Three years ago, on a day which felt like a “puppy” day, my husband and I decided to visit SPCA with the hope of adopting one. As it turned out, it was closed on a Thursday, and being the ignorants we were, we ended up buying a 2.5month old Shih Tzu.
Champagne was our first puppy. With the benefit of hind sight, we won’t be buying puppies any more, especially from commercial pet shops or puppy mills. But Champagne gives us indescribable joy every day and in an effort to care for it better, it started me looking out for news and information about dogs.
And that’s when I learnt about Noah’s Ark, and the small group of tireless volunteers who devote their time and finances to caring for 5 horses, more than 750 dogs and 400 cats.
Nothing quite prepared me for what I saw on my first visit there last Saturday, 7 June 08. I think I half expected to see make shift shelters, sorry looking animals, all either lame, blind, deaf, starving or unloved.
Instead, as we rolled up the dirt track on a wet afternoon, two bus loads of visitors were welcomed by the chorus of barks, and being surrounded by some 750 dogs is an experience you can’t quite put in words.
Happy healthy animals, who were not like that when they first arrived on the Ark.
Many of them loving creatures and they’ll come right up to you for love and attention and often planting wet kisses on you. And there are of course some still too frightened of humans remembering the abuses they suffered at human hands.
It is to the credit of the small group of volunteers, Raymund, Lynda, Fiona, Beatrice, amongst others, that these animals are even alive. And you marvel at just how much it takes, quite apart from the generosity of their hearts and souls, both time and money, to give off love and compassion, in the same selfless, unquestioning, unconditional way, a dog loves us.
And I know, because everyday that I speak with Fiona and Lynda, all by the way, full time employees with regular jobs, they are somewhere rescuing strays, visiting rescued animals at the Vet, taking them for their heartworm checks / vaccination / sterilization, or re-homing rescued and abandoned animals.
Crowded House - Can we have more homes please!!
And these are just a handful, Noah’s Ark and the animals need all the help we can give. We know it costs $ 25,000 a month just to keep the animals there alive, but it will cost less if Raymund and his team had their wish, to educate, and embark on sterilization programs as that would help control the stray population and there would be less dogs dumped at Noah’s Ark.
We know AVA is spending some $ 1 mil in educating Singaporeans on the responsibilities of pet ownership.
In an ideal world, the separate groups should work together pooling resources and programs and efforts. After all, more hands make light work they say.
And culling is not the solution – after all, you don’t cull a child just because it’s sick or there is not enough room for the child. You make room in your heart.
Those of us unable to give our time, there are so many other ways we can help – it costs just $ 35 a month to sponsor one of these animals at Noah’s Ark, that’s slightly over $1 a day! Canned food and newspapers, are always much needed too.
For me, as is true for the others on the 2 bus loads I am sure, the animals left their paw prints on our hearts and I know we will be back.
Article contributed by Ms April Chia and husband, Claudio Bizzoni after their first visit to Noah’s Ark.
"Our next Noah's Ark tour is scheduled for Sept 13 (Sat). Please reserve seats early to avoid disappoint. To register, please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org ".