previously adopted puppies coming back for a visit including CJ, now Gypsy, and her brother Pumpkin (ex-Rufus).  They will soon be leaving Hong Kong and heading back to Switzerland, but there is worry about Pumpkin’s tail as it is short, and docking is not only banned in Switzerland but you can’t even import any dogs that have had any sort of “cosmetic mutilation” such as tail docking or ear cropping.  I know that Pumpkin’s tail was short when we got him as a young puppy and assure his owners that the tail hasn’t been docked and is naturally that way. 

We do seem some shocking cases of ignorant tail docking where there is no tail left at all, or ear cropping where all that’s left is a mangled stump.  In any case, there is no reason at all to crop or dock any dog and I’m amazed that it’s still allowed in the USA.

 It’s good to see Jazzy again.  She’s the pomeranian cross that went to Whiskers’n’Paws for a grooming and then refused to get out of the car that brought her back to kennels.  She has settled in so well that you would think she’d always been there, and at night she goes back home with Vada (store owner) where I’m told she has taken control of all the other dogs’ beds.  Like my own Wanchai terrier, Murphy, Jazzy is putty in Vada’s hands and allows her to do anything, but she has made her intention never to leave quite plain during a couple of failed adoption attempts.  Given time I know she would settle into a new home and be a loyal and loving companion, but the initial growling does tend to put potential adopters off.

 We have seen again and again that patience is almost always rewarded.  The first few weeks in a new home is the make-or-break time when a dog goes from either being on its best behaviour, or its worst, to becoming what it really is.  Many times a dog is returned within the first 48 hours of being adopted, the reasons usually being growling, snapping, clinginess or some other antisocial behaviour.  No regard is given to the fact that the dog is confused and scared, as much as a child would be when moved from one home to another, where everyone was a stranger and everything was unfamiliar.  For those who persevere and allow the dog time and space to settle, and for a bond of trust to be formed, there is an almost guaranteed chance that everything will work out. 

 The rain has eased off for the sampan ride back to Lamma but the crossing on the way over was a really rough ride with sheet rain, and huge waves throwing the boat around like a bobbing cork.  It’s amazing that the puppies aren’t all in shock by the time they arrive.

 Sandy is waiting for me when I get back to the house and along with her newly “washed” coat, seems back to normal.


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