Mon 15th February: Hanging on to life

I hate the cold, and the generally hot weather is one of the (several) reasons I like living in Hong Kong.  It doesn’t help, I suppose, that I have to have the doors to the balconies open twenty fours hours a day to allow puppies to go outside for their frequent toilet needs, but the icy winds that blow through the house as a result mean that it’s colder inside than out.

This morning has been a nightmare, and not just because it’s so cold that I have to dress up in every warm thing I can find just to sit at my computer, but because the puppy that I was sure would die during the night is still alive, but only just.  I heard baby screams coming from the bedroom while I was making coffee and I raced upstairs to find the other puppies jumping up and down on top of the sick one, in anticipation of the warm breakfast they knew was coming.  Since then I’ve been walking around with the puppy once again stuffed inside my clothes, trying to keep it warm but knowing that there’s really no point.  I’m sick with the thought that it may be parvovirus, because if that’s the case then I have to face the almost inevitable fact that others will also fall victim.

I started wondering about the apparent callousness of the other puppies, and the fact that they didn’t seem to care at all that they were trampling on their sick sibling, or that he was crying out while they were doing it.  I think that awareness must come at a later stage, maybe around three to four months, but right now it’s every pup for himself.  Survival of the fittest and strongest is clearly what’s important.

Linus has the same ears as Thika. I think that's a match.

There hasn’t been too much adoption action at the kennels over the Lunar New Year break, but a few of the smaller dogs have left.  Not surprisingly the eight-month Westie puppy has a new home, and this time it’s for keeps.  At least I have an appointment tomorrow with Onion-now-Thika, as she is looking for a new playmate.  I suggested Linus, a six-month old boy who is still with me on Lamma but who is, I think, a perfect match for Thika.  Baby Pippin will also be meeting his prospective adopter, so I’ll have to give him a good scrub beforehand.  Living in a multi-pup environment can get a bit messy at times.

I’m sure that most of you are enjoying the few days off, but I can’t wait for things to get back to normal.  There’s no vet across the road, the banks and local shops are closed, adopters are thin on the ground, and while I’m working as usual (like others at kennels and, thankfully, our volunteers), almost everything is on hold until Wednesday.  At least the sampans are running, or I’d be stuck.

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