A carpenter and his wife may be poor but they are rich in kindness. Despite being a low-income earner, Thean Yoon Wah, 59, and Chan Li Yan, 46, have so much love to give to homeless canines.
They share their home with rescued furries and build shelters for stray dogs to shield them from the rain.
They run Puppy’s Loving Home in Serendah, Hulu Selangor, which houses 120 dogs including four disabled ones. As the couple take in more strays, they are finding it harder to keep up with the cost of raising them.
“Five years ago, when we first started helping strays, there were 20 of them. They would wander around my husband’s former workshop in Ipoh.
“Two years ago, when we moved out, we transported 40 dogs from Ipoh to Rawang, ” said Chan, a housewife.
The couple are renting their one-bedroom house in a 4,046sq m land for RM900 a month. There are also makeshift shelters for the furry animals.
As and when funds come in, they will start building additional dog shelters to accommodate more strays. They will also pave the land with cement to make it safer for the dogs.
“On rainy seasons, centipedes can be a threat to these strays if they get bitten. It is hard to see these creatures in sandy ground with grass, ” said Chan.
The medical costs for the dogs are quite high, especially when they fall sick. Some well-wishers help with the medical bills to help the couple tide over the difficult times. There are also dog lovers who volunteer their time to bathe the dogs.
If they had the funds, the couple would feed the dogs with dog food, rice and meat. They have approached bakeries for leftover bread and baked items for their dogs.
“There was a time when we were very tight for money. We could only cook plain porridge, with an egg stirred in, for the dogs, ” said Chan.
Her love for canines started when a friend in Kuala Lumpur gifted her a dog nine years ago.
“When the owner became pregnant, she gave away this small-breed dog. I called it QQ because it’s really cute and weighed only 2kg.”
Chan loves QQ and shares a tight-knit bond with it.
“We go places together, ” she said, adding that about 20 of the rescued dogs are allowed inside her home.
Chan likes to name her dogs, to give them an identity when she calls them. She even talks to them.
“All the strays are given names except for five two-month-old puppies, ” she said, adding that she recognises all her furkids.
She has observed that a pair of female dogs share a special bond. One of the dogs lost all her puppies but the other dog would play godmother and help take care of the puppies, Chan said.
Thean said that he has loved dogs ever since he was young. “Stray dogs are very pitiful and need help, ” he said.
A month ago, he received an SOS call to rescue a 30kg dog abandoned by the roadside at Bukit Beruntung, Selangor. Apparently, the dog was out in the open for three days and nights. He took pity on it and brought it home as soon as he could.
Eight months ago, they took in a pair of two-month-old Great Dane puppies from a veterinary clinic. These puppies, named Kang Kang and Chien Chien, are deaf and blind, and believed to be originally from a puppy mill.
A month later, the female puppy Chien Chien died from canine parvovirus (CPV) infection, a highly contagious viral illness that affects dogs. The male puppy Kang Kang still lives, Chan said.
Bear Bear is a third-generation mongrel from the batches of strays in her husband’s former workplace. Chan said this seven-year-old dog has to be cared for as it is suffering from end-stage renal failure.
There is a four-year-old Dalmatian named Boh Boh rescued from Sri Hartamas. It has since been spayed, and is a very active dog.
“The dog was abandoned near a mamak stall but the hawker would splash water and threaten it with a stick to chase it away, ” she said.
But there are also happy endings – when some of her strays get forever homes. Three dogs, including a Shar-Pei, have been adopted.
Those who wish to help the furkids can check out Puppy’s Loving Home on Facebook. Chan can be contacted at 018-293 4996.