Thurs 10th June: Siu Wong’s story

Siu Wong as a free boy

I don’t think I’ve ever received so many emails about one particular dog as I have over the past couple of days, and I’m happy to say that this isn’t even a golden retriever but a stray mongrel.  Siu Wong was born and lived near to a public housing estate in Quarry Bay where it seems he built up an army of fans and even had his own blog.  His parents had been caught by the AFCD dog catchers some time ago, but Siu Wong managed to escape every time – until now.  The first email I got was just before he was captured but while AFCD were out and about looking for him.  That message was closely followed by a second saying Siu Wong had been asleep when the men came back and this time he wasn’t able to get away.  I have had pleas from so many people to help this young dog, so to everyone who has asked and sent me photos and video clips, yes, I will do my best.  When I’m next at Pokfulam AFCD I’ll see how he is and whether I think he will adjust to a life in “captivity” after having spent his entire puppyhood as a free-roaming stray. I know he’s been fed by many and isn’t afraid of humans, but I don’t think he ever got close enough for anyone to touch him.  These types of dogs are too smart for that.

Siu Wong isn’t the only dog I’ve been asked to help, in fact the e-mails and calls come in constantly.  Apart from the people who have pets they want to surrender, there are so many puppies and young dogs that have been found on the street or in country parks, and even rubbish bins.  They are all deserving, and it’s so hard to say no but I realistically just can’t take every one of them.  It’s a part of this work that I really find hard, and also heartbreaking.  What happens to all of these puppies?  Where do they end up and how many of them survive, and even if they do live long enough to become adults what sort of life are they living?

One lucky puppy boy will find a new home for sure

One lucky puppy that I got from AFCD went to a foster home today.  He’ll stay there until he finds a permanent home, so for me it’s almost like an adoption.  His friends, the latest litter of five that I took in,  went for their first vaccinations in the afternoon.  They’ll need three in total, and these are absolutely vital.  It amazes me that so many owners  surrender their pets without their dogs even having been vaccinated against common infectious diseases, let alone rabies.  Distemper and parvovirus affect unvaccinated adults just the same as young puppies, and I had the distressing experience of having to have two lovely dogs put to sleep the other day because they came to us unvaccinated and both came down with distemper.  I’m assuming they were infected at Pokfulam because Tai Po was obviously free from any dog disease when we moved in, but when the jaw “chattering” started, I knew there was no choice but to let them go.

I spent some time at my computer this morning trying to find a source of weatherproof dog houses.  It’s frustrating that although there are hundreds of fancy designs, from fake log cabins to straightforward kennels, not one of them that I saw would be what I consider waterproof.  For a start, there is no overhang over the door, so rain would easily blow in.  I know from experience that any doghouse that comes in two parts and clips together leaks at the joints, and there can nothing worse than lying in a pool of water.  Dogs would rather lie out in the rain. The only design that works is the igloo, but they are huge and cumbersome and take up so much space.

I had this problem when I was trying to find dog muzzles that actually work and are durable, and to this day haven’t found any.  Because I walk with multiple dogs, they have to wear muzzles.  It’s important that they are comfortable, and big enough that the dogs can open their mouths, pant and drink.  The plastic basket muzzles look as though they’d do the job, but without my own modifications they can easily be pulled off, and break  when the (crafty) dogs hook them over a branch and pull.  I now know exactly what I need to do to strengthen the muzzles and make them stay on, and any muzzle manufacturer reading this who wants to know how, please contact me.

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23 Responses to “Thurs 10th June: Siu Wong’s story”

  1. Barbara Says:

    How about several large canopies or sails as protection again the rain. Perhaps with the wind it may not be the best solution but try a small area and test it out. If anything the sails and canopy will give protection against the hot sun and provide shade for the dogs. Another idea is to use aluminum and make an enclosure. You will see these on the village houses roof tops for example. Good luck.

    • Sally Says:

      Barbara, we do already have shade using corrugated plastic roofing fixed to a frame, but the sides are open so during heavy rain and wind it only offers partial protection. I’m looking for individual dog houses that are really weatherproof so they can be moved around as needed.

  2. Steve C Says:

    Would it perhaps be possible to get muzzles made to order in Shenzhen somewhere?

    • Sally Says:

      I spent some time with a manufacturer trying to come up with a design but the main problem was that the basket muzzles are made from a mould and that is too expensive unless you are mass producing.

  3. Vincent Wong Says:

    Dear Sally,

    My sincere thanks to you for your kindness given to Siu Wong, which has been our neighbour for some 15 months. The article you written reflects the true live of Siu Wong, a friendly little doggie well-loved by residents in Nan Fung Sun Chuen. I have been watching Siu Wong everyday and took pictures of him from my flat. Siu Wong is shy but quite willing to make friends with other dogs. He has no home burt wandering to and from the trail looking for food. I have been feeding him with Hill’s biscuits (8178) to give him more nutrition while other residents would give him “cha sui”, eggs and rice and sometime chocolates. They don’t know chocolate would kill Siu Wong, so Ib threw the chocolates away every time I found it.

    Siu Wong becomes our neighbour and loved by some residents, of course some won’t like dogs would act the other way. AFCD, after reeceiving complaints, have to act accordingly. Thats why Siu Wong ends up at AFCD’s kennel. What would Siu Wong’s destination would be much rely on you whether you would give him your helping hand. I personally would be too pleased to sponsor Siu Wong’s accomodation & food monthly.

    One thing I have to tell you, I had two doggies, a Zhuzhi, died of cancer last year at its age of 17 and a Pekingnese suffered from heart failure and died recently at its age of ten. I thoght of adopting Siu Wong but the flat I’m staying is too small for Siu Wong and dogs are prohibited in the Estate.

    Though you don’t read Chinese, maybe you would be interested to surf to my website which contains Siu Wong’s recent information at hillside of Nan Fung Sun Chuen. helplessly standing under heavy rain the whole night.

    I really hope Siu Wong wouild end up staying with a good family and enjoy the rest of its life with pride.

    http://hk.myblog.yahoo.com/jw!2NDNtVeFHxn2E5IC4RU9YYmd3TDJU7c-

  4. Betty Says:

    Have you ever thought of putting your design request to one of the design school/university out there?

    Just a thought.

  5. Ramy Says:

    Dog muzzles

    http://www.alibaba.com/product-free/101498768/Genuine_Leather_Dog_Muzzle.html

    • Sally Says:

      These muzzles keep a dog’s mouth closed and are for short term use only. In fact I find it very upsetting seeing dogs being taken for walks wearing this type of muzzle, especially in hot weather, as the dog can’t even open its mouth to pant.

  6. Cheryl Says:

    hey, how about the colorful little houses for children?
    those plastic one?
    those in the kindergarten

  7. Davina Says:

    Are these similar to what you have in mind?

    http://www.mightypets.com/product.asp?3=2182

  8. Angela Says:

    Great to hear that Siu Wong already found home! All the best to him.

    Regarding the waterproof dog house, if you cannot find a good solution, how about drilling a few holes at the bottom of the two piece clip type so at least water blown in will be drained and won’t form a pool inside? just a thought.

    • Sally Says:

      The holes in the bottom are a good idea and some of the dog houses come with drain holes. I wonder why they don’t all have them.

  9. Helen Yeung Says:

    I cheat by using gentle leash around the nozzle, it allows them to pant while walking and can also drink water without difficulty and non-dog owner would still think that I have put a nozzle on my big mongrel. With some enhancement on the gentle leash concept, perhaps something can be worked out and no mould (I know very expensive) would be needed, just nylon straps.

  10. Susanna Says:

    Hi Sally,

    Are the metal wire cage muzzles too expensive?
    http://www.dog-muzzle-store.com/
    I use those with good success – but I do not have the number of dogs that you do.

    Here is a all weather dog house with self-closing door
    http://www.doghouses.com/dog-houses/plastic-dog-houses/dogpalacedoghouse.cfm#tabs – of course you have to be rich to afford one:)

    Where I live – it is a law that all dogs living outside more than 12 hours per day have a fully enclosed dog house with baffle over the door to keep out the elements. Generally owners that keep the dog(s) outside install thick plastic flaps on the outside of the door (sometimes two – one on the inside and one on the outside) to keep out the wind/rain, etc similar to this
    http://www.doghouses.com/accessories/dog-house-doors/flapdogdoor.cfm

    Maybe just purchasing some of the wood dog houses with slanted roofs and installing your own plastic flaps would work? Also straw as bedding which absorbs moisture while maintaining the heat during the winter months.

    • Sally Says:

      Thanks Susanna, that’s very helpful and yes, the wire muzzles are just the job. They’re expensive but must be worth it in the long run as the plastic ones needs to be replaced frequently. The enclosed dog house might be too hot for Hong Kong but the plastic flaps would be perfect. Re straw, that’s interesting, but I’m not sure if you can even get it. We don’t have farm animals in HK and even the racehorses sleep on woodchip or shredded newspaper I think. Does anyone know?

  11. Helen Yeung Says:

    My uncle said the stables are lined with recycled paper nugget kind of bedding, not straw for sure.

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