Mon 29th March: Reality sets in

It was the first day that the reality of not having a vet clinic right across the road hit home.    Arriving at kennels, Alice asked me to take a look at the two puppies that had been brought to us over the weekend by someone who had bought them from a street trader but had been unable to keep them herself.  One puppy was already sick by the time it came to us, and now it was clear that both were really very ill.  There was bloody diarrhoea in the shower cubicle, our only isolation area, and the puppies’ eyes were crusty.  A visit to the vet was imperative, but there was only myself and Alice and a handful of dog walkers around.  I had an appointment at AFCD but said I would take the puppies myself as soon as I could.

I had arranged to meet the potential adopter of Apple, the dog that had been featured in an Apple Daily video when she was rescued by firemen from the waterfront ledge that she was stuck on.  Apple was traumatised by what had happened to her, and shook violently whenever I had tried to approach her in her kennel at AFCD.  I had told the potential adopter that she needed to come and see Apple and to make a decision about taking her, as she had been seriously damaged (mentally) by her experience and it wasn’t going to easy to even get her out of her kennel, let alone take her home.

While I waited at AFCD for Apple’s potential adopter to arrive, of course I had a look at the other dogs that had come in.  The raids on Cheung Chau are continuing, and there were many new dogs from there.  Apparently there have been complaints about the dogs wandering free (these aren’t feral dogs), so it seems the dog catchers are out and about in force on a daily basis.  If only people would desex their dogs!  Why can’t they understand? I know I’m not alone in feeling such frustration and sadness about this situation, and the government’s continued refusal to acknowledge that there is another option to their Catch and Kill policy.  All of these innocent dogs are dying because of human ignorance and selfishness.  Free or cheap, or even better compulsory, desexing would solve the problem very quickly, but for these dogs it will all be too late anyway.

There was a very sad and very thin golden retriever in the first kennel.  He was slumped on the floor, his coat so sparse that it was just like down covering his exposed skin, and his eyes were gummed up with a yellow crust.  He had been found in a playground in Ap Lei Chau, having clearly been dumped there.  He looked like an old dog but his teeth told another story.  Although there is an obligatory four days before dogs can be released for re-homing, in cases where urgent medical attention is required I can sign the dogs out early, and I did so, thinking I could take him along with the puppies to Wanchai.  At first it seemed he couldn’t even walk, as he refused to stand up when I clipped a leash onto his harness (which he was still wearing). He finally got to his feet and we walked out together, although stumbling would be a better word.  I suspected he couldn’t see much through all that goo in his eyes, and his bony body was covered in sores.

Apple responded encouragingly to the yummy food that was offered to her when her visitor finally arrived, and we’ll arrange a date for her to be picked up.  That having been agreed, I was offered a lift to Wanchai SPCA which I was very happy to accept, as several taxis had already passed me by (having taken one look at the poor golden retriever at my side).

This photo taken before the puppies came to us clearly shows signs of eye discharge although we were told the puppies were "very healthy"

The puppies tested positive for distemper which didn’t surprise me at all.  One of them was already showing the neurological signs of uncontrollable twitching, and both had the crusty eyes and thickened pads (distemper used to be called hardpad).  There was no option but to have them euthanised, a sad end to their short lives, and yet another stark warning about the dangers of buying puppies from street traders (or pet shops).  They were beautiful puppies, not purebreed, but a mix of what looked like pointer and something. I find it incredibly sad that people will pay for mongrel puppies from a hawker when there are so many desperate for homes in the many shelters and rescue organisations.

The golden retriever has possible food allergies, although the blood tests were inconclusive.  Anyway, at least we can start on treatment for his eyes and  skin and feed him up.  He’s an incredibly sweet dog, affectionate and very placid. In the taxi on the way to Lamma where I was taking him at least for the night, he wanted to kiss me non-stop, not something that I was too keen on, but I was happy to know that he was happy.  He’s obviously used to being in a car, and seems to love it.  The vet agreed with me that he wasn’t an old dog despite his looks, so now we have to find him a foster home where he can recover.  Any offers?

This is Stella's brother, Donovan. He would love a home please!

There was some very happy news from Stella’s foster, volunteer Deb, who’s always been an avid schnauzer and cocker spaniel fan – up until now.  Stella’s charm has won her over and she wants to officially adopt her.  Of course we’re all delighted, and now I just want Stella’s brothers to find homes too.  They’re all wonderful dogs if given the chance to show it.

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11 Responses to “Mon 29th March: Reality sets in”

  1. Doris Says:

    Morgan, the dog I fostered before, also had skin allergy and that being the reason he was dumped. He was cured by the time he came to me but the skin disease seemed to recur. My vet advised me to give him a temporary strict fish n potato diet for 2 months, which cured him afterall. The allergy test came back telling us he is allergic to dustmites. Anyhow he is very happy in a home with a big garden.

  2. Abby and Lou Says:

    Yay for Stella!

    So sad to hear about these puppies and so many more we don’t hear about. Just makes you so angry! Catch and Kill does not work and is so cruel.

  3. SY Says:

    So happy for Stella. Choosing a dog based on personality instead of breed always works out best..

  4. Helen Y Says:

    I can attest to the sweeeet nature of Donovan, Stella’s brother. He is a very cheerful, lovely and behaving boy and will bring lots of joy to his new family.

  5. Norma M Says:

    Lovely news about Stella. Lucky her and lucky Debs!

  6. Deb Says:

    Donovan is uber-cute too and has a great personality. He and his sister’s breed, would be, I am guessing, 90% Pure Cute and 10% Hypnotic ‘Give-me-the-chicken’ Eyes.

  7. stella Says:

    Hi Doris,
    I’ve had same problem for 15 years with my dog, Buff. While I had to take her couplle of times every summer to vet, I’ve simply thought she might be born weak and no vet suggested fish and potato diet to us. I am very interested in your fish and potato diet, so can share your remedy with me?

    • Sally Says:

      Stella, I removed your number for security but perhaps Doris can let everyone know her diet tips. Many dogs suffer from food allergies. There are actually quite a few dog food companies who make a Fish & Potato variety.

  8. Jacky Says:

    Hi Sally,
    Thx, we picked up the “Apple” and back home already :>
    she is bit aggressive, 2 AFCD staff get bite and also my friend.
    Now, at home, seem she claimed down and feel relax, not show her “teeth” all the time.
    She is friendly when give food to her.
    Btw, the 2 doggies u bring to Wanchi ok…..?
    Jacky

    • Jacky Says:

      sry , I miss it,
      “…. a sad end to their short lives”
      poor…rest in peace…

    • Sally Says:

      Thanks for the update on Apple. I hope she settles and loses her fear soon. I took 3 dogs to Wanchai, 2 puppies who had distemper and had to be put to sleep, and the golden retriever who is now on Lamma. He’s not very well and sleeps a lot.

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