Wednesday 24th June: So many dogs

I have two appointments today, one with a group of students who have been busy raising funds for HKDR as their school project.  They’re coming to present the cheque, an amazing $18,000, and to learn more about HKDR.  They’re keen to sign up as volunteers but aren’t quite old enough yet.  Trainer Mark stands in for me while I have a more business type meeting in the office, and shows the girls and their teacher round the kennels.  I join them when I can and happily accept the cheque, while the puppies Milky & Co put on their best show for the appreciative audience.  These are such great puppies so why are they still with us?

 

Nickel pays attention

Nickel pays attention

Helping me in my own meeting with Jen Chan is Cosmo, a Tibetan spaniel, and Nickel, the shih tzu that came out of AFCD the other day.  Far from being the grumpy boy that I had feared, Nickel is totally adorable.  He’s very attentive during the meeting, listening to everything that’s being discussed,  his big eyes fixed on Jen in that “take me home” way that is so hard to resist. In fact, Nickel is so appealing that  Jen is coming back at the weekend with her own dogs to see if Nickel will fit in.

 There are so many really fantastic dogs in the kennels now.  Walking round and seeing them all, knowing all their stories and their characters, gives me mixed emotions.  I’m happy to know that they’re safe and well cared for, loved by the volunteers and so accepting of their lot, but at the

Sweet, gentle Tom

Sweet, gentle Tom

same time I desperately want them to be in real homes. Dogs like Sydney, Adelaide, Santa and Tom came to us from a shelter in the New Territories.  They stood out from the many others there, and were chosen to come to us.  All were in very poor condition and took time to recover, but now they’re healthy and so lovely.  They shouldn’t still be here.

Long-termer Pablo

Long-termer Pablo

 Long-termers like Pablo and Ellis, who have been with us since the day we moved into the kennels.  I remember them as puppies at AFCD when they were waiting to be taken out.  They shared their kennel with Lena and Lila, and while the girls also waited a long time for a home they were both eventually adopted.  The boys will have a place with us for as long as they live, but it’s a shame that they may never know the love and comfort of a proper home.

 For me the saddest of all are the dogs that are adopted and then returned.  Oscar was one of a great litter, sleek and shiny pups who all found homes very Oscar2quickly. (One of them was Minnie, now one of Ali and Caroline Bullock’s gang, and a much admired young dog). I remember Oscar as a very sweet pup with a loving and easy nature.  He was adopted from Whiskers’n’Paws by a single guy who at the time

Wrinky, returned at 9 months

Wrinky, returned at 9 months

sounded like he could offer a nice home, but as time went by it became clear that he really didn’t have the time for a dog, particularly a young one who needed attention and exercise – and lots of it. I visited Oscar in his home a few times, as did another trainer, but the problem wasn’t Oscar himself, it was the lifestyle of his owner that was the issue.  Eventually Oscar was returned, a young adult who could easily have found a forever home as a pup but who is now just one of many.

Wrinky’s story is very similar.  Adopted as a baby pup and returned at 9 months of age due to a marriage breakup.  He’s a sharpei cross, very sweet natured, but there is nothing to distinguish him from the many others who look pretty much the same.  My heart goes out to these dogs, thrown into kennel life from a home environment, abandoned and confused.  They eventually adjust, but it’s easier for the dogs that have never lived in a real home and for whom the kennels is all they have ever known.

 Before I leave for the day I check on the new puppies that I took from AFCD the day before.  For now they are happy enough in the “bear cage” (a giant stainless steel thing), but it won’t be long before they have outgrown it.  I have to take every day as it comes and deal with the future problems as they arise.  As the famous quote goes, tomorrow is another day.

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

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