Saturday, September 1, 2018

3259. Animal activism in 2008 - NANAS. Part 2

14 Jun 2008

Chapter 1 & 2
Chapter 1
. Did the Animal Activist Fail in Her Mission? 
Chapter 2. A Volunteer with Passion Is worth 40 Merely Interested. .

Chapter 3 - 5. This webpage has Chapters 2 - 5.
Chapter 3
. The Looters Attacked the Pack Leader.
Chapter 4. If Only We Can Turn Back the Clock for the Pack Leader.
Chapter 5. NANAS. Swamp Dogs Saved From Lethal Injections.

Chapter 6. Emily visits Bobby in Jun 2008

Chapters 3 - 5

Chapter 3 - The Looters Attached The Pack Leader.
July 8, 2007. 9 am. At a Singapore Veterinary Surgery

How come a young and fit leader of a pack of swamp dogs would suffer injuries? I had to find out. I e-mailed Esther who was his care-giver, for details. Esther e-mailed me 2 handphone pictures of Bobby's truncated tail.

In the above picture, the veterinarian had shaved off the hair. You could see a sharp vertical sliced up tail of Bobby. Bobby lost around 3/4 of his tail. It was unlikely to be a monitor lizard's bite. Who could be so cruel?

I visited Bobby on the fine morning of July 8, 2007, a Sunday. His tail had been amputated on the previous day.

I e-mailed Esther as to ask her what had happened to Bobby. She and her two children still cared for them after the military deadline to vacate the land by June 24. Tenant 1 had vacated the land and was not residing in the house at night.

I had met Esther on June 14, 2007 when Lynda organised an expedition to get a vet (me) to vaccinate and microchip the swamp dogs.

Esther had contacted Lynda to help save the swamp dogs from lethal injections. If they could be relocated to NANAS (Noah's Ark Natural Animal Sanctuary), they would live to the end of their natural lives. If not, it would be death by lethal injections.

Only the 68-year-old man was living in the premises but he lived further up the track and the pack of dogs of Tenant 1 were not close to him. He had his own 8 dogs.

The law of the concrete jungle applied to vacant properties. Looters who could be burglars and foreign construction workers invade vacant houses and apartments if they know nobody is watching.

Bobby, the leader of the pack of swamp dogs for Tenant 1 tried to guard the house from intruders.

Esther provided the history of what happened and 2 pictures. The story was as follows:

July 9, 2007

<> wrote:

Hi doctor sing,

This is the first picture that I took on Jul 2, 2007 (Monday) when he was sent to the veterinary surgery. I thought his tail was hacked off. What do you think? I hope the picture taken by my handphone is clear.



July 8, 2007(Sun).

Hi Esther

From your mobile phone picture, Bobby's tail could be cut off with a short object.

I phoned the vet on July 6, 2007. He said that Bobby's tail was badly infected and gangrenous. Bobby's tail needed to be amputated. But he would not speculate how Bobby's tail got injured. Please answer the following questions:

1. When was Bobby's tail hacked?

Answer: A few days before 2nd July, 2007 (Monday). The old couple told me when I asked them.

2. When you first saw him? Answer : 1st July (Sunday).

3. When was he sent to the veterinarian?

Answer: 2nd July 2007 night
Bobby would sit there waiting for the old couple. They do not stay there
anymore in the night since the 3rd wk of June.

(The military had acquired the premises and all tenants must vacate by June 24, 2007. Tenant 1 with the patriarch and wife, described as the "old couple" below did not stay in the house at night after the deadline).

Bobby would "jaga" (Malay word for guard) the place. We know because when we went to
see the dogs in the evening time few times, we saw Bobby sitting where Lynda parked her car.

As we walked in and from quite a distance, Bobby would lift up his head to check on us. He would jump with joy when he recognised us. But when he saw strangers, he would charge at them followed by the rest of pack.

4. Was he the top dog in the pack?

Answer: Yes, he is the leader. He is a very loyal dog. Remember the area where Lynda from NANAS parked her car a few metres before the fishing pond on
June 14, 2007 when you vaccinated 21 dogs?

The old man's son-in-law told me that their tools are missing and that someone entered the old man's bedroom recently. I suspect Bobby got injured in his tail trying to protect a stupid empty house. In that area, foreign workers walked around with parangs (machetes) in their hands. They could be looking for durians and other things.

5. All dogs are frightened of Bobby?

Answer: I have not seen any dog fight with him at the old couple's fishing
pond every time we were there.

Vacant houses and apartments in Singapore have been burglarised. So, I was not surprised that Tenant 1's house was ransacked at night. The Looters from the concrete jungle had attacked the Leader of the Pack.

It was kind of Esther to get Bobby treated rather than abandoning him to die from septic wounds. We just hope that Bobby would recover and be in NANAS as soon as possible.
Chapter 4. If Only We Can Turn Back the Clock For the Pack Leader.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Whining and noisy past midnight for 3 nights
If the first-time owner knew how to handle a whining puppy, life would be so much different and better for him to stay in Singapore, but...see story below...

Extracts from a letter to Dr Sing

Bobby was born on August 9th, 2005, the (Singapore) National Day in the side house facing the fishing pond. He was the only survivor out of 7 puppies. The rest of the puppies just disappear within weeks after they were born.

We first saw Bobby on August 21, 2005. That was our first trip to the fishing pond. We adopted Bobby when he was only 6 weeks old as this was the only way to save him. But at my apartment, he often cried and made a lot of noise for 3 nights until our neighbour complained. We had no choice but to return Bobby back to the fishing pond.

By June 2007, the military wanted the land and the fishing pond back by not renewing the tenancy. The old couple's daughter-in-law went to check with an animal shelter about rehoming the dogs. She was told that the dogs especially mongrels would not be put up for adoption. The animal shelter had limited kennel spaces and there were too many of these cross-bred dogs in Singapore. The solution is that animal shelter personnel would come and pick up 6 dogs at time for a few times. The dogs would be put to sleep.

It was by chance that I only know about NANAS (Noah's Ark Natural Animal Sanctuary) on February 24, 2007 at the animal shelter. A Schnauzer Cross entered my apartment. My door was open. It was the first day Chinese New Year and my relatives were around. I asked neighbours upstairs, downstairs and nearby blocks but had no luck finding its owner.

February 24, 2007 was the day I surrendered the dog to the animal shelter. The dog was not friendly to the staff. It also peed and pooped on me as I was carrying it. The animal shelter staff said that this dog would be put to sleep within 24 hours or earlier if it bit any of the staff.

Some members of the public viewing the dogs for adoption there came to check why this Schnauzer Cross was howling away and struggling when the staff tried to scan it to detect a microchip. A couple heard my discussion about rehoming and mentioned NANAS. That was how I managed to find Lynda Goh for help.

(The write spent past 2 years with Bobby at the fishing pond. The family went there to fish. Bobby would rush to welcome them.

After Bobby's tail was hacked and then amputated, the writer took him home. But the Schnauzer Cross barked all the time when Bobby there. Another dog did not bother about Bobby. So, Bobby had to join his pack at NANAS).


As there is no way to turn back the clock for Bobby, I write the following for those who adopt or buy puppies and face noisy ones for the first few nights. Apartment neighbours don't like noise disturbances.
The following bedtime tips may be useful:

1. Ignore the puppy is one way. But that has to be done by all family members. There should be nobody going to the puppy when it whines or barks. It knows that it is rewarded for attention and continues.

2. Crate the puppy and put the crate in your bedroom. Cover the crate with a blanket. Have chew toys inside the crate.

3. Switch on the radio or put a clock next to the puppy at night. Put in an old shirt of yours. Maybe a hot-water bottle in the crate.  
4. As for paragraph 4, but the old shirt is from the breeder's or kennels where you purchased the puppy.

5. Sleep beside the puppy at night for the first few nights.  Some puppies want to go to the toilet past midnight as they don't want to soil their crates. The whining happens after midnight. Pay your child to do this job for the first 3 nights. Buy the puppy over the weekend so that you have the free time to do the job. 

6. Cover up all sides of the crate so that the puppy feels safe. 

7. Continuous positive reinforcement training. Put food treats inside the crate. Say "Go crate". Food treats and praises. Do not expect results in less than 14 days of training.

8. Sleep in your bed as one option for small breeds. 

9. Exercise the puppy till it is tired and just wants to sleep. No afternoon nap. 

10. Put the puppy in a boarding kennel for 3 - 7 nights if the puppy is a noise nuisance and barks loudly in the middle of the night, upsetting neighbours.
In many cases, the puppy quietens on returning home.

Best time to train is when the puppy is young. But you must know why the puppy barks. Below are the common situations:

1. Bark to ask you to wake up past midnight to change the soiled newspapers inside the crate during the first week. If you can't get up, the puppy may continue barking.

Some first-time owners get up and gave the puppy a spanking or shouting. They don't know that they have to change the soiled papers, thinking that the neighbours will be upset at this noise nuisance. Some owners change the papers and the barking stops. Do not play with the puppy. Just change and go to sleep. The tone of bark sounds different.

2. Boredom. The more he barks, the more attention he gets. So he barks more.

3. To let you know that someone or something is unusual.

4. Greeting you.

Train him not to bark when you are at home:

1. Find a situation where your dog will always bark. For example, a person knocks on the door or rings a door bell. Somebody walking past the apartment.

2. When your rushes to the door and bark loudly, go to your dog, grab his collar and give him the command “quiet” in a firm voice.

3. If he stops barking, praise and reward him with food treats and a pat.

4. If he continues barking, gently close his mouth with your hand, wrap your fingers around his muzzle and say “quiet”. Some owners spank their hand at the same time and it can be quite effective.

Praise and reward him with food treats if he stops. Most dogs will be able to learn the “quiet” command with repeated training as described above.

5. Get a friend to knock the door etc. and repeat the training for around 5-10 minutes. Praise and reward are important. Soon the puppy is trained. For older or rescued dogs, it is very difficult in some cases. If you spend time training, chances of success are high.

Chapter 5. Swamp Dogs Saved From Lethal Injection.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A text message to Dr Sing

Hi Doc Sing,

Sorry I could not talk too long cause my side here is too noisy as I am at the old folk's home. I appreciate your news about Bobby. Now I am very happy :-).
From: Esther Seah, 2.43 pm 1 Aug 2007.

I had just phoned Esther to update her on Bobby who had survived a hacking of his tail and was now safely in the collection area of NANAS (Noah Ark's Natural Animal Sanctuary). She wanted to visit Bobby earlier but it was best to get proper appointments.

"Let Bobby settle down and make proper appointments," I advised. "Appointments are needed to visit dogs at NANAS as the people there have so many things to do. In any case, you are no longer the owner of Bobby..."

I could understand Esther's concerns. It was like giving up a child for adoption. Would the child be well looked after? How did the child fit in?

"Too much interference from the previous owner asking questions about the adopted dog would not be in the interest of Bobby and would affect the acceptance of other new cases by a charitable organisation," I said to Esther. "Concerns for the adopted dog may not be well accepted since the organisation is busy with so many things to do." She understood and waited for the right time to visit Bobby.

On that day, I had phoned Mr Raymund Wee, the founder of NANAS asking whether there is a business prospect of Malaysians being interested in a gadget to stop birds from eating the left over food at the hawker centre. He gave his views and then volunteered the information about the swamp dogs now at NANAS.

"There is a dog with a tail amputated and stitched," he said.

"Oh, that's Bobby," I knew this dog well, "Somebody hacked his tail off." Esther took him to the vet to get him treated.

"Did you do the surgery?" Raymund asked.

"No," I told him the name of the vet who did it. "How is he doing?"

"He is all right. Now he is at the collection area."

That was good news and I quickly let Esther know. Bobby was 6 weeks old when Esther had adopted him as his siblings disappeared one by one. In retrospect, the monitor lizards might have devoured them when they wandered around the fishing pond area.

However, Bobby was noisy for 3 days and Esther's neighbours complained about the noise nuisance. In Singapore, the authorities would come and evict Esther from her apartment as keeping an unapproved cross-bred that would grow above a certain approved weight was illegal.

So, Bobby was back at the fishing pond. For the past 2 years, Esther and her family saw Bobby as they went fishing in the Yishun Fish Pond and swamp lands in the north of Singapore.

In June 2007, the whole area was acquired by the military and all swamp dogs would have to be put to sleep by lethal injections or left to look after themselves if they remained in Singapore.
NANAS - 2 pm Sunday. Dogs having a siesta. Toa Payoh Vets
Fortunately Mr Wee accepted them in NANAS where they would live out their natural lives in freedom. Lynda Goh, an Animal Welfare Volunteer and Vice-President of NANAS had completed her mission successfully.

Esther visited Bobby at NANAS on August 11, 2007. Bobby was in good hands.
Chapter 6. Emily visits Bobby in Jun 2008

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Revised: June 14, 2008  ·
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