Tuesday, 22 July 2008

More animal shelter updates

Jake left for Kuldeep’s wedding in Ipoh on Friday night, so things were pretty quiet at the Bachelor Officer’s Quarters. Some of my MNS friends informed me that they would be going birding with the bird group on Saturday morning, and later, frogging at FRIM with Najwa and the herpetology group. Looks like I’m missing out on a lot of fun in life. My entire life is consumed by work.

Things at work are not so good, but I’m trying to keep on top of things and see this as an opportunity to improve myself as a lawyer and an individual. I’ve had to bring work home again this weekend, just so things won’t be so crazy when I come back on Monday, so I’ll have to try to fit it all in.

Went to the market on Saturday morning to hand over the recyclable items to the charity truck man and to buy garlic to be cooked in the SPCA animals’ food. I had Keisha and her babies in the car, as well as a signboard I made for Shasta to explain his condition to others. This is what my signboard says:


Hi, I’m Shasta. I’m twitching because I have Cerebellar Hypoplasia. This means that when I was born, the part of my brain known as the cerebellum was not completely mature.

· Cerebellar Hypoplasia is NOT CONTAGIOUS. I cannot infect humans or other animals.
· There is no cure for Cerebellar Hypoplasia. However, I am expected to have a NORMAL LIFESPAN and am otherwise healthy, active and cheerful.
· I do NOT need medication for Cerebellar Hypoplasia. I can eat wet and dry cat food and can use the litter tray just like any normal kitty.
· I do NOT require any SPECIAL CARE or medical treatment.
· I was VACCINATED on 9 July 2008 and responded well to the vaccination.
· My condition CANNOT GET WORSE. I will not grow lame or paralyzed. However, my twitching will not get better either.
· My IMMUNE SYSTEM is otherwise NORMAL. Cerebellar Hypoplasia does not make me weak or sickly.
· I am NOT IN PAIN and am NOT SUFFERING. Please do not suggest that I be put to sleep just because I twitch a little. I can lead a happy, healthy and long life.
· Having Cerebellar Hypoplasia SIMPLY means I may have some coordination problems and will always be a little WOBBLY.
· I have adapted to my condition and am as ACTIVE as my brothers and sisters. I can run, climb and jump almost as well as they can.
· However, I need to live INDOORS in a SAFE ENVIRONMENT because I may not be able to escape from danger as quickly as a normal kitty can.
· I am CUDDLY and AFFECTIONATE and would love to live with you in your home.


I hope someone decides to bring little Shasta home. If I fail to get him rehomed, I would keep him myself, but it would mean that I would not be able to do any more stray rescue work due to lack to funds, resources, space, time and manpower. As it is, I am already skipping meals almost every day to be able to afford high quality pet food, supplements and vitamins and vet bills for all my little ones under Project Second Chance. I’m not sure how many more sacrifices I will be able to make before I burn myself out completely.

Arrived at the shelter and handed the garlic over to Sugen for refrigeration and with strict instructions not to overdose the dogs with garlic. Rose assisted me in getting a large cage cleaned, lined and ready for Keisha and her babies. I put up Shasta’s sign and another informing the visitors of the cats’ ages, sex and vaccination status. Gave them food and water, kissed each of my kitties for luck and kept my fingers crossed. Then Rose and I got the dog-bathing things ready so we could bathe and medicate the shelter dogs.

There was a group of 19 teenage volunteers from the Rotaract Club of Inti College Subang Jaya today, and they were a great help to us. They had spent most of the morning helping Reve and the general workers clean cages and kennels, and they came back after lunch to help Rose and I bathe the dogs. Most of the youngsters have pets at home and were confident about handling dogs, unlike many of the volunteers we have encountered in the past. I got them to help me bathe and tickwash the dogs from Kennels B, B-Extension, Sick Bay and the dogs at large that have the run of the Central Area and Front Area. A few of the youngsters asked pertinent questions related to animal health and behavior, and showed genuine concern over the welfare of strays and shelter animals. I wish we had more volunteers like them.

In the evening, I managed to get 2 kittens adopted after official closing hours, but not Keisha or my own kitties. I hope someone falls in love with my beautiful babies and decides to bring them home. It hurts me to have to give them up for adoption after caring for them for 3 months, but that’s something every animal rescuer has to learn to come to terms with.

The wonderful volunteers from Inti College had already scrubbed and disinfected the Cattery and Maternity Kennels before they left at 1500 hours, so I only had to wash the Reception/Admin areas and the Puppy areas today. There was a mother dog I recognized from a few weeks ago, but she looked lost and lonely without her puppy. I asked Reve if her puppy had been adopted. Reve responded that her puppy had died of distemper. That made me very sad, because the mother dog was a very young one and had relied on her puppy for companionship. They looked so happy playing together. I could understand the little dog’s loss, but could not comfort her or replace her puppy with another. Why is death so cruel and arbitrary? Why do the neediest animals never get to enjoy even a few days of a good life before they leave this world?

I cleaned up the shelter, cleaned myself up, kissed Keisha and her babies goodnight and drove home with two empty pet carriers in the backseat and a hole in my heart the size of a mother cat and her four kittens.

Cleaned up the Bachelor Officers’ Quarters, fed the cats, showered and went back to the parental home. I had a load of ironing to do before I could get started on reviewing the two agreements I brought home, but I fortunately managed to finish the ironing around midnight. Completed reviewing 1 ½ agreements before I dozed off without the benefit of Xanax.

Woke up on Sunday to the sound of Little Big Dog ripping the straps off my crocs outside my bedroom window. I know those sandals are ugly, but they’re not good to eat. Gave Amber a bath and tickwashed both dogs. Helped Mum prepare lunch and cleaned the kitchen. Read the Sunday papers. Cleaned the parental home and polished the furniture. Spring cleaned the display cabinets.

Little Big Dog’s stitches had not come off entirely by themselves, so I had to engage Mum’s help to distract him while I snipped the stitches off. We couldn’t do it when The Twin was at home, because he was convinced I would end up cutting his precious dog. I’ve done it before and know how it’s done. I had Mum occupy Little Big Dog with biscuits so I could flip him onto his side, clip the ends off the threads and pull the threads out. I got it right the first time. Mum and I make such a great team!

Took the dogs out for walks in the evening, tidied the garden, swept the yard and driveway and mopped the living room floor. Left the parental home after dinner. Stopped by the night market for fresh produce before heading back to the Bachelor Officers’ Quarters.

I’ll be going on a company trip to Bangkok on Friday, 25th July. I guess that’s as good a break from monotony as any.

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