Thursday 4th June: An anniversary and a haircut

Today is one of those days when you are made aware of how quickly the years pass and how much life can change, whether planned or otherwise. Twenty years ago I was on holiday in Bali with a girlfriend and without access to news of any kind.  We heard talk of tanks in the streets and students being killed, but it wasn’t until we got back to Hong Kong that we found out what had happened.  Now the student leaders of the time are middle aged, my friend has since died, and the word “holiday” is a distant memory.

 It was also in 1989 that my dog escapades were first reported in the SCMP under the headline ”Dog-lover helps stray pack to fend off death”.  This was referring to my regular trips in a blow-up dinghy to the small island in my bay where dogs were regularly abandoned and left to starve.   My first dog, Bruno, was a young adult that I took from the island, to be later joined by Pippa and Midge. Katie was from one of the many litters of pups who came to me  from the island and, like my current dog, Inky, ended up staying.  I found homes for all the other puppies, little knowing that 20 years later I would still be doing the same thing only on a much larger scale.

Katie - Dr DogKatie was such a beautiful and sweet dog, so when I heard about the Dr Dog scheme that had been started by fellow Englishwoman, Jill Robinson, I contacted her about joining. Jill came to pay a visit to Lamma to see how Katie was with strangers, and having passed the test with flying colours, Katie and I were allocated the Heep Hong Society in Chai Wan as our project.  I found our visits to be both heartwarming and heartbreaking, as the young children, both mentally and physically handicapped, took turns to pat and hug Katie.  I wanted them to be able to interact more, as I knew Katie would tolerate anything from the children, but the teachers were very firm in allowing only a short time for each child.  Katie was poisoned only a few months later, and died the most terrible and agonising death.

 Jill Robinson, of course, is now internationally famous as the founder of Animals Asia and her work with saving the moon bears from the unspeakable bile farms.  I have the greatest respect for Jill’s amazing work.

 Back to 2009, and Lox is taken to the vet for desexing, as well as vaccination and heartworm test (luckily negative) while he’s asleep.  I had also asked that he be shaved, as we still don’t have any sharp scissors and I know the clippers would freak him out.  Still, I wasn’t expecting to meet a completely different dog when he was ready to be picked up later in the day.  Poor Lox is now bald, his previously fuzzy face included.  Both of us are in shock, but more so Lox who must have woken up wondering what on earth had happened.  He’s not a happy boy today.

 Joe, our volunteer accountant amongst other things, has come to the kennels to pick up and drop off some paperwork.  I first met Joe when he adopted a gorgeous but very large puppy that I called Feathers on account of her wispy, feathery coat.  She is now in need of a playmate as she is nervous around other dogs and Joe feels, quite rightly, that a more sociable “brother” will help Feathers (now Mishka) come out of her shell a bit.  Having Joe captive at the Jamboreekennels and knowing he can give a dog a home, I don’t let him leave without one despite his feeble protests.  Jamboree, a very pretty and young Pomeranian-type boy, is busy having a great game with Lorelei, a larger-sized multibreed who is also a very shy girl.  Joe doesn’t stand a chance, and before he knows what’s happened he’s on his way home with  Jamboree.  Now we just have to hope Mishka likes her new friend.

 Peachy is also a lucky dog today.  She was one of a large group of very pretty fluffy older pups that were picked up by the dog catchers in Stanley.  All of them were very quickly adopted, and Peachy is the last to go.  She’ll go to join Emma, also adopted from HKDR but in the very early days.  Emma has been all around the world since then and is now back in Hong Kong, so I’m very happy to know that Peachy is going to a home that will never leave her behind.

To help us save more dogs’ lives, click here to make a donation.

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