When his mother tells him that dogs are too loud and snakes are too scary, the boy does not know what kind of pet to choose until he saw a plump, fuzzy guinea pig which he gave the name Theodore. Once a shy pig who likes to hide in his little cave, Theodore slowly opens up to his owner and it wasn't long until the pair became best friends. As a new owner, the boy learns how to care for his cavy and discovers that his pet has a really big appetite! It was all rainbows and butterflies until one day, Theodore goes missing. Where could this furry animal have gone to?
Rating: 3.5 paws up!
Whether you have a guinea pig or not, this book is useful as a guide in caring for pets. Although the book is targeted at little children, adult pet owners can also find a variety of useful topics from feeding and playing, to washing and cleaning bowls and water bottles. What makes it more interesting is that the story is told in poetry - short, funny and entertaining.
This book is available for loan at your nearest library! Click ;here to check for availability.
It shouldn't surprise you by now that love can break boundaries - even in the animal kingdom! In today's Beat the Monday Blues, Rusty the cat shows all of us how crazily in love he is with Pipsqueak, a gorgeous silver agouti-coloured guinea pig who doesn't appear fazed at all being fawned all over by a big (domestic) cat.
A fortnight has gone by in a blink of an eye. In our new "Friends of the Animals" post, our colleague Siow Mei Hui from the Finance Division, shares how she keeps her chinchillas happy and winking!
First-time visitors to my home always ask the same questions when they see my pets: "What are those? Are they rabbits? Hamsters?"
My pets are actually chinchillas or 'chins' for short.
Ever since I was in primary school, I've always wanted to keep a pet. When I started work, I initially wanted to keep a pet dog. However, my parents were against the idea as they doubted I would be able to care for the dog. After researching on pets that would fit my lifestyle, I decided that a chinchilla would fit the bill. Chinchillas are suited to living indoors and they are nocturnal creatures, which means they would be quiet during the day when I am working and active at night when I am back home.
Once the idea of getting a chin took root, I began doing more research on keeping a chin: what environments are best for a chin, what kind of diet and grooming they need, what are their potential health issues, where can I get them, etc.
The ideal environment for chins in Singapore is actually in an air-con room. Chinchillas have very thick fur and not able to sweat. Hence. they can get, and die from, heatstroke easily. I keep my chins in an acrylic cage in an air-conroom.
Chins need chew blocks to wear down their teeth.
To keep their lush coats clean and healthy, I give my chins a dust bath once every week. During their baths, the chins will roll in dust created especially for chins so that the dust will penetrate their coat down to the skin and absorb oil from the fur. Unfortunately, it is also normal for chins to shake after a dust bath, so it is inevitable that the dust will be everywhere. As chinchillas belong to the rodent family, they have teeth that would grow continuously over their whole life span. So it is important to provide them with wooden toys or chew blocks for them to gnaw and chew, and keep their teeth trim and in good condition. I usually give them "apple sticks" or wooden balls made of apple figs and they finish it within a day.
As chins were not commonly kept as pets in Singapore 10 years ago, it was not easy for me to adopt a chin. In the end, I got my first chin from a pet shop. Choosing my first chin was not easy. I had to find one with a temperament that I'm comfortable with. I managed to find a gentleman in Chinchin - my first chin.
Now, I have 4 chins. Let me introduce them...
My first chin, Chinchin, will be 11 years old come Dec 2012. He's still as active as ever. Just when I thought he'll stay put, he will try to jump out of his cage! The only sign of his age is the color of his fur and whiskers. The fur on his sides and whiskers are turning white where they used to be black. Fortunately, touch wood, he's by far the healthiest of my chins and he has never been to a vet.
I was told that it's not easy for Chinchillas to reproduce. So when I thought Chinchin was lonely, I got him a mate, Twinkle. However, they have their first litter of two baby boys after half a year! The sad news was one did not make it (it was stillborn ): ) It was a stressful time for both Twinkle and me. The baby chin who made it was ZaiZai - He's just turned nine this Jan 2012.
Baby ZaiZai and Mummy Twinkle
How time flies! ZaiZai was so tiny when he's just a few weeks old. The baby chin in the pics below, that's him! Unfortunately his mummy (Twinkle) succumbed to flu and had gone to Raisin Land when ZaiZai was around 2 years old.
Now all grown up, ZaiZai takes after his mum and likes to wink. But don't be fooled by this. He can be a handful. A few years back, he chewed through one of the wire tied to the platform of his cage and cut his tail from the sharp edge of the wire. To save his life, the affected portion of his tail had to be amputated. He had to visit the vet daily and took medicine twice a day. It took close to 2 months for him to recover. I was so worried then. But he's now as active as ever, and his tail is as bushy as a normal chin.
Among all my 4 chins, ZaiZai is the vainest. Whenever there're visitors at my house, he will walk innocently to the door of his cage and pose with one hand at the door. Sometimes, he would tilt his head and look at you so sweetly as though listening attentively to your praises for him. Other times, he would pick up his food and eat in his cute way when normally he would be in slumber land.
My third chin is NiuNiu who is now also 9 years old. She's the most timid of the lot and does not like attention. She's also the cleanest of them all. Together, ZaiZai and NiuNiu had Leo, who's the most mischievous and the busybody of the group.
Leo, the youngest of my chin is 6 years old. As Leo is the younger male chin, he is more dominant than ZaiZai. The telltale sign is the length of the whiskers. Poor ZaiZai has short whiskers all because Leo keeps grooming him. When ZaiZai and Leo huddle together, it's usually Leo who's using ZaiZai as a pillow. Pity I can't catch them in photo cos they are so alert even while sleeping.
Leo and ZaiZai!
Last year, Leo must have angered ZaiZai as they got into a fight. Leo lost the fight and his right eye suffered a scratch which became infected. The vet and I were both worried that Leo might lose his eye. He was also stressed out and lost half his weight within a few days. After we applied medical gel on his injured eye and fed him medicine daily for 2 weeks, he managed to pull through without any scar on his eye. Now, both are good buddies again.
They have been a bundle of joy to me. It takes time, love and commitment (TLC) to care for these little ones and it's worth it (:
Unlike hamsters and rabbits, guinea pigs are less commonly kept as pets in Singapore. Very much like their small animal friends though, guinea pigs are very cute and can make great pets! If larger pets are not your thing, you might want to consider keeping a guinea pig! *As with any pet, serious consideration is essential before you commit to one. Click here to see if you're ready for a pet!
Let us share with you what you have to do in order to provide proper accommodation for your guinea pigs before you welcome them into your family.
1) Housing: When choosing a proper housing, select one which has an open top and a solid-bottom flooring so that their tiny legs will not fall through the wire-mesh and potentially hurt themselves. Make sure that they have enough room to exercise, eat and sleep. A suitable size would be about one metre in length and 60cm in width for one cavy/guinea pig. Some owners also prefer housing their guinea pigs in Cubes and Coroplast (C&C) cages (see image below). They are easy to make and it's inexpensive too! Search the web for a step-by-step guide in making your own C&C cage!
~ home sweet home - a C&C (cube & coroplast) guinea pig home ~
2) Bedding: Choose suitable bedding that is comfortable and can absorb wet waste easily such as those made from processed paper products. You could also use aspen or timothy hay. Do not use pine or cedar bedding as they contain oils that may be fatal to your pet when inhaled or digested accidentally by your guinea pig. Make sure you change their bedding daily or it will smell and that is not a healthy environment for your guinea pigs to live in.
3) Environment: Being social animals, your guinea pig/cavy would prefer to live in a pair or build a small community! To prevent unwanted litters, remember to separate the male and female guinea pigs by housing them in separate housing. It is important to keep the cages indoors away from extreme temperatures. Do also get them a little cave or house for privacy.
Look out for more Pet Care Tip coming to you next week!
Last Sunday, AVA was very honoured to be invited to participate in the Mountbatten Pets Carnival held at Katong Park. We were so glad that all dog owners came equipped with leashes and poo bags (very important!) for their little poochie friends.
Here are some photos that we took while we were at the carnival:
Our theme for this year: Animals & Our Community. You get to learn more information from our display panels!
Goodies from us!
While most of the pets trotted around on all fours, we spotted the lucky few that had their own strollers!
Can you believe that this pretty princess is 18 years old?
"Look mummy, I want that one!"
"Let's see...what else is there which I don't already have?"
What a cutie (:
When you open two pictures which are the same, you have got yourself a match!
Even doggy over here is curious to know what we have at our booth!
None of the visitors to our booth walked home empty handed! We had stickers, 3D paper models, decals and post-it pads all up for grabs!
The hot weather did not stop these pet owners from bringing their animal friends down. (:
Pet owners and their pets at the carnival
There were also stage activities such as talks and quizzes conducted by the organising committee. There was also the "My Pet Got Talent" contest where the spotlight was on talented pets!
We sure hoped everybody had fun that day. We were glad to be part of this great event and hope to meet more like-minded animals lovers in the future!
An exciting event is happening this Sunday, 22nd July 2012! Come on down to Katong Park from 2pm to 6pm for the Mountbatten Pets Carnival 2012!
Let's go! G.O. GO!
Lots of things happening!
There will be booths from the various Animal Welfare Groups so you can find out more about them (:
AVA will also be there to share with you everything you need to know about being a responsible pet owner. Test your memory power when you play our Mix and Match game! You get to bring home some of our goodies (our stickers, adorable 3D paper models, post-it pads and much, much more!) too when you join us in our activities! Oh, make sure you say hi to us when you're there!
Meet the winners of the "Most Look-Alike Pet Owners" and "Cutest Pet" contests as they will be there to receive their prizes.
If you think you have an extraordinary talented pet, it is still not too late to try out for the "My Pet Got Talent" contest! Here's how you can join:
A lot of us grew up watching cartoons such as Bugs Bunny and we all know what his favourite food is - carrots. A common misconception is that carrots are/is the only type of food they eat.
Do you know that they need more than just vegetables? In fact, you can offer them treats too (just not the same ones that you give to your dog)!
Here's a look at what they should have in their diet:
1) Hay - Feed your rabbits fresh hay such as Alfalfa Hay, Timothy Hay and Oat Hay. They are rich in nutrition and contains at least 10 different vitamins! Hay also contains lots of fibre so it is good for digestion.
2) Pellets - They are made from hay and comes in a palatable form which is easy to feed, has a longer shelf life (compared to dog or cat food) and affordable. When choosing a quality pellet, look for one that is plain-no colored pieces, crunchy puffs, seeds or nuts in it. Look for higher fiber and lower protein. You may wish to speak to your vet for recommendations on a suitable brand. Remember to ration them wisely or else your rabbit would not have room for fresh hay.
3) Vegetables - Like us, rabbits need to have fresh green leafy veggies in their meals.
Here's a tip, prepare an assortment of 3 to 4 types of vegetables you see from the list below.
Kang Kong (!)
Kai Lan (!)
Pea Pods (the flat edible kind) *
Romaine Lettuce (no iceberg or light coloured leaf) *
Siao Pek Chye
Spinach (!) *
Items with an (*) indicate that they contain Vitamin A and you need to include it into your rabbits' meals at least once a day.
Items with (!) indicate that you give it to them in moderation as they are high in either oxalates or goitrogens and may be toxic in accumulated quantities over a period of time.
For rabbits that do not drink a lot of water, make sure the veggies are dripping wet (after you have chopped and washed them) so that the rabbits can take in the water at the same time. Also make sure that you feed them vegetables first or else they will be choosy and wait for you to serve the pellets instead.
Give carrots to your rabbits only once or twice a week as they are very sweet.
Like dogs and cats, you can also offer treats to your rabbits to reward them for good behaviour. Like all sweet things, you can feed them to your rabbits in moderation.
Here's a list of fruits you can give to your rabbits as treats!
Apple (remove stem and seeds)
Orange (including peel)
We hope today's tips will help you understand better about the diet of our rabbit friends. Look out for more Pet Care Tips coming to you next week! (:
If you happen to be around the area, don't forget to drop by Bishan Public Library for our RPO exhibition! The exhibition is currently happening from the 16th to 29th July 2012 from 10am to 9pm daily!
You get to learn a lot of useful information simply by sliding, pulling, pushing or spinning certain parts of the displays. Cool stuff!
Look at our beautifully decorated table! We have put some of our booklets as well as stickers and bookmarks (so there's no reason for you to make those puppy ears at the corner of your books!) and of course, our 4 RPO HEROES!
Don't forget to make a date with us this Saturday, 21st July 2012 at 2pm as we have students from Ngee Ann Polytechnic's MOPpets Club who will be putting up a puppet show for the little ones! The story they will be sharing is called "Caring for Smudge the Dog and Snowy the Cat". We also have goody packs* to be given away to every child who attends the puppet show. *Whilst stocks last!
Here's a sneak peek at the characters:
We hope to see you there this Saturday for an afternoon of fun and excitement!
Time flies! It's time for our fortnightly blog series, "Friends of the Animals" again! This blog theme features a collection of blogposts relating animal lovers' experiences with their pets or their passion for animals - expect more contributors from AVA staff and animal lovers from the various animal welfare groups coming up!
Today, we have the newly-appointed Vice-President of Cat Welfare Society (CWS), Ms Michelle Siau sharing with us how she became a friend of the animals in both big and small ways. Starting out as a solo feeder, she quickly saw a niche that she could fill in CWS and boy, are the cats and volunteers rewarded with her selflessness and devotion!
I am Michelle, an avid animal lover who has been actively involved with the feeding, sterilizing, rescuing and rehoming of community and house cats since 2004. Before joining Cat Welfare Society (CWS) as a volunteer in 2009, I was already active in rescuing cats that were in danger of being rounded up by Town Councils. I am currently the society's Vice-President.
Because of the anti-cat sentiments back then, the volume of cats that needed to be saved was very high and many rescuers, including myself, had to rent shelter space to house them while we tried to rehome as many as we can.
Cat victim of an abused case
Some of the cats rescued
I joined the Cat Welfare Society when I realized that I could do more for the cats than on my own. My own resources, along with other caregivers, would have been better used in sterilisation to help reduce the population instead of renting shelter space. There had to be a more sustainable way save cats.
With this understanding, I decided to devote my time and resources to engaging with Town Councils to educate them about sustainable and humane cat management. By connecting with as many caregivers as I can, I became the contact point for cat-related matters for town councils, namely Choa Chu Kang, West Coast and Jurong. I have also started to provide guidance to caregivers in other areas such as Sembawang-Nee Soon (Marsiling).
With the CWS volunteers
Mediation is not an easy task but it is necessary as a means to engage with Town Council officers and with residents to create a better understanding between the parties on cat-related matters. More and more Town Council officers and residents are now privy to the benefits of sterilisation. While previously, the only solution to complaints was to activate pest control to round up cats indiscriminately, now, Town Council officers work with caregivers to identify the source of the issue and apply more effective solutions to target the problems.
Sterilisation remains an important part of my work and I work with caregivers to carry out mass sterilisations in areas such as Jurong West, Yew Tee, Marina and Bukit Batok.
Mass trappings for cats for sterilisation
Since November 2009, I have successfully mediated over 400 complaint cases together with caregivers. That is around 11 cases per month. It seems a grueling task but it has also brought many rewards to know that we are changing the way government agencies view cats and caregivers. I look forward to seeing more people join us in becoming a voice not only for cats but for caregivers in their estates and establishing a more effective and humane way of dealing with cat-related issues.
Besides mediation, I also believe in the power of education, especially of the young. More so because I am a tuition teacher by profession! I represented the society on Channel U's 'Crossfire' as well as on Okto TV for a kids' educational programme and is currently working with an independent film production house on a documentary about cats in Singapore.
My bond with cats started with caring for community cats around my block and they remain an integral part of my life. They have provided me a form of 'pet therapy' whenever I have their company. They have brought so much joy to my life for the past eight years as a caregiver.
"I will visit the AVA RPO exhibition at Bishan Public Library when I go there to return my books next week!"
Want to know how to be a responsible pet owner?
Head on down to AVA's Responsible Pet Ownership exhibition at Bishan Public Library from 16 to 29 July 2012 to find out more about pets and their care as well as the importance of responsible pet ownership through puppet show and interactive displays!
RPO Exhibition Daily, 16 July till 29 July 2012, 10.00am - 9.00pm, Level 1, Bishan Public Library Being a responsible pet owner begins the moment you consider bringing one home. While pets can be our companions and offer great sources of comfort, diving into pet ownership without giving it much thought is not unlike committing to a relationship that you are not exactly prepared for. Start off on the right footing in this rewarding relationship! Learn more about what pets need and how you can be a responsible pet owner at this exhibition!
Puppet Show by the MOPpets Club from Ngee Ann Poly Saturday, 21 July 2012, 2.00 - 3.00 pm, Programme Zone Level 2, Bishan Public Library Smudge the dog has been abandoned by his owner on earth! In the year 2253, Seb, an animal-loving alien from Planet Zuu met Smudge and decided to take him in as his pet. A seemingly good start to this fantastic relationship went a little awry when the unleashed Smudge, distracted and chasing a butterfly, ended up in the scariest house on the planet! Find out what Seb has to do to get Smudge back and learn how important it is for one to be a considerate pet owner with this puppet performance put up for you by the MOPpets Club students from Ngee Ann Polytechnic. We also have goody packs* to be given away to every child who attends the puppet show. *While stocks last!
Last week, we talked about obesity in cats. Today, we'll share with you some tips on how to keep your dogs from feeling bored.
"What a booooooring day..."
When we make the decision to get a pet, we usually think about how the pet will be a great source of comfort for us and that it will be our new friend. In return, we shower them with food, water and lots of love and affection. We sometimes tend to overlook their other needs.
Pets do not have schools or jobs to go to. So while most of us are busy with our daily routines, we forget that they practically just stay at home and obediently wait for us to come back. Like humans beings, they too can feel bored if they do not have the attention and start finding ways to keep themselves entertained. What they find as entertainment, we may find it a nuisance.
So how can you prevent your dogs from feeling bored?
Here are few steps you can take:
1) Work it out! Healthy adult dogs need at least 30 minutes of exercise twice a day. Jogging, swimming and playing at the dog park are all great ways to burn excess energy. Play outdoor games like fetch and tug-of-war. They are not only a great form of exercise, but also teach your pet impulse control and strengthen the bond between the two of you.
2) Be an (active) couch potato! In some countries, there are TV channels that are specifically targeted for dogs that aids mental stimulation in them. You can try giving the dog old water bottles or milk cartons made of either cardboard or plastic. Try adding food items inside as this can increase your dog's interest! Remember to remove the plastic caps and plastic rings before giving them to your dogs to play with.
3) Work for food! You can give them a food-stuffed puzzle toy such as a kong which is a nontoxic, dishwasher-safe rubber toy with a hollow center. When you stuff it with food, it provides dogs with a healthy outlet for their natural desire to chew and lick. In order to get the food out, they need to nibble and shake the toy. This is enough to ease boredom and reduces destructive behaviour such as biting and digging. You can purchase these toys from a pet store.
There's a KONG for every dog!
4) No dog is ever too old for a new trick! If you think you have taught him all he needs to know like sitting up and coming to you, look up on some new tricks which you can learn from books or the internet. Alternatively, you can sign them up for training courses with an obedience school!
If you're still feeling the blues, just stop whatever you're doing now and take a minute off to watch this video! See how this determined dog tries to get the ball out of the pool without getting himself wet. Will he succeed? Look out for the surprise twist at the end!
The SPCA saved 75 kittens by finding them foster homes.
The oh-my-goodness news: They now have 75 kittens coming back to the SPCA soon!!!
Like Baby here, they're going to be clamouring for space and it'll really, really help the SPCA out if they can get them to their forever homes as soon as they come in. So bring your friends, family, co-workers, yoga-buddies, anyone you know who is craving kitty-love to come down and adopt a feline for life!
We have kittens of all shapes, sizes, colours and personalities so we're sure you'll find one you'll love to kibbles!
Baby is splashed with so many colours it makes her look super interesting. Her personality is also one that is colourful and vibrant. During her playtime you can see her playing and having so much fun! Come on over and visit this playful little girl.
If you would like to adopt Baby or the many other elegant felines we have for adoption, please call our adoption hotline at 6287 5355 ext 24 or visit the shelter during their opening hours.
Is this Sunday going to be just another lazy afternoon for you? Well, here's a reason to go out!
It's DOG'S DAY OUT at The Pinnacle@Duxton! Happening this Sunday, 8th July 2012 from 10am to 1pm, it's going to be a fun-filled day of activities! (Woohoo!)
Here's what you can expect:
- Mini health checks for the dogs (Free!) - Get tips on managing your dog's behaviour - Goodie bags with doggie treats (Hooray!) - Dog grooming demonstration - Get special discounts on animal products - Game booths for dogs - Quizzes for the family - Colouring for the little ones - Lucky draw and popcorn...
...and so much more!
We will also be there to share with you tips on how to become a responsible pet owner during the talk at 11.45am and at our booth. Play our interactivegames to win great prizes!
Bring along your doggy friends too! Just remember to have them leashed at all times and bring your own little poop bag in case they need to poo-poo (:
Why wait? Tickets are selling fast so get them from Tanjong Pagar CC located at 101 Cantonment Road at just $2!
They say that a way to man's heart is through his stomach. They forgot to say the same's for pets!
"Come on, where are the kibbles..."
We love our pets! To keep them happy, we provide them with the best pet food available out there. It's a sense of satisfaction for us and the pet when we see them finish the food. Sometimes we even give them a little bit extra for good behaviour or just... because they're sooo cute.
Question is: How much is too much?
Like humans, pets can also suffer from obesity. They can contract diseases such as diabetes, lower urinary tract disease, joint disease and osteoarthritis. They are also more prone to fatty liver, decreased stamina and non-allergic skin conditions as they have difficulty to groom themselves efficiently. Eventually, these diseases can shorten the life span of your pets.
As a responsible pet owner, here are some things you can do:
1) Do not feed your cat leftover food from the table.
2) Stick to strict meal times. Feed them either twice or thrice a day offering a small serving each time
3) Go for grain-free food. They contain a higher amount of protein so that your cats do not need to eat so much to feel satisfied but still has all the nutrition he needs.
4) Feed your cat canned or raw meal diets as much as possible. They are more nutritional and it helps develop strongs bones and muscles!
Together, let's work towards a healthier lifestyle for your animal friends!
It's time to go green with us this weekend at the Green Festival 2012!
Let's go green!
The three-day event will take place from Friday, 6th July all the way till Sunday, 8th July 2012 at Level 2, Marina Square Central Atrium. For the first time, AVA has been invited to be part of this eco-friendly exhibition! This annual affair is organised by lifestyle magazine, DCRS - Decorations.