I have spent one of the most meaningful moments at H.O.P.E. during my vacation. This is my first time working as a volunteer for ’man’s best friends’ — DOGS!
Homeless & Orphan Pets Exist a.k.a. H.O.P.E is a non-profit and non-government organization, a shelter which adopts rescued dogs and cats of all kinds and ages. They also raise awareness amongst the public about the importance of trap-neuter-release (TNR) to control the number of stray dogs.
H.O.P.E is located in the midst of oil palms. The exact location could not be pin-pointed at Google map due to its accessibility. At H.O.P.E, there are approximately 1,000 dogs sharing the shelter of less than an acre of land. These dogs consume more than 450 kilograms of forage per day. As a non-profitable organization which solely lives on the public donation, the home has been in debt of almost RM 10K with Brit, the dog food provider.
You might be shocked by the number of adoptees, but part of them is to be blamed by irresponsible owners who abandoned their dogs. These stray dogs will mate and produce their offsprings at any place. Then the cycles goes on and on.
Every three weeks, H.O.P.E organizes Doggies Bathing Event, which is one of the approaches to engage the public. The home has also been co-operating with a few local pet shops, to provide adoption services. Every few months, the home will bring several puppies to each pet shop and try their best to find a home for them. This is not all: after the dogs have been successfully adopted, the home will ensure that the dogs are castrated, implanted with identity microchip, and vaccinated through numerous home visits.
On 9th of June, one of my kindest friends brought me to the home and attended the bathing event. To be frank, I was startled by the number of dogs that came into sight. The dogs sprang on the visitors to welcome them. By the time we reached the home, there were already 20 volunteers in the help.
So how does the bathing actually work? No, no, no water guns. Volunteers are actually required to carry each dog to a tub that is filled with water with lice killer. There, they will rub and pour the water onto the dog’s body. There is no direct water supply to the Home. So, the water is actually supplied by the rain water that has been stored beforehand. Mature dogs are separated from the puppies to protect them from being harmed from the adults. There are also 20 cats that are kept in cages.
There are dogs which require special care, like Brownie, a Chow Chow which could not stay in co-existence with other dogs due its beauty which could raise jealousy amongst the other dogs; Puppies and their respective mums are isolated in the cage, to protect the young from being hurt; a mongrel is being consumed by its last stage of cancer, its facial features could hardly be seen.
Every dog has been given a name, but only the owner remembers them all. I was quite surprised by the fact that there were actually quite a few of purebred dogs that have been abandoned by their owners. There were also dogs with missing legs, or scars all over their bodies.
Recently, H.O.P.E has been under the pressure of shifting their home to another location, as the current land is going to be developed for other purposes. Fortunately, the administrator has found a land to accommodate the strays but the major problem came interrupting: MONEY. H.O.P.E relies greatly on public donation, and every cent is sincerely appreciated because H.O.P.E believes, “While there’s life, there’s hope.” For more information, please visit H.O.P.E’s Facebook Page.