My love for animals (especially dogs) is really indescribable. And I honestly have my parents to thank for this. Ever since I was born, we’ve been keeping dogs at home and we never really bought any of them. Some of them are strays, some of them were given by family friends when their dogs gave birth to a litter. Not only do we do that, we also always carry a bag of kibbles or rice wherever we go so we are able to feed the strays if we see any. So my family and I really started this love journey without knowing it. And presently, I have two dogs at home, a pure breed Shih Tzu and a Jap Spitz and German Shepherd cross breed, both of which were given to my family by family friends.
Since my entire family (family = humans + dogs) is in Malaysia and I’m here in Singapore, I realised that I missed my dog so much that it felt like part of me was in Malaysia and luckily enough, my friend introduced me to the shelter. My first visit there was amazing, 3 siblings particularly caught my attention, namely Spiderman, Batman and Robin. They were the first ones who came up to me and started ‘inspecting’ me and when they were done, they took a few steps back and stared at me while wagging their tails so hard that their entire body shook along. When I took a step towards them, they took a step back and it continued until they entered a room where they kept on peeking out of the room to see where was I. it almost felt as if they were telling me, ‘Hey! Hurry up and follow us!’ It was then that I fell in love with them.
I started going to the shelter regularly on Saturdays, usually from 2pm to 5pm but before I knew it, I started going earlier and ending later! Cleaning the kennels, bringing them out for walks, bathing them, feeding strays, trying to find homes for them, it’s all hard labour work but at the end of the day, I’d go to bed thinking, wow, what a well-spent day. Even though it takes me up to 2 hours to get to the shelter, even though I get so tired at the end of the day, even though I get so busy or caught up with other things at times, I still go back week after week. More often than not, I feel that they’re the ones helping me more as compared to me helping them. They’re the ones who’re teaching me that we have to take breaks in life, enjoy the sun and go for a long walk.
I’ve met wonderful people through going to the shelter. On some weeks when I go to the shelter, I see new volunteers at the shelter which is really a heart-warming sight. During adoption drives, though we’re all strangers in the beginning, I’ve always managed to get to know at least one new advocate who’d share his/her experiences. The best thing is, we’re all working towards a common goal which has greatly boosted our relationships with one another to an extent where I feel like they’re all part of my family.
It has been a very emotional journey of love. It’s heart aching to see strays getting hurt when they’re out on the streets or even seeing deaths of a shelter dog. All these frustration and anger are channelled away through all of us pushing harder for more dogs to be rehomed.
When people ask me why do I bother volunteering at the shelter, I always tell them it is solely because I love dogs so much and because they’re the ones pushing me forward in life. It’s really about building a personal relationship with each dog at the shelter which would really make every visit count. Every time I visit the shelter, our relationship grows stronger, they trust me more and I become more confident around them. At times when I feel down or caught up with something else, the shelter dogs would somehow sense it and some of them would come and nudge me continuously until I play with them, some would just lie down by my side and rest their head on my leg, some would rest their front legs on my shoulder and lick my face. Their endless supply of love never ceases to amaze me.
All in all, it’s a long, hard and arduous journey, but ever so enriching and touching when dogs get adopted into wonderful homes. It’s really amazing how I always go back to the shelter and spend time with them. Even though I do the same things over and over again, the experiences that I get are never the same. My love journey started since the day I was born and it will only end when I die because I will never grow up alone as I will always have a furry friend seated right by my side. Up till now, I still look forward to going to the shelter every weekend. The dogs are like the force driving me to persevere each weekday until the weekend is here where I’ll get my reward at the shelter – licks on my face and the sight of them wagging their tails. All those amazing furry souls out there will never fail to let me fall in l