Pet Care Tips: My Humble Hammie Abode

A cute small food bowl here and a tiny hut there... Welcome to the land of the miniature, colourful and absolutely adorable! This week, we're exploring the private space of the hamster!

Before we go into the nitty-gritty on the architectural and interior design of a hamster's abode, we would like to take this moment to share an RPO message with you - some breeds of hamsters should be kept individually while others can be kept in groups. Syrian hamsters are notoriously solitary critters and will fight if kept together. Chinese and Russian hamsters are social animals and can be kept in groups, but it's best to keep the groups single sex to prevent unwanted litters.

All right, let us begin the exploration!

Wire, Glass or Plastic?
Shopping for a hamster cage can be a real headache. Presented with so many different types of cages (and they're all so cute), which do you choose? If you are looking for one that allows for better ventilation, wire cages are most suitable. If ease of cleaning is your main consideration, choose glass over plastic cages.

Bedding
Hamsters are burrowing animals by nature and will appreciate a deep layer of bedding. Recycled pellets and even toilet or tissue paper are great choices for good bedding. Paper beddings are actually the most comfortable for them too! While hamsters are generally clean pets, remember to make the effort to clean out the housing and change its bedding once a week.

Furnishing
While we want our hamsters to live comfortably, consider the fact that they also need some privacy so ensure you provide them with hiding places within the cage, such as a secluded nest box. Ensure your hamster has a constant supply of water from a drinking bottle. Do note that hamsters like to hoard food in their nest boxes, so perishable food items should be removed regularly. Hamsters require a lot of exercise. An exercise wheel and climbing bars will give your hamster the opportunity to keep itself active and healthy. Do not throw away those toilet paper tubes because you can give them to your hamster as they love to chew. You can also choose to customise it to become a play toy by making a few holes on the tube and it will act like a little tunnel for your hamster to play hide-and-seek!

Location
Choosing a suitable location to place your hamster's cage is very important. Make sure that it is away from heat and direct sunlight and it should be on flat surfaces. Hamsters are most active at night. So, if you need your beauty sleep, you might want to consider keeping it in another room.

Hamsters are wonderful pets. Now that you know how to create an ideal home for your hamster, go ahead and try it out yourself! Give your hamster a home-sweet-home!

Adapted from: Doctors Foster and Smith, Humane Society, Hamster Hideout and Hamster Club

Photos from: Piggy Lovers United, DanWiencek.net, 88DB Lifestyle, Potty For Paws and Imageshack

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

Days, Dates: Sunday, 4 August 2013
Venue: The Pet Safari @ VivoCity
Time: 1pm to 6pm

Make a trip down to The Pet Safari @ VivoCity Shopping Centre this Sunday for the Cat Adoption Drive 2013 by Cat Welfare Society. Get up close with the adorable cats and kittens that are longing for new homes.

Be sure to take note of the event dates listed in the poster and mark them in 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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Beat the Monday Blues: The first time I was kind...

Pets make wonderful companions. For guide dogs, their role is beyond companionship. They are trained to help a visually-handicapped person to move around. In today's video, hear what Abigail learnt about guide dogs and assisting the blind when she met the pair in school for the first time!

Earlier this year, our intern wrote an article about guide dogs. Come check it out!

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Pre-Event Highlight: The Cats & Dogs Amusement Game Carnival

Event: The Cats & Dogs Amusement Game Carnival
Date: Saturday, 27 July 2013
Time: 11am to 4pm
Venue: Leng Kee Community Centre

The wait is over! The event that was supposed to take place in June will be happening this Saturday! (It was previously postponed due to the worrying haze situation)

Join us for a day of furry fun as we have activities for both pet owners (and their pets too!) and non-pet owners! Be sure to stop by our booth and challenge yourself with our popular Mix and Match and Jigsaw Puzzle games. Don't worry about getting stuck in the game as our friendly officers will be there to guide you and share with you tips on Responsible Pet Ownership. Other highlights include free health check for pets and game booths for the entire family.

See you there!

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Pet Adoption Friday: Ah Bee and Ginger from Cat Welfare Society

Ah Bee

Name: Ah Bee
Age: 3 years old
Physical traits: Bob tail
Breed: Domestic Short Hair
Temperament: Very affectionate but a little shy

Ginger

Name: Ginger
Gender: Male
Age: 4 - 5 years old
Physical traits: Straight long tail
Breed: Domestic Short Hair
Primary Colour: Ginger
Temperament: Friendly

The cats belong to 67-year-old Mdm Kang who was diagnosed with gallbladder cancer and had since gone through a major surgery. She is currently on oral chemotherapy and her doctor says she has a few months to live. Mdm Kang loves her cats dearly and her sole wish is to see them finding new homes so that they will not be left stranded should anything happen to her.

Note: As for Mdm Kang herself, she is receiving help through a close friend and assistance through a social worker as well as the visiting doctor and nurses from Singapore Cancer Society.

Please spread the word to help Mdm Kang and her cats. For adoption do contact Nebisa Ali 90286819. Adoption screening applies.

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

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Note: As for Mdm Kang herself, she is receiving help through a close friend and assistance through a social worker as well as the visiting doctor and nurses from Singapore Cancer Society.

Pet Care Tips: Fur, Fur, Don't Go Away

Who's your favourite cartoon rabbit character - Bugs Bunny, Miffy or perhaps Peter Rabbit? These rabbits that we love are always in the pink of health and their fur, flawlessly beautiful. Any rabbit mom and dad would tell you that a healthy fur coat requires a lot of hard work on their part; regular grooming is so absolutely essential. A healthy rabbit with soft, sleek fur and clean and smooth skin would make any bunny parent proud.

What are some reasons why your furry friend may not have a gorgeous-looking coat of bunny fur?

Moulting
Rabbits naturally shed their coat every three months. Moulting is when a rabbit loses his coat and grows a new one. It can last for a few weeks and varies from rabbit to rabbit and breed to breed. Some rabbits may even develop bald patches in the process, but do note that this can also be brought on by stress, diet or disease.

Brush your rabbit daily while he's moulting. The more fur you can get out of him, the less chances he would be ingesting them. These lagomorphs are fastidious groomers and ingesting too much hair balls could cause blockages of their gastro-intestinal tracts which is potentially fatal.

Scabies Scabies is an infestation of the skin with the microscopic mite Sarcoptes scabei. Scabies is intensely itchy, and often, these poor bunnies would scratch themselves to the point of bleeding! Scabies mites are not visible to the naked eye, but some signs that may suggest your rabbit has scabies include intense scratching or chewing and crusting around the borders of the ears, edges of the eyelids, the nose, mouth and toes. Raw spots may also be susceptible to developing secondary bacterial infections.

Scabies may also cause itching in humans too, so if you suspect that Floppy has scabies, it's best to bring him to visit the vet as soon as possible so treatment can begin early.

Urine Scald (Burn)
A messy bottom is both uncomfortable and unsanitary, inviting problems such as skin infections. Urine scald is commonly caused by urinary tract infection or urinary incontinence; it would be advisable to seek veterinary attention to rule out these causes. To keep bottoms from becoming red, raw and infected, a gentle "butt bath" can help to wash caustic bodily fluids away from the skin. Make sure that your bunnies' bottoms are nice and dry afterwards.

Rabbits are delicate creatures and they're oh-so-adorable. As a rabbit owner, keen observation and spending bonding time with your rabbit daily can help you prevent the problems mentioned above. There are many other reasons why your bunny may not look like it should and if in doubt, always make an appointment with your rabbit-savvy vet.

Resources: House Rabbit Society, e-How, Rise and Shine Rabbitry

Images: Rainbow Rabbits Retirement Home, KastleKonfusionBunnies's Bucket Photobucket, The Daily Bunny, New Mexico House Rabbit Society, Sandra's Rabbit Tips, Tricks & Info Site

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Beat The Monday Blues: Rabbits - One-Oh-One!

Here's an interesting trivia to 'hop' start your week. Do you know that rabbits can sleep with their eyes open? In today's Beat The Monday Blues, let's get to know some interesting facts about our bunny friends. If you think you are planning to get a pet, watch the video and see if they are suitable pets for you (:

Before you get yourself a pet, always remember that it is a lifetime commitment and it deserves your care and love <3

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New Beginnings: Our little TV addict & vacuum hater - Jill

Have you ever heard of a bunny who's a television addict and vacuum hater? Well, today's "New Beginnings" features just such a bunny!

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

When our first pet bunny, Fluffy, turned one, my girls started to point out that it was about time we got him a friend. I was reluctant, although I could see how responsible they are with Fluffy and how much they love him. I decided to turn to the internet for more information and that was how I found out about House Rabbit Society Singapore (HRSS). There were so many bunnies waiting to be loved in their adoption galleries!

Jill has a pair of beautiful eyes and that was what attracted me to her. After getting approval from HRSS to try and bond Jill with my rabbit, Fluffy, I set out to pick Jill up from her fosterer's home.

Jill and Fluffy!

She is a big girl compared to my own bunny and though he was smitten with her, I was still sceptical about the whole thing. As the days passed, the two rabbits got along well and one evening, I even caught Jill grooming Fluffy. I was amazed to see Jill cleaning Fluffy's face and Fluffy looking so relaxed and contented. It hit me that no matter how much me or my girls showered attention on our bunny, it will never be the same as them having their own companion.

It was easy to fall in love with Jill. This mischievous girl is always up to something and has even influenced fluffy! Now I have twice the mischief and twice the fun! She will lead Fluffy to search for the treats box, and then proceed to try and open it after they find it. She succeeded with the plastic container which is why the treats box has now been changed to a metal one. Jill waits patiently for her treats. Well... sometimes!

Nom-ing on her yummy treats!

We were also surprised to discover that this little girl is a HUGE TV addict.

Jill cuddling up with Fluffy for their favourite TV show!

Watching the TV is a nightly routine for Jill. In fact, there are times when the TV is switched on just for the bunnies! -_-"

What are you looking at?!

Jill is also a very smart bunny. She absolutely hates the sound of the vacuum cleaner. Whenever I switched the vacuum cleaner off, I will find her near it. Eventually, I realised that the reason behind it. She was trying to chew on the cable! I guess that she was trying to chew it off so there would be no more dreadful noises coming from it. Life certainly has become interesting with Jill in our lives.

When a rabbit misbehaves, there is no way to discipline it. This was what I learnt with Jill. You have to learn to embrace their quirks and natural habits, like chewing on wood furniture, book covers or shredding that new magazine which you were looking forward to read. It is hard to get mad at Jill, especially when I see her spying at me from the corner of her favourite place after I catch her being naughty.

I spy with my little eye....a noisy vacuum cleaner!

Jill opened my eyes to the plight of rabbits everywhere. How they are easily discarded after the novelty wears off or when they are allowed to breed without control, leading to neglect due to owners being unable to take care of too many rabbits and the list go on. My girls have also benefited greatly from adopting her. They now actively speak up when they encounter any form of animal abuse. Jill has made us become more active in animal welfare and we now volunteer regularly with HRSS.

Bunny-sitting my new found feathered friend!

Even Jill got into the volunteering spirit! A few months ago, we found a baby pigeon lying by the side of the road. Jill took it upon herself to keep the baby bird company. I have never regretted adopting her. I only wish I had got to her sooner so she didn't have to wait so long to join our family. She is a good companion to Fluffy and my family. She may not be of a pedigree breed but that doesn't make her any less special. I hope more people will give a chance to our local rabbits and adopt those that are waiting eagerly for their turn to be loved. We did, and our lives are richer by it.

My beautiful Jill

Pet Adoption Friday: Jeff and Jewel from Animal Lovers League

Jeff

Name: Jeff
Gender: Male
Breed: Labrador Retriever
Size: Large
Health: Good
Age: 5 Years old
Vaccinated: Yes
Sterilized: Yes
Paper Trained: No
Basic Commands: Yes
Good with children: Yes
Good with pets: Partial

Jeff is friendly towards humans and loves long walks.

Jewel

Name: Jewel
Gender: Female
Breed: Cross Breed
Size: Medium when fully grown
Health: Good
Age: 1 month old
Vaccinated: Yes
Sterilized: Not yet (but she will need to when she's 6 months' old)
Paper Trained: No
Basic Commands: No
Good with children: Yes
Good with pets: Yes
Special needs: 2 more vaccines and microchip

Jewel is a sweet and gentle girl who is also very shy.

If you wish to adopt Jeff or Jewel, do send in your SMS to 97937162 or 96973491 with information about your housing, family, experience with pets (if any). You may also send an email to christine_ravi @yahoo.com.sg.

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.

Pet Care Tips: The Cat and His Whiskers

One of the key features of a cat that we often overlook is its whiskers. What are they for and how do you take care of them?

Whiskers are known as 'vibrissae' or tactile hairs and they are found on either side of the muzzle, the cheeks, above the eyelids and on the wrists of the foreleg. Unlike the human hair, these stiffer and longer hairs are specialised for tactile sensing. To do their job well, they are more deeply embedded into the cat's body than normal body hair and are found in areas that have a generous supply of nerves and blood.

As unique as each human's finger print, every cat's whisker is different and special. As the kitten ages, its whiskers may also change in colour (yes, they grey too!).

Can I, or can I not squeeze through?
Cats have a sensory organ at the end of their whiskers called a proprioceptor which sends tactile signals to the brain and nervous system. This organ makes the cat's whiskers very sensitive to even the smallest change in the cat's environment. A cat's whiskers not only help it to gauge whether it can fit into a tight space (without even being able to see it), they can even respond to vibrations in the air, such as when the cat is chasing prey.

See my whiskers, read my mood
Besides your cat's tail and those Puss-in-Boots eyes, another barometer to read his mood would be his whiskers. Contented and resting, his whiskers will be pointing forward and down. If your cat is afraid, his whiskers would likely bunch up and lie flatly against his face.

Caring for those whiskers - thou shall not cut them!
Because they're so sensitive, you should never cut your cat's whiskers. Damage a cat's whiskers and it will cause them not only discomfort but to also become disorientated and confused. While whiskers do fall off naturally, they get replaced by new ones. Research has shown that a cat without its whiskers may find itself stuck because it cannot properly estimate the size of the opening. So, leave them alone - your cat needs them!

Resources: Pet MD, Today I Found Out, Animal Planet, Catster, Cat World

Images: Catsparella, Catster, Love Dog Book

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Beat the Monday Blues: Watch your back!

The next time you want to sneak up on a friend or colleague, remember to carve your plan well and make sure you have all sides covered. Otherwise, you may be totally surprised like our dear kitty friend in this video.

Have a great week ahead!

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Pet Adoption Friday: Nathalie, Natasha and Ewok from Action for Singapore Dogs

Nathalie

Name: Nathalie
Date Of Birth: Mar 2001
Gender: Female
Size: Medium
HDB-approved: No
Good with other dogs: Yes
Personality: Average

Amicable and sociable, Nathalie loves both human and canine company.

Natasha

Name: Natasha
Date Of Birth: Mar 2013
Gender: Female
Size: Medium
HDB-approved: No
Good with other dogs: Yes
Personality: Average

A bright and curious girl, Natasha is loving yet independent. She is very active, and is also eager to play.

Ewok

Name: Ewok
Date Of Birth: May 2012
Gender: Female
Size: Medium
HDB-approved: Yes
Good with kids: Yes
Good with other dogs: Yes
Personality: Calm

Ewok is a local cross breed who has a very sweet, loving and gentle temperament. She is very docile and easy to manage. Ewok was a stray from the Tuas area who was ostracised and attacked by her pack. She was rescued and sent to the vet for treatment of her bite wounds

Nathalie, Natasha and Ewok can be adopted separately. If you wish to adopt them or know more about them, please contact ASD at 6100 2737 or send an email to 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.

Pre-Event Highlights: We're going to be at four different locations this weekend!

This weekend is going to be a mega one as AVA will be part of FOUR amazing events!

Event #1

Event: Singapore Animal Protection Symposium

Date: Saturday, 13 July 2013

Time: 9am to 6pm

Venue: Chong Pang Community Club

Organised by ACRES and Chong Pang Division, the Singapore Animal Protection Symposium and Chong Pang Forum on Animal Protection Policies is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to have your say about the issues that matter to you, give your feedback and suggestions, and pose your questions. For more information about the symposium, please visit ACRES' website or its events page on Facebook.

Event #2

Click for more details!

Event: Marine Parade Town Day 2013

Date: Sunday, 14 July 2013

Time: 9am to 12.30pm

Venue: Open space between Blk 65 and 65 Marine Drive

Get the best of both worlds when you come down to the Marine Parade Town Day 2013! Not only will you find the Responsible Pet Ownership (RPO) team there, our friends from Food Safety will also be there to join in the fun! Try your hands on some of the games at our booths and walk away with exciting goodies! So, instead of sleeping into your Sunday morning, get up early and join us!

Event #3

Click for more details!

Event: Pets and Friends @ Jurong

Date: Sunday. 14 July 2013

Time: 11am to 5pm

Venue: Jurong Green Community Club

Expect to see lots of furry cuteness at the Pets and Friends @ Jurong event! Bring your pets down and sign them up for a list of competitions. If you want to be part of the action as well, take part in the "My Pet and I Celebrate in Style" competition. While waiting for your turn, how about spending some time at our AVA booth and test your memory power with our Mix and Match game?

There will also be a colouring contest for all junior artists! Also, if you have been following the Pets Idol competition series, the journey continues here and you will not want to miss it. Get ready to be amazed by some of the pets you will get to meet!

Admission is free!

Event #4

Click for more details!

Event: Official Launch of One Connect @ Aljunied Cluster

Date: Sunday. 14 July 2013

Time: 3pm to 5pm

Venue: Chartwell Drive Park

It's history in the making as we will be part of the One Connect programme launch for residents at the Aljunied Cluster. In case you were wondering, One Connect offers a one-stop hotline service to help residents living in private estates deal with maintenance issues more efficiently.

As part of the celebration, visit us at our booth and play our Mix and Match, Jigsaw Puzzle and Magnetic Board games. Get the answers right and be rewarded with goodie packs!

Other programme highlights include a magic and illusion performance and a chance for you to meet with the King of Rock and Roll!

Snacks like popcorn and candy floss will also be given away for free! While stocks last.

Plus, present the flyer above and you can redeem for a door gift!

Three great events for a beautiful Sunday with the family. We hope to see you and your family (:

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Pet Care Tips: Seeing It Right


Besides the joyful barking and free sloppy kisses, the next other thing that melts your heart would have to be that pair of soulful-looking eyes which literally beg you to love your dog forever.

While those eyes are good for batting at you for one more piece of the yummylicious dog biscuit, did you know that some dogs actually use their power of sight to guide the visually impaired and make life more pleasant for these people? Specially-trained, Singapore currently has a total of three guide dogs here.

So, just as you would only feed your dog the right stuff, you'd also want to make sure you're taking care of your dog's eyes. Most dogs have a total visual field of 250 degrees and they're not colour-blind, unlike what most people think. Scientists now agree that dogs do see a limited palette of colours.

Keep Waggie's eyes clean by following these three simple steps each day:
a. Keep fur out of the eyes; trim or tie long fur around the eyes
b. Clean eyes mucus with moist cotton pads
c. Minimise possibilities of eye trauma - fights, allowing pet to hang his head out of car windows

What are some common eye ailments our beloved pooches tend to face? Let's have a look at them:

Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)
Conjunctivitis happens when outer surface of the dog's eyes becomes inflamed. This results in your dog's eyes appearing red and irritated, that's why the colloquial term for this condition, "Pink Eye". You may also notice excessive tear production and increased blinking. There are a myriad of possibilities as to why Waggie has conjunctivitis - trauma, bacterial/fungal/viral infection, smoke, shampoo or an infected tear duct... and the list goes on.

Upon seeing the vet, Waggie may be prescribed eye drops or ointment to soothe and treat the affected eye.

Cataracts
Cataracts are a clouding of the lens of the eye. What used to be a clear capsule can progressively get cloudier to the point vision is blurred or totally lost. Diabetes and underlying eye diseases like glaucoma are some common contributing factors to cataracts in dogs.

If you suspect that your dog has cataracts, it's best to make an appointment to visit the vet soon. Treatments for cataracts depend on the cause of it. Fortunately, the presence of a cataract doesn't necessarily mean your dog is going blind.

Cherry Eye (Prolapsed of the third eyelid)
When the tear gland at the base of your dog's third eyelid protrudes and swells, your dog has what one calls the 'Cherry Eye'. The lump is thought to be caused by weakened connective tissues that hold the gland together. Certain breeds like the Beagle, bull dog, Cocker Spaniel, Shih Tzu and Shar-Pei are more susceptible to the Cherry Eye syndrome than others.

The usual treatment for this is corrective surgery to return the gland to its proper position. Removal of the gland should be avoided and medication alone is not considered an effective treatment.

As a highly sensitive animal, your dog's vision is important to him. If you sense that something isn't quite right with Waggie's eyes, it's best to make an appointment with the vet soon and have it checked. Together, your dog will have many more moments of seeing it right and experiencing the best of time with you!

Resources: Organic Pet Digest, Healthy Pets, Dr Foster Smith, Pet Place, About.com, Pet Health Network

Images: Cataracts in dogs 101, Organic Pet Digest, Flickr, Basset.Net,

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Beat The Monday Blues: Call Me...Corgi?

Love is in the air!

In today's edition of Beat The Monday Blues, we have lovesick doggies doing their own version of the viral song "Call Me Maybe". If you have seen the original music video by Carly Rae Jepsen, you would have remembered the twist to the plot at the end of the video. Be sure you stay till the end to see the surprise ending as our doggy friends put their own spin to the twist!

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New Beginnings: Our jewel, Julie

Today's "New Beginnings" tells the story of a once fearful and timid doggie who has been living most of her life in fear of bullies and found a loving family to call home. Julie, who was adopted from Animal Lovers League, has taken a special "spot" in Marybeth's heart and her home.

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

Our family has had several dogs over the years, two of which have been "rescue" dogs. After our first adoptee, a German shepherd, died of old age a few years ago, we started looking for a new dog. We weren't looking specifically for a puppy or an adult; we just knew we wanted a dog that would be special.

In January 2012, we found Julie through Animal Lovers League (ALL), where our daughter volunteers.

Julie in the garden

Julie is a mixed breed, now about 6 years old, and had spent her entire life at ALL. We knew she was submissive, and we found her very sociable, friendly and very gentle with children.

Unfortunately, she had been bullied by the other dogs there, and we didn't realize just how fearful she became because of this long-term trauma. She is covered with scars as proof of her abuse-but we did not realize the extent of her mental scars.

After we brought Julie home, she identified a "safe" spot in the house, and stuck to it! She would not explore, would not eat and worse, would not urinate for days, nor did she have a bowel movement for over a week. We had her thoroughly checked by a veterinarian and had X-rays taken, which told us the answer was simple: She was just holding it in. Amazing muscle power! But it also indicated how anxious she was in her new environment.

After some research and some educated guesses, we realized that Julie never had a chance to have a relaxed "toilet experience" in her entire life, because the other dogs would run at her and chase her away. She was always on the defensive, and so it was perfectly normal for her to just pee and poo occasionally, rather than every day. After we figured this out, we gave her a single fiber capsule daily. Finally, after nearly 6 months, she established a regular toileting schedule! Interestingly, we never had any "accidents" in the house despite the fact that she lived all her life in an open dog shelter.

Julie loves her bathtime!

At first, Julie was afraid of my husband; she used to run out of the room if he walked in, and hid when he called. He fed her lots of treats, and took her on long "power walks" which help tire her out and relax her. These walks have helped them to bond, and now Julie is quite comfortable with him.

Early on, we realized that we did not understand Julie's behavior; that she was totally different compared to all our past dogs. We could never have handled this alone. The best thing we did was to hire Mr. Ricky Yeo, who runs Action for Singapore Dogs, to help us out. We were familiar with training puppies, but had no idea how to handle a fearful adult dog. Ricky is an excellent, highly experienced dog trainer, and he knows street dogs and their behavior like no one we knew.

Ricky helped us understand what Julie was experiencing, and what we could do to help her. After working with Julie a few times, he made it very clear that we might not ever have a dog who was "100% normal"- and we are very grateful that he helped us establish specific and realistic goals and expectations.

The first thing Ricky did was put Julie on a detox regimen. Many years of poor diet and stress were obvious influences on her behavior. At Ricky's suggestion, for about two months we gave Julie kidney-support and liver-cleanse herbal pills. This along with a quiet environment and better food definitely helped to calm her. He also helped us understand how to gain her trust and let her know that we were her new "pack".

Julie waiting for Santa

X'mas holiday spirit

Another very helpful tool has been the "Thunder Shirt", which is a lightweight tight wrap that goes around a dog's body. Its compression effect helps calm dogs, and is particularly helpful during thunderstorms and high-anxiety situations. This Thunder Shirt has been invaluable in calming Julie's anxieties.

Now, after 18 months with us, Julie is affectionate and very confident. She frisks around like a puppy! It's been a real learning experience for us all. One thing that helped us enormously was not obsessing about the dog as a "failure" or a "success." It's been important for my children to see how that you don't just pop into a store or a shelter and bring home a ready-made, perfect animal. It involves the long-term commitment of everyone in the household, and is an investment of time, money and patience for the lifetime of the animal. And it's been worth it. Julie is a beloved member of our family.

Julie in her favourite spot

Pet Adoption Friday: Choco and Phoebe from SPCA

Choco

Name: Choco
Gender: Female
Breed: Local
Colour: Torbie
Age: 2 years and 3 months

Choco, along with her babies Bono, Bead and Berry, was abandoned at a lift lobby at Bukit Panjang. The cats were cooped in a tiny cage, with barely any space to move around. They're much happier now that they're out of that cage, but they can be so much happier if they could get their own comfy homes to grow up in. Choco's babies have since been adopted, while Choco is still waiting eagerly for her own home. This gentle darling definitely deserves all the love in the world. Are you ready to adopt this gorgeous girl and promise her forever?

Phoebe

Name: Phoebe
Gender: Female
Breed: Cross Breed
Colour: Black/Tan
Age: 3 years and 1 month
HDB Approved: Yes

Phoebe may be a cross breed, but she has been approved for HDB dwellers under Project ADORE. Under this pilot programme, cross breeds who are approved for HDB are required to attend a basic obedience training programme with their owners. The training programme spans 6 weeks and will teach Phoebe and her future family various things such as picking up commands and how to behave in public. Ready for a lifetime commitment to this gentle darling? Come visit her soon!

If you wish to adopt Choco or Phoebe, visit them at SPCA's shelter during their opening hours:

Viewing Hours:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday - 10.00am to 4.00pm.
  • Sunday and Public Holidays (PH) - 11.00am to 3.30pm.
  • Thursday - Closed (unless it is a PH).
  • On the eve of Chinese New Year, Christmas Day and New Year's Day, the shelter, administration office and clinic will close at 12.30pm. The reception will remain open.
  • As the process of adoption takes at least half an hour, SPCA is unable to process any adoption within 30 minutes to the stated closing time for that day.

Interested parties can also call 6287 5355 ext. 24 (during our opening hours) to check if the animals featured are available for adoption (this is because the animals featured may have been adopted by the time the post is published).

Do 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 send us your tweets on Twitter.

Pet Care Tips: Should I Clip My Bird’s Wings?

What is wing clipping and how should I do it?

Definition: Wing clipping is the process of trimming a bird's primary flight feathers to prevent it from flying or flying as well as before.

Should I wing clip my bird?

Birds whose wings are clipped may still be able to fly, though not high or far. Feathers will also re-grow after a period of time and birds can regain their ability to fly. However, some bird owners have different views on clipping the wings of birds. Though wing clipping is not painful when done the right way, some bird owners do not feel it is natural to clip the wings of birds. An owner's decision to clip his or her pet bird's wings would depend on several things.

Reasons for wing clipping

- Many bird owners trim the wings of their birds to ensure that their pet will not fly away, especially if the bird is allowed to roam freely at home.

- Safety is one of the main reasons owners wing clip their birds. When allowed free flight, birds may fly into mirrors, walls, ceiling fans, windows or hot stoves and injure themselves in the process. By clipping a bird's wings, birds are less likely to fly high or fast enough to seriously injure themselves.

- Pet birds with their wings clipped are usually more dependent on their owner. This can help to improve the bond between you and your pet.

Reasons against wing clipping

- It might not be necessary to clip a bird's wings if they are provided a secure aviary for free flight.

- Some birds that are not tamed may become insecure and stressed if unable to escape, which can result in behavioural problems.

- Flying is a form of exercise as it strengthens the bird's chest and wing muscles. Birds that cannot fly may become obese, and may develop other health problems.

- Wing trimming is not necessarily safe for birds as they may not be able to escape from predators (such as cats) and danger as effectively.

- Feathers that are clipped may become damaged easily and birds are more likely to break a bloodfeather (new feather with a blood supply) on the wing, which may result in significant blood loss for some birds.

- Young birds that have not fledged properly (learnt to fly) should not be clipped. Some aviculturists feel that birds that learn to fly generally develop into more confident and active birds compared to unfledged birds.

Whether your pet bird is wing-clipped or not, remember not to leave your pet unattended when allowed to roam freely. Wing clipping should only be performed by an experienced aviculturist or a veterinarian. This article hopes to introduce you to the topic of wing-clipping and advises that you seek the assistance of a professional should you decide to have the wings of your bird clipped.

Adapted from Birds.about.com (1), (2) and Healthypets

Photos from Katscrittercare, and Parrot World Blog

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Beat The Monday Blues: Things Dog Teach Us

It's the start of a new month and school term for our friends in school. Today, we would like to share with you a compilation of video clips showcasing some of the remarkable traits that we can learn from our waggy friends. Keep calm and click on the play button (:

Spend time with your pets and who knows, you might just learn a life lesson or two from your little ones.

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