Monday 13th July: Health warning

Gorby as a pup.  We called him Turnip.

Gorby as a pup. We called him Turnip.

I have to start today’s entry with a warning to all dog owners.  It seems that leptospirosis is back as Gorby, Mel Brown’s lovely dog, has just been diagnosed with the disease.  It’s bad enough that Gorby is sick, but Mel also lost another of her dogs to lepto and subsequently adopted Gorby.  The source of the infection appears to be the water pools in Mid-Levels as this is where Mel regularly walks her dogs.  Please be careful about puddles or pools of still water in the Pokfulam/Mid-Levels areas, as leptospirosis is not only a serious disease for dogs but it can also affect humans.  Right now we’re all rooting for Gorby and hoping that he recovers.

The AFCD kennels were once again full of new dogs when I went there today.  There were several surrenders with the usual reasons given, the same old stories that we hear over and over again.  New baby, living in public housing, no time to take care of the dog. Today’s lucky dogs included two surrenders, a schnauzer girl (Opal), and the little fat boy I’d seen last week.  Trying to guess his breed mix is a tough one, and vet Tony suggested a shih tzu/golden retriever combo.  Either way, Reggie is a sweet dog, and will be lovely once he has shed a good few pounds.

The third dog was found as a stray and is a young (almost) labrador.  I’m guessing that his size and enthusiasm, not to mention his wagging tail which whacks everything around, was the reason for him being thrown out.  At around nine months, he probably outgrew his home and his owner simply dumped him on the street.  Many of the dogs that are abandoned are between six months and a year old, the age when they are either just too big or no longer cute and fluffy.  Mason is a lovely, happy and very friendly dog, but he will need good exercise, training and space for his tail.  He also needs desexing, and that will be done tomorrow.

Having a dog adopted should mean the end of that dog’s particular story, for us at least, but there are many occasions when it’s just the start.  Pug Dorothy went to a new home yesterday for the second time, the first adopter having to return her only because of  the daughter’s severe allergic reaction. There were tears and apologies, and a glowing reference for lovely Dorothy, who was described as a sweet and very well behaved little pug. 



From the calls and conversations this time round you wouldn’t know it was the same dog, the initial complaints being about Dorothy’s very loud breathing.  I don’t know if the person who currently has Dorothy will read this, but maybe she needs to know how  many people have been involved, and how much time has been taken up trying to deal with this case.  Dorothy is an older pug who is overweight so she snorts and gasps like any other fat pug.  She is also, like all dogs, an animal who has feelings and emotions, and she is stressed about being in a strange place with someone she doesn’t know. 

 Stress causes a variety of symptoms varying from lack of appetite and/or diarrhoea to lethargy or hyper-activity.  It’s  unfair and unrealistic to expect any dog going into a totally new environment to immediately feel secure and comfortable, any more than it would be for a child.  It takes time for a dog to settle, and I can’t tell you how upsetting it is when a dog is returned only a day or so after having been adopted with complaints about behaviour or lack of toilet training or other petty problems.

 Happily there is the other side of the coin when adopters persevere and deal with the issues with patience and understanding, and we’ve had some great stories like these.  If only everyone could see that dogs are intelligent and sensitive animals who respond to both good and bad experiences, and there are very few problems that can’t be overcome. All adopters have the help and support of both myself and our HKDR trainer, Mark Curran, not to mention all the others in the adoption and foster team, and we’re all happy to do what it takes to keep a dog in a home.

As for Dorothy, she’ll always have a place in the office if she needs it.

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


3 Responses to “Monday 13th July: Health warning”

  1. Angie Says:

    We are all praying for a speedy recovery for Gorby XXXX

  2. Angela Wong Says:

    I got very good reference from ex adopter re Dorothy – great with kids, great with people, sweet, well behaved and lovely. We must find her a great home.

  3. Leigh Says:

    I was the first person to adopt Dorothy and cannot stress enough how sad we were to have to return her after only one week of her unconditional love. My youngest daughter, only 3, had a severe allergic skin reaction and so keeping Dorothy wasn’t an option for us. So it was with many tears and a heavy heart that we took her back to HKDR. We prayed that she would find a new home soon. I am so sad to hear that such a great little dog has now once again had to go through the stress of thinking she’d found a family only to be returned. Whilst her time in our family was short I cannot stress enough what a pleasure Dorothy was to have around. She was so kind and gentle to my children and just wanted to be loved for her retirement. She was nervous the first day but after that had no problems with toileting outside whilst on her daily walks. She panted a little, but that is normal for pugs and was part of her charm! If you’re reading this and know of someone who would want a wonderful kind dog, great with children and ready to give unconditional love then please, please consider Dorothy. She deserves to live out her retirment sorrounded with love and happiness. GOOD LUCK DOROTHY!!! WE MISS YOU SO MUCH!!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: