CHOW Khoon Siew smiled and patted a brown dog on the head as she handed him over to a waiting group of people.
“Take care and be happy with your new life,” she told Hong Zhou (red dates), a one-year-old stray mongrel that she had been housing at her temple-cum-shelter in Heawood Garden, Sungai Siput for three months.
The 61-year-old Buddhist nun, who had over 35 stray dogs at the temple, managed to give nine up for adoption during a three-day adoption programme and flea market at De Garden, Ipoh from Sept 14 to Sept 16.
She had to do so after receiving a notice from the Kuala Kangsar Municipal Council to relocate her dogs before an Oct 6 deadline.
The adoption programme, which saw the participation of other animal lovers and non-governmental organisations, was organised by the Ipoh Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA).
Over 130 dogs and cats were given up for adoption during the event.
“There are about 30 more dogs at my temple, but I decided to bring only these nine as the others are either old, sick or disabled.
“I am happy the ones I brought were adopted so quickly, but now that the event is over, I will have to go back to the drawing board to think of a solution for the others,” said Chow, who had been taking in stray dogs for over 15 years.
Despite her problem, she was clearly happy as she watched happy couples and families adopt dogs and cats from other fosterers and NGOs during the event.
Those who wish to help Chow can contact her at 012-454 6210.
One fosterer was Low Guo Nan, 30, who was all smiles as he played with Simba, a three-year-old mongrel he fell in love with during the programme.
“I came to the adoption programme after learning about it from an acquaintance as I wanted a dog to keep my current pet company.
“I decided to pick Simba after listening to the volunteers telling how friendly and well behaved Simba is,” he said.
Low said he chose to adopt a dog instead of buying one because he believed stray dogs were in no way inferior to pedigrees.
“They can be as loving, faithful and even beautiful if given the right care and training,” he said.
ISPCA vice-president Ricky Soong said the society’s aim of holding the adoption programme and flea market was to find good homes for its strays and spread awareness regarding animal welfare.
“If the public finds it wrong for children to abandon parents who are sick and old, the same applies for animals.
“They should also spay or neuter their pets as to not contribute further to the problem of stray animals roaming our streets.
“To aid in this cause, the ISPCA has a trap, neuter and release (TNR) programme, while also providing an RM50 subsidy for every stray animal spayed or neutered by members of the public,” he said.
On the third and last day of the programme, an official handover ceremony was conducted to mark a Good Samaritan’s donation of a van to the society for its rescue needs.
The van and one year’s worth of driver’s wages, which amount to about RM30,000, was courtesy of manager Alicia Tan and her family.
Tan said the love and affection shown by her family dog Kiko was the inspiration behind their journey to help, contribute and assist in animal welfare efforts as much as possible.
Soong said the van and driver’s services would help greatly in the society’s TNR programme.
“Before the van was given to us in August, we had to rely on volunteers ferrying stray animals using their own vehicles and free time.
“With the convenience of the van and a full-time driver, we hope to step up our TNR programme and further tackle the stray animal problem in Ipoh,” he said.