…and Cat Makes Three

Yep, this is a blog about dogs in Singapore but I wanted to share with you our newest addition. Should have called her Out of the Blue, because that’s exactly how she came to be with us. Out of the blue, the night before the April full moon, on an ordinary walk in the evening, the most extraordinary thing happened. We, okay, I, heard a meow. From the side of the gutter, on the slope by the sidewalk, off one of the more busy streets in Singapore. She was so tiny, and grey, I did a double-take to make sure it was a kitten, not a rat. Because that meow wasn’t quite a meow. Cat was just, maybe barely, one month old.

And so it is, we became a more multi-species household. The dogs now had a feline sibling, a plaything, an alien. This squeaky, fluffy, tiny little thing that smelled different, looked different, sounded different, and got to eat on the table, and so constantly. Compared to the dogs’ two meals a day routine, her seven meals probably seemed like heaven to them. Cat was on a mix of powdered milk, raw beef, ghee, and a few crunchies before she moved onto a purely raw diet that my friend made. She poo-poo’d my recipe, granted I am not the best chef.

She has sprouted exponentially and inconsistently. She has now lost her kitten fluffiness, but still has the look of a kitten. Curious. Mischievous. She is no longer that awkward staggering kitten but a sleek super-jumper.

Cat is not my first Cat but I have forgotten how cats get in everywhere. Dogs, even mine, have some boundaries. They sit on the floor, and they say on the floor, and maybe the couch and bed but cats, cats get on counters, when you are cooking, cats get on the table, when you are eating, cats get on the sink, when you are peeing, cats get on the bathtub, when you are (trying) to relax. I even cradled her in the bath once, and she promptly fell asleep.

And so it goes, life with a cat, and two dogs. A new phase.

Heatstroke

Today’s post is in memory of a very special dog. He sadly passed away from heatstroke. A devastating loss to his person. A very sad day for everyone who knew him.

Heatstroke is a common cause of death. Just because it’s common doesn’t lessen the blow any. Heatstroke strikes animals and human alike. I guess the key is recognition (and prevention).

It’s not that dogs have fur and overheat more easily than we do. They do. It’s that they don’t have enough sweat glands to cool them on a really hot and/or humid day. We pretty much have sweat glands all over but dogs only have them where there is no fur – paws and nose then.

Dogs are also often tethered and are not masters of their own domain and cannot change their environment to ensure safety. They can’t turn on the air con, for instance. And some dogs, and breeds, seem more tolerant or hide their symptoms in general better. Every year while we lived in Hong Kong, a Goldie dies from heatstroke while on a hike.

We were always extra careful with our Goldie. We carried extra water, not for drinking, but for cooling her down. We hiked in the shade, stopped often to rest, played at the beach and in the water and she hiked with a damp towel around her neck. We checked her often for signs.

Heatstroke in some instances can easily be prevented – not leaving your dog in a car, not vigorously exercising your dogs when it’s hot and humid, not leaving your dog outside on a hot day without shade or fresh water, and not leaving your dog stuck on concrete or asphalt which can get really hot. Some breeds are more prone – think, snub-nosed dogs like pugs whose nasal passages are too small to circulate enough air to cool them off.

How to tell if a dog is having a heatstroke?

It’s not always easy to tell when it requires immediate medical attention since we don’t always carry around a thermometer to see if our dog is at 110ºF or 43.3ºC (maybe we should on hikes). The point is not to allow our dogs to even get that hot.

It’s important to know where your dog’s baseline is and observe when he/she starts to behave differently. The dog’s response to being overheated is heavy (heavier) panting and difficult breathing. The mucous membranes first get bright red (then grey when shock sets in). Try pressing on the gums and see what happens. Movement is unsteady and/or they get lethargic. They may start to vomit. It gets bad when there is shock and the dog goes into seizures or coma. The end can come rapidly after this.

It’s crucial to start cooling the dog down at the early stage. If you are outside, take the dog into air conditioning. If you are inside, put the dog in front of the air con or electric fan. Don’t throw cold water at your dog because the sudden change in temperature will constrict the vessels, decreasing oxygen.

If you are outdoors (eg hiking), find shade, wet a towel with water and place around the neck. If possible, find a water source and let the dog stand in it. Make sure it’s not too cold.

You dog may want to drink. A little is ok but don’t let him/her guzzle it down.

Just remember a dog can be overcooled.

Even if your dog appears “normal”, take him/her to the vet to ensure everything is okay.

With heatstroke, prevention is the key.

I’m not sure what the whole story is with this lovely dog who has passed on. It’s not the time (is it ever?) to ask for details. No one really wants to rehash what happened, even if the series of events is going around and around in their head.

No matter what happened, hopefully the fact that he triggered this post will save some other dogs.

Pet MedMD – Heat Stroke and Dehydration in Dogs

All about Dogs…yep Another Dog Blog

We grew up with dogs and absolutely love dogs. We live with two rescues who continue to amaze us every day. They are intelligent and fun social beings, just full of love.

We want to share their stories and our experiences, especially living in Asia with dogs. We now live in Singapore, after having relocated with our first dog. It’s been quite a journey, that’s for sure. Not always smooth, but always fun or at least funny.

Yes, there are a 1,000,000 +1 dog blogs. Why another one you ask? Well, dog ownership in Singapore and Asia is relatively new. Most people didn’t grow up with dogs here. In fact, people will literally run across the street to avoid you and your dogs or shriek a little school girl shriek and freeze (or worse dart back and forth in front of you).  It’s uninformed dog owner educating new dog owners. It’s like Chinese whispers – lots of false information and urban myths.

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way in which its animals are treated.
I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man.
I feel that spiritual progress does demand at some stage that we should cease to kill our fellow creatures for the satisfaction of our bodily wants.
I do not regard flesh-food as necessary for us at any stage and under any clime in which it is possible for human beings ordinarily to live.
I hold flesh-food to be unsuited to our species.  – Ghandi

After doing adoptions at Hong Kong Dog Rescue, I think I’ve heard it all! Or at least I hope so. Having dealt with potential adopters, I know what some of the more common misconceptions are. I hope, through this website, some of the misunderstandings that surround dogs can be dissolved.

Maybe some of you will find useful information.

Maybe some of you will enjoy hearing our dogs’ crazy stories.

Maybe some of you will come to understand “man’s best friend” a little more.

Maybe some of you will be inspired to help raise awareness of dog/animal welfare.

Hopefully everyone will feel welcomed.  This website is intended to be useful and helpful, a place for sharing in the hopes of making it a better place for dogs to live in, not a place to blame.  We are not here to convert anyone into a dog-lover, only that we act with more respect and compassion. We all need to learn and I sure have, and am still learning now! Knowledge is powerful and I hope we can make positive change together.

Society may not be ready to give up eating meat but surely we can and have progressed to where we can better understand each other. We may not all be animal-lovers but how we treat animals reflects our philosophy of how we treat and protect those “weaker” than us. It reflects our strength, and how comfortable and adjusted we are in our own skin, how much we love and respect ourselves, which overflows to those around us and how happy we really are.

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