Fri 23rd April: Just one more week

It’s still hard to comprehend that we only have one more week left at Pokfulam.  Thinking back to the very early days when we first moved in, the site was just being lent to us by the company who ran a pet food business on the other side of the road, in the space that was later occupied by SPCA.  At that time we didn’t have access to any of the building that later became our office and volunteer rooms, and even the toilet wasn’t accessible.  (We had to be creative).  Many of the kennel spaces were taken up as storage space by the pet food company, and we only had a few made available to us.  The volunteers did everything, from feeding and walking to dogs to cleaning the kennels.

When the company left and we took over the lease ourselves, what joy!  We had a toilet we could use for a start, and office space.  Bit by bit we cleared out all the stuff left behind by the previous occupants and took over – and filled – every kennel space.  The job of cleaning the kennels became too much for the volunteers to handle and we employed two kennel cleaners (to this day their wages are kindly sponsored).

The number of dogs began to increase, and we had very serious discussions about whether or not we should consider going over the thirty mark, which then rose to sixty and – oh well, you know the rest.

Now here we are, a very different organisaton from the one that first moved in (although Ellis and the three “Stripeys” are still with us from those early days) and having to leave is very hard.  I have to accept that not only did we always know that the site was temporary and we have been there longer than we ever anticipated, but that we have really outgrown the space.  The dogs never complain, of course, but we all know that the area isn’t big enough for all of them.  So while this has been a very difficult and stressful time, I’m looking forward to moving to a place that has space for the dogs to live comfortably, and to run and play.  We haven’t found that perfect site yet, and the Tai Po haven is only temporary, so the search continues.

Our story is at least being heard, and media coverage has been getting the word out to more and more people. We should be going international soon!

I had two interviews today, one on RTHK (radio) and the other with Tatler magazine.  Once that was over, a group of us went to Tai Po to (once again) try to figure out how we were going to convert a house and large garden into a home for four-legged waifs, and in only one week.  The outside space is huge and I can’t wait for the dogs to see it.  They’ll be wide-eyed with excitement, I bet.  But the house, although much bigger than most homes in Hong Kong, isn’t huge and we have to take up space for the office and other human needs.  There are really only two rooms that the dogs will have as their sleeping areas, and they will have to all rub along together, the same way that my Lamma dogs do.  I think that bunk beds will be needed.

This weekend will be our last at Pokfulam, and the final chance for adopters and fosters to come and choose a dog (although we’ll be open for adoptions until the very last minute, even as the dogs are climbing into cars, vans and coaches to leave for Tai Po).  It’s hard to believe.  We need volunteers this coming week to help us pack and move as much as we can before the final Big Move over the weekend of 1st and 2nd of May, and of course it’s all hands on deck for that event.  Bring cameras!

The evening at Coyote in Wanchai (next Wednesday 28th)  has now become our farewell party, and I hope to see hundreds of you there to raise a glass or two to our future and, more importantly, the dogs.  There may be a tear or two shed, but hopefully they’ll be tears of happiness for what’s to come.

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