Mon 1st March: Not “just a dog”

All the meetings and site visits that take up so much of my time at the moment mean I can’t go to AFCD as often as I would like.  I worry about the dogs that might have come in over the weekend and who need to be taken out immediately, like those with serious medical conditions.  Pesto the chihuahua, who is now in a lovely home but who came to AFCD with one eye so badly damaged that he had to have it removed, is just one example.  Then there were the three shiba inus and a poodle who were in such shocking condition.  (They have done very well and two of the shiba inus have already been adopted).  The thought of them having to wait until I have time to take them out is horrible so I rush there when I can, do a quick scan of the newbies, and grab the urgent cases.

Today I didn’t even have time to do that as it was official handover day at the Tung Chung site, and I joined the surveyor, architect, contractor and others as we walked round the officially marked boundary of the oddly-shaped piece of land, which establised where the fence would go.   It’s hard to picture what it will all look like once finished, and the layout has changed several times since the first set of drawings, but it’s slowly coming together.

It’s a very difficult time right now, a sort of mental no-man’s land where I have to keep half of my brain in the current kennels, and the other half focused on the new site.  Nothing has changed in the day-to-day running of HKDR as it is.  We still have the dogs to be walked, fed and cared for, adoption enquiries which need to be dealt with (and hopefully finalised), emails to be answered, events to be planned and organised, and so on.  Of course I don’t do this all myself as there is a great team behind me, but I still have to keep my eye on all the balls and what’s happening, as well as looking after the dogs and puppies on Lamma that are solely my responsibility.

Minky and Sparkle are still as infuriating as ever, and I’ve had to accept the fact that any pen that’s left out for more than a second will be taken and destroyed, as will any pair of reading glasses.  They work as a team and are so close that even if I give each one their own bowl of food they eat out of one bowl together, and if I give them chew bones they will argue with each other over just one.  Sparkle is quite vocal and “talks” to Minky a lot, while Minky is the barker.

As always, I’m fascinated by the way that dogs develop their own unique personalities and quirks although they have all been brought up in the same environment and in the same way.  They learn from each other but they also

I gave Halo the name because she had a halo of fuzz round her head as a baby

come up with a lot of self-taught tricks and ways.  Halo, for example, always stands on top of a crate and waves her “arm” in the air as I pass, stretching it towards me in the hope (usually successful) that I’ll take her paw.  Bali sits in front of me, one paw raised, until I give in and give him a scratch.  Ottilie pushes herself between my legs as I’m trying to walk, while Pepper is rarely seen without a toy in his mouth.  Toothless Wanda, a small but tough old girl, charges through the other dogs like a mad bull, scattering them as they try to get out of her way. 

Wanda had a hard life living in a boatyard and has permanent scars

Some dogs are happy to stay downstairs, in fact most of them are (thank goodness), but others start climbing the stairs at a very young age.  Little, a puppy who recently came back to me after having been in a foster home, absolutely refuses to stay on the ground floor and I’ve already given up trying.  Personalities are inborn, and while you can modify a dog’s behaviour (such as creating a fear biter through thuggish “training”), underneath there will always be the individual waiting to surface.

Bali loves attention and knows how to get it

Young adults Stella and Lucille came to Whiskers’n’Paws on Sunday.  Stella is currently in a foster home with Deb, a volunteer, after a skin infection turned bad and left Stella looking like Frankenstein’s monster, with a huge scar down her back.  She’s fine now, and once her coat has grown back the scar won’t even show, and being away from kennels has allowed Stella’s sweet nature to shine.  Lucille, brought up on Lamma as most of the doglets were, is still at kennels and one of the group that live in what we call the “small field”, but away from the rest she too is the most wonderful and gentle girl.  Each one of our dogs can shine, if only given the chance.


3 Responses to “Mon 1st March: Not “just a dog””

  1. Foster Wong Says:

    “Each one of our dogs can shine, if only given the chance”

    I couldn’t agree more, after witnessing the changes of Tamsin and Rollo!

  2. max Says:

    Agree. Every dog is a special one and a great friend to human…

  3. dave Says:

    Love your dog and they will love you back.

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