Sunday 28th June: One in, none out

It's Smartie's first time at Whiskers'n'Paws

It's Smartie's first time at Whiskers'n'Paws

I face the usual Sunday dilemma of choosing the puppies to go to Whiskers’n’Paws.  There are so many, and they are all lovely – and growing.  I’m tempted to take Nero but a couple of the pups in his group have kennel cough, and although it’s a mild case I decide against it.  Instead I pick some other fresh faces, puppies who have already been through the cough and are now healthy and ready to go.  These are pups who were in the group that were so badly affected that four of them needed to be put to sleep.  The fifth puppy, Caroline, is now out of hospital and on the road to recovery, but it’s taken a long time.  Her sister, Maddie, is one of today’s adoption hopefuls.

 At 1.30pm the sampan arrives but – oh no! – it’s low tide and the sea level doesn’t allow the boat to reach the pier.  There are three crates full of puppies, and I’m carrying Millie and all the paperwork, as well as having Magic on a leash.  The crates need to be carried over the rocks to the nearest floating pontoon (and I’m extremely thankful for help), while I scramble across, dragging a reluctant Magic behind me.

It’s the now-normal Sunday scenario with lots of visitors but no adoptions.  Again.  It’s a combination of the economic situation and the coming summer holidays, but with every week that passes the puppies grow, and those like Magic, Sinbad, Kay and Karina are getting past the cute stage and should really be moved to kennels.

Buster joins HKDR

Buster joins HKDR

Instead of leaving with fewer than arrived, a young terrier cross is dropped off.  Buster was a stray, not much more than 6 or 7 months old, and there was nowhere else for him to go. He spends the afternoon taking advantage of the available girl dogs, blissfully unaware that having just been castrated his romantic days will soon be over.  At the end of the afternoon he’s taken to kennels by volunteer Michelle and hopefully, given his young age and small size, he won’t stay for too long.

Michelle also has another little dog with her, Rosemary, who has a home but is having a day out

Rosemary, still Michelle's favourite

Rosemary, still Michelle's favourite

and a grooming session.  Michelle has a penchant for grumpy  little white dogs, and for a long time Rosemary was her favourite at kennels.  Only Michelle could really handle Rosemary, who refused to let anyone else clean her ears or wipe her eyes.  We always knew when Michelle was at kennels but out of Rosemary’s sight, as the high pitched wailing was unmistakeable.

Omega, the peke who was left outside our kennels yesterday morning, has been moved to a foster home but the resident male shih tzu is having none of it.  Unfortunately Omega is a male with his manhood intact, and his arrival causes tantrums and chaos so he can’t stay. There is again nowhere for him to go except kennels, so he’ll join the office residents until he can find a new home, temporary or (hopefully) permanent.  His condition, however, is worse than I had thought and I’m told he has no function in his back legs.  I’ll get a professional assessment but he may need to be fitted with a pair of wheels.

Sammi Cheng and a laughing Cliff

Sammi Cheng and a laughing Cliff

At kennels there is another visit from famous local star, Sammi Cheng, who has come back to spend more time with the dogs.  One of her favourites is Cliff, and Mandy Chu, our HKDR photographer, captures this great photo of them together.   (Check out Mandy’s photoblog every Monday for new postings at


Cliff is also a favourite with many of the volunteers.  He has been with us since he was a very young puppy, starting out as all pups do at my Lamma “kennels”.  I remember him well from those days as he was a bit of a thug amongst his peers and siblings.  His brothers were adopted, but Cliff made the move to kennels and he’s now – sadly – very well established.  He can be quite determined and stubborn, but at the same time he’s a totally loveable boy with a happy and sweet disposition.  His thuggish ways have long since gone, and he’s a gentle dog who would be great with children.  Maybe Sammi will choose Cliff to be hers.


While I’m typing this entry I stop to watch the multi-contestant wrestling match that’s going on next to me.  Breakfast over, it’s playtime for the young puppies and they roll around in pairs, biting and tugging in what looks like fierce battle, but is only play.  This is such an important stage in a puppy’s life, a time when socialization and interaction with others helps form adult character and behaviour.  Puppies like those in pet shops that are taken from their mothers at a very young age and then sold individually, never have the opportunity to play and this will seriously affect their development as naturally social animals.   Play biting also teaches a puppy what hurts and when enough is enough, as a loud squeal from the “victim” will automatically stop proceedings.  Many of the small dogs that come to us don’t understand that biting isn’t acceptable, simply because they have been deprived of that important learning stage.  That’s why I always recommend that very young pups should be taken in pairs and kept together until they are at least eight weeks old, but preferably twelve weeks, unless there is another dog in the home that can act as playmate for the pup.

 Talking of puppy friends, I get back from Whiskers’n’Paws to find that Minky and Sparkle have been at it again.  My dictionary lies shredded and scattered over the floor.  Oh well, I guess they at least had fun.

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3 Responses to “Sunday 28th June: One in, none out”

  1. Mary Kwoh Says:

    Hi Sally,

    When I saw the picture of the local star with Cliff, yeah they look good together but the chances of being adopted by her was slim. I’m not tried to be rude but how many celebrities out there are willingly to adopt a mongrel? Only few exceptional like Miss Suen Huen, Miss Tang Sheung Man and Mr Ho Kwok Wing. All I can see on the magazine was who and who local star bought a poodle or who and who got a retreiver… They got big house with a big yard, why not consider a mongrel! Another satirical was being “Animal Lover” representative said she would spent thousand and thousand on her pekingnese dogs. Another representative pop singer bought his 2 retreivers from overseas! Not a good role model!!

    • Sally Says:

      Hi Mary,
      It’s true that most pet magazines carry stories of famous people and their purebreed dogs, but things are starting to change. I hope that more and more celebrities will consider adopting mixed breeds, and by telling their stories we can help to bring about that change more quickly. I can tell you that Sammi Cheng genuinely liked the mongrels, but more than that she is keen to learn about dogs and how to take care of them before taking one home. I think Sammi is being very sensible and setting a great example to all potential dog owners.

  2. Angela Says:

    Yes, I think Sammi is really a great example to all potential dog owners: Think before you adopt. She is spending a lot of times with the dogs before making the final decision. This is a very good message to all people too!

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