Tues 18th May: More small dogs

I had arranged to meet up with Catherine, our temporary van driver, to pick up a dog from AFCD in Pokfulam before heading up to Tai Po.  The dog I had in mind was an older puppy that I had reserved previously, but when we got to the kennels I spotted a very small, creamy-coloured pom, apparently a new surrender.  I said I’d take him but the staff warned me that his ex-owners had told them that the dog bites, so I should be careful. 

I know about small dogs and their tendency to bite, especially when afraid, so I approached this incredibly cute and tiny guy with care.  He seemed happy to see me and his tail was wagging, but I wasn’t taking any chances and kept my hands away while I sat down on the floor of the kennel.  Impi (his new name) immediately jumped on my lap and started kissing me, so I took a chance and picked him up.  No problem.

Waiting at the office to get Impi rabies vaccinated (he was already microchipped and his age showed as 3 years 11 months), a mother and daughter arrived with a very sad-looking half-bald peke. I suspected it was a surrender and I was right.  Catherine was able to talk to them to get the story, and basically they were surrendering the dog because he smelled bad. Had they taken him to a vet?  No.  They fed him human food and snacks and wondered why he was so unhealthy.  They had had him for many years but had done nothing about the skin until it was so bad they couldn’t stand it any more.  His license was years out of date so he needed a rabies vaccination, but neither mother nor daughter had any idea how to pick him up or handle him. 

In the end, having stood by and watched as they pathetically tried to muzzle their own dog (muzzle was upside down for a start), I told them to pick the peke up and put him on the table.  Even though I was still holding Impi under one arm, I picked up a towel, held it over the peke’s neck so he couldn’t bite, and the vaccination was over in seconds.  How sad that I, a complete stranger to the dog, was able to hold him still while the people who had looked after him (or not looked after him) for so many years simply didn’t have a clue. 

The next stop was SPCA Wanchai where we had left several dogs yesterday, including the two matted schnauzers and Gypsy, the puppy with the bad legs. It was too early to take the schnauzers out, but I had a quick look at them while they were recovering from desexing surgery, and oh, what a transformation.  Instead of solid matted hair and dangling clumps, I saw two very pretty and clean little dogs, totally unrecognisable as the pair from the day before.  The groomers had done a fantastic job, and I can only imagine what it must have felt like for the dogs themselves being free of their hair prison.

Gypsy had had all of her legs X-rayed and there was good and bad news.  The good news is that her back legs and hips seem to be fine, while the bad news is that her front legs definitely aren’t.  If you’re a volunteer, you’ll know Bindy, the large dog with the twisted front leg, and poor Gypsy has the same condition but it’s in both legs.  This means that she’ll have to have major surgery, which may or may not be successful, and it’s best that she has it done while she’s young and still growing.  It will mean taking a slice of bone out of both legs, and since she is totally lame anyway I suppose they can be done at the same time.  It’s a complicated surgery, but now that I know her back legs are fine I’m willing to take the chance. 

While waiting for a foster home (which Gypsy will need to recover from surgery), both front legs will be splinted to give at least temporary support.  Hopefully this will give Gypsy some mobility, as she’s currently only able to stand for a second ot two at a time.  If you can foster a very sweet 6-month old puppy, please email foster@hongkongdogrescue.com and give Gypsy a chance to lead a normal life.

While we drove to Tai Po with peke Bobble (ex-Bobo) on the back seat and Gypsy on the floor, Impi was either happily snuggled on my lap, or standing up looking out of the window.  He tried repeatedly to kiss me (my mouth), something I really don’t like or allow dogs to do, and although I was ready for his teeth to do their work, it didn’t happen.  In fact Impi had clearly decided that I was now his, and nothing would ever part us again. 

Throughout the afternoon, whenever I appeared in the office between checking on various parts of the new fencing and sorting out dogs and beds, Impi demanded to be picked up.  He danced around my legs until I was forced to give in, but in any case I was happy to know that Impi could clearly be a sweet little guy given the right circumstances and person.  Apparently he had been passed from home to home many times, and what he needs now is stability and security.  Obviously with his biting history he can’t be in a home with children but, like my Murphy, with the right person I think Impi will be fine.

We now have a lot of small dogs in need of homes.  We seem to go from having none to being overloaded, and right now the stockroom is full.  We have four toy poodles, several schnauzers and pugs, pekes and now a pom. There’s also an assortment of shih tzus, or shih tzu types, already in foster, so please ask Maria (foster@hongkongdogrescue.com) for details, or Sandra (adoption.admin@hongkongdogrescue.com) if you want to adopt.

We still don’t have phone or internet connection at Tai Po (above email addresses are OK as neither operate from the Tai Po site) and we have just learned that it will take about six months for PCCW to install lines!  So it’s going to be wireless, and I just hope it all works.

We also have a backlog of volunteers waiting for their training session and Mark is now ready to start up again, after having had to re-write a lot of the programme that was applicable at Pokfulam but not at Tai Po.  If any volunteers who are already registered would like to join a refresher session, please do, but registration is necessary.  Apologies for the delay as we know there are a lot of people keen to start walking the dogs (and we’re just as keen to get you all started), but the move has obviously put quite a few things on hold.  Hopefully we’ll be able to clear the backlog quite quickly.


6 Responses to “Tues 18th May: More small dogs”

  1. Madelaine Gomez Says:

    Sally, I have continued walking the dogs since moving to Tai Po but as I suggested to Alice last Sunday, it would be good if we could put up some railing on the outside wall of the house, if feasible, as the gradient of the slope immediately outside the metal door up to the pumping station is very steep. At PFL I regularly walk Cashew and Pringle but since moving to Tai Po, I dare not because both of them are strong and pull very hard so I’m afraid I might fall. Other strong dogs may not get walked by other volunteers as well for the very same reason.

    • Sally Says:

      Hi Madelaine,
      I think an Easy Walker harness might be a simpler solution as I’m not sure that we can put up railings as you suggested. Have you tried using these harnesses? They can work wonders with pulling dogs.

  2. Helen Y Says:

    Perhaps should try walking uphill first, dogs tend to pull in the beginning part of the walk and relax at the latter part when coming downhill to return to the house.

  3. tinajane Says:

    sally can you not use a mobile broadband dongle for intenet? i got one for my friend in hospital, about $800 and then you top up as you go, no contract with the company i found. he leaves hospiol next week so might not need it


  4. Madelaine Gomez Says:

    Hi Sally and Helen,

    Thanks very much for the advice which I have only seen tonight (just spent Saturday/Sunday overnight with the dogs again – yippee – and the dogs are not staying up late till midnight like the weekend of the move). I can now manage Pringle. Cashew’s next.

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