Today is Monday Oct 22, 2012. I was at the clinic at 8.30 am and an interesting phone call came in at 8.55 am.
"May I know what this telephone number 6254-3326 belongs to?" the man asked. "I checked the 'internet by typing "SPCA tel no.' and I got your phone number."
"It is Toa Payoh Vets," I said. "It provides veterinary services."
"I just wanted to ask SPCA advice about my barking dog. He disturbs the sleep of my 96-year-old mother-in-law by barking every time somebody walks past the door."
"Is he a male dog and what breed is he?"I asked. "Is he sterilised?"
"He's a Chihuahua cross, male sterilised dog" the man said. "He just keep barking and barking every time somebody passes by the apartment and my mother-in-law can't rest!"
"How come my clinic phone number is displayed when you google SPCA tel no."?" the man told me he was using yahoo.com and that there was another phone number 62875355 shown.
"Dogs are good pet therapy for old people," I said. "The dog keeps the senior citizens company as the adult children usually are away at work. My son's dog barks every time somebody passes by and he still does it if I am not around. I train him not to bark at passers by using a loud commanding voice and he will not do it if I am around. It takes time to train.
So, what was the problem with this owner? The vet must understand the situation. Probably there were neighbours' complaints esp. those who need to work shifts. But an aged mother-in-law may also need peace to rest.
What are his solutions?
1. Re-homing of a 3-year-old cross takes time and is difficult.
2. Giving to the SPCA means euthanasia after a few days if nobody adopts him. "Your wife will be very upset with this," I said as the dog sleeps on the mattress beside the wife. "My wife is unhappy about giving the dog away," the husband confirmed that women are generally kinder to animals than men.
"There is one last-resort solution which involves de-barking surgery," I said. He would talk to his wife.
Barking dogs need early training when they are young. Some older male dogs just can't be trained and they are discarded.