We have heard and seen so much about stray cats and dogs, yet on the flip side, pet owners have no qualms about throwing out their small pet animals into the wilderness.
About 3 months ago, our volunteer received a call for help with a rabbit that was roaming Little Guilin park. It was approaching dusk so J, the lady who reported the case to us was concerned over the safety of this little one. In fact, she assured our volunteer that she will stay and watch over the rabbit till we arrive. Once the volunteers arrived, they got on their fours to get close to the rabbit. The rabbit was frightened by the crowd initially but calmed down after a while, like he knows that help is here. With the help of 2 other passers-by, the volunteer managed to pluck the rabbit to safety. A few residents who exercise at the park regularly commented that the rabbit was seen hopping around for the past few days and they all feared for him as there are monkeys residing in the area and the rabbit seemed like obvious prey for them. He was later named Roberto as he looked calm and quite a gentleman with his white coat and pleasant disposition.
Roberto was brought back to the volunteer's home, and very quickly, a warm comfortable area was set up for him to spend the night. He seemed inquisitive but upon closer inspection, he had an eye infection and there was pus in one of them. That was probably why Roberto was "thrown out" of the house but in fact, a simple vet visit with medication could have treated the infection. Roberto nibbled on some hay and comfortably settled in for the night.
The next morning, Roberto was found to have serious diarrhea and he was very weak. A rabbit suffering from serious diarrhea is equivalent to having non-stop bleeding for a dog/cat, and it is life threatening to the animal. The volunteer immediately called House Rabbit Society Singapore (HRSS) for help to secure an appointment with a vet to attend to Roberto. However, the little one did not make it to the vet visit - Roberto passed on during the mid morning of 25 March 2011.
The government has been advocating "Responsible Pet Ownership" amongst the public year after year, yet such irresponsible behavior continue to prevail in our society. Is abandonment a simple solution to our pet problems? If Roberto and many other abandoned animals could speak, they would have endless tales to tell you about their plight. His owner solved the pet problem but gave Roberto a whole new world of problems which includes starvation and predators.
Spare a thought for your pet - he/she may just be a pet to you, but to him/her, you are the world! By abandoning your animal companion, you are clearly throwing away the trust a helpless and voiceless one has for you, and maybe even sending your loyal pet out to his/her death. A little life was lost to tell this story.
Please help us spread the word about "Responsible Pet Ownership". If your pet is not well, seek medical advice from a vet. If he/she has behavioural problems, look for professionals who can help uncover the root of the problem. In short, never give up on your pet.