Creative Expression Competition 2012 - Start Voting!

Now that we have our 30 finalists, drop by and vote for your favourite!

Winners get to win cash prizes!

For competition rules and information, visit www.petsforlife.com.sg/competition2012!

Pet Adoption Friday: Dolce & Gabbana from Cat Welfare Society

Two of a kind!

Meet Dolce & Gabbana! They are brothers who were abandoned about two months ago and in need of a good home. The brothers can be adopted separately.

Names: Dolce & Gabbana (aka Gabby!)
Age: 8 Months old
Sterilised: Yes
Litter-trained: Yes
Personality: Playful and very affectionate
Good with other cats: Yes
Good with children: Yes (and everybody too!)

If you wish to adopt the brothers, please send in an email to Ms Corinne Goh at corinne@hotmail.sg.

Do visit Cat Welfare Society's Facebook page and website for more details.

Join us at our "A Pet is For Life" Facebook group and follow us on Twitter!

Pre-Event Highlights: SPCA World Animal Day @ ECP!

Click on the poster for a larger view!

Theme: Keep the Love, End the Neglect!
Venue: East Coast Park (Area D1-Dalbergia Green)
Date: Sunday, 30 September 2012
Time: 10.30am - 6pm

Collect your limited-dition World Animal Day wristbands when you register.

This event is organised by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and AVA is delighted to be supporting this event!

World Animal Day is here again! This year is a special year for the SPCA as they celebrate their 65th year of service and dedication to the animal welfare cause!

This year's theme is an extension of the last - "Keep the Love, End the Neglect". The message is clear. Love will prevail; neglect must end, right now!

WORLD ANIMAL DAY CARNIVAL
The stage is set for animal-related talks, performances, demonstrations and more that will be ongoing for most parts of the day.

"KEEP THE LOVE, END THE NEGLECT" PHOTO EXHIBITION
We all know what love is, but how many of us actually understand how to love an animal as unconditionally as they love us?

This themed photo exhibition aims to drive home the message and give pictorial evidences and examples of the vast number of ways a pet owner can end up neglecting his or her pet, sometimes unknowingly.

PET CARE ADVICE ON-THE-GO
If you have any questions on pet care, there will be roving information officers who will answer your questions on-the-go. You may also pick up brochures and leaflets from the pet care advice corner

Feel free to visit us at the AVA booth too and we will be glad to share with you on how to be a responsible pet owner through our exciting games!

Our popular Mix and Match game and Jigsaw Puzzle!

EXCITING FRINGE ACTIVITIES
Other than the stage activities such as dance and song performances, obedience training demonstrations, cake-cutting ceremony, and more all lined up for you, there will also be other fringe activities that you will definitely enjoy.

Children will find thrill and excitement at the children's corner where there will be fun-filled activities such as balloon sculpturing and face and hand painting and more.

GOODY BAGS FOR ADOPTERS
For the month of October, the SPCA will be giving away goody bags when you adopt a pet at their premises at 31 Mount Vernon Road. They hope to be able to rehome as many animals as they can to loving forever homes. What a perfect way to commemorate this special occasion by adopting an unwanted animal.

Whether you are a pet owner or not, all animal lovers are invited to the World Animal Day carnival! Celebrate and honour our animal friends and support the animal welfare cause.

This is a "Rain or Shine" event so in the case of a wet-weather, the event will still carry on as planned.

Things to remember before heading to the venue:
1) Please ensure that dogs are leashed at all times.
2) Please clean up after your dog. Remember, bag it and bin it!
3) Please ensure that you bring enough drinking water for your pets.
4) Do not leave your pets unattended in the car.

Bring your animal friends, picnic mats and join in the fun at SPCA World Animal Day 2012! See you there!

For more information, visit SPCA's Facebook and website at http://www.spca.org.sg/whatsnew.html

Join us at our Official Facebook group and Twitter for the latest updates and happenings!

Pet Care Tips: The health and welfare of chinchillas

Chinchillas are clean, quiet, odourless and attractive rodents. They are quite shy and are more appropriate as pets for adults and older children. Chinchillas can live for 10-20 years and have very specific dietary and housing needs.

Checking for illnesses
Check your chinchillas for signs of illness or injury every day, and make sure this is done by someone else if you are away. Observe your chinchillas' behaviour every day in the evening or at night when they are most active. They are not good at showing outward signs of pain, so may be suffering a great deal before anything is noticed. A change in the way a chinchilla normally behaves can be an early sign he/she is ill or in pain. If a chinchilla is not eating or is more quiet than usual he/she is highly likely to be ill or in pain. Signs of illness and injury to look out for include sore feet, wetness around the eyes or mouth and fur loss. Consult a vet immediately if you suspect that your chinchilla is in pain, ill or injured.

Chinchillas that are frightened or in pain may change their behaviour or develop unwanted habits e.g. aggression or hiding.

Checking for stress
Signs that a chinchilla may be suffering from stress or fear can include vocalising (barking or whistling), hiding, chewing of their own or other chinchillas' fur, altered feeding or toileting habits, over-drinking or playing with the water bottle, reluctance to move, or repetitive movements such as racing back and forth on the bottom of the cage. If patches of fur come away when you are handling a chinchilla it means he/she is stressed.

Ensuring a proper diet
Without the correct diet, chinchillas are very likely to develop serious dental disease. Feed your chinchillas the correct diet of mainly hay and grass as this will help prevent a lot of common diseases such as dental and gut disease. Check that your chinchilla is eating every day and that he/she is passing plenty of dry droppings. Monitor the amount and types of food your chinchilla eats, and how much he/she drinks. If your chinchilla's eating or drinking habits change or the number of droppings gets less or stops, talk to your vet straight away as he/she could be seriously ill.

Prevent unwanted breeding
If your chinchillas are not sterilised, keep the males separate from the females to prevent unwanted breeding.

Staying clean and fresh
Chinchillas need to have access to a dust bath every day to keep their fur in good condition. Provide a shallow tray filled with clean fine sand or "chinchilla dust" for your chinchillas to bathe in every day. This should be removed or sieved clean after use to prevent the sand getting soiled.

Be careful of the medication
Only use medicines that have been specifically recommended for your individual chinchilla by a vet. Some medications used in other animals can be very dangerous to chinchillas.

And last but not least, take your chinchilla for a routine health check at your vet at least once each year.

Information adapted from: RSPCA UK

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Beat the Monday Blues: Chillax Cat

It was a weekend of fast cars and electrifying music with the F1 Night Race and concerts which took place here in Singapore. We're back to Monday and most of us are back in school and work, let's take things a little slowly and relax just like this cat in the video you're about to see! Get ready to be chuckled!

Make the best out of today and have a fantastic week ahead!

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Friends of The Animals: Welcome to Cat Town

It's time for another "Friends of the Animals" blog post! This week, our colleague Dr Prabhpreet Kaur from the Animal Quarantine section, who previously wrote about her "Queen" dog, returns with the story of how she ended up with not one, but three kitties!

The husband decided one day that he was ready for his first ever pet and wanted a cat. This announcement had nothing to do with me whining at him for weeks about how our house was so empty without any animals and how much I wanted a dog or cat of my own. Needless to say, I feigned surprise at the news but dragged him off to get cat-related stuff before he could change his mind.

We picked up the basic essentials (e.g. food and water bowls, litter tray, etc) and miscellaneous toys (also known as trip hazards) and then went off to one of the carers from the Cat Welfare Society to select our first feline friend. The husband wasn't very good with cat handling back then so our basic requirement was a cat that he could comfortably hold. We wanted one that was slightly older and I absolutely wanted a cuddly human loving cat (which would pave the way for future cats). As we were poking our fingers into the cages to see if the cats loved us back and getting rather mixed reactions, a small orange ball of fur came barrelling out from under the couch and plonked herself into my lap. The poor girl had only 1 eye, the other was missing and the orbit was not sealed. By then, the husband had selected a gorgeous little lilac tortoiseshell, who was holding out her little paw and asking him to take her. So off we went with the tortoiseshell.

Sohni the Klutz
We named her Sohni, which means 'beautiful girl' because she's an absolute stunner of a cat. She's got a gorgeous face and lovely colouring and the sweetest personality. She's a mummy's girl, choosing to spend most of her time sitting by my side, telling me stories (she talks non-stop and I get prodded if I don't pay attention and respond accordingly). Sohni has never taken her claws out on us, we used to think she doesn't know how to use them until she demonstrated their use very effectively on the one couch we can't re-upholster easily. As with many adult strays, she regarded the scratching post as something to be avoided like the plague but instead will practice her art on the couch. She put on a lot of weight when she came to us, mainly because she was given food ad lib (which is not a great idea if you have a cat that feels the need to see the bottom of her bowl) and she just didn't know how to deal with her added weight, giving her the not so glamorous title of Klutz Kat.

She'd try to jump up on things but either overestimate the push needed and fly straight over or crash into them instead. She was constantly trying to be graceful and balance on the banister but the image would be ruined when she'd trip and come tumbling down. We spent a lot of time cleaning up bruises and scrapes in the first few months of having the Klutz but she eventually learned. We loved her dearly but couldn't quite get the little ginger cat out of our heads so a month later....

Jalebi the Pirate
We adopted the ginger cat. The lady who rehomed her had tears in her eyes because no one had ever wanted to adopt the little girl because of her disability. We were told she was extremely afraid of other cats and tended to get bullied so we had to keep an eye out for her (no pun intended). So back she came with us and she moved into our bathroom and bedroom while the Klutz was unceremoniously booted into the rest of the house. We named her Jalebi, which is a Punjabi sweet, because she is orange and her tail is jalebi-shaped. Jalebi, or the Pirate (for obvious reasons) was terribly nervous when she first came to us, refusing to eat or drink for the first day and then only eating very small amounts when hand fed.

She spent most of her time hiding behind cupboards or under furniture so we spent most of our time with our faces pressed against the floor, trying to get her out so we could clean her eye and feed her. We took her to the vet, had her eye sorted out and sealed and had her other eye fixed up (she had a congenital problem known as a coloboma in the other eye) and brought the poor pathetic bundle home. 2 weeks later, she was queen of the house, terrorising the Klutz into submission and eating all of the food. We don't quite know what happened but now the Pirate is the most confident and outgoing of all of the cats and when you least expect it, you'll hear a rather loud 'minnngggooowww' (she has a very distinctive meow) and a small bundle of gingerness will land in your lap, demanding cuddles.

Naseeb the Poser
We got our third cat from the Cat Welfare Society because we felt the need to have more fur, cat litter, toys and bits of half chewed insects in our lives. Introducing the new cat to the other two was very different from introducing the Klutz and Pirate to each other. We named her Naseeb (Fate) and tried the same thing, where we kept her separate from the others and slowly introduced them. The Poser quickly established that 1) she was not going to be pushed around by anyone and 2) All of the Klutz' favourite sitting spots were now hers. This actually brought about an interesting social divide, with the Klutz and Pirate on one side and Poser on another.

We also realised that the Poser would sit in the cutest possible way, either by perching her paws up somewhere so it looks like she's begging or by lounging with one arm propped up so she looks like a casual supercar driver. This was generally done after an altercation with the other 2 and we are convinced it was her way of trying to push blame... "I'm so cute, I couldn't possibly start a fight. Now feed me."

We love our 3 girls dearly, they wait at the door for us when we get home and climb into bed for goodnight cuddles before going to their usual sleeping places. Having these 3 cats was one of the best decisions the husband and I have made so far (them and the robotic vacuum cleaner).

Pet Adoption Friday: Summer from Action for Singapore Dogs

Name: Summer
Gender:
Female
Breed: Local Cross
Size (Full Grown): Medium
Good with children: Yes
Good with other dogs: Yes
Good with cats: Yes
Toilet trained: In progress
Understands basic commands: In progress
Health: Good
Vaccinated: Yes
Sterilized: Not yet (Summer needs to be sterilized when she's 6 months old)

sweet dreams...

If you are interested in adopting Summer, please contact ASD at 6100 2737 or drop us a line at info@asdsingapore.com.

Visit ASD's Facebook page and website for more information.

Also, become a member of our Facebook group and keep updated with all the latest happenings on Twitter.

Pet Care Tips: Carry your rabbit the proper way!

Pets can be very cute and sometimes they make us want to carry them just like a baby. How we carry a dog could be very different from how we carry a hamster.

As for rabbits, they are bottom-heavy and if you do not handle a rabbit properly, he might accidentally injure his spine if he decides to kick hard. Actually, rabbits are ground-loving animals and would prefer not to be carried unless necessary. If you need to carry your rabbit for a good reason, let us share with you how to pick him up in 3 simple steps!

Step 1
Before you pick up your bunny, give him a gentle pet to make him feel relaxed and calm.

Step 2
Carefully place one hand underneath your rabbit's arms and the other to support the lower part of his body.

Step 3
Bring the rabbit as close as possible to your chest and put your hands on the rabbit's lower back near the rear for additional support. If he starts to kick or feels scared, gently hold his feet together for assurance.

We have a video by a House Rabbit Society Singapore (HRSS) volunteer on how to handle your rabbit:

Most importantly...

You should never pick up your rabbit by his ears! We see it happen quite often in cartoons or comics when a magician perform tricks like pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Doing this in real life can cause a very serious injury to your rabbit.

Doing this to your rabbit is a NO-NO!

Adapted from: HRSS.

Photo from: Medi Rabbit.

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A friend in need, is a dog indeed

Earlier in August, there was a report in the newspaper about a dog that was deliberately thrown into a manhole by two men who were entrusted to look after her while her owner was away. The cruel act was recorded on camera and the video was eventually uploaded onto Youtube. The video became viral and the act was condemned by many netizens. For a full read of the article, click here.

In a responding article, a writer that was born with disability voiced his opinions on the incident. The writer believed that if the dog was still alive, she could have been trained to become special companions to others who are in need of friendship and love. He went on to reflect on his own experience. As a person with special needs, he has had dogs which not only accompanied him through his lonely days but also help to monitor his condition and assisted him with his daily routines. Click here for the full story.

The article showed us that animals can make good companions and assistants. Imagine how his life would have been if he did not have the dogs by his side. The writer is one of many individuals who have benefited from Pet Assisted Therapy (PAT).

What is Pet Assisted Therapy (PAT)?

It is the involvement of suitable animals to assist in the treatment of people to help them improve the quality of their physical and emotional well-being.

How does PAT work?

One of the ways a treatment session is usually conducted through a "meet-and-greet" sessions where pets (usually dogs) gets stroked by the patients. In some instances, the dogs will entertain the patients by performing some tricks and patients can show their contentment by offering treats to the dogs. Patients could also spend time talking to the dogs about their past to stimulate memory and also get their hands on dressing up the dogs.

For patients with special needs, the therapy programme is customised to suit their individual needs. To exercise motor and sensory skills, patients get to walk the dogs, brushing and grooming and even shaking hands with them.

As for the dogs, they would snuggle up to the patients offering warmth and comfort in return for a pat on their body.

What are the benefits of PAT?

It has been medically proven that people who have gone through Pet Assisted Therapy have:

- Lower blood pressure
- Reduced stress levels
- Less likelihood to be depressed

Volunteer!

If you would like to be part of making a difference in someone's life, we encourage you to volunteer your dogs. You will need to make sure that your dog is comfortable with meeting new people. Even if you don't a dog but wish to help, you could still volunteer yourself.

For more information on how you can become a volunteer, please visit Therapy Dogs Singapore's website.

Adapted from: Therapy Dogs Singapore and ASPCA.

Photo from: Oregon Live.

Join us at our "A Pet is For Life" Facebook group and follow us on Twitter.

Learning is fun with RPO Public Education Programmes!

Are you looking for programmes that are both interactive and educational? Look no further as we have public education talks suited for a variety of age groups.

Each talk comes with a 30-minute presentation inclusive of a quiz segment, goody bags as prizes, poster panels *as well as booklets or educational materials*!

*subjected to availability

Talks for Primary Schools

Topic: Responsible Pet Ownership
Suitable for: ALL
Synopsis:
This is an introduction to pet ownership and a primer for our other RPO talks. It covers a wide range of topics from deciding whether to get a pet to general pet care. The audience is strongly encouraged to think carefully about pet ownership and not to abandon their pets.

Topic: Pets Are Like Us
Suitable for: Lower Primary
Synopsis:
Are pets similar to us? Understanding that they have similar needs to ours can help children relate better to pets and animals in general. This talk will help young audiences develop greater compassion and respect for pets and other animals.

Topic: Pet Abandonment and Strays
Suitable for: Upper Primary
Synopsis:
Everyone has most likely seen a stray cat or dog before but where do they come from and what happens to them? Both pet owners' and non-pet owners' actions can affect stray situation. This talk will discuss these actions and their consequences.

Talks for Secondary Schools and Tertiary Institutions

Topic: Pets and Us Parts 1 & 2
Suitable for: ALL
Synopsis:
Part 1 is a foundation talk that introduces the responsibilities of a pet owner and consequences of pet abandonment. Moving further, Part 2 deals with topics such as the illegal keeping of exotic animals, micro chipping, sterilisation and pet related laws.

And, new this year!! Talks for workplaces!

This year, we have started embarking on talks at workplaces. Just recently, we were invited to the Jurong Bird Park and Singapore Zoological Gardens to speak to some of the staff members.

Look through these photos for all the action at the zoo!

Workplace Talk 1: Jurong Bird Park on 24 August 2012

Our colleague Sherry giving a talk to the bird park staffs

That's a really BIG penguin!

On our way out, we found a Pokemon!

Workplace Talk 2: Singapore Zoo on 10 September 2012

Happy audience with their goody bags

Relatives of Oscar the otter - Our Food Safety mascot friend

Our colleague, Poh Choo standing next to a giraffe and...a skeleton

RPO Heroes had the opportunity to have their photo taken with (standees of) pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia!

HELP!!! Our RPO heroes are in danger!

Thank you Wildlife Reserves Singapore for inviting us!

If you too would like to invite us to your school or workplace, please send us your request by filling in the request application form here.

For more information, you can drop an email to Mr Muhd Syawal Yusoff at muhd_syawal_yusoff@ava.gov.sg.

Become a member of our "A Pet is For Life" Facebook group and tweet to us on Twitter.

Beat the Monday Blues: Baby Husky tries howling! (Aww...)

Have you ever wondered how adorable it is to see a 3 and 1/2 week old husky making an attempt to howl? Well, no need to imagine as we have the video right here to show it to you!

Wasn't that just the cutest thing ever? It will probably take a while for him to 'hit the right note' but from the looks of it, this little pup is very determined. Way to go buddy!

Do you have a cute/funny/interesting video that you will want us to see? Share it with us on our "A Pet is For Life" Facebook group or tweet to us on Twitter.

Pet Adoption Friday: Marmaduke from Animal Lovers League

Marmaduke was rescued by a kind lady after having his hind leg badly injured from an accident at a construction area. His leg has since undergone an operation and is healing well.

Name : Marmaduke (wire cross puppy)
Gender : Male
Breed : Cross Breed
Size : Medium when fully grown
Health : Good
Age : 4 months (Marmaduke needs to be sterilized when he's 6 months old)
Vaccinated : Yes
Paper Trained : Yes
Basic Commands : Yes
Good with Children : Yes
Good with Pets : Yes

Marmaduke is the most irresistible puppy we have ever met! He is so handsome and affectionate. He enjoys playing with toys and loves human company! He is such a sweet and affectionate boy. He is easy with food and loves his dry food and treats. Marmaduke is comfortable with sleeping alone and is independent. He can be left alone for a few hours at home, hence, there is no separation anxiety. You can also trust him to play in his play pen when no one's at home.

Ready to bring Marmaduke home? You may wish to contact Animal Lovers League (ALL) @ 96973491 or 97937162 or send an email to general@animalloversleague.com. Please provide information about your housing, family and if you have any other pets.

Visit ALL's website and Facebook page for more information.

Join us at our official Facebook group and send us your tweets on Twitter.

Pet Care Tips: Litter-train Your Kitty in 1, 2, 3!

Have you ever wondered why your kitty prefers to do his business anywhere in the house except in his own litter tray? There could be a few possibilities as to why this happens. It could be that there are too many cats in the house, the family goes away on long holiday or he may have urinary tract problems and you should seek help from your veterinarian as soon as possible. Sometimes, it could also mean that you haven't been doing your job as his owner.

Cats like to stay clean. If he finds that his own litter box is dirty, he would most likely choose a cleaner place (in his own opinion!) to do his business. Just like us, we prefer toilets that are nice and clean.

We have some useful tips that can help you litter train your cats and keep the tray clean!

Step 1: Sanitize the litter tray
Clean your kitty' litter tray daily by throwing away any dirty litter (they would usually clump up with the urine) and poop. Every other day, rinse the litter tray thoroughly with water and a hint of vinegar or lemon juice to neutralise the urine odour. Finally, fill the tray with 1 1/2 inches of fresh new litter.

Step 2: Placement of the litter tray
Location of the litter tray is important. Place the litter tray a distance away from his sleeping and eating areas but make sure it is not too inaccessible for him. If you have more than one cat in the house, consider having more litter trays around the house.

Step 3: Ready, set, now GO!
Take about ten to fifteen minutes to play with your cat before feeding him. Give him time to finish his food and clean up his leftovers. After he is done, have a gentle play session with him. By this time, your cat should probably be ready to do his business. For kittens, they tend to eliminate shortly after waking up, after meals and exercise. When you are ready, call him to his litter tray and scratch the litter to get him interested. This helps to assure him that the litter tray is clean.

If your cat manages to poo-poo after you have successfully coaxed him in, give him a gentle stroke and praise him for being a good kitty!

Remember, punishment doesn't really work well with cats. Praising them when they get it right is the key to successful training!

Adapted from: Perfect Paws

Photo from: Dogs Across Australia

Can't get enough of our Pet Care Tips, find the complete collection here.

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Beat the Monday Blues: Lucky Cube with Maru!

It's the start of a brand new week and also back to school for those who are still schooling. We hope the one week term break was a great one for you. If you're still having the blues, we have a video today that will definitely put a big smile on your face!

In today's edition of Beat the Monday Blues, we have a video featuring the very famous, Maru the cat (for Maru's blog, click here)!

Who is Maru?
Maru is a male Scottish Fold cat from Japan whose owner has posted videos of him on Youtube and has made him an internet sensation. His videos usually show him playing in cardboard boxes. As of May this year, it is estimated that videos featuring Maru have been viewed by netizens from all over the world 158 million times!

Looks like Maru has done it again! Having appeared on an advertisement for a famous brand of apparel, we can foresee that this Japanese cat has the potential to become a huge star. Who knows he might just take the lead role in the next Hollywood film. (Move over Garfield, it's Maru's time to shine!)

Here's to a great week ahead!

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Friends of The Animals: The tale of Tor Tau (a.k.a Peanut)

TGIF! With the weekend approaching, kick back and relax a little with our new "Friends of the Animals" blog post. The latest post has our colleague, Foo Shi Ping from the Communication & Corporate Relations Department, writing about how she ended up with a "peanut" as a pet.

I never thought I would keep small critters as pets. I've always preferred larger animals that I could handle without fearing that I might accidentally give them a fatal Squish of Death.

Yet, when I looked after a hamster for 5 days (as to why I was playing nanny to a hamster, that's another tale), I grew very fond of the little rodent under my care. So much so that when it disappeared from my life, I found myself wanting to have a pet hamster. A colleague of mine, PC (whose entry you may have read earlier in the FotA series) found out about my not-so-secret secret desire and informed me that she knew of two hamsters that were looking for homes (one black and white and the other, brown and white). PC was keen to adopt the black-and-white fella and she kindly offered the other hamster to me for adoption. Like children high on sugar, we came up with ridiculously tacky names for the hamsters even before we adopted them: Tau Sar (Hokkien for 'Red bean paste') for the black fella and Tor Tau (Hokkien for 'Peanut') for the brown one. What can I say? We really like food.

Tau Sar

After making sure that we had the basic necessities to care for the hamsters, we went to collect them. I was shocked to discover that the two hamsters were both Syrian hamsters and they were housed in the same cage. Alarm bells started ringing. Having cared for hamsters in school, I knew that Syrian hamsters are solidarity animals that will attack other hamsters in their territory. The previous owner didn't know this particular fact about Syrians and thought the two could co-exist peacefully like other species of hamsters such as the Roborovski or Dwarf. Upon examining the two fluff balls, my suspicions were confirmed. One of the hamsters was badly bitten and it had a large gaping wound filled with pus on its chest.

My hands are not small, the hamster is big

That was how I found myself at a veterinary clinic after work with a very small tank (it was the best I could find at that point in time) and a rather large hamster. Worried that the hamster's wound may be badly infected, I decided to bring it to a vet on the day itself. I admit that while I was at the clinic, I was starting to regret my decision. My decision to call the critter 'Tor Tau', that is. The nurse kept giggling when I was registering Tor Tau's name. And I nearly missed my turn to bring Tor Tau in to see the vet because the vet called for a "Tort Au".

The good news was that Tor Tau's chest wound looked nastier than it really was. The bad news? The vet informed me that I had to feed Tor Tau antibiotics and disinfect her wound with a special solution daily for the next three weeks. Anyone who has ever handled hamsters knows that they are squirmy escape artists armed with pee and teeth.

Hamster burrito, anyone?

When I reached home, I immediately turned to Google to look for solutions to my problems. (Warning: Trust what you read on Google with a pinch of salt.) I soon found a wealth of information on forums such as SG Hamster Club, Hamster Hideout and Hamster Central. According to these forums, one of the best ways to force feed a hamster is to roll it up in a towel to prevent the hamster from escaping your grasp. The method also stops owners from using excessive pressure when handling the hamster. However, Tor Tau still found ways to free her little paws to block the syringe-containing her antibiotics from entering her mouth. It took over an hour to feed Tor Tau her meds and clean her wounds on the first night, resulting in a traumatised hamster and frazzled hamster owner.

I like big butts, I cannot lie

Even after Tor Tau's recovery, I am still learning new things about hamsters and her all the time. While hamsters can't exactly perform tricks, there's something about this tiny fluff ball and her antics that make me very fond of her. Like how she gets all excited over broccoli. Or the times when I pause during my computer gaming session to look at her cage, only to see her staring intently at my monitor. (Hamsters have terrible eyesight, so I have no idea what my game's graphics look like to her. Disco lights, maybe?)

Oooh, shiny

Perhaps the most important thing I've learnt from adopting Tor Tau is that an animal may be small in size, but it can still be a large bundle of joy.

Pet Adoption Friday: Charlie the puppy from SPCA

Charlie is a reserved little boy who carefully surveys his environment but then becomes the most lovable and fun little puppy you've met! When he is not taking one of his very frequent naps, playing with his toys, or chewing on baby carrots, greenies and milk bones, he is enjoying playtime with his favorite bud Frankie! They are always up to crazy antics and horsing around! On his twice daily walks, Charlie loves to stop and smell the flowers and chase butterflies. He is quite the inquisitive little boy. He knows how to keep himself engaged in activities and then takes long naps.

Name: Charlie
Gender: Male
Breed: Cross Breed
Colour: Brindle
Age: 4 mths (Charlie needs to be sterilized when he's 6 months old)
HDB Approved: No

If you wish to adopt Charlie, please call SPCA's adoption hotline at 6287 5355 ext 24 or visit the shelter during their opening hours.

Visit SPCA's Facebook by clicking here.

Join us at our "A Pet is For Life" Facebook Group and follow us onTwitter!

Little Chip, Big Wonder – Micro-chip reunites lost dog with owner after two years


Last month, there was an article in AsiaOne about an owner whose dog came back to her after two years of being separated from each other. For a full read of the article, click here.

In 2010, when he was just an eight-month-old puppy, Eddy the German Shepherd dog ran out of the house and never returned. It was beyond anyone's guess that he eventually became a pack leader amongst a pack of stray dogs. One day, a couple who had been feeding these dogs for some time noticed he was injured and brought Eddy to see a vet. When he calmly cooperated with the vet without putting up a fight, the vet suspected he might have once been someone's pet. A micro-chip scan turned out positive and with the number, his owner was tracked down via the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA). They were reunited.

What is a microchip? And if Eddy had not been micro-chipped, would Eddy ever see his owner again? The story of Eddy and his owner shows us the importance of micro-chipping and dog licensing.

MICROCHIPPING

The microchip is a grain-sized inert electronic transponder that is permanently implanted under the skin in the animal's neck behind the left ear or between the shoulders. The implantation of a microchip is done by a vet and is relatively painless. It is compulsory for all licensed dogs in Singapore to be microchipped with an ISO compliant microchip.

The microchip number is the unique identification number stored in each microchip. This permanent form of identity enables lost pets to be reunited with their owners and establishing rightful ownership if your stolen pet is found. The microchip number should be lodged with AVA.

As a responsible and considerate dog owner, you should also do the following:

- License your dog once it has passed 3 months of age
- Discipline and socialise your dog properly by sending him for training
- Control your dog properly at all times
- Do not allow your dog to bark excessively
- Have your dog on a leash when it is in a public place
- Muzzle your dog (for a list of scheduled dogs, click here) if required by law
- Pick up your dog's poop and wash away his pee in public place

LICENSING

Licensing is necessary for rabies control. Rabies is a disease that can kill. It is passed from infected dogs to humans through a dog bite or saliva. Singapore is currently free from rabies but many of the countries in the region are not. This means that the risk of the disease being inadvertently brought into Singapore is always present. In the case of such an occurrence, dog licensing will allow AVA to quickly contact dog owners to control the spread of the disease. Keeping an unlicensed dog is also an offence and could result in a fine of up to $5000.

In respect of the dog licence, you also need to ensure that:

- License is renewed annually
- AVA is informed of the change of ownership of the dog
- AVA is informed of change of address where the dog is kept
- AVA is informed should the dog be lost or if it has died
- Conditions of licence are met
- You are allowed by HDB or your estate management to keep the dog in the registered premises as stated in your licence application.

Find out more about licensing and apply for the license at the Dog Licensing Section of the AVA website.

Photo from: Animalz Planet

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Pet Care Tips: What you should NOT be feeding to your dogs!

Some of us need our dose of coffee in the morning to perk us up. Others, need that boost of sugar to carry on with their day. While these could be our normal daily fare, it does not mean that our pets should eat the same things too.

In today's Pet Care Tips, let us share with you some of the things that your dogs should not be eating!

SUGAR
Too much sugar can lead to health problems such as obesity, dental problems and diabetes.

FAT TRIMMINGS
Trimmed fat which you get from cooked or uncooked meat can cause inflammation of the pancreas - an organ that produces insulin and enzymes for digestion.

BONES
It might cause them to choke.

ALCOHOL
The effects from consuming alcohol in humans are the same for dogs too. Too much alcohol can be fatal.

ONIONS, GARLIC and CHIVES
It can cause gastrointestinal irritation and possibly destroy red blood cells causing your dog to become anaemic.

AVOCADO
They contain persin which is a kind of fungicidal toxic which is harmful if consumed.

MACADAMIA NUTS
A dog can become sick if he consumes just a handful of these nuts raw or roasted.

YEAST DOUGH
When consumed, it can cause severe pain to the dog as the dough will swell and stretch the dog's abdomen.

COFFEE, TEA and OTHER CAFFEINE
These can be fatal to dogs and there's no remedy for it.

CHOCOLATE
You might be a fan of chocolates but remember not everyone likes them or could even consume them. Chocolates contain a toxic agent called theobromine which causes vomitting and diarrheoa. In severe cases, it could lead to abnormal heart rhythms and even death.

PERSIMMONS, PEACHES and PLUMS
Seeds from the persimmon fruit can cause inflammation or obstruction of the small intestine whereas peach plum pits contain cyanide which is a chemical that is poisonous to humans and animals.

DAIRY PRODUCTS
Milk and other dairy products can cause pain to the digestive system, diarrheoa as well as food allergies.

RAW EGGS, MEAT and FISH
They contain bacteria which could lead to food poisoning. For raw eggs, there is a type of enzyme that interferes with the absorption of a particular vitamin which can cause skin and coat problems.

GRAPES, NUTS and RAISINS
There is possibility that it can cause kidney failure in dogs.

XYLITOL
A kind of sweetener found in candies and some baked products which could cause your dog's blood sugar level to decrease and possibly result in liver failure.

We hope that you have found the information useful.

So, the next time you think of feeding your dog leftovers from your dinner, think again! (:

Adapted from: Daily Infographic
Photo from: Dog Food Chat

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Beat the Monday Blues: Small Doggy steals food when Big Doggy isn't looking

Hi everyone! It's time for Beat the Monday Blues!

We found this short clip of a very sneaky small doggy. You have to watch this video to catch the little doggy in action!

It's the start of the September holidays and we hope you're having a great time!

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