Pet Care Tips: How often should you brush your dog?

Aside from bathing your dog, grooming is also important to promote good skin health. Grooming your dog's coat regularly also reduces the risk of your dog from having parasitic diseases. Furthermore, your waggie friend will also look and feel good!

But how often should you groom your dog? We go to great "lengths" to find out!

if your dog has a...

- Long Coat (such as German Shepherd, Collie, Old English Sheepdog, Spitzes)
Brushing daily is important to prevent hair from becoming tangled. Long-haired dogs should also be sent to the groomer once every three months.

- Short Coat (such as Corgi, Boxer, Whippet, Dachshund)
Daily to weekly brushing.

- Silky Coat (such as Yorkshire Terrier, Cocker Spaniels, Pekinese)
Daily brushing and combing is required. Once every three months, strip their coat and bathe them.

Note: Your dog's coat should only be brushed once it has dried, as wet hair is fragile and prone to breakage.

Make sure you bathe your dog at least once or twice a week. Bathing them more or less frequent could lead to dry skin/coat and skin problems. Always consult your vet on your dog's health matters. (:

For more information, please visit SPCA's website.

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

Creative Expression Competition: 5 minutes with Sharon, Noah's Ark CARES

If you have not submitted your Creative Expression Competition entries yet, don't panic! There's still time before we officially draw the curtain. We have another one of our judges, Ms Sharon Tang from Noah's Ark CARES to share with us a bit more about her thoughts on the competition and what our theme "Animals & Our Community" means to her.

Q: The theme for the creative expression competition is "Animals & Our Community". What do you think helps create a harmonious environment between animals and the community?

Tolerance and understanding. Seeking to find solutions to issues rather than complaining to authorities.

Q: What is the one message you would want to share with all the dog owners out there to encourage all of them to become more responsible pet owners?

Love your pet as you would love your family.

Q: How do you think this contest helps to raise awareness to the public and even dog owners?

Getting people to think more about creating a more harmonious living environment

Q: To help all our Creative Expression contestants out there, are there any words of encouragement that you would like to share with them and inspire them?

We tend to take many things for granted with out busy lifestyles. What we fail to do is take a moment to stop and think what our pets are telling us. We often feel this or that is good for the animal, but is it really what they need?

Q: As one of the judges for this competition, what style of creative expression appeals to you?

Relevant and should be sensitive to all racial groups.

Thank you Sharon for sharing with us. We hope you have enjoyed reading our "5 minutes with..." segments with all 9 of our Animal Welfare Group partners. All the best to all of you have submitted your entries. Stay tuned for more updates!

For more details on the Creative Expression Competition, visit www.petsforlife.com.sg/competition2012

Creative Expression Competition: 5 minutes with Betty, HRSS

By: Eugene Ko

The clock is ticking...and here we have Ms Betty Tan, President of the House Rabbit Society Singapore (HRSS) to share with us her thoughts on the theme "Animals & Our Community".

Q: Hi Betty! The theme for the creative expression competition is "Animals & Our Community". What do you think helps create a harmonious environment between animals and the community?

Tolerance and being considerate to one another. Not two persons are born or live alike, so everyone (animal-lovers or animal-neutral individuals) should strike a balance in keeping the community animals safe, and the people happy.

Q: What is the one message you would want to share with all the rabbit owners out there to encourage all of them to become more responsible pet owners?

You're nobody till somebunny loves you ! When you truly understand how to care for a rabbit, and spend your days loving one, the love and bond you enjoy with your rabbit will be special and long-lasting.

Q: How do you think this contest helps to raise awareness to the public and even rabbit owners?

Proper educational messages need not to be boring and coming from the authorities/societies. Everyone can be an educator in their own way, through fun and light-hearted way.

Q: To help all our Creative Expression contestants out there, are there any words of encouragement that you would like to share with them and inspire them?

Help someone learn something new today! Be an educator in your own way~

Q: As one of the judges for this competition, what style of creative expression appeals to you?

Pieces with little words but message being convey through pictures.

Thank you Betty! Yup that's right! All of us can share something educational and insightful with everyone else so take this chance and let your love for animals speak for you in this competition! Submission closes at 5pm today so keep all your entries coming in!

For more details on the Creative Expression Competition, visit www.petsforlife.com.sg/competition2012

Creative Expression Competition: 5 minutes with Durga, ACRES

Happy holidays everyone! Ms Durga Rajaindern from the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Singapore), ACRES is our featured judge in today's "5 minutes with..." special. Find out what she has to say about the Creative Expression Competition theme -; "Animals & Our Community" and what style of creative expression appeals to her (:

Q: The theme for this competition is "Animals & Our Community". What do you think helps create a harmonious environment between animals and the community?

In order to live harmoniously with animals, we need to go right back to basics and recognise that animals are sentient beings and can feel just as much as you and I can. Animals, regardless of whether they are domestic or wild, deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. We also need to try and understand animals and their behaviour. It is vital to remember that just because animals do not communicate with us in a way that we understand, it doesn't mean that they do not or are not able to communicate at all. We just need to be more aware of their communication patterns and styles in order to truly appreciate them for the unique beings that they are. There are plenty of studies and books out there to help us understand animal behaviour and communication forms. These books sometimes even give us the rare opportunity to experience life from their perspective.

I would highly encourage all those who care about animals to have a look at some of these materials to truly appreciate and understand animals so as to learn to live in harmony with them.

Wild animals are not meant to be pets.

Despite the fact that most exotic animals are illegal as pets in Singapore, ACRES rescues about 2 to 3 wild animals each month who have been abandoned in public places after being illegally kept as pets. Many people who keep wild animals as pets believe that giving them food and water is sufficient. However, wild animals need much more than that. It's hardly a good way of life: to be confined in a cage or tank day after day, with no fresh air or sunlight. These animals are usually given food that they normally wouldn't eat in the wild, resulting in them becoming very ill. There are many other welfare concerns as well. Visit the ACRES website at http://www.acres.org.sg/wildlifecrime/wildanimals.html to find out more.

Remember, if you really love wild animals, the best thing you can do for them is to leave them in the wild where they belong. We can never give wild animals the life that nature can provide for them.

Q: How do you think this competition helps to raise awareness to the public, including pet owners?

This contest is an excellent way to make pet owners think twice about the animals they have in their homes and the welfare concerns they need to address (which they might have overlooked or been unaware of). It aims to educate as much as inspire!

Q: To help all our Creative Expression contestants out there, are there any words of encouragement that you would like to share with them and inspire them?

Just have fun!

Q: Here is our last question and the question which all our contestants would want to hear! As one of the judges for this competition, what style of creative expression appeals to you?

Creativity is too immense to have preferences. I am open to any form of creative expression that shows deep compassion, respect, and understanding for animals and their needs. Ideally, submissions will convey strong messages about animal sentience and have inspiring visuals to add a touch of life to the theme of the contest.

All the best to all of you!

We hope that our interview with Durga has given you some inspiration to start working on your very own creative pieces. So don't wait! Submit your entries today! Closing date: Monday, 29 October 2012.

For more details on the Creative Expression Competition, visit www.petsforlife.com.sg/competition2012

Creative Expression Competition: 5 minutes with Selina, SPCA

By: Eugene Ko

We are just days away before we close the Creative Expression Competition for submission. Today, we have Ms Selina Sebastian from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) to give her take on the theme and also offer some word of advice to all our readers.

Q: The theme for the creative expressions contest is "Animals & Our Community". What do you think helps creates a harmonious environment between animals and the community?

Awareness and healthy tolerance of pets and community pets. This world does not belong to us alone. We share this world with other species and should learn to live in harmony with humans and animals alike.

Q: What is the one message you would want to share with all the pet owners out there to encourage all of them to become more responsible pet owners?

Pick up after your dog. It's as easy as "ABC" and D.

A: Put hand into a plastic bag (like a glove)
B: Pick up dog poo
C: Invert bag and tie it up
D: Throw in bin

Q: How do you think this contest helps to raise awareness to the public and even pet owners?

Any contest that focuses on responsible pet ownership is always welcomed. Quite simply, the awareness that comes from such competitions is invaluable and serves to educate at the same time. What a great way to kill two birds with one stone.

Q: To help all our Creative Expression contestants out there, are there any words of encouragement that you would like to share with them and inspire them?

This is a wonderful platform to spread an animal welfare message that you feel is important (and win attractive cash prizes too). Don't miss out on this great opportunity to share with Singapore what matters to you because the SPCA , AVA and other animal welfare groups cannot do it alone. We need to know that you all are behind us to improve the lives of animals and human alike. We all must work together to make a difference for the animals!

Q: As a judge for this competition, what style of creative expression appeals to you?

I think the emotional angle will definitely appeal to me. The experience one has had with a community or owned pet and how it has affected their thinking about animals in a positive way is always special and I love reading stories and life lessons that centre around that.

Thank you Selina for sharing! I love the "ABCD" message which she has just shared with all the dog owners out there! And in the same way, being part of this competition is also as simple as ABCD! All you have to do is think of what "Animals and Our Community" mean to you, put your thoughts into a creative form (writings, paintings, singing, dancing, whatever you do best!) and simply submit! So get your creative work submitted quickly because the submission ends on Monday, 29 October!

For more details on the Creative Expression Competition, visit www.petsforlife.com.sg/competition2012

Beat the Monday Blues: Jesse the Superdog!

Hello everyone!

It's another brand new week! Ever wished your chores could magically disappear? Well with Jesse the Jack Russell Terrier (JRT), it might just be possible! JRTs are cheerful and devoted dogs that are almost fearless. They're also known to be extremely playful and intelligent canines, thus enabling them to pick up tricks fast! In this video, Jesse shows us how clever and diligent she is! I'm sure all of us would certainly want our dog to be able to help us alleviate some of our chores!

I hope the video has brightened up your day! You can all hope and pray but there will surely not be a Jack Russell that will do your homework or work on your behalf so get doing what you have to do and make the most of the day! (:

Be a part of the most exciting group by joining our "A Pet is For Life" Facebook group and follow us on Twitter.

Pet Adoption Friday: Raoul from Save Our Street Dogs

Raoul is a good boy who wishes for nothing more than a chance of warmth, security and love of a forever family. He is young and a sweetheart, too sweet to be living a harsh street life. He belongs to a loving home.

Breed: Local Cross
Age: 1 year old (Male)
Size (Full Grown): Medium
Personality: Obedient and mellow
Characteristics: Gentle spirit
Good with children: Yes
Good with other dogs: Yes
Health: Good
Vaccinated: Yes
Sterilized: Yes

If you wish to adopt Raoul, please send an email to sostreetdog@gmail.com.

To visit Save Our Street Dogs' Facebook page, click here.

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

Creative Expression Competition: 5 minutes with Christine, ALL

By: Eugene Ko

We are back with our "5 Minutes with..." special - our very own Creative Expression Competition "cheat" sheet! Though we can't provide you with the winning formula, we would still love to help all of you! This time we have Ms Christine from Animal Lovers League (ALL) to tell us what she thinks about the theme of "Animals & Our Community"

Christine and a rescued dog, Hilda

Q: Hello Ms Christine, the theme for the creative expressions contest is "Animals & Our Community". What do you think helps create a harmonious environment between animals and the community?

An environment in which we are responsible owners and clean up after our pets and have them on leash.

Q: What is the one message you would want to share with all the dog owners out there to encourage all of them to become more responsible pet owners?

A pet is for life. Good owners must be willing to care for them medically and food wise in the long run regardless of any changes in ones' lifestyle

Q: How do you think this contest helps to raise awareness to the public and even dog owners?

It reminds owners that to their pets they are everything hence one must be committed and be willing to care for them for a lifetime.

Q: To help all our Creative Expression contestants out there, are there any words of encouragement that you would like to share with them and inspire them?

Think of how wonderful pets are and how we need to be just as great owners to them.

Q: As a judge for this competition, what style of creative expression appeals to you?

One that showcases how the owner is responsible for the welfare of his pet and how this brings joy to both.

Thank you Christine for your helpful insight! Stay tuned for more "5 Minutes with..." from us and keep those creative pieces coming in! We are days away before the contest closes so hurry! (:

For more details on the Creative Expression Competition, visit www.petsforlife.com.sg/competition2012

Pet Care Tips: What's wrong with Hammie chewing the bar?

Notice that your hamster has been chewing on the wire bars of his cage lately? This means that his teeth are probably a little overgrown.

Hamsters have teeth that grow throughout their lives. Hamsters can starve if their incisors over-grow and prevent them from eating.

So what can you do to prevent this from happening?

Provide them with gnawing toys
You can give them wooden blocks and mineral sticks which help keep their over-growing teeth stay at a manageable length. Always consider the safety of your hamster when getting toys for them. Not only must they not be sharp or have the potential to become detached, they must also be non-toxic if they're coated with a layer of paint (there are pet safe dyes/paints).

Bring your hamster to the vet!
Make an appointment with your veterinarian to have your hamster's incisors trimmed regularly.

For more information on hamster care, please visit SPCA's and ASPCA's websites.

Photo from: Taylor Life Science

Look out for more Pet Care Tips by going through the entire collection here.

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

Special Feature: Pets In Art - Puppy Eyes

Hello everyone!

Welcome back for another segment of Pets In Art! My friend and I were in Johor Bahru for breakfast one morning and we saw this cat that came and sat by our table! It was begging for food and it did so really well! So I distracted it while my friend snapped away to get this extremely great shot!

Picture taken and edited by: Abel Koh

I often see this cat and I saw it grow up from a kitten in the hawker centre so I knew that was a community stray that lived there. So, today I titled my poem, "Puppy eyes", to show the plight of these cats.

Puppy Eyes

Puppy eyes puppy eyes I look I stare

I wonder if you've any food to spare I leap

I cry I am full of noise my fur its gleam

still little but bright my life its poise

now like a toy

I wish I was a cat I am to not look at people

with puppy eyes again.

By Eugene Ko

Missed the first Pets In Art post? Click here.

Join our "A Pet is For Life" Facebook group and follow us on Twitter for more news and updates (:

Creative Expression Competition: 5 minutes with Judie, HSS

By: Eugene Ko

Hello everyone! Today, we have Ms Judie Chang from Humane Society Singapore (HSS) to give us her take on the theme of "Animals & Our Community" (:

Q: The theme for the creative expression competition is "Animals & Our Community". What do you think helps create a harmonious environment between animals and the community?

Respect. Mutual respect for every individual, regardless of species, is very important. Even if you are not an animal-lover, respect and acknowledge their existence. Most people are also not aware that community animals can awaken compassion and transcend all barriers.

"In 2007, a mongrel has managed to do what grassroots organisations, religious bodies and Government organisations have long strived to achieve: A common bond, a warm sense of belonging and harmony among neighbours. Blackie the stray has become a pet - and passionate - cause for residents from 11 blocks at Yishun Street 81. They are a diverse lot - young, old, married, single, - from all races and religions. Alas, today, the last day of the Year of the Dog, brings news that Blackie's days may be numbered. Blackie has been living in Yishun Street 81 for the past three years. In that time, she has touched the lives of many of the resident there so much that she has brought residents from 11 blocks together to fight to keep her alive." The Newpaper, February 2007

Nevertheless, pet owners have to be responsible for their pets and be considerate towards the community.

Q: What is the one message you would want to share with all the dog owners out there to encourage all of them to become more responsible pet owners?

In order to co-exist, pet owners should be respectful of other people's beliefs, culture and space.

Q: How do you think this contest helps to raise awareness to the public and even dog owners?

This provides a time for reflection and an excellent channel for members of the public to express their thoughts and to raise awareness.

Q: To help all our Creative Expression contestants out there, are there any words of encouragement that you would like to share with them and inspire them?

By participating in this context, they are making a significant effort in culling ignorance which in most cases is the root of the misunderstanding. When people become more aware, they will start to be more responsible for their action.

Q: As judges for this competition, what style of creative expression appeals to you?

As long as the work is authentic and expresses the soul.

Thank you Judie for your time and for sharing with all of us! Now it's your turn to think about what "Animals and Our Community" mean to you and submit your creative work by the 29th of October! It is that simple! So get thinking and get creative! All the best!~

For more details on the Creative Expression Competition, visit www.petsforlife.com.sg/competition2012

Creative Expression Competition: 5 Minutes with Beulah, SOSD

by Eugene Ko

Hello everyone!

With the closing date of the Creative Expression Competition coming in less than a week, the heat is up! Here to share with you some words of encouragement, we have Ms Beulah Foo from Save Our Street Dogs (SOSD). Let's find out what she thinks about the theme of "Animals and Our Community"!

Q: Hello Ms Beulah! The theme for the creative expressions contest is "Animals & Our Community". What do you think helps create a harmonious environment between animals and the community?

Animals are created species like human beings and we all share this common space on earth. There can never be harmony if there is ill tolerance and ill consideration - it goes both ways.

If pet owners will exercise due consideration in ensuring that their pets do not cause disturbances to their neighbours, and if non-loving neighbours will exercise kind tolerance and understanding that animals are sentient beings that are capable of experiencing the most human-like emotions, a harmonious environment between animals and our community can be much better managed. It is about being kind and compassionate towards lives, humans and animals alike.

Q: What is the one message you would want to share with all the dog owners out there to encourage all of them to become more responsible pet owners?

Don't do to others what you don't want others do to you - Be kind to your animals, be kind to your neighbours. Not everyone is an animal lover, so one small act of kindness and consideration can go a long way.

Q: How do you think this contest helps to raise awareness to the public and even dog owners?

We need public campaigns to educate and share the awareness of social issues in our community. A contest like this helps bring the message across on a wider scale, to remind us all (animal lovers and non-animal lovers), that harmony involves everyone, not just an individual.

Q: To help all our Creative Expression Contestants out there, are there any words of encouragement that you would like to share with them and inspire them?

Don't be afraid to be a voice. See through the eyes of your heart, hear through your conscience - they will give you wings to your creative expression.

Q: As one of the judges for this competition, what style of creative expression appeals to you?

One that is bold yet humble, creative yet simple to understand.

Thank you Beulah! I am sure her responses have helped many contestants out there to brainstorm as well as to craft out more creative work! We will be back with more "5 Minutes with..." articles very soon. On that note, keep going everyone! We're looking forward to seeing all your submissions!

For more details on the Creative Expression Competition, visit www.petsforlife.com.sg/competition2012

Beat the Monday Blues: "Frozen" in Time

It's a brand new Monday! And for all our Muslim friends out there, Happy Hari Raya Haji in advance! I'm sure all of our Muslim friends are busy preparing for Hari Raya this Friday so make the most of your time! School has also started for students studying in Polytechnic ITE institutions - we would like to wish you guys a great semester ahead! This week, let us show you something that will make you go "aww..." again and again and break you out of this mundane Monday!

Well, that's all from us here today! Have a great week ahead!

Be a part of the most exciting group by joining our "A Pet is For Life" Facebook group and follow us on Twitter.

Friends of The Animals: “Xiao Wang” aka Little Fortune

It's Friday, Friday! We've got a new "Friends of the Animals" post today! This round, our colleague, Dr Wendy Toh from the Animal Welfare Section, shares her stories about growing up with stray cats, hiding injured animals at home and her "Singapore Special" pet dog.

I have always loved animals since I was young. However, my passion for animals caused my mum much worry when I was growing up.

Back then, my parents were very busy with their work and did not have much time for me. So I would venture into the streets by myself to observe the birds and insects and play with stray cats. I would often forget the time, which resulted in my mum worrying if I was lost or abducted.

Although I was not allowed to have pets, whenever I found an injured animal, I would try to hide it in my room and try to nurse it back to health. My mum learnt of my antics and she would check my room now and then for animals. Thinking back, it's funny to remember the look on her face when she found the snake I kept in a container and the kitten I hid beneath my blankets.

When we moved to landed property, I was overjoyed as not only did I have more places to hide animals on the landed property, my parents decided to keep a dog to guard the house.

Through the years of keeping dogs as pets (which included a doberman, pinscher, mongrel, pekinese and poodle), my mum learnt to love dogs. Although it is a sad experience every time one of our pet dogs dies, the joy and company we derived from our pet dogs are worth the ups and downs we had to go through.

One of the dogs I now keep as a pet is Xiao Wang, a mongrel that I adopted from a local shelter two years ago. She was a timid little 4-month old mongrel dog back then. My mum named her Xiao Wang because it means "little fortune". (Yah, I know the name is a little tacky...Sorry mum!) Xiao Wang has a special appearance as her coat is red in colour, but she had white "socks" on her feet. She also has a cute tail that curls like a corkscrew, which does a circular "dancing move" whenever she is happy.

While Xiao Wang quickly grew accustomed to our household, she had a couple of quirks to overcome. She was terrified of men and would pee whenever she was excited. My husband (who was my boyfriend back then) had to coax her several times with food before she would let him pat her head. She would also urinate out of excitement whenever I returned home. Aside from her quirks, Xiao Wang is a happy dog who does not ask much from people. We had to be patient with her and make her learning process fun as strict discipline does not work for her. It took some time before Xiao Wang grew confident and stopped her quirks.

However, keeping a pet is not without its difficulties. Sometimes, despite being sick or feeling tired after a difficult day at work, I still have to walk my dog. Thankfully, my husband and his family love animals so they help out whenever they can.

I also have had to deal with non-dog lovers in my area. Not everyone likes animals and we have to respect that. I have learnt that conflicts can be avoided or smoothened out if we practice more tactfulness, patience and understanding. We also have to do our part by keeping our dog leashed during walks and pick up our dog's poo so that other people will not accidentally step on it.

Xiao Wang also never fails to cheer me up when things go wrong. Her happy face makes me feel that all troubles are temporary. Pets are wonderful companions and they open the door to which I see the world and they make my life much more meaningful. Thank you, Xiao Wang!

Pet Adoption Friday: Prince from Noah's Ark CARES

I currently have a skin condition as well as a huge lump on my right hind leg. But ever since a few kind-hearted caregivers took care of me, my condition is improving and I am recovering well! I am a happy-go-lucky boy; I cherish each minute of my life and I look forward to a permanent home soon.

Name: Prince
Gender: Male
Breed: Jack Russell Terrier (wire coat)
Age: 8 years old
Size (Full Grown): Small
Personality: Active and loves to run around
Characteristics: Good with dogs in general, tends to bark at bigger dogs. No signs of aggression with humans or dogs
Health: Good -; healing from a previous skin condition
Vaccinated: Yes
Sterilized: Yes
Special Needs: Need to feed oral medication twice a day (Prince is very good with taking his supplements and medication)

If you would love to adopt me and have me become part of your fur-mily, please contact 97471339. I am a HDB-approved doggy. Please help me spread the word so I can find a home! Many woofy licks and kisses!

Interested parties please email to hammie1003@gmail.com or spread the word please! Thank you!

Do also visit Noah's Ark CARES official Facebook page for more information.

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

Creative Expression Competition: 5 Minutes with Ricky, ASD

by Eugene Ko

If you're still wondering whether to participate in our Creative Expression Competition, here are three reasons why you should:

  1. Cast some light! Your pet could become a star!
  2. Freeflow of expression! We accept ANY form of creative work.
  3. Win, win, win! There are cash prizes to be won!

We had the privilege of interviewing another special guest who's also a judge for the Creative Expression Competition. Let's find out from Ricky, the president of Action for Singapore Dogs (ASD) on how he feels about the theme and the competition!

Q: The theme for this competition is "Animals & Community". What do you think helps create a harmonious environment between animals and community?

Ultimately people are the ones that help create the harmony and synergy, and everyone has a part to play from the pet owners who must look after their pets responsibly and also be mindful of the sensitivities of others and the environment, to the community at large, who must recognize that animals have a part to play in people's lives of providing companionship and love, and that they are sentient beings, deserving of love and respect.

Q: As the president of ASD, what is one message you would want to share with all the dog owners out there to encourage all of them to become more responsible pet owners?

A dog is very much like a child, and quite different from say cats or rabbits. They do require mental as well as physical care and attention and taking care of these needs will essentially translate to them being well behaved and more endearing to others as well. However we must always keep in mind not everyone has the same mind set and we must also learn to respect and read into the sensitivities of others towards our dogs.

Q: How do you think this contest help raise awareness for the public, including dog owners?

Contests are always a good way to motivate and incentivise people and with a wide spectrum of people presenting their different perspectives of what the theme means, we can better understand the viewpoints of others.

Q: To help all our Creative Expression contestants out there, are there any words of encouragement that you would like to share with them and inspire them?

Animals have a part to play in our lives, and wouldn't it be wonderful to envision a world where animals help bond people together and all lived in peace and harmony ?

Q: Here is our last question and the question all our contest would want to hear! As a judge for this competition, what style of creative expression appeals to you?

Simple but poignant expressions of artistic form that is able to bring out the message

Thank you so much, Ricky! We hope Ricky's sharing has inspired you in many different facets about the animal scene here in Singapore but, for now, remember that the competition ends on the 29 October so, keep the entries coming in!

For more details on the Creative Expression Competition, visit www.petsforlife.com.sg/competition2012

Creative Expression Competition: Newsletters!

The competition is heating up!

In our previous Creative Expression Competition entries, we have featured some of the brilliant artworks (see our post on the 2011 RPO Art Competition winner's showcase) as well as our zocards designs from a few years back.

We have also produced some great newsletters such as the ones you see here:

This is an extract from our newsletter. It talks about what one can do to be a considerate pet owner. Being considerate of how our pets affect others will help to avoid unhappiness with our neighbours. Read the full article here.

In this extract of the article, it focuses more on the considerate dog ownership. Find out more by reading the full article here.

We hope that that the two newsletter articles featured have sparked some great ideas!

Besides sending us your drawings or photographs, you can also send us poems or even songs!
Impress us with your creative side!

SUBMIT YOUR ENTRIES TODAY!

For more information on the Creative Expression Competition 2012, please visit www.petsforlife.com.sg/competition2012

Grab our bus/train hangers!

When you catch the train home today, look up and see if our train hangers are there! Whether you're a cat, rabbit or dog person, there's definitely one for you. What's more, every train/bus hanger tells you more about our epic event that's coming up in early November and bonus, bonus, an attractive EZ-Link card sticker with the same design!

Grab them and share them with your friends. Snap some shots and post them on your favourite social media platform and remember to tag us! Be sure to join our "A Pet is For Life" Facebook group and also click the 'like' button on our AVA Facebook page. If you are using Twitter, you can also mention us in your tweets!

Pet Care Tips: Have you sterilised your bunny?

Sterilisation is a well-established and reliable method of preventing unwanted pets. It is a surgical procedure to remove the reproductive organs of animals.

Do you know that rabbits can be sterilised? We look at some of the reasons why YOU too should sterilise your rabbit!

Benefits of Sterilisation on rabbits:

1) They are healthier and live longer than unsterilised rabbits
The risk of reproductive cancers in female rabbits is greatly reduced. Male rabbits will live longer given that he will not be tempted to fight with other animals (cats, rabbits, etc) due to his sexual aggression.

2) They make better companions
Sterilised rabbits are generally calmer, more loving and dependable once the undeniable urge to mate has been removed.

3) Avoidance of obnoxious behaviour
It becomes much easier to litter-train male and female rabbits after they have been sterilised.

4) Reduce the stray population
There are already a lot of rabbits out there looking for homes. Adding on to the population is not really the thing to do because many of them are left to fend for themselves.

5) Sterilised rabbits can safely have a friend to play with
Rabbits are social animals and enjoy the company of other rabbits. Do keep in mind that unsterilised rabbits of the opposite sex should not be allowed to play or housed together.

Is surgery safe on rabbits?

Before going ahead with the procedure, always make sure to look for vets who have experience with small animal surgery/medicine.

How old can rabbits be sterilised?

Female rabbits can be sterilised from when they are 4 months old or when they have sexually matured. Male rabbits can be sterilised from when they are about 3.5 months old.

If you are not sure, do consult your veterinarian first.

For more information on sterilisation for rabbits, you may visit House Rabbit Society (USA) website and House Rabbit Society (Singapore) website.

Photo from: Animals Time

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Creative Expression Competition: 5 Minutes with Veron, CWS

By: Eugene Ko

This week, we have the privilege of speaking to Ms Veron Lau, the president of Cat Welfare Society. Veron is also one of the judges for this competition so contestants, take note!

Q. The theme for the competition is "Animals & Community". What do you think helps create a harmonious environment between animals and community?
I feel that any creative expression of "Animals & community" should emphasise the possibilities of co-existence of animals and pets with people. It should promote tolerance to animals from both pet owners as well as non-pet owners in the public and also tolerance between pet owners and the community. Educating others goes a long way in creating a harmonious environment as people would have better knowledge on animal behaviour and this would certainly remove the irrational fear that people have about animals.

Q. Being the president of the Cat Welfare Society, what is one message you would want to share with all the cat owners out there to encourage all of them to become more responsible pet owners?
Love, for better or for worse. Pets are not playthings and our love for them should always be there whether things are good or not so good. Our love should inspire others to think about our pets positively and that means ensuring that they are taken care of unconditionally and responsibly.

Q. How do you think this competition help to raise awareness for the public, including cat owners?
It would surely make people think about the issue of animals and community.

Q. To help all our Creative Expression contestants out there, do you have a tagline to share with them and inspire them?
Real love comes with real respect for our animals and those around us.

Q. I am sure all the Creative Expression contestants would certainly be looking to impress the judges. As a judge, what appeals to you?
I look for sincerity and heart and soul in a creative work! Such work would certainly appeal to me!

And that's it from the cat woman in charge! A big THANK YOU to Veron and we are certain her words are invaluable to our readers. We're also sure that you are inspired now to join us in this competition.

If you're wondering where you can submit your works, simply click here! Keep your entries coming in quickly because the contest closes on the 29 October! Get hands-on and creative!

We look forward to seeing your creations!

Beat the Monday Blues: (s)talking cat!

Hello everyone!

It is a new week! Doesn't time go by so quickly? In a blink of an eye the academic year for most students must be coming to the end which also means that the year is coming to an end very soon! (not true for all students. Most primary school kids still have not started exams...) Time sure sneaks up on us when we're busy! And well here is a cat that is equally sneaky...

Have a great and productive week!

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Pet Adoption Friday: Timmy and Angela from Humane Society Singapore

Name: Timmy
Gender: Male
Breed: Schnauzer
Age: 8 years old
Size (Full Grown): Small (Suitable for HDB)
Personality: Playful and happy.
Characteristics: Very trusting and happy
Good with other dogs: Good
Toilet trained: No
Health: Excellent
Vaccinated: Yes
Sterilized: No
Special Needs: Due to his eyesight, he would not feel secure to go for walks. He would also need a lot of patience and love when he is adapting to the new household.

Name: Angela
Gender: Female
Breed: Shih Tzu
Age: 8 years old
Size (Full Grown): Small (Suitable for HDB)
Personality: Playful, active and happy
Characteristics: Very trusting and bubbly
Good with other dogs: Good
Toilet trained: No
Health: Good
Vaccinated: Yes
Sterilized: Not sure
Special Needs: Lots of playtime!

Timmy and Angela can be adopted separately.

If you wish to adopt Timmy or Angela, please send in your email to judie.chang@humanesocietysingapore.org

You may also wish to visit HSS' Facebook page.

This information is also available on our A Pet is For Life Facebook Group. Join us!

Pre-Event Highlights: Pets' Day Out

Click on the poster for more details!

Venue: Hard Court @ Blk 93
Date: Saturday, 13 October 2012
Time: 1pm - 5pm

Bring your pets out and join us this Saturday for an afternoon of fun! We are going to be at the Pets' Day Out event!

AVA will have a booth where we will be playing exciting games like our all-time favourite Mix and Match game and Jigsaw Puzzle - suitable for all ages! Plus, swing by around 2.30pm as we will be conducting a talk on how to be a responsible pet owner. You will not want to miss this (:

Plus! You can also take part in contests, receive dog training tips and much, much more!

Admission is FREE*

*You get to bring home a goodie bag when you purchase a $3 or $5 participation fee! More details, log on to www.one.pa.gov.sg and register using the following code : A19104458 .

We hope to see you and your family this Saturday!

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Creative Expression Competition: RPO Art Competition 2011 - Winner's Showcase!

For the past few years, AVA has organised art competitions where primary and secondary school students from all over Singapore were invited to take part and submit their entries. Not forgetting, we also had an open category for all.

Here's a look at some of the artwork that clinched the top prize in the respective categories in last year's RPO Art Competition!

by Chua Xin Yi Rachel, Category A - Primary 1 - 3

by Tan Yew Lu Keefe , Category B - Primary 4 - 6

by Caroline Sartono, Category C - Secondary 1 & 2

by Kimberly Ang So Yi, Category D - Secondary 3 & 4

by Filzah Amalia Rahmat, Category E - Open Category

The art pieces you see above shows the different ways of portraying the theme for last year "A Pet is For Life". Pets are for life and abandoning them should never be an option. With a little imagination, you can create brilliant masterpieces just by letting your creativity flow.

The winner's artwork were also printed onto pocket calendars which was given out at last year's RPO Roadshow!

This year, we are doing things a little differently with the introduction of the Creative Expression Competition 2012!

Working with this year's theme of Animals & Our Community, we want to see how you can portray this theme into your own artwork!

The competition is already up and running! What are you waiting for? Submit your entries today and you might just be our next winner!

For more information on this competition, visit www.petsforlife.com.sg/competition2012!

Pet Care Tips: I "meow" it that way...

We kick off today's Pet Care Tips with a very adorable video of cats meowing. (:

When cats meow, it is their way communicating with people.

Here's an interesting fact: Do you know that adult cats do not actually meow at each other? They do it when they are still a kitten so as to let their mother know if they are cold or hungry but not actually at other cats! They will however continue to meow to people throughout their lives because it is their way of getting people to do things for them.

Cats meow because...

1) it is their way of greeting people - they greet you when you come home from a long day at school or at work and sometimes when you speak to them

2) they want your attention - they enjoy social contact with people. Often, cats that are left home alone for long periods of time tend to meow more a little more than others

3) they are hungry - there is a saying that "A hungry man is an angry man". Cats can get a little bit demanding around mealtimes. You may have a cat that meow to wake you up in the morning to serve them a breakfast.

4) they may suffer from mental confusion or cognitive dysfunction which makes them meow when they become disoriented - this is the feline version of Alzheimer's Disease which is quite a common ailment to hit the elderly.

5) they want to mate! - When your cat's meow is getting a little too excessive, she is most likely to be in heat. This is also called caterwauling and it can be prevented by sterilisation. Sterilisation is healthy and cats that have been sterilised are generally calmer and they tend to live a little longer because the chances of getting cancer is greatly reduced.

So now that you know the reasons why your cats meow, make sure it does not become too noisy or it might be uncomfortable to others.

Adapted from: SPCA and ASPCA
Video from: Youtube

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Special Feature: Pets In Art - Perspective

Hey everyone!

Starting this week we'll be having a new feature on our blog called Pets in Art that showcases pictures of pets that I see around my neighbourhood and a short little poem that accompanies the picture! So do check out this space every Wednesday fortnight for more of Pets in Art!

So here's one to kick start this feature (:

Perspective

Summer and slumber are words together

Beneath some flowers and rake standing potted

Secure and comfortable, I wake I sleep

But somewhat wishing you'd keep me in

For slightest rattle I jolt my sleep

Be it from drains or running kids so

Perhaps maybe from a new perspective

I wished somehow you'd tuck me in

That's all from me guys! Hope you all enjoyed my picture as well as the poem I wrote! Have a great Wednesday!

- Eugene

Want to know more about our new writer? Click here for his introduction blogpost!

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Meet Pet Central's new writer, Eugene Ko from Ngee Ann Poly!

We are proud to introduce to you our new writer that just joined the Pet Central family! Hooray!

Eugene Ko, a student in the Diploma in Child Psychology and Early Education is currently in his final year at Ngee Ann Polytechnic. As part of the writing and publishing track, he will be writing some of the pieces that you will get to read here on Pet Central. Expect to read more from him as he will take over the Beat the Monday Blues blogposts as well as new and interesting feature stories coming to you very soon!

Here's more from the man himself:

Hi everyone!

I am Eugene and it is nice to meet all of you! I will be a new guest writer for the pets for life blog as part of my final year project in Ngee Ann Polytechnic. I will be writing the Beat the Monday Blues, Pets in Arts section as well as some features in the blog so you'll be seeing me more often very soon! I am currently finishing my final year at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, in the writing and publishing track of the diploma in Child Psychology and Early Education. Some of the things I enjoy doing are skating, playing on my guitar as well as playing soccer in my free time!

I hope that as I write for the blog and be more involved in the RPO team I would learn a lot more about pet welfare and rights issues and become a better contributor to these issues myself!

I look forward to writing for all of you and hearing from all of you as well! Cheers!

P.S For all you pet lovers out there I am a huge lover of dogs!

Can't wait to read the new Pets in Arts article series? You have to wait a just little bit more as the first article will be posted here tomorrow! So be sure to come back here again!

In the meantime, join us at the "A Pet is For Life" Facebook group where we have lots of interesting news and stories to share with you! Be sure to also send your tweets to us on Twitter!

Creative Expression Competition: Who's Guilty?

Need some ideas to get you started on your Creative Expression piece? Check these out!

The above are visuals on our zocards from a few years back.

Leashing your dog in public and training him to prevent excessive barking are some examples of what a considerate pet owner should do. Being considerate of how our pets affect others will help to avoid unhappiness with our neighbours.

Now that you have a better idea, we want to see YOUR creative work!

Submissions are now open so keep those entries coming in and who knows, you might walk away with some of our cash prizes!

Log on to www.petsforlife.com.sg/competition2012 for contest details.

Beat the Monday Blues: Wonder-doggy plays "Simon Says"!

Hello everybody! It is a new Monday and all of us are back in school or at work and since we just celebrated Children's Day, let us beat all your Monday moodiness away with some childhood games! I'm sure all of us have played some form of the game Simon Says and apparently this dog has too...

Well that is all from us today! Monday will only get you down if you let it! Have a great day and week ahead and watch this space again next Monday!

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Friends of The Animals: B-Bit the inspirational bunny – how I became a fighter for house rabbits by Jacelyn Heng, Vice-President, HRSS

It's Friday! As we look forward to the weekend, let's kick back, relax and read how B-Bit and Jacelyn, Vice-President of the House Rabbit Society of Singapore (HRSS) work their way to a better tomorrow for all pet rabbits in Singapore!

That's B-Bit and I. B-Bit came into my life in March 2003. Probably abandoned, he was picked up by my brother from an open field near our house. When my brother first found him, he was a little malnourished but otherwise a-okay.

I have always loved bunnies since young but never had a chance to keep any bunny as a pet in the past so you could imagine my excitement to see B-Bit in the house. I was overjoyed when my family allowed B-Bit to become a citizen at home and readily took on the responsibility to care for him.

B-Bit is intelligent and affectionate. While most may assume that rabbits are simple-minded creatures, I can assure you they're not. Shortly after we started our relationship, I discovered that

- B-Bit can be litter-trained,
- He responses to his name when I call
- He reciprocates his love by licking me
- He shows his pleasure for free-roaming space and does binkies for me
- And many, many other experiences I can never finish sharing.

B-Bit may just be a common albino rabbit but to me, he's that fluffy angel on four legs. I love him to bits. He has been my best friend, confidante and companion through all my ups and downs these nine years. I continue to pray each day that B-Bit remains healthy and happy.

In the beginning, B-Bit's daily meals consisted only of carrots, fresh vegetables and water. After stumbling upon House Rabbit Society Singapore's (HRSS) website and reading up on it, I switched him to a healthier diet that includes unlimited timothy hay and limited pellets. HRSS' website provides comprehensive information on rabbit care which is very useful and practical for a first-time bunny owner like me.

Unknowingly, B-Bit introduced me to HRSS and kick-started my 'second' life as an advocate for house rabbits in Singapore.

Being a super bunny at HRSS

I was an ad-hoc volunteer with HRSS before being invited to join the committee. I guessed they saw my passion and enthusiasm in helping HRSS and its cause.

Starting out as the editor of The Bunny Thymes, I eventually took on other roles like being a designer and foster parent.

I remember it had been particularly stressful for me as President of HRSS last year as it was the Year of the Rabbit. I had been at the helm from 2010 till this year and was worried about the sharp increase in number of abandoned rabbits that could arise after the impulse purchases of people.

At times, I am ashamed of bunny parents who choose the easy way out to give up their rabbits at the drop of a pin. A pet is a lifetime commitment; not a short-lived affair with an inanimate object.

Gains and pains of fostering

My first foster rabbits were Chocolate and Charcoal of whom I adopted eventually. Chocolate passed on in 2008 and Charcoal passed on this July due to old age.

The fostering portfolio I took is back-breaking work. Not only is it time-consuming to travel and conduct house visits at potential fosterer/adopters', it is also crucial that these people learn the right bunny care and housing tips. If screening is done improperly, bunnies could end up coming back to us again.

Throughout these years of rescue work, I rescued and rehoming countless rabbits but the two special rabbits that won my heart are Nozie boy and Bell boy.

Nozie and Bell were two happy-go-lucky boys that were rescued separately. What connected me to them was both had head-tilt problem and it never went away. Both eventually found homes with me and we began a new life chapter together.

Parting note

These seven years with HRSS has not been easy or smooth-sailing. It has been mentally, emotionally and physically tiring as I struggle to juggle a demanding full-time career, maintain the works of HRSS and taking care of the 13 rabbits (two are my current foster rabbits) at home.

Without compassion and love for these adorable rabbits which need us to be there for them, I doubt I would have survived so long.

Pet Adoption Friday: Tuxedo from House Rabbit Society Singapore

The award for most photogenic rabbit goes to: Tuxedo!

Tuxedo is a very friendly and polite young lad. He wears a little black vest which makes him extremely handsome! Despite being a young teenage boy, he has very good toilet habits!

Name: Tuxedo
Gender: Male
Age: 2 years old
Breed: Local
Health: Good
Sterilized: Yes
Litter Trained: Yes

Personality: He has a sweet temperament and loves company. Tuxedo can be handled fairly easily when he learns to trust you. Like all rabbits, he loves his food!

Tuxedo will thrive in an active home where he will gets lots of attention and interaction with his humans.

If you wish to give a home to charming Tuxedo, please send an email to information@hrss.net.

For more information, visit www.hrss.net and their Facebook page.

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

Creative Expression Competition: Model Neighbourliness (Cat Welfare Society)

The calendar shows why people need to take more interests in their neighbours and their needs. In this case, while the old lady may be in her own way disturbing her neighbours but we wonder if the neighbours had taken time to understand her situation and to connect with her before making a complaint to authorities.

More leeway can definitely be given to the old and the otherwise underprivileged amongst us. But what excuse do the rest of us have?

Yes, we may love our pet. But as cat owners, we also need to bear in mind that others may not share our view and preempt the issues before they become escalated. Tell your pet how much you love her but keep it soft. Not only is it gentle and soothing to your pet, you're also acknowledging that her acute senses are so intertwined with yours that she knows exactly what you mean to her without much spoken words. Now, hear her purr in contentment. Lay back and enjoy this marvelous thing called considerate pet ownership.

Show what it means to "Be a considerate pet owner", "Contribute positively to animal welfare" or "Resolve pet issues amicably" and you stand to win cash prizes!

Any creative work can be submitted, such as photographs, poems, stories, digital imaging, videos, songs, illustrations, etc.

Attractive cash prizes to be given away. Contest starts 8 October.

For more information, please visit the competition page.

Post-Event Highlights: September events recap! (with BONUS FEATURE! You have to scroll down to check it out!)

AVA was invited to support 3 wonderful events in September! We couldn't have been more delighted! Thank you for your support if you had been there with us to join in the fun!

Let's take a lookback at all the exciting things that took place at the respective events!

Event #1 - Kembangan - Chai Chee Multi - Racial Lantern Festival 2012
Date: 23 September 2012
Time: 6.30pm
Venue: Blk 35 Chai Chee Avenue Open Plaza

AVA's RPO team was invited to the Multi-Racial Lantern Festival celebration by Kembangan - Chai Chee to share with its residents what responsible pet ownership means. We also had the opportunity to soak in the festive atmosphere with the residents of Chai Chee Avenue. We met so many people, both young and old!

Beautiful lanterns fill the air

If grandpa can play Mix and Match, so can you!

Stage activities kept the crowd entertained throughout the event!

Event #2 - Global Indian International School Environmental Day
Date: 25 September 2012
Time: 10.00am
Venue: Global Indian International School (Balestier Campus)

AVA's RPO and Food Safety public education programmes were invited to celebrate Global Indian International School's Environmental Day 2012 with its bubbly pupils. We had a great time spreading the message on RPO with the students through our interactive games!

Our friends from Food Safety were also there!

We played games with the students (boy, we were popular!)

Look at the lines of students just eager to play our games!

Happy students with their goodie packs (:

Look! Our colleague, Poh Choo with a new friend she met at the school. Resident kitty actually has a deformed front limb but is otherwise in great spirits!

And our wacky colleague, Syawal became best buddies with the school's mascot!

Event #3 - SPCA World Animal Day
Date: 30 September 2012
Time: 10.30am
Venue: East Coast Park

SPCA held its annual World Animal Day event to commemorate its 65th Anniversary celebration and for the first time ever, AVA's RPO team was invited! What a privilege and honour for us to be there!

Welcome to SPCA World Animal Day!

This year's theme: "Keep The Love, End The Neglect" Be a responsible pet owner!

Our bubbly colleague, Phyllis, always ready to share information on RPO!

If you would like AVA to add spunk to your event too, send in your application requests by filling in the e-form here: http://petsforlife.com.sg/avaoffice/community-form.html

BONUS FEATURE

And now....Here's a special preview of "When Kitty met Waggie"

And they became the best of friends!

- The End -

Join us as a member of our "A Pet is For Life" Facebook group and follow us on Twitter for more news and updates!

Pet Care Tips: 10 signs your doggy is under the weather

Lethargy, non-stop sneezing and coughing are some of the common symptoms we usually get when we are unwell. Do you know that these symptoms are also the same for our canine friends?

So how can you tell if something's amiss? Look no further as we've got a checklist right here for you!

My doggy is sick when he...

1. is shivering, trembling or panting. This could mean that he is down with fever.
2. is vomitting, having diarrhoea, sneezing, coughing or wheezing
3. has poor or reduced appetite
4. has difficulty in breathing
5. has a sudden increase of need to pee and poo
6. has discharges from his eyes or nose
7. has blood in his urine, faeces or vomit
8. has a drastic decrease in weight loss
9. starts walking in circles
10. keeps tilting his head to one side

If your dog has any of the above symptoms, please bring him to see the vet as soon as possible to seek medical attention. Always remember, early detection could save Waggie's life.

Adapted from: SPCA Singapore
Photo from: Modern Dog Magazine

Missed out on our previous Pet Care Tips, search through the entire collection here.

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Beat the Monday Blues: Rolling in the deep, deep sand...

It's Monday and also the first day of October! There is no reason to feel blue because we have a video of two very irresistible chinchillas taking a sand bath, guaranteed to chase those blues away!

Chin-chins can't really rock but they sure can roll! (see what we did there?)

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