Tues 22nd June: Gypsy the heart melter

Gypsy went back for another check up today, and while we were sitting in the waiting room at SPCA there wasn’t a single person who didn’t stop to say hello to her.  This girl knows how to enchant and entertain, and she has a constant cheeky smile on her face that’s impossible to resist.  I felt like a proud mother as the admirers coo-ed and aaah-ed over her.  She sits totally upright, looking around to see what’s going on, and then – just like the two-legged dog, Faith – she stands up on her back legs and walks/hops over to whatever has attracted her, usually someone who is expected to pet and admire her.

I have to admit that thoughts of Oprah flashed through my mind, but I was brought back to earth when the vet told me that it was very important that Gypsy started to use her front legs or the muscles wouldn’t develop and she would never be able to walk properly.  With the bandages off, we could see that the wounds had healed over nicely and now it’s up to Gypsy to start walking on all four legs.  To help, Dr Tony strapped some splints to her wrists (which are still floppy and will need further surgery) and showed me how to manually exercise the elbow joints (although it won’t be me doing it as Gypsy is in a foster home).

At the time that it was becoming clear that something was very wrong with Gypsy’s legs, I had to make a decision as to whether I should let her go (bearing in mind that she may never be able to walk properly), or go ahead with the complicated surgery.  There was, and still is, no guarantee that it will be successful and only time will tell, but after yesterday there was absolutely no question in my mind that I made the right choice.  Whatever happens, Gypsy is a very special dog, and having seen her walking around on her two back legs I know that nothing will stand in her way even if she never walks in the normal way.  Whoever finally ends up adopting Gypsy will be a very lucky family.  Click here to see a video of Gypsy walking/hopping on the HKDR YouTube channel.

There is no such thing as too old or too lame or too anything when it comes to saving a dog’s life.  As long as an animal isn’t suffering and has some quality of life, then it’s worth fighting for.  There is nothing worse than seeing dogs that have been surrendered to AFCD because they are old.  Being left in such a heartless place to be killed by strangers is just not acceptable, and anyway in most cases these senior dogs go on to enjoy many years of life before it’s their time to leave.  Even if taking an old dog from AFCD means having it gently and caringly euthanised, then it’s better than leaving it in fear and misery.

One dog that was surrendered (with the usual pack of lies, this time “having a baby”), was Hershey, a ten year old golden retriever, who turned out to be really very sick.  Soon after arriving at Tai Po he had to be sent to hospital where he spent several days on a drip.  I posted his details up on Facebook hoping for a foster  for him, and sure enough he was quickly offered a place in a lovely home.  Now he’s doing so well, gaining weight and energy, and even getting a bit “cheeky”.

Hershey, still skinny, but enjoying his new life very much

Of course all of these special cases require expensive veterinary treatment and care, and that is one of the ways in which donations are used.  In Gypsy’s case I don’t even know what the final cost of all the surgery will be, but I will be starting a Gypsy Fund to help cover the charges.

We had a visit from students of the Ho Ming Wah Bishop Hall Secondary School today, and puppies Tai Tai and Po Po helped Mark Curran with his talk.  These two puppies were our very first Tai Po additions, and they are great ambassadors.

"Now watch me, this is how I 'sit'"

Prototype shelter, first edition

One of the prototype shelters was finished yesterday and I posted a photo on our HKDR Facebook page (if you haven’t joined yet this is where the latest, up to date information first appears).  I was surprised – and pleased – at the interest and feedback.  I always think of HKDR as being a community project as it’s almost entirely run by volunteers, and getting everyone involved is important.  Now we’re starting to see more and more Tai Po residents signing up as volunteers, and the numbers of dogwalkers increasing after a big drop-off following our move from Pokfulam.   I’m not at Tai Po as often as I used to be at Pokfulam, or as much as I’d like to be, but it’s lovely to see the blue HKDR T-shirts dotted about the grounds (and yes, I know we’re out of stock but more will be arriving any day).  Please join us if you can (and you are over 14 years old).


14 Responses to “Tues 22nd June: Gypsy the heart melter”

  1. Helen Y Says:

    Couldn’t be happier to see Hershey under the loving care of Gerard (see that powerful loving pat). I totally agree with Sally on how quality of life means for senior/sick dog, and the way people abandon their seniors at AFCD to be killed by strangers and in fear is totally sinful and must be condemned.

  2. Kore Fung Says:

    Yes, I agree with Sally. We adopted a 15 years old dog after her homeless owner died in the street 2 years ago. Although she is still shy and refuses to take a walk with us, She is living happily with a big backyard, delicious meals, a comfortable bed with air-con in the summer and heat in the winter. No more dealing with the hardship from living in the street. We intend to keep her happy and healthy for as long or as short as she lives.

    We need to educate the public that having a pet is a life long commitment. I mean the pet’s life.

  3. Manuela Ribeiro Says:

    Gipsy is really adorable and seeing her walking in her back legs brought tears to my eyes. Courage little one and have perseverance, better days will come.

  4. DL Says:

    who’s that dog modeling the prototype shelter? how lovely and cute!

  5. Steve C Says:

    It is amazing how happy and energetic Gypsy looks in the Youtube clip.

  6. bettyc Says:

    Dear Kore Fung, a very touching story. Your dog is so blessed to have u in her elderly stage of life. What is her name ?

    • Kore Fung Says:

      Her name is Suzie. She gives me joy when I see her happy. So, for selfish reason… I try to make her happy. Thanks for asking her name.

  7. Kore Fung Says:


    Listed above is the link which you would find a dog in the process for hydrotherapy. This dog also has paws problem. Best Friends’ dogs often benefit from the hydrotherapy after the paw surgery. I don’t know how it is possible for Gypsy to have the hydrotherapy but HKDR do have a swimming pool.

    • Sally Says:

      I agree that swimming would be a great way of exercising Gypsy’s legs. Unfortunately the human pool at Tai Po isn’t in use and the dog pool is too small for swimming.

  8. Susanna Says:

    Great shelter solution!

    On the topic of not understanding/living up to a lifetime commitment made to a pet – I thought this was a great video that says it all. It is called the “Apology” video. Hopefully the youtube link works.

  9. Helen Y Says:

    This is not apology, this is pure excuses of justifying their own wrongs.

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