Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A visit to SOSD Shelter

A cacophony of high pitched barks and whimpers greeted us as we stepped into the SOSD’s Shelter a few weeks back. The friendlier dogs were jumping while others (those on rehabilitation) were wary as we walked past. (We were told not to stick our fingers into the cages or stand too close to the gates.) The family was there that morning to understand a bit more of the work that SOSD does as we recently became a fosterer to a puppy which we picked up from SOSD.

They say that the eyes are windows to the souls and I can’t agree more. A walk through the shelter and you can sense the struggles and confusion some of these dogs have gone through.

 As we walked from pen to pen and peered into their eyes, each dog seems to have a story to tell.

Maddox (above) has a fantastic temperament. Rescued from AVA last year, Maddox has proven to be really gentle and friendly and he is now a regular fixture of SOSD’s outreach team. The team also brings him to schools to show the children just how friendly and gentle street dogs can be. Having done so much for educating the public and to give a “voice” on behalf of his other friends in the shelter, ironically he has remained, till this day, not adopted.

Beancurd (above left) was rescued in from AVA when she was just 3 months old and has since been waiting for a home.

Hers is a bittersweet story:  she was one of the few lucky ones that escaped unscathed when she was quarantined with a dog that later came down with the Pavorvirus. Though lively and loving, the irony is that she was the only one left of the whole batch to have yet found a home.  There were a few times where was nearly adopted, but it has not quite worked out.

And essentially that’s what SOSD aims to do – to give these dogs a second chance in life by rescuing these street dogs and educating the public. This is where a few of SOSD’s teams come into the picture with its re-homing team and the outreach team.

This tour we registered for started with a talk by Tony and Ashlee (below) who were our shelter tour guides that morning. Tours typically start at 1130am and because SOSD is managed by volunteers, so email confirmation may only be sent out 2 – 3 days prior to the tour. 

Above pic: Tony with Ashlee

While waiting, we saw volunteers taking the dogs out and walking them. Tony shared that the dogs are walked 4 times a week by volunteers who head to the shelters on weekdays too. 

Above: Moomi with her ‘handler’ for that morning. She is part of the Ubin Trap and Neuter project which you can more about here.) After the talk, we were brought into the shelter. 

Above: Inside Unit 15/16 (There are another 2 units 13/14 which we visited for a short while too)

The operating expenses to run a shelter are very high and the highest the shelter has ever incurred in a month is $30,000! That was for medical cost and includes vaccination and sterilization. Because of these high costs, money is spent carefully and repairs made, only when necessary. 

(Above pic: painting work done only on the lower half of the gate which comes into contact with the dogs to manage expenses)

From a parental standpoint, it was a really good exposure for Dumpling. She did not quite grasp what SOSD does and the scale of the work involved and the tour made it more ‘legit’. As Tony shared with us some of the dogs’ stories, I could see Dumpling ‘taking it all in’.  

I could also tell that Dumpling was really surprised at how “basic” the shelter is. At its best, the shelter is “functional” but of course that can’t be compared to the comfort that of a permanent / foster home. The shelter tour brought across a message that is certainly more concrete in the little one’s mind – Adopt, Don’t Shop

What I was happy to see was a dog run that is outside the shelter where the puppies and dogs have a chance to roam and run a bit. Additionally, it is also a ‘neutral’ meeting ground for a potential fosterer / adopter to meet and observe the new addition to the family. 

Above: SOSD’s dog run

It was an hour well spent for us and definitely for the kiddo. In fact, she was sharing with me that if there’s a chance, she would talk about the shelter visit and our fostering experience for her school’s “Show and Tell”.

As SOSD is a registered charity (founded in July 2011, it is funded solely by donations. Here’s some numbers and ways you can help:

(Information provided by SOSD Singapore)

SOSD does not attend to ad-hoc visits as based on my understanding; they are often busy over the weekends with adoption drives. If you should be keen to register your interest for the next shelter tour on 26 July, you can click here.

To understand more about the work and events that SOSD does, you can follow their Facebook page.

Disclaimer: This is neither a sponsored post nor were we compensated for it. All opinions expressed are entirely ours though the dogs that you see on their website and at the adoption drives can be yours. :) You can visit the adoption page here

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