Monday, October 6, 2014

The National Geographic Channel Free Pet Shop - Promoting the Impawtence of Responsible Pet Ownership

When Red Dot Diva heard about The National Geographic Channel (NGC) Free Pet Shop, she was all fur showing support and helping to get word out on responsible pet ownership.

It is a mini tribute after all to her beloved Westie, Ashley, who at a ripe old age of 17 years, has since gone over the Rainbow Bridge. That was over 5 years ago, and Red Dot Diva has not gotten a new pet since.

The NGC Free Pet Shop was held at the Big Splash, East Coast Park this past weekend (4 and 5 October), and in this third edition, the channel has managed to gather support from eight participating no-kill dog shelters – Action for Singapore Dogs, Animal Lovers League, Causes for Animals, Gentle Paws, Noah’s Ark Cares, Save Our Street Dogs, Three Legs Good, and Uncle Khoe’s K9 Shelter. This was twice the number of participating dog shelters since the first event and this year, there were sponsors and partners like the ​Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA), Mount Pleasant Veterinary Group, Subaru and Starhub, amongst other private organisations.

Red Dot Diva dropped by on the first day at about 1.30PM. It was a very hot muggy afternoon, and that must not have been entirely comfortable for the over 150 dogs which were up for adoption. After all, they were not able to just take off their natural furry coats! It was a good thing that many of the kennels were housed in rather spacious and shady tents, and there were vigilant keepers accompanying the dogs in the pens to help ensure that they were cool and had enough water.

And if the shade wasn't enough to stave off the heat, braver dogs who love swimming could have a cool dip in Singapore’s Largest Doggy Water Dish sponsored by Subaru. Some dogs just preferred to lap up the water to quench their thirst, while others cringed back in horror or struggled as their owners tried to put them into the pool. But there was a particular furball who took to the water like a proper dogfish. It was a Bichon Frise or Maltese (they looked almost the same when wet!) owned by a couple, and Red Dot Diva was so amused to see it doing the doggy paddle all around the pool like it was the canine equivalent of Esther Williams. (Watch it cosplay as a Mer-dog in the video below!)

During the two-day event, there were various activities that the general public could take part in - Instagram photo contests and caricature sketches (sponsored by Subaru), as well as talks and shows held on the stage. Red Dot Diva checked in on a few minutes of the "Singapore Special Dog Show" happening on stage, that featured a gorgeous, sandy-brown, almost German Shepherd-like mixed breed with the name of Dada.

Mr Chew and the distinguished Dada
Dada was also a rescued street dog and was in and out of a couple of homes before he was adopted by his current owner Mr Chew. Mr Chew said that Dada showed behavioural problems with his previous adopters, and one of his bad habits was biting and pulling people's t-shirts and clothings. However, with proper training and lots of patience and love, Dada is now a more well-behaved dog. Dada even showed us his obstacle jumping skills, and he really was a beautiful refined-looking dog. The host of the show quipped, "Look at how his muscles ripple... he is like the Mr Universe for dogs!"

While walking around the various kennels, Red Dot Diva noted that many of the dogs available for adoption were mostly medium-sized or big dogs that are mongrels or are of mixed breeds. Some were puppies, but one could hazard a good guess how big they would grow up to be by the size of their bones and paws!

Just hangin' around... bring me home!

It is not a surprise that there are more dogs which are of a larger size that are available for adoption. Over 80% of residents in the Red Dot Island live in apartments, and the HDB has strict restrictions on the size and number of dogs one can keep. Still, there was a very healthy flow of people during the couple of hours Red Dot Diva was at the event. Many already owned dogs (some were adopted from shelters too) and brought their furry friends along to mingle and interact with each other. She also noted that there were several families who brought their children along, hopefully, to better understand responsible pet ownership and help them foster more empathy toward animals, in general. There were definitely lots of waggy tails and happy dog smiles around!

How to resist those sad eyes??!
I sniff you!

Even more heartening was seeing many people who seemed very interested in adopting some of the dogs there and were enquiring about their temperaments and histories. It is just too bad that Red Dot Diva is not able to own a bigger dog at her current apartment, and also, none of the dogs whom she looked at were particularly asking her to bring them home. She actually does believe in the notion that "the dog chooses you".

She has such gorgeous amber eyes

And last night, Red Dot Diva received the pawsome news that over the weekend, there were over 6,500 attendees and more than 300 interested adopters at The NGC Free Pet Shop! So there is a lot of hope for this rescued dogs to find a good loving home.

Great Pawsitive News indeed!


In conjunction with the event, NGC (StarHub TV Ch. 411 and SingTel mio TV Ch. 201) will be putting more focus on the topic of pet rescue and a new series "Cesar to the Rescue Asia" will premiere on 8th October, 9 PM. Cesar Milan, a popular "dog whisperer" will be helping owners in Asian communities to understand how dogs behave when in smaller premises and crowded cities. Cesar will also demonstrate some of his methods of rehabilitation with such dogs.


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