Animation Video: A Pet is a Lifetime Commitment

Follow the lives of two families as they become first-time pet owners in "A Pet is a Lifetime Commitment" and you will learn that a lot of preparation is needed before you welcome a pet home.

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Animation Video: Be A Considerate Pet Owner

Learn useful tips on building a friendly neighbourhood for animals and our community in the "Be a Considerate Pet Owner" video! And ensure that none of our neighbours will have to go through such an unpleasant day like the man in the video.

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Animation Video: Sterilise Your Pet to Prevent Unwanted Litters

"Sterilise Your Pet to Prevent Unwanted Litters" is a humorous and educational video which encourages us to sterilise our pets. We will not want that undesirable situation of having too many unwanted kittens to happen to us right?

Do keep a lookout for our RPO heroes (see above) in the video, as they make their cameo appearances in some of the scenes! Then, log on to our AVA Facebook Page to answer a simple question and you can stand a chance to win a pair of movie tickets!

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Animation Video: Do Not Abandon Your Pet

To be abandoned by your closest one is definitely not a pleasant experience. Our animation video "Do Not Abandon Your Pet" reminds you that you should never do the same to your pet, as it will also be a painful experience for your pet.

We will be sharing more animations in the upcoming weeks so watch out for them. We will also be holding a contest related to the videos soon, so do stay with us for updates!

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Post-Event Highlights: Heart For Animals

What a fun weekend it was! On 18th and 19th May 2013, AVA was at the Heart for Animals event at City Square Mall. The event that was co-organised with Republic Polytechnic saw many pets such as cats, rabbits and small animals put up for adoption. There were also booths by some of the Animal Welfare Groups. Let's cut to the chase and view the photos taken at the event!

Our RP student volunteer explaining the RPO exhibits!

It's time to get those hands moving!

A boy having a go at our jigsaw puzzle game. Where should I put this piece?

I'm hungry! Food please?

Aww.. no more food!

Bunnies for adoption!

I'm dozing off... Play with me!

Hmm... should we adopt this one?

We are a pair! Adopt us together!

Were you there with us on that weekend? If you were, we'd like to see your photos! Tag us on our Facebook page, Facebook group or tweet to us on Twitter. We have more events coming up so stay with us for more updates.

So if you would like us to be part of your event, send us your request form by filling it up right here.

Pet Adoption Friday: Ginger from Cat Welfare Society

Name: Ginger
Gender: Female
Age: 2 years
Breed: Domestic Short Hair
Colour: Ginger

Ginger is a very sweet and affectionate girl, and loves to be tucked in to bed. She is very active and loves to run and play despite being a 3 legged cat. She is suited for a home with no other cats and that is cat proof (safe for cats to live in) due to her history of falling down.

If you wish to adopt Ginger, please send in an SMS to Sandra at 96406628.

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: Sengkang West EP Day & 7th Anniversary Celebration

Venue: Hardcourt opposite Anchorvale CC
Date: Saturday, 1 June 2013
Time: 4.00pm to 6.30pm

If you are free this coming Saturday, do join us at the basketball hardcourt opposite Anchorvale CC to celebrate Sengkang West's 7th anniversary. Drop by our booth and learn how to be a responsible pet owner by participating in our games and activities. Other games and dance performances by schools are also lined up just for you on this special day. Do not miss out on the lucky draw where you stand the chance to walk away with an iPad mini! Admission is free. (:

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Pet Care Tips: Malocclusion in Our Bunny Friends

In one of our past issues of Pet Care Tips, we have shared that a rabbit's diet consists of hay, pellets as well as vegetables. Click here if you have missed that article. They have hard and durable teeth for chewing grasses and leaves, and this helps break down the plant fibres for proper digestion. As the teeth grow throughout a rabbit's life, the teeth also need to be worn down constantly. When rabbits do not take in sufficient food rich in tough and fibrous plant matter such as hay and vegetables, or they are not given opportunity to chew on food such as apple, maple and willow branches, their teeth will not wear down properly and will overgrow. This causes their teeth to be misaligned - a condition which is called malocclusion.

When the teeth misalign, they cannot wear down naturally and will continuously grow. The top incisors will grow inwards towards the mouth while the bottom incisors will grow outwards. This is a painful condition for your bunny which may cause it to have difficulties eating and may lead it to starvation.

What causes malocclusion

Malocclusion in rabbits can be inherited or acquired. Acquired malocclusion occurs when the rabbit's teeth do not wear down over time due to lack of fibre in their diet, or when there is a direct impact on the teeth. Incidents such as breaking of a tooth or activities such as excessive biting of the cage wire can also cause the alignment of the incisors to change.

How to spot malocclusion

These are some of the symptoms that your pet bunny may have if it has malocclusion.

- Overgrown teeth is one of the most obvious signs of malocclusion
- Drooling is another symptom of malocclusion, which can cause dermatitis on the chin and chest
- Your rabbit may have a swollen jaw, or lumps on the outer cheek and under lower jaws due to abscesses
- Your rabbit may also have a decreased appetite or loss in weight due to eating difficulties

Do also note that some rabbits may not display any of these signs even though it has the condition.

Treatment for your bunny

As a prevention measure, bring your rabbit to the vet periodically to have the incisors trimmed by a veterinarian. Rabbit malocclusion is a serious condition and must be treated. If left untreated, this can cause your bunny to starve and suffers more pain. However, if the condition is severe, the veterinarian may even have to perform a surgical procedure to remove its teeth. If this happens, your rabbit will require a special diet which consists of moistened pellets, chopped up vegetables and hay. If you suspect that your pet rabbit has malocclusion, do not hesitate to bring it to the vet.

You can also do your part for your rabbit by watching its weight carefully and giving it food which it can chew on, such as apple branches and chew sticks. Be responsible for your bunny by providing it with a sufficient amount of hay, pellets and vegetables. A pet is a lifetime commitment, so do take good care of your pet!

Adapted from Rabbits For Pets and Zooh Corner Rabbit Rescue

Photos from Flickr, Cottontails Rescue and The Rabbit Advocate

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Name the RPO Hero Contest: Inspiration for the Names

Congratulations once again to the winners of the Name the RPO Hero Contest! Ever wondered what inspired our winners to give such meaningful names to our heroes? Read on to find out!

Pat the Rabbit

Pat was named after a rabbit owned by Ms Lena (winner of the contest for naming Pat), which her aunt had found abandoned in a carpark in the middle of the night. She had decided to name her rabbit Pat as she noticed that Pat is calmest whenever someone strokes her on the head. Pat now lives with two other rabbit boys whom she snuggles up with every day and night. Here is an adorable photo of Pat!

Hamochi the Hamster

The name Hamochi was inspired by the Gwiyomi song as it is a popular and cute song just like a hamster which has a cute and weak image due to its size. Though small, the hamster is capable of many things. Hamochi is a social savvy pet with many followers just like Gwiyomi which has become a hit.

Aiden the Cat

The name Aiden was derived from the word 'aid'. This name was given to our cat RPO hero in hopes that it will live up to its name and provide aid to the pitiful and helpless abandoned pets in Singapore!

Cherish the Dog

'Cherish' was thought to be a meaningful name for a pet. Pets should not be abandoned whatever the circumstances, and should be cherished dearly instead. Cherish is here to spread the message to the world that we should cherish our pets, or else they will perish!

You can check out the winning entries of the "Name the RPO Hero" contest in full here.

Beat the Monday Blues: The Best Listening Dog

How good are you at training your dog? You will feel that your efforts have paid off when your dog responds to all your commands, especially if you manage to train your dog to that extent! This dog in the video knows exactly what his owner wants him to do. It is incredible, but it takes lots of effort and patience. Without further ado, let's watch the video and listen to the hilarious conversation between the dog owner and his friend.

If you caught an interesting pet video recently, don't be shy. Share with us at our "A Pet is For Life" Facebook group or send us a tweet on Twitter.

Pet Adoption Friday: Leo and Michael from Animal Lovers League

Leo

Name - Leo
Gender - Male
Breed - Cross Breed
Size - Medium when fully grown
Health - Good
Age - 9 months
Vaccinated - Yes
Sterilized - Yes
Paper Trained - Yes
Basic Commands - Yes
Good w/ Children - Yes
Good w/ Pets - Yes

Leo was rescued by a volunteer at an MRT station. Leo is a bit nervous and will take a while to warm up. Once he gets more comfortable, he will be happy to play and enjoy the company of people.

Michael

Name - Michael
Gender - Male
Breed - Cross Breed
Size - Medium
Health - Good
Age - 9 months
Vaccinated - Yes
Sterilized - Yes
Paper Trained - No
Basic Commands - Partial
Good w/ Children - Yes
Good w/ Pets - Yes

Michael was found at an MRT station. He is shy, mild and gentle but takes a while to warm up.

If you are keen to adopt Leo and Michael*, you can contact Christine at 97937162 or send an email to general@animalloversleague.com. Please also send in info about your family, housing, pets if any.

*For Michael, you may also contact Marcus at 96973491

For more information, visit Animal Lovers League's (ALL) Facebook Page.

Be sure to also join our "A Pet is For Life" Facebook group and follow us on Twitter.

New Beginnings: Confessions of a Rabbit Lover

Meet Vik and his Band of Bunnies, Hoppy, Glen and Issac. The self-professed rabbit lover now shares his home with these three happy hoppers. Read on to learn more about his adoption journey.

(If you're keen to share your story or personal experience of adopting animals, do send us a message on Facebook! )

Baby Hoppy's first day at his new home, with us. <3

On January 2010 my life changed. I had gone to Novena Square and passed by a pet shop.

There were two baby Holland lop ears on display. This one interesting broken black lop ear caught my eye. He was darting across the container and standing on his hind legs craving for attention. Every shopping patron that passed by was attracted to this little bunny's antics. People would look at him and coo. "Look. Such a cute little fellow!"

I was one of those in the crowd and I asked my wife to come to Novena to see this little hopper. Looking at it took me back to 27 years ago, when I had my first pet rabbit, Ranny, and how much I enjoyed playing with her everyday. I started reminiscing my past and my relationship with bunnies. Ranny was given to us from a neighbour in the estate, well actually to my brother, as a gift. Then came Blackie, a male rabbit that my dad found in the school drain, abandoned and covered with ants. My dad brought it home for my family to take care of it and we had fun then. Both bunnies added life to our house.

A picture of my rescued rabbit Blackie and Ranny taken in 1983

Ok, let's get back to the present - it's February 2010 and after 20 plus years, I'm about to own a rabbit again. Rabbits are not toys, they are a long-term commitment. Having kept rabbits previously, I knew what I was getting into. I wanted to surprise my wife by getting us this little fella. We named him Hoppy, not an original one, but later nicknamed him Fatty.

He was the cutest rabbit I've owned!

Initially, he was seated quietly in his open cage but after a while, he came out and warmed up to us. He would follow us all around the house, run about and at times jump into the air, as if telling us that he was happy. He was very close to both my wife and I, and acted more like a little puppy than a rabbit! We would feed him, pat and cuddle him, though my wife seems to do it more than me.

Hoppy sleeping and relaxed, after a day of running about.

After doing a fair bit of research on rabbit care and checking with House Rabbit Society Singapore (HRSS), we realised that the pet shop had misinformed us about Hoppy's diet.

Before we got Hoppy, my wife had browsed HRSS's website for rabbits to adopt. At that time, with hardly any knowledge on abandoned rabbits, apart from my experience with Blackie, we feared that the rabbits that were up for adoption could be sickly or may be in poor health due to the abandonment by the previous owners. This perception was corrected when I adopted my rabbit Glen aka Whitey.

Introducing Glen, our first adopted rabbit from HRSS

Why I decided to adopt my next rabbit...

Well, Hoppy was getting very lonely when both of us were at work. One day, we came home during a thunderstorm, we found Hoppy in shock and very quiet, unlike his usual self and was crouching as if in a "chicken position". He even refused to eat. We patted him and spent half the night comforting him. Thank God he returned to his old self shortly after! I was prepared to send Hoppy to the vet if things didn't get better.

Hoppy & Glen all cuddled up on a cool afternoon

Hoppy and Glen, now best of buddies

During the last 2011 Singapore Elections, we adopted our first white rabbit. Hoppy was not used to another rabbit in the house and it became a political situation in our house. Hoppy had to share the house with an "opposition", and when he saw Glen he would run away or hide in a corner, intently watching his opponent. I called up the House Rabbit Society staff seeking for help and advice. Over time, with patience, love and care, we bonded the two rabbits and they became the best of friends.

In December 2012, we decided to give another rabbit hope. That was when Issac aka Tiny was introduced to the family. Glen and Issac would go into fights and I had to physically separate the two with my hands. I got bite marks when I tried to separate them from fighting and had to resort to spraying them with water to keep them separated. Even with our patience and care, we knew that getting them to bond was going to be a challenge. I never knew how territorial rabbits could get until I observed the major fights and bites between them.

The terror Issac, our second adopted bunny from HRSS

It was Glen's way of telling Issac to stay out of his territory or he will declare all war on him. The pair will try to bite each other even through the pent fencing! Issac was no pushover either and he would retaliate if Glen tried to bully him.

My lop eared Hoppy was like Switzerland. He was neutral to both and would selflessly cuddle with both rabbits. Glen got more jealous when Hoppy did that and even started to bully him. This was an unfamiliar territory for my wife and I. We had to bring out the "Big guns" and get HRSS's help to bring the three rabbits to a neutral ground to bond them.

My wife, Cynthia giving some love to Glen

We miss all three of them for about two and a half weeks but we know it had to be done to maintain peace and order in the house. With the help from HRSS's Betty, a rabbit whisperer, now Glen and Issac are more amicable with each other. Glen still chases Issac around the house but more to play with him than to bite.

I won't say there are no fights, or chases around the house when Issac goes into certain areas in the house but things are much better between them. Again it takes time for rabbits to bond, some faster than others. Well this is my adoption story and about the love these three bunnies have added to my home.

Pet Care Tips: It's Playtime with Kitty!

Pets love to play! If you have a cat at home, you should devote some time to play with it. Playing mimics their natural hunting instincts such as pouncing and batting. It is recommended that you spend at least ten minutes twice a day to entertain your feline pet. There are many games which you and your cat can play and have fun together, and we will be sharing some of these interesting games with you today.

Play toys

There are many toys that are available for cats. Some cats are attracted to toys that contain catnip, which is a natural herb, and is not harmful to cats. Most cats love to play with balls as the movement of a ball is similar to that of a prey. Therefore, one of the games you can play with the kitty is fetch, which may require some patience since cats usually do not return a tossed toy. Treat balls are great toys for cats too, and your feline pet will have to bat and spin the ball to get the treats inside. Battery-operated toys move objects around which will entice your cat to pounce. Your cat will have fun playing with these toys, while you will also enjoy watching the kitty play - it's the best of both worlds!

You can also make your own toys for your pet cat! Cats love chasing a "prey-on-string". Here are 5 simple steps for you to create a toy that you and your feline friend can enjoy together:

Step 1: Prepare a ball made of aluminium foil or use a catnip toy
Step 2: Tie the ball or toy to a 100 cm length of twine or heavy duty string. You may also attach the other end of the string to a stick or a rod.
Step 3: Dangle the toy or drag the toy along the floor in front of your feline friend. This should trigger a response from your cat to chase it.
Step 4: To make it more challenging, pull the string over obstacles such as books and furniture, or up and down the stairs.
Step 5: Allow your cat to catch the object once in a while so that it will feel confident and continue to play with you.

You should only buy toys that are specifically made for pets as some toys with small parts may not be suitable for rough play and can become a choking hazard for them. Cats should also not be left alone with the toys, especially the "prey-on-string" toy. Some cats may attempt to swallow parts of these toys which may put their life in danger.

Ninja "kitty" warrior

As cats love to climb and explore their surroundings, you can set up an obstacle course for your cat using items available in the house. Objects such as stacks of books, laundry baskets, hula hoops and boxes can be used for the obstacle course. After the "obstacle" has been set up, you can use a toy to walk the cat through the obstacles. After your cat has run through the obstacle a few times, see if it will attempt the course on its own. If it starts to get bored running through the obstacles, you can rearrange the objects to create a new challenge for your kitty.

Scratch on!

Most cats have a natural urge to scratch. Scratching helps your furry friend to stretch and exercise, and also file their nails at the same time! By providing cats appropriate scratching posts, you may save your precious sofas and curtains from unsightly scratch marks. Scratching posts are usually readily available for sale in pet shops, but if you are feeling adventurous, you may try making one out of cardboard yourself!

Cats are naturally inquisitive and like to climb and explore. When they tire, they enjoy observing the world from a high perch. You can set up a resting place near a closed window or cat perches in the house so that they can exercise by climbing within the safety of their homes.

It doesn't matter which games you choose to play with your cat, as the quality time you spend together with your pet is still the most important in bonding and letting your cat feel at home. Lastly, it is also good to take caution that cats may scratch or pounce when provoked. You should avoid grabbing the cat at its tails, ears and any other extremities. Never get your cat to swat at your hands or other parts of your body. Ensure that you know the proper way to handle a kitty before you play with one.

Adapted from Animal Planet and CatsPlay

Photos from: Flickr (1), (2), (3), (4) and (5)

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Beat the Monday Blues: Not the Bath Again?!

Some pets will do what they can to avoid getting wet in a bath, including playing dead! Watch the dog in this video try to trick its owner so that it won't have to make a trip to the bathroom. What will the dog's fate be in the end? Watch to find out!

If your pet does not like to be bathed and groomed too, be patient. You can consider feeding it with treats after a bath so that your pet will be more obliged to go into the water. Be a responsible pet owner and ensure the hygiene and health of your pet!

If you caught an interesting pet video recently, don't be shy. Share with us at our "A Pet is For Life" Facebook group or send us a tweet on Twitter.

Pet Adoption Friday: Kopi, Toffee and Fudge from Action for Singapore Dogs

Kopi

Name: Kopi
Gender: Male
Breed: Local-Cross
Age: 2 months old
HDB Approved: Not HDB-approved

This boy loves cuddles and one-on-one interactions. He is sweet but a little fearful and tends to get bullied by his siblings who can get very rough when they play.

Toffee

Name: Toffee
Gender: Male
Breed: Local-Cross
Age: 2 months old
HDB Approved: Not HDB-approved

Toffee is playful and always full of energy. He can cry the loudest when he isn't happy! He has been toilet-trained and will make an effort to look for the pee trays.

Fudge

Name: Fudge
Gender: Male
Breed: Local-Cross
Age: 2 months old
HDB Approved: Not HDB-approved

Fudge is a clever and playful boy. He is toilet-trained as well.

Kopi, Toffee and Fudge can be adopted separately. If you wish to adopt them or know more about them, please contact ASD at 6100 2737 or drop us a line at info@asdsingapore.com

Do 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: Common Skin Conditions in Dogs You Should Look Out For

If you notice your dog scratching itself excessively, or you start to see red spots on its body, it is likely to be suffering from a skin condition. Skin diseases, when severe and not addressed, can compromise the well-being of your dog and result in a poor quality of life. The good news is that skin diseases can often be easily detected. Today we will be touching on some of the common skin conditions that dogs can suffer from, and what you can do to help them.

A) Skin conditions and diseases

Atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is a common skin condition of dogs that is similar to eczema in humans. It is a skin allergy disease caused by hypersensitivity developed by the dog's immune system to common allergens in the environment. Some of the common allergens include house dust mites and pollen from grass and oil palm trees. Your dog may have atopic dermatitis if it has itchy red skin especially around the face, ears, abdominal skin and legs, thickened and discoloured skin, and fur loss.

Food allergy

Dogs can be allergic to the food they eat. If your dog itches after eating a specific type of food, it may be suffering from a food allergy. A food allergy can develop from any type of food but is commonly associated with the protein in food such as dairy products, beef, chicken, wheat and corn. Food allergy can manifest as skin disease and the symptoms include itchy red skin, fur loss, and rashes. Some dogs may also develop gastrointestinal signs such as vomiting and diarrhoea.

Fleas, ticks and lice

Dogs can also develop skin allergy to external parasites such as fleas, ticks and lice. As the fleas, ticks or lice feed on dog's skin, their bite or saliva can stimulate the dog's immune system and result in allergic reactions. Common signs you may see include red, sore skin, and tiny swellings or bumps on the skin which may last for a few days. If you part the fur and examine the dog carefully, you may find parasites feeding or moving on the dog's skin. Ticks are commonly found on the face, ears and hind region, but can also be found anywhere else on the body. Ticks can also carry blood-borne diseases such as tick fever which is a serious disease that can be fatal. Lice can attach themselves to dog's hair follicles or skin which can cause intense itching and discomfort. Eggs of lice attached to the hair of your dog are a tell-tale sign of a lice infection.

B) What you can do

You can prevent parasites such as ticks from infesting your dog and your environment by using tick prevention products that are in the market. These products may be available as a solution which you apply monthly onto the dog's skin at the top neck area or a spray which you apply onto the dog's entire body. After dog walks, you should part the fur of your dog, especially around the legs to check for parasites.

If you suspect that your dog has allergy to food products, do record the types of food you have given to the dog and the type of symptoms you have noticed. Likewise if you suspect your dog has atopic dermatitis, do take special care if your dog itches more after a walk or after coming in contact with potential allergens. You can prevent your dog from having allergic reactions if you avoid exposing your dog to the allergen or food which it is allergic to. However, atopic dermatitis and food allergy can be difficult to diagnose so it is best to bring your dog to a veterinarian so that they can conduct the necessary checks and provide a better assessment of your dog's condition.

Sometimes your dog may have secondary skin issues such as bacterial or fungi infection that stem from the allergies. It is important for you to bring the dog to the veterinarian so that they can treat the skin infections and make your dog feel better.

Adapted from ItchFreePet and Dog-Care 101

Photos from: ItchFreePet (1), (2) and RSPCA

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Pre-Event Highlights: Singapore Pets Idol @ Mountbatten

Venue: Kallang Leisure Park (Atrium & Outdoor Carpark G)

Date: Saturday, 18 May 2013

Time: 12pm to 6pm

Drop by Kallang Leisure Park and participate in a series of contests such as the Cutest Pet Contest and Singapore Pets Idol with your pet and stand a chance to walk away with attractive prizes! If you do not own a pet, you can still join us as there are many activities lined up for you as well. There will be cat and rabbit displays in the afternoon, and children can have a go at the colouring contest and enjoy pony rides! Refer to the poster for more details on the programme.

Join our "A Pet is For Life" Facebook group and follow us on Twitter for the latest news and updates.

Our RPO Exhibits’ Next Pit Stop: Pasir Ris Elias Community Club!

Our RPO exhibits have now arrived at the eastern side of Singapore - Pasir Ris! We are pleased to invite you to visit Pasir Ris Elias CC to discover useful tips on our interactive exhibits!

Venue: Pasir Ris Elias Community Club (93 Pasir Ris Drive 3, Singapore 519498) - 2 bus stops from Pasir Ris Bus Interchange (Buses: 58, 88, 358, 359)
Time: From 9.00am to 10.00pm daily

Snap alongside the exhibits and tag us your photos on our "A Pet is For Life" Facebook group!

Don't miss out on the photos from our exhibits' last home at Punggol 21 CC!

Pre-Event Highlights: Heart For Animals

Venue: City Square Mall (Fountain Square)
Date: Saturday & Sunday, 18-19 May 2013
Time: 11am to 8pm

Do head down to City Square Mall this weekend to learn how you can be a responsible pet owner through our Interactive Exhibits, where learning is done in a fun way. Drop by our booth and have a go at our Mix and Match game and jigsaw puzzle. You can bring home a goodie bag by completing a little passport activity. Children can also participate in colouring (you can download the colouring sheets here) and assembling of cute paper animal models, which will remind your kids to be responsible pet owners. If you are looking to rehome a pet, there will also be an adoption drive by CWS, HRSS and SPCA.

See you there!

Join our "A Pet is For Life" Facebook group and follow us on Twitter for the latest news and updates.

Beat the Monday Blues: Mummy Loves You

Hope you had a great weekend celebrating Mother's Day with your dearest mummy. Animals do care for their young too. In this video, mummy cat is cuddling her baby kitten and giving it lots of love. Do watch how the baby kitten adorably relishes in mummy's unfaltering acts of love!

If you caught an interesting pet video recently, don't be shy. Share with us at our "A Pet is For Life" Facebook group or send us a tweet on Twitter.

New Beginnings: The Coco Diaries

Whether she is "Coco the destroyer" or "Coco the supervisor", Amanda and her family love Coco all the same. Check out today's "New Beginnings" to find out more about how Coco the doggy got her multiple identities.

(If you're keen to share your story or personal experience of adopting animals, do drop us a message via Facebook! =D)

I had always wanted a dog but there was never really a right time. After I graduated and started working, I finally decided to take that big step. Reading about reports of stray dogs in the papers reaffirmed my decision to adopt a dog instead of buying one. To me, a dog is not just a pet. I wanted to provide a home and love for the dog I was getting.

I first met Coco at an animal shelter sometime in May 2012 but it wasn't until 4 months later that I brought her home. My family and I eagerly awaited her arrival and we prepared for it - first, by dog-proofing the house. We cordoned off specific areas of the house for her and bought her doggie toys. We also discussed the topic of training her and agreed that everyone had to be firm during dog training. We were excited and ready to finally welcome a dog into the family after years (literally) of discussion! Or so we thought.

Coco's first day at her new home. Looking slightly stressed because of car sickness!

Coco was almost immediately nicknamed by my family as "Coco the destroyer". Within a few days, she had chewed up anything and everything she could get her paws on, especially shoes! We scrambled to keep shoes out of Coco's reach but she seemed to seek shoes out with a vengeance.

Guilty "Coco the Destroyer" getting caught in the act

Thus, we had to embark on our very first training programme for Coco. We managed to get her to redirect her chewing tendencies by steering her away from anything she was chewing and encouraging her to use her chew toy instead. We also taught her basic commands such as "sit" and "down". Even though it was tough at first, we found that Coco was extremely smart and all that was needed in training her was patience and consistency (a family effort!).

It didn't take very long for Coco to settle in nicely and become very much part of our lives.

Coco loves belly rubs and she has no qualms telling us about it. She will wait for us to come home from work and then, collapse onto the floor to signal us that it's time for her belly rub. Throughout the process, Coco unabashedly takes it all in, often falling asleep mid-rub!

Don't you know what it's time for? *hint hint*

Belly rub pleaseeeee?

Coco bowing at my feet in an attempt to wrestle her way to a belly rub

Although Coco loves belly rubs, she isn't one to hog attention and knows when we have work to do. In fact, she takes things a step further and becomes "Coco the Supervisor", staring intently at us to make sure we concentrate on our work.

"You're supposed to be doing your work. I'm watching you."

Coco's favourite part of the day are mornings. This is when she gets to go for her morning walks, beg for treats when the family is having breakfast or simply snuggle up and be "Coco the Big Baby" to enjoy the morning sun.


Coco being a "lap dog" and enjoying the morning sun. Sometimes even falling asleep!

Taking a photo with Coco is no mean feat. In fact, it's almost impossible to take a picture with her straight-faced because Coco has a special talent. Meet "Coco the Photobomber"! (These photos were candid, I promise!)

"Coco the Photobomber" yawning (Left) and attempting to lick my nose (Right).

Life with Coco is usually on the go but of course, there are also peaceful times when she's just "Coco the Sleepyhead". We will tiptoe past sleeping Coco for fear of waking her from her slumber but she's such a light sleeper that she always wakes up without fail.

Always an angel when she sleeps

Coco is so much a part of our family now that we can scarcely believe she's only been with us for 8 months. Adopting her was probably one of our best decisions - she's brought so much joy and love to the house!

Coco's forever family

Amanda Tan (right-most) is a Teaching Assistant in Environmental Biology, loves animals and nature and is Coco's official belly-rubber.

The rest of Coco's family (from left to right): Dad (Coco's treat dispenser), Mum (Coco's breakfast dispenser), Alyssa (Coco's long distance pal over Skype) & Amanda

Pet Adoption Friday: Thor and Buck from SPCA

Thor

Name: Thor
Gender: Male
Breed: Cross Breed
Colour: Tri-Colour
Age: 2 years and 11 months old
HDB Approved: Not HDB-Approved

Thor is friendly and very handsome. This boy absolutely loves to play, and is always hanging on to his chew toy. He is so inquisitive, he could spend forever sniffing every new thing he can get his nose on. An extremely intelligent boy, he needs stimulation to keep him from becoming too bored. He would do really well in a family with a garden and someone around to spend time with him. This boy has been at SPCA's shelter for too long! He deserves a great home and will make a fantastic addition to the family if he is given a chance.

Buck

Name: Buck
Gender: Male
Breed: Local
Colour: Brown/ White
Age:1 year and 7 months old

Buck was found wandering around aimlessly and lost without a owner. We don't know why anyone would give up such a sweet darling, but we know he deserves a much better home! Beautiful Buck loves cuddles and absolutely adores neck rubs and tonnes of fussing. Gentle and graceful, this boy will be a delight to have around the home, and will make a great addition to the family. Buck is waiting for the right family for him to go home to. Do you think you're ready for a lifetime commitment?

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

Visit SPCA's website and 'Like' their page on Facebook!

This information is also available on our A Pet is For Life Facebook group. Do also follow us on Twitter.

Pre-Event Highlights: 2013 Family Carnival & EP Safety Awareness

Venue: Jelutung Harbour Park

Date: Sunday, 12 May 2013

Time: 7.30am to 11.30am

If you are free this coming Sunday, do drop by Jelutung Harbour Park for an exciting and fun-filled morning. Look out for our booth and learn how to be a responsible pet owner (RPO) by participating in our games and activities. Also do not miss out on our talk on RPO which will be held at about 9.35am. Don't wait! Get your tickets from Canberra Zone 4 RC now! Call 6752 1215 to find out more from the RC on ticketing. You may refer to the poster for more details on the event.

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Pet Care Tips: The Birdie of My Eye

If you are planning to get a pet bird, make sure you do your research first. Different species of birds require different dietary requirements and varying levels of care. Choosing the wrong pet often results in abandonment of the pet. Today, let us share some tips on the type of bird you should be getting.

A) Cost and Budget

A cockatiel

You will have to consider the size and quality of the cage to get for a larger bird. Other factors to think about include toys and accessories, veterinary care and the bird's maximum life span. Some birds can live up to about 60 years! A pet is a lifetime commitment. Your pet's necessities and regular health check-ups all require money, so it is advisable to get a pet bird which suits your budget but only if you are ready to commit.

B) Size of bird

Finches

It is important to note that more commitment will be involved to keep a larger bird. Large birds such as cockatiels are beautiful, clever, and can amaze us with their abilities to talk and sing. However, they are often louder and more demanding compared to smaller birds such as budgies. The size of bird you get will determine how much time you will have to set aside for their training and interaction. It is recommended that you start with a small to medium-sized bird if you do not have any past experiences of keeping a pet bird.

C) Behaviour of bird

A Budgie

The temperament and behaviour of your bird will also determine how much time you should spend for interaction. Some birds like to bond with people and so require more of your time and energy to play with them, while other birds may prefer not to be touched, and can entertain themselves if they have a partner to play with. However, remember, if you do get your pet bird a partner, do get one of the same sex so as to prevent breeding.

D) Maintenance

A Parrotlet

Some birds produce liquid droppings, and so their cages have to be cleaned more frequently compared to other species. Smaller birds produce numerous small droppings whereas larger birds produce fewer but bigger-sized droppings.

Do not be tempted to get a bird just because of its beautiful appearance. A parakeet may be pretty, but are you prepared to clean its cage regularly as it can produce up to 50 droppings a day! By doing a little research on the bird species most suitable for you, you will be cutting down on the possibility of abandoning your pet bird.

Adapted from Birds.about.com and Windhover Veterinary Center

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Beat the Monday Blues: It’s Time for a Bath!

To kick start a brand new week, do spend some time to watch this owner give her golden retriever a bath. Bathing your dog once or twice a week will help to keep its coat clean and healthy. On the flipside, more or less frequent bathing could lead to skin problems. Make sure you do it moderately.

Enjoy the video! (*Beware of excessive cuteness and fluffiness in the video!*)

If you caught an interesting pet video recently, don't be shy. Share with us at our "A Pet is For Life" Facebook group or send us a tweet on Twitter.

Colouring Sheets Available for Download!

Hello everyone, it's time to take out your crayons and colour pencils as we have some colouring sheets available for you to download!


Love these designs? Be sure to download the colouring sheets here in printable .pdf format.

Not only are they cute, these colouring sheets contain messages to remind you to be a responsible pet owner. By being responsible to and for your pet, you will be doing your pet and the community a favour in keeping your neighbourhood a clean and peaceful place to live in. Okay let's get those hands moving and let your creativity flow!

If you've finished your colouring masterpiece, post it up and share the link with everyone in our comments section. We look forward to seeing it!

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Pet Adoption Friday: Pampam from Save Our Street Dogs

Pampam

Pampam was originally from Punggol. She was rescued after her feeder noticed that she was always bullied by the more dominant dogs - having to swim in the sea just to avoid them.

Pampam is one very smart girl. She will make a loyal companion, one who is intelligent, responsive and good with both humans and other dogs. She loves to swim (after having lots of practice), snack, and have a good walk.

This very lovely and endearing lady deserves a wonderful family to call her own.

Name: Pampam
Gender: Female
Breed: Local Cross
Age: 3 years old
Size (Full Grown): Medium
Personality: Friendly and Charming
Characteristics: Gentle Temperament
Good with people: Yes
Good with other dogs: Yes
Health: Good
Vaccinated: Yes
Sterilised: Yes

If you wish to know more about Pampam, 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!

[Event Info] 2013 Cat Adoption Drives by Cat Welfare Society (May)

Days, Dates: Sunday, 5 May 2013

Venue: The Pet Safari @ Nex Mall

Time: 1pm to 6pm

If you love cats, and feel that you are capable of taking care of one for life, do make a trip down to The Pet Safari @ Nex Mall this Sunday for the fifth Cat Adoption Drive for 2013 organised by Cat Welfare Society.

In fact, you will have opportunities throughout 2013 to meet adorable cats and kittens needing good homes. Take note of the event dates listed in the poster and mark them on your calendar!

Potential adopters will be screened for suitability and commitment. Successful adopters will each receive an exclusive starter kit worth $50!

For more information, visit Cat Welfare Society's Facebook page.

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Pet Care Tips: A Perfect Home for your Terrapin (Red-Eared Slider)

Terrapin

Aside from the type of food provided, the environment in which a terrapin lives also plays a pivotal role in keeping it healthy. Today, let us share with you some tips on getting a suitable aquarium for your terrapin and the optimum conditions for it to thrive in.

As terrapins live much longer and grow bigger and faster as compared to other aquatic animals, you should invest in as big a living area as possible for them. Aquariums can be used for a small young terrapin. This should be about the size of 45.5 cm x 30.5 cm x 35.5 cm. Ensure that the water is sufficient for the terrapin to move freely and yet not escape easily.

For bigger terrapins, a garden pond is probably your best option as most aquariums are too cramped when they grow to their full size of approximately 30 cm. This will be especially so if you have more than one terrapin.

Here are the conditions you should take note of in keeping your terrapin home a haven for your dear terrapin.

A) Stones or rocks

Terrapins - BlueReef Aquarium

The terrapinarium/pond should have a sunbathing area, such as a piece of flat stone or rock which stands out of the water as terrapins often come out of the water to sunbathe or to dry themselves. A resting spot is also essential because terrapins can drown. Provide your terrapin some privacy by giving it a hiding spot as well..

With a pond set-up, remember to make sure it's escape proof by use of some sort of fencing around the pond area.

B) Lighting

You should ensure that your terrapin get some sunlight everyday to prevent blindness or shell deformities. You can place the terrapinarium in a location which receives moderate sunlight (do not place under direct hot sun!), or if that is not possible, you should consider investing in a reptile fluorescent lamp which will provide your pet terrapin with some UV-A and UV-B light.

Conversely, if you have a pond set-up, remember to give your terrapin some area where there is permanent shade where they can escape if they feel they've had too much heat and sun.

C) Hygiene

The maintenance of hygiene in the terrapinarium/pond is of utmost importance. The water in the aquarium should be replaced regularly and the solid waste and leftover food residues should be removed often to prevent odour and infections. A strong water filtering system should be fitted to help maintain the cleanliness of the terrapinarium/pond and quality of the water. Get one that provides mechanical, chemical and biological filtration.

Adapted from Pets4Home and Terrapins.co.uk
Photos from: Terrapins.co.uk, Flickr (1) and (2)

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