Monday, 14 April 2008

Project Second Chance

Saturday, 12th April 2008 - Sunday, 13th April 2008: Project Second Chance

Since the General Elections results were announced on 9th March, there has been a tangible power shift in many institutions that have previously benefitted from their 'connections' with people with political leverage. My firm has been able to weather the storm so far but we must step up our marketing efforts and productivity levels to remain competitive. Being in the legal profession is much like being Alice in Wonderland. Once you stop running, you don't end up standing still. You fall backwards.

Outside of work, the changes we have been experiencing are thus far highly positive ones. Non-governmental organisations and environmental groups are given due consideration by the authorities and there now seems to be greater tolerance for dissent and fair comment. My weeknights and weekends have not changed much, and I am still much occupied with animal care duties and volunteer commitments.

Woke up early on Saturday, 12th April, to go to the wet market. I now buy garlic and pumpkin to be cooked with the SPCA shelter animals' food to fortify their immune and digestive systems and to prevent tick, worm and flea infestation. I stopped by to ask the Charity Van man to come to my house later to pick up the couch Jake no longer needs, plus a few other bulky items. Weeded the lawn and gave Chloe, Daisy and Pixie their monthly baths. It took all three of us -- Jake, Jess and me -- to remove Pix from the bathroom window ledge. Who would have imagined that such a chunky cat could jump so high?

Made a stopover at the National Blood Bank to donate blood, as it has been over 3 months since my last donation. My haemoglobin count this week is 14.8, which is excellent for someone whose main source of iron is dried apricots and cranberries. It took me only 3 minutes and 11 seconds to fill up the bag. The nurses there are remarkably efficient and friendly, which is more than I can say for other members of the civil service. I was given nasi lemak, a slice of cake, an apple and coffee at the cafeteria, together with the customary iron and folic acid pills and yet another Blood Donor keychain. I now have a box full of Blood Donor pins and keychains that I don't do anything with.

Was at the SPCA by noon. Handed the garlic and pumpkin over to Mazni, who is in charge of food preparation. Rose and I started bathing and tick-washing the kennel dogs with the efficiency of a factory conveyor belt. I took a number of the dogs out for walks later to help them dry off faster.

I had just finished bathing another two dogs when a lady and her husband came in with a cage bearing a semi-Persian cat with 6 kittens. The cat and her offspring had been abandoned by their former owners/care providers, who had moved away and left her behind. The neighbours fed the cat for 2 weeks in the hope that the owners would return for her. They didn't, and so the unfortunate cat was captured and brought to the SPCA.

The vets were keen to save the cat and her babies but acknowledged that it would take months before the cat could be spayed and her kittens vaccinated and rehomed, and our animal shelter is often not the healthiest of environments. I offered to take her and her babies home and care for them until they could be safely innoculated and neutered. Dr. Pushpa and Dr. Lim were initially concerned that I may have too much on my plate already, but Reve had full confidence in my abilities and I made preparations to bring my cat family home.

It started to rain in the evening, but Reve, Linda and I locked up the gates and let the dogs out to play within the shelter compound anyway. I soaped, scrubbed and disinfected the Cattery, Maternity Kennel, adult dog kennels, Hospital, Reception/Admin area and Central Area. I cleaned the shelter, took out the trash and put away the donated newspapers before having a wash and driving on home with my 7 new cats.

Sometime during the drive home, I bestowed names on my new cats: the mother's name would be Halle, while her babies are Heath, Heidi, Henry, Hayden, Heather and Harriet. Bought a big new cage to accommodate the kitties. I am convinced by now that part of my life's work is to help and heal animals that would otherwise be euthanised, overlooked or abandoned. The priorities of Project Second Chance are to render medical treatment, rehabilitate, vaccinate, neuter and release or rehome the neediest of stray or shelter animals, namely:
1. Pregnant, injured, nursing, sick or vulnerable shelter animals that would otherwise have to be euthanised;
2. Pregnant, injured, nursing, sick or vulnerable stray animals that would otherwise not survive on the streets; and
3. Stray animals, healthy or otherwise, that would otherwise procreate and be treated as an environmental nuisance.

As time passes, my role as a protector of those without suffrage must evolve as well. It is no longer sufficient for me to care for my own companion animals, volunteer at the animal shelter for a mere 6 hours every weekend and write Letters to the Editor. Project Second Chance is my personal initiative to help at least 50 animals each year, to reduce the burden on our overcrowded animal shelters.

Once my animal charges were fed, groomed and cleaned up after, I made my way back to the parental home. Spent Sunday with Amber and the parents, mostly cleaning the house and yard and tending to Amber's needs before going back to the Bachelor Officers' Quarters at night.

Good Work, Commando!

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