This morning, there was what appeared to be an abandon dog at the bus stop. He looked like a Maltese, skinny, poor coat, hair dropped from its tail and quite anxious about where his owner was. When I patted him, I suspect he has scabbies from his rough skin. One kid asked that I call SPCA. I asked Mike if we should take it home and as i had expected, he said no. I tried to entice it to follow me and although he was keen, he was also reluctant to leave the bus stop, just in case his owner may return.
I’m like most Singaporeans in that sense. I’m not one to rescue animals and would rather be a by stander waiting for others to take action. Sadly, the kids at the bus-stop are also like me. They were quite nonchalant about it too. I’m rather ashamed of myself, and the only excuse I can give is that he is probably lost, or that someone else may be able to provide him with a home. I know if I were to send him to SPCA, he’d most probably to put down…and I really don’t want a pet.
Many years back, I found some rabbits abandoned at Faberhills Park. I was very sure they were abandoned as the rabbits could not have found their way to the park themselves. So, I took a carton and brought the rabbits all the way to SPCA at Mt Vernon. What happened there was most unpleasant. I was made to feel like it was I who had abandoned the rabbits. I was told they had scabbies and would most definitely be put down. Could I contribute to that? Instead of feeling heroic, I left SPCA feeling like a villian.
I’ve had many dogs, all of whom were adopted. The first was Lucky, a mongrel (or as our Aussie friends call- abitzer…you know, a bit of this and a bit of that) whom we adopted from the Malaysian Railway in 1982. He was our first dog and like all first timers, we were at a loss and probably did not take very good care of him. He died at twelve years old after sustaining a wound bitten by a rottweiler from the opposite neighbour. At that same time, we had a second dog, Gigi, a doberman-spaniel mix. She was only a few weeks old on arrival. She and Lucky had 8 puppies which we gave all away. She died 6 months after the birth from distemper, a canine disease. That’s when we found out that dogs need annual immunisation. I suffered from undiagnosed depression after that, prompting the counsellor from NUS to send me to a psychiatrist for treatment (Suicide at NUS were very common then).
Around 1985, mom had a friend who was emigrating and needed a temporary home for their silky terrier, Scott. Scott stayed with us three months of a year whenever his owner, now the friend’s mother, visited USA. We had to put him to sleep in 1999, at a ripe old age for a small pedigree, as he was suffering from all the old dog illness like rhumatism, blindness, bad skin, etc. The vet had recommended it and with the consent of Scott’s owner, we bid him goodbye.
After Gigi’s death, I adopted another dog to replace it in 1988, a long-haired dachshund with a congenital deformed hind leg. She had been rescued from a shipyard and was living at Raffles Hotel with her expat saviour. He had named her Scrampy and she had been sterilized, which saved us alot of money and trouble. We estimated her age to be about eight when she came. She too lived till a ripe old age of 18 and was put to sleep when the vet diagnose her with cancer tumor.
The last dog was a Beagle Dino which I had adopted from Noel’s Ark at Pasir Ris in 1997. He was three when he came and I think he lived with us for three years and had to be put down as he was suffering from some illness. I remember the vet, Dr Tan Hua Luck telling me that the dogs from Noel’s Ark had often been brought to him in poor condition and advised us against adopting from there in future. My brother and his then girlfriend had the daunting task of bringing him for the last vet visit. His girlfriend was weeping upon their return and Min told me not to get anymore dogs. It was too traumatic everytime we put one to sleep.
And so, even though my friend J begged me to take in her dog, a sharpei-labrador mix, i refused. As I write this, Ivan had just told me over breakfast that the maltese was also at the bus stop two days ago. Ivan had also just sms-ed me that the dog is no longer at the bus stop now. I guess he really does have an owner after all.
Lucky and Scrampy 1985