Tues 2nd February: Tinsel’s fight for life

As I was working upstairs at the computer in the morning, I could hear a strange whistling sound which seemed to be coming from the puppy enclosure next to me. I looked at the pups, all from the same litter and all with kennel cough (getting better), and they were fast asleep, a couple with their heads hanging over the edge of the dog bed in a way that only dogs can sleep.  I assumed it was this uncomfortable-looking position that was making one of the pups whistle like this, as all looked very content.

It’s strange that in the whole group of puppies that were together as youngsters, most came down with kennel cough but all except this litter got over it without any treatment.  When I heard the dry cough change into a chesty one, and saw the runny noses that went with it, I moved all the other pups away and started the group on antibiotics.  Tinsel, who is the smallest, had already spent a few days in hospital, but returned home a week ago having made a quick recovery, at least from the condition that required hospitalisation.

After having got home from the kennels in the evening, and back upstairs to check my emails, the whistling was still there but now I could see where it was coming from.  Tinsel was struggling for breath, her lungs audibly full.  I was convinced that she was dying, and there was nothing I could do to help. As I will explain later, I had no money to get her to hospital, even if I could find a sampan to take me at that time of night.  In any case, I was sure she wouldn’t survive the trip.

I forced some broncho dilators down her throat (which was very hard given that she could hardly breathe), and also something to relieve her stress, and then held her on my lap, waiting for the end to come.  She’s so small that I could wrap my hands around her, creating an incubator effect, and she finally fell asleep, her breathing slightly easier.  I moved her into the bathroom and laid her on a pillow, covering her with a light blanket, while I went downstairs to get all the dogs in for the night.  

I fully expected to find that she had passed away when I went back, but she was up on her feet and anxious to get back to her “home”, so I moved her back in with the others where she immediately snuggled in with them.  I switched off the light to go to bed, leaving Tinsel in peace and knowing this would be her last night.

As always, I was up several times during the night to quieten the dogs, and I could still hear Tinsel’s whistling coming from the top floor, but by morning there wasn’t a sound.  OK, she’s finally gone, I thought, but no, there she was, still breathing (just) and still hanging on in there.  So now she’s going to hospital. (Update at 9.30am: Tinsel was put to sleep as the vet said her lungs were too bad.  I feel so bad about this after Tinsel fought so hard).

Why I have no money: After finishing work at the kennels, I often go to the supermarket at Cyberport to do food shopping on my way home.  There’s absolutely nothing where I live so everything has to be bought in Hong Kong and carried back.  When it came to checkout time, I handed over my credit card only to have it returned because it didn’t work.  It was only then that I remembered that there had been an unauthorised charge on my card so the bank had cancelled it but hadn’t got back to me about a replacement, so I had completely forgotten.  Now here I was with a basketful of stuff that I had no money to pay for, and only just enough cash to get me home.  I knew I’d be able to borrow some money in the morning so I could get to my bank (I can’t even go to an ATM as I use my credit card to withdraw cash), but it left me without any way of getting a sick puppy to hospital during the night.  I’d decided some time ago to simplify my life by getting rid of all but one credit card, but now I see that wasn’t really the best idea.

Please check out the website and our Facebook Fan Page for details of our early Valentine event at Insomnia on Thursday 11th February.  I hope you can make it, have a few drinks and some fun, and all for a great cause – to help raise money to build our new kennels.  Please come if you can, and bring your friends too (two-legged, I mean).

Thanks to Georgina Noyce for a lovely piece in today’s Standard.  Sorry, the link is for the whole paper but the article in on page 7, bottom left.



8 Responses to “Tues 2nd February: Tinsel’s fight for life”

  1. Diana Says:

    Ellen mentioned about an article in the Standard yesterday. I missed it. Is it possible to view it somewhere? I’m not very good with web searching.

  2. Vivian Chan Says:

    the link to the article on the standard


  3. Diana Says:

    Thank you for the link. Good article

  4. Rebecca Says:

    Four years ago we adopted Penny from you. Although we’ve never been back or acknowledge you/your efforts in any way (and I’m not sure why) I wanted to say thank you.

    Penny is a wonderful companion/member of our family. When she first got to us we struggled a bit keeping up with all the things that spooked her, but we are long past all of that now.

    Thank you.

  5. Yolanda Says:

    Sally, you are really brave; taking care and dealing with all these life, sickness, not to mention about death almost everyday. How do you cope with this?

    Puppy love event……make you Insomnia……….sure…….see you.

    Last but not least, “Tinsel, may you rest in peace, little fighter”.

    • Sally Says:

      To be honest, it’s not easy and sometimes it’s hard to cope. I feel frustrated that no matter how much work is done and how many dogs are puppies are homed, it’s never enough. There are always more and more needing help. It’s the support of the volunteers and others like you who keep me going, and I’m more grateful than I can say.

  6. jennifer Says:

    poor little tinsel 😦 at least she’s no longer in pain.

    i hope the other young puppies are doing well (including those who had a parvo scare!)

  7. Helen Y Says:

    I really think free and accessible neuturing is the best option for owned or semi-owned dogs out there. But how can we ever have the resources to bring this out to the community, TNR and all. I am thinking about similar actions like “outreaching” by social services workers. Do we have sponsors out there to set up this service?

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