Thursday, October 4, 2012

PFF Report - Shenton Park Dogs' Refuge Home

4th October is World Animal Day and it is apt for me to dedicate today's blog entry to dog welfare. During my visit to Perth as the ambassador for Perth Fashion Festival, I specifically requested to visit a dog shelter. Why? Because I would like to learn from established dog shelters on the methods utilised and procedures implemented. 

The Dogs' Refuge Home is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the rescue, care and re-homing of dogs. Established in 1935, it is one of the oldest animal welfare agencies in Australia.

I had the privilege of having Ian Coombes, Vice President, to show me around this amazing well-run facility. 

The luxury of land and space is something we lack in Singapore. I was told that even though this shelter receives no funding from the government, it does enjoy low or almost rent-free space. I really hope the Singapore government can allocate a piece of land for us to build a world-class shelter to provide good welfare for the dogs in Singapore.

This no-kill dog refuge home is capable of housing up to 150 dogs. Ian told me this shelter has a great success rate of rehoming the dogs. A whopping 90% of the dogs were being rehomed last year!

Adoption fees vary from A$320 - A$530, and the fee includes microchip, vaccination, sterilisation, worming and flea treatment. The best part, it comes with a temperament assessment. I wish all dog rehomers in Singapore will assess the dogs before they rehome them. It is important to also assess potential adopters to make sure they make good and responsible dog owners.

Communication is key. This shelter sets a good example by having a huge notice board so all volunteers get the latest updates on all the dogs.  

All the dogs are colour coded according to their personality level. White (easiest), Yellow, Green, Blue (most difficult). A magnet on the day means the dog has been walked. This is so volunteers won't walk the same dog twice and give other dogs a chance to be walked. Volunteers also have to undergo training and be graded according to their knowledge and experienced level. Even though I am fairly experienced, I was not allowed to bring a dog out as I have not been assessed yet! Blimey!

Let's do a pictorial tour of the shelter...

There are several kennels and I love the paintings on the wall. The shelter receives good corporate sponsorships and the logos of the sponsors are painted on the walls too.

There is also a pet cemetary on site that is available to public. It is really touching to see the respect that dogs get here. 

The luxury of having fenced up dog run areas at the back of the shelter. Dogs can learn to go off leash within a safe environment. It does wonders to the dog's well being when they are walked daily, let off to run and play frequently. Perhaps that is the reason why the dogs in this shelter are so balanced and happy. I can tell the big difference between the dogs here and the dogs in Singapore shelters.

See the yellow tag. This dog is coloured coded as Yellow. Her temperament is also recorded and displayed for the volunteers to see.

This puppy gets to stay in the office so he can get used to human interaction on a daily basis.

The kennels are spacious and the resident dogs get a big space to live in. They have elevated beds so they stay dry when the floors are being washed. They also have heating lamps above their beds to keep them warm on cold days.

Shenton Park Dogs' Refuge Home also runs a boarding facility for owners to board their dogs. Check out the cute signage.

There is also a quarantine section for dogs that have just arrived. New dogs have to be quarantined for 7 days and have to be medically assessed before they are being taken in and housed on a permanent basis. This is such a good practice! There is also a medical facility on site where the in-house vet performs sterilisation and medical procedures. World class facility indeed!

A photo to remember our visit. Left to right: Manida (my co-founder of D.O.G.S), Ian (Vice President), me, Karen (President). I hope to visit again next year and stay long enough to attend the volunteer training program.

I bought a cap for myself at the Shenton Park Dogs' Refuge Home shop.

I bought these cute Fuzzyard plushies for my doggies too. All proceeds go towards the funding of the dogs. Definitely shopping for a good cause!

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