Adopt a pet instead of buying one

There was a dog adoption drive in town sponsored by Subaru and LostPaws. The volunteers from LostPaws were encouraging the public to adopt a pet instead of buying one, and educating them about responsible pet ownership.

As a dog lover, it saddens me to see abandoned dogs. I find it wonderful that many volunteers are helping with re-homing the dogs.

However, most of the dogs at the adoption drive have been homeless for months. It is a tough task to find a suitable home for the dogs.

First, the volunteers need to find the right family that bonds with the dog and would actually take good care of the dog. Then, they need to fill in the paperwork. This is where restrictions placed by the authorities complicate things. 

Street photography - Subaru dog adoption drive

In Singapore, you need a license to legally own a dog. The breeds of dogs that you are allowed to keep depends on the type of residence you live in. Generally, you can have larger breeds in private residences compared to public housing. There is also a restriction on the number of pets each household can have.

This means that dog lovers might not be able to adopt a dog if they already meet the quota. It is frustrating for the volunteers and adoption centres. These are people who are very willing to take in these homeless dogs, even if it means an increased expenditure of time and money.

Street photography - White dog looking at the camera

This fellow seems to be smiling at the camera when I took a photo of him. He’s such a likeable dog but it’s a pity that I’m not allowed to have a pet in my rented apartment.

The volunteer shared with me that they actually found a suitable owner for the dog. The family adores him and he was already settling in. Unfortunately, the neighbour of this family was less keen about the dog and actually lodged a complain about the dog. From what I understood, the dog did not bark excessively but the neighbour claimed to be disturbed by the dog’s barking.

In the end, the dog was brought back to the adoption centre to be re-homed again.

Street photography - Dog at adoption drive

This forlorn looking dog was one of three siblings at the adoption drive. They were rescued from a factory weeks after they were born. Two of their siblings have been adopted, leaving the three of them waiting for their turn.

The public needs to be educated about the need to neuter their pets. These puppies were born because their parents’ owners were irresponsible. Sterilisation plays an important role in controlling the dog population. These unwanted puppies are left to fend for themselves and scavenge for food.

If they end up not getting a home, they would probably be put down by the authorities. It is a cruel fate for an innocent life.

Street photography - Boy walking a white dog

The dogs at the adoption drive were mostly mongrels. The volunteer shared that if a homeless dog was a more popular breed, such as a poodle or terrier, they were usually adopted quickly.

Mongrels were the hardest to re-home. It seems that Singaporeans tend to overlook them because they are not from any particular breed.

Street photography - Puppy with adoption volunteer

Again, this comes down to public education. You should not be getting a dog simply because of its looks. There are more important things to consider, such as their temperament, whether they suit your lifestyle and whether they are good with children.

I agree that there are many dog lovers who sincerely care for the well-being of dogs regardless of their age or breed. But I also see many people who treat their pets like toys. Some seem to think that their pets are dolls for them to dress up.

It is disheartening to see dogs being abandoned because of old age, or because their owners lost the interest to take care of them. These owners simply lack the responsibility to be dedicated caretakers and should never have been given the privilege in the first place.

Street photography - Puppy with an adoption volunteer

A potential pet owner should understand the magnitude of the task they are accepting when they decide to keep a pet. It is a long-term commitment to look after the well-being of the pet all the way till they die. They become a part of the family instead of just a play thing to approach when  you feel like it.

It’s almost akin to a marriage vow.  Till death do us part.

If pet shops can play their part by helping in public education instead of pushing sales, there will be less pets that need to be adopted.

Visit Action for Singapore Dogs to see how you can help, either as a volunteer or to adopt a dog.

If you are a pet lover in Singapore, join LostPaws. It is a platform for pet adoption, for finding lost pets and for helping lost pets find their homes.