Tuesday 16th June: Another crazy day

I have arranged to be at the kennels early so that I can be at Gina’s follow-up vet visit.  She’s adopted and much loved, but she needs another blood test to see how she’s getting on.  When I arrive, there is someone else waiting for me, a USA-based photography student who wants to make HKDR his project.  After Gina’s check up is over, I spend some time with the student, Fred, answering his questions about HKDR, the history and mission.  I’m itching to get to AFCD as I know there are dogs waiting to be taken out, and I also have puppies coming over from Lamma to see the vet so there is a time limit.

Caroline, a puppy who has been in hospital for almost 2 weeks because of pneumonia, is ready to be picked up.  She’s nowhere near better, but she’s well enough to be barking and creating such a fuss that the clinic want her out.  She arrives at kennels with her medicine and instructions regarding isolation and regular steaming sessions to help clear her chest of mucous.  Hmmm.  In my dreams, I reckon.



 At AFCD there is a pair of black dogs, lovely, friendly boys.  They were picked up from Pokfulam village by the dog catchers, and although I’d hoped their owner would come for them I knew it would be highly unlikely as the dogs aren’t microchipped, and anyone trying to claim them would face prosecution.  The dogs are covered in bites, a sign of built-up tension due to confinement in a kennel.  I know that these types of dogs live a free life, and being locked up is something alien to them.  Sure enough, as soon as they are out of their kennel, both immediately squat to pee and poo, again and again.  It goes against a dog’s nature to dirty its own space, and these poor boys have held everything for the days of their confinement. 

 While we go though the licensing process, including microchip and rabies shots, I hatch a plan.  Once out of AFCD I collar Sue, one of our most dedicated and regular volunteers, and her “meals on wheels” car, and ask her to drive me and the two dogs to Pokfulam Village to see if I can locate the owner.  If the dogs lead me back to their home, I can ask if the owner wants them back and can transfer legal ownership (as well as insisting that the dogs be desexed).  Of course, having never been in a car before, both dogs vomit during the short drive to Pokfulam Village, a maze of squatter homes that is now a well established township.  I manage to catch the first ejection in a plastic folder that I have with me (having quickly removed the licenses that were inside), but miss the following one which ends up over the car seat.  While Sue waits at the side of the road cleaning up the vomit, I jump out with the two dogs, fully expecting to be dragged to their home.  Instead, both dogs immediately want to pee and poo again, and I have to find something to clean up with. Luckily a parked skip provides me with a plastic bag.  I head into the warren of narrow streets, not now feeling optimistic of success as the dogs don’t seem to recognize the place. Although they are sniffing enthusiastically, it’s only to find yet another spot to poo.  After clearing up the mess with some bits of old plastic sheeting by the side of the road, I’ve had enough and we head back to kennels.  Wecome Remy and Martin.

Sweet Etta

Sweet Etta

There was another dog waiting at AFCD, a lovely 10-year old girl whose story I was familiar with, as I had had several phone calls about her.  The first call was from an expat woman who said she had been the first owner of the dog, and was still the legal registered keeper according to the license.  There followed a long and complicated story about why she had given the dog away, at 5 years of age, to a man who had a windsurfing business at Shek O.  She said the man was willing to take the dog back, so I suggested she arrange to meet him at AFCD, sign the dog out and then hand it back to the man.  At the same time the license could be changed to show new ownership.

 I then had a call from another expat woman who had found the dog wandering in Tai Tam in poor health, and had taken her in and kept her until she was healthy, but had then handed the dog in to the AFCD.  As with the first caller, there was a long and complicated set of reasons why, as much as she loved the dog, she couldn’t keep it.  Something about a reluctant husband, but I had switched my ears off by then.  As soon as I hear the words “I’d love to keep the dog but……..” the rest is irrelevant.

 I had hoped and expected that at some time the registered owner would turn up as suggested and sign the dog out so that it could go back to Shek O, but then the AFCD staff told me that she had instead officially surrendered her.  That meant that either I took the dog out or she would be destroyed.  I have never heard from either woman again, and I hope they are both ashamed.  I’ve heard enough pathetic excuses to last me a lifetime,  emotional blackmail that inevitably ends up with me taking the dog to save its life.   So to all those lovely people who jumped in to offer old Liza a home when she was desperate, please think about Etta.  She’s a sweet girl whose stubby tail never stops wagging, and she needs a home too.

 Piers and Simon arrive at the SPCA, along with their siblings, Amanda and Joey.  They are here to have injections for tick fever, but Simon’s nose is still running and none of the pups seem healthy enough to have a potentially dangerous drug added to their already overloaded immune systems. It’s a Catch 22 situation.  The puppies need to have treatment for the parasites that cause tick fever and subsequent anaemia, but should we wait until they are otherwise healthy, or should we take the risk and give them the injection? There’s no right or wrong answer.  Amanda has her blood checked and her red blood count is dangerously low, so a decision is made to give her the injection or she probably won’t survive anyway.  Once that’s decided, it seems to make sense to have them all done at the same time so we go ahead.

 Early in the morning I’d had a call from one of our volunteers about a box of puppies that had been left under a truck near to HKDR. Then it seemed the pups had been taken away by AFCD, but one had been kept at our kennels. I didn’t have time to find out why, but all I knew was that one 4-week baby pup on its own would be very hard to keep.  My own house was out of the question as I have no space at all, and in any case a puppy that age needs to have at least one other puppy to snuggle up to for comfort, and as a playmate.  For the first time ever, I made the very hard decision to take the puppy to AFCD to join the rest of the litter.  There was simply nowhere for a baby singleton to live, and at kennels it would be on its own from evening until the next morning.  I picked the puppy out of its crate and carried it to AFCD.  It was already past their official closing time but they let me in and I put the puppy in the kennel with all the others.  Then I stopped.  I looked at them all, huddled together in a corner, six brindles and one gold, plus the cream puppy I had just brought back.  I couldn’t do it. I picked up the puppy, took the gold one too, and carried both out together.

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2 Responses to “Tuesday 16th June: Another crazy day”

  1. Kathleen Kuok Says:

    Sally, you have a heart of gold.

  2. Alice Says:

    Hi Sally! I cannot believe how thoughtless and stupid some people are. Keep a dog for awhile, then drop it off for it’s death. I know I could never do that, no matter what people told me to do.
    Sad about the 4 week old puppies, did you take two? If they need fostering, you can give my mum a call, tell her that you need to find them somewhere to go, and she will take them no problem if you need a foster home.

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