Rescues Are Worth It: Poh Bee, Megan & Hazel

Rescues Are Worth It: Poh Bee, Megan & Hazel

Making the decision to open our homes to furry friends is not always easy (although there’s no denying that they can capture our hearts very easily). Concerns are bound to be present and being responsible for another life is a decision that needs some thought put into.

But get over this phase of uncertainty and a beautiful life awaits because home is where the dog (or cat) is! Also nothing beats the satisfaction of giving an animal a second chance at life and that is exactly what one of our grooming clients Poh Bee did. A proud mum of not one but two beautiful doggos, she shares with Bubbly Petz her story on how she took the chance with Hazel and Megan!


The backstory

Hazel was rescued by Action for Singapore Dogs (ASD) from a factory area in Tuas. She was pregnant when they rescued her but only knew about it when she was going through sterilisation. They were probably not even full term then and unfortunately, she lost all her babies. She was subsequently boarded at different homes (during which she tried to escape several times). When I adopted her in November 2014, from a shelter in Pasir Ris Farmway she was about 1.5 years old.

Poh Bee with Hazel. (Photo credits: Invertigo Studios)

Megan was impounded by AVA when she was barely 3 months. Little is told to me about her history before her impounding. I don’t know where she was found, or if she was impounded together with her mother and siblings. She was bailed out very soon by Exclusively Mongrels, and went straight from the pound to a lovely foster home with 2 other rescued mongrels. I officially adopted her in July 2015, and she was barely 5 months when I brought her home.

Poh Bee with Megan. (Photo credits: Invertigo Studios)


Making the Decision

For many years before I got Hazel, I was working very long hours. Life was increasingly purposeless and the home increasingly cold and quiet (I lived alone and still do). Many of my close friends have pets - dogs and cats. One of them adopted her second dog from ASD and she is the loveliest thing I have ever seen. Being surrounded by all the good pet owners I guess I was positively encouraged. Seeing how much joy their pets brings them, and how empty my own life was, I thought I should give it a try.

Adopting Concerns

I had a tonne of concerns! Never the type to make uncalculated risks, I took a few steps before I eventually took the first plunge with Hazel. Growing up, I was in fact afraid of dogs, especially big ones, and particularly strays. There have been too many incidences of being chased by strays, altercations with relatives pet dogs and witnessing my own brother being bit by one instilled a deep fear in me. It didn’t help that I had never had a pet - my family used to keep a dog at my dad’s coffeeshop, but I was too young to care for it, and it was more of a guard dog than a pet. I was also an extreme cleanliness freak. My home had white furniture and was mostly speckless. I knew that having pets meant I will be very busy cleaning after them or else I have to live in a constantly ‘furry’ home.

To overcome my fear, I volunteered at a shelter - Gentle Paws. For a few weeks, I was assigned in a kennel with 2 black mongrels. I had to walk, feed and also shower them. While I did not particularly feel a deep connection with them, I was certain my fear was largely baseless. It also taught me basic manners of handling dogs, taking care of them, and learning that each of them is unique and have their own temperaments. As for the cleanliness, thank God for technology, I bought my first vacuum robot within a few months of having Hazel and it turned out to be a lifesaver :)

A Challenging Journey

Hazel took the harder route to adapt to living alone with me. It didn’t help that I worked pretty long hours (any time is too long for a dog, I say!) and I suppose not knowing her full history (that she has never been left alone in an apartment) didn’t help either.

2 months after adopting Hazel, she developed severe separation anxiety. It was totally unexpected (I have never heard of that term in dogs!) and it proved to be one of the most difficult periods in my adoption journey. For months, she would tear down my door frame, go hysterical (even before I actually leave the house), and destroy furniture. The stress I felt peaked when she bit my helper.

The shelter asked me if I preferred to return her - obviously, I said no. Instead I had asked for pet sitting so that Hazel’s anxiety would lessen. As luck would have it, Susan Chakraborty from Pets Orbit was a God-sent. Not only did she help me pet-sit my rather skittish and very anxious dog for many weeks, she introduced me to a dog trainer - Mr Godfrey Alagappan, who helped Hazel (and me!) get over her separation anxiety, after the very first training!
Besides them I also got to know a couple of dog loving friends and with this small network of very supportive friends, I was ready to adopt a second dog 6 months after Hazel recovered.

Megan was relatively easy to assimilate into our home. Other than the occasional jealousy-incited scuffle, the two got along really well, which I am very grateful for. Megan was the alpha dog in her foster home, so she had to take a few hard lessons from Hazel in my home, because Hazel wouldn't let Megan takeover the alpha dog status :)

Life After Doggos

My life completely changed with my first adoption. Nine months after I got Hazel, I turned pescetarian (because I can’t imagine eating the meat of an animal I could imagine myself keeping as a pet…). My life feels more fulfilled and purposeful now; I think it has to do with wanting to care for someone other than myself. So yes, I would definitely do it all over again. In fact, I can’t imagine life without a pet anymore.

(Photo credits: Invertigo Studios)

On Adoption...

I avoid coming across as overly religious about pet adoption. If someone I know is looking to own a dog, I ask what breed and I ask why this breed. Very often, people have specific reasons for choosing a certain breed. I don't judge, and I share with them the option of adopting, and the unknown dark truths of irresponsible pet breeders.

What I learn is that pet ownership takes a lot of commitment and support from loved ones especially people who stay with you. It does take a whole village to raise a pet. At the end, if one still goes ahead to buy instead of adopt, I still share pet ownership tips and I share joy in their newfound furry baby. I prefer not to outcast someone because of their choice, because there is always the possibility of adoption after the first pet. 

Meet the Doggos

Name: Hazel
Estimated date of birth: 6 Jun 2013
Rescued at: 1.5 years old
Daily routine: Wake up (when I do) > breakfast > morning walk > sleep some more > welcome me home (yay!) > dinner > evening walk > SLEEP :)
Tolerance for grooming (1- Extremely low 10 - Very High): Nails (3), Shower (8), Ears (10), Teeth brushing (9)
If doggo could speak human, she would say: Mommy… please don’t leave without me!

Name: Megan
Estimated date of birth: 14 Feb 2015
Rescued at: 5 months
Daily routine: Basically same as Hazel except she will do zoomies when we are getting ready for our walks :p
Tolerance for grooming (1- Extremely low 10 - Very High): Nails (7), Shower (7), Ears (8), Teeth brushing (9)
If doggo could speak human, she would say: Mommy… stomach rub forever please!!!
Thank you Poh Bee for sharing your story and Invertigo Studios for the photos!

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