I was really surprised to meet Daisy, a one-year-old cutie who looks like a golden Jack Russell, at PAWS Subang because she defies the rules that shelters run by.
Animals shelters rely on good will. Funds typically come from a huge network of supporters who beg and cajole friends, family, strangers and corporations for donations. But with animals being dumped by the tens of thousands, the sad truth is that euthanasia is a harsh, daily reality.
Daisy is a little darling, still a big puppy, and pretty – but she is almost entirely blind.
“Someone found her on the street,” Leong Chia Ern, senior shelter co-ordinator, shares. “We got the vet to spay and vaccinate her. She’s affectionate, and she knows her name, too.”
In other words, she got to him by the heartstrings. And it’s not hard to see why. Daisy is a little darling.
Daisy has super short golden fur, little stubby legs, a small barrel body and the sweetest little tail. When I pick her up, she sniffs at me and the tail starts going instantly.
However, it’s also very clear that the little dog is frightened. She’s trembling as she sits in my arms and she hides her nose in my arm.
It’s not hard to see why she’s so scared: the shelter is loud with barking dogs, all of whom Daisy can hear and smell but she has no idea how close they are. And from Leong’s tale, it looks as though her initial injury came from being attacked by another dog when she was on the street.
“She loves to go for walks in the paddock but she likes to have you close by all the time,” confirms assistant shelter manager Agnes Lim. “She also adores rice with chicken broth, and she eats everything you offer her.”
After a five-minute passionate lecture on how sweet Daisy is, it’s clear she’s captured Lim’s heart as well.
The dog is adorable and even though she has her own video on the PAWS website and Facebook page, she’s had no enquiries, possibly because people are afraid to ask what it will take to offer her a home.
It made me wonder too, how do you home a little girl who’s almost entirely blind?
When looking for advice, ask an expert.
Stevens Chan Kum Fai was an ordinary businessman, but in 2002 he discovered he had glaucoma. Despite nine eye surgeries, he gradually lost all of his vision. By 2007, he was blind.
Today he runs Dialogue In the Dark, a series of programmes designed to teach others the skills needed for independence and to help the sighted understand what it’s like to be blind. (www.did.my at The Welt in Kuala Lumpur)
Chan is a lovely man and when asked for advice, he put himself in Daisy’s place instantly.
“I’d say that dogs are much better at being blind than humans,” he muses. “They can smell their way around and their hearing is also excellent.”
Hot tip: “The key to helping Daisy adapt would be to orient her properly. You have to take her around your home and teach her where everything is. Then, you need to train her so that she knows exactly where to eat and drink, and where to pee and pooh,” says Chan.
It takes Daisy a good 10 minutes to stop shaking but when she realises she’s in the office, and with some of her favourite humans, that little tail is going again. The second her feet touch the floor, she walks up to Leong, stopping a few inches in front of him and waiting for her ear squizzles.
When Lim says hello, Daisy lifts her head and pants happily as she’s patted. However, she walks into a plastic chair a second later and then she walks into a cardboard box.
The problem is clear instantly: she can smell the humans and locate them but she can’t sense inanimate objects. Mind you, a few minutes is all it takes for her to slow down when she’s near the plastic chair.
“Daisy needs an owner who is at home all day,” Leong says. “She needs a lot of company and she prefers to sit at your feet, in your lap or right next to you.”
Someone who works from home, or someone who is retired would be excellent. As she’s also very quiet, a condo home that allows pets would be lovely or a normal house with a tiny garden – with a gate.
Daisy will eat anything, so there’s no special diet. She’s vaccinated, spayed, flea-free and easy to maintain. Her coat is super-short, so there are no grooming fees involved.
She’s loving, sweet and cuddly, so she’s very eager to please, but she has been living on the street and in a cage. That means she needs house training. It’s not a big deal; you’d have the same with a young puppy.
Also, her rescuing angel will have to make sure not to constantly rearrange the furniture. Daisy will memorise where steps and furniture are, so if you move things, she won’t know.
“The most important thing is love and care,” Chan advises. “Her other senses will take care of things as long as she’s happy and secure.”
Daisy has a lot of love to give but as she’s competing with cute, sighted puppies, she needs a bit of extra help in finding a home.
In short, we’re looking for a miracle.
If you think you can offer Daisy the kind of home she needs, please contact PAWS (Pilmoor Estate, Subang Airport Road, Subang, Selangor / tel: 03-7846 1087) and ask for Daisy.