KUALA LUMPUR: Caleen Chua’s untiring search for her missing Golden Retriever may have been in vain so far, but more than 170 abandoned dogs can count their lucky stars.
Two months after Caesar went missing, the restaurateur received a message that it had been found at a shelter in Jinjang.
At the shelter, Chua was heartbroken to find out that the Golden Retriever was not Caesar. It was there that she was struck by the sight of so many other friendly dogs.
She learnt that Under One Woof shelter owner Sim Kian Teng had been rescuing abused and injured dogs for about six years.
“Although the shelter was dilapidated, the dogs looked happy and full of love. You can tell that they were well cared for,” she said, adding she then decided to shoulder the burden with Sim.
For Sim, it was more than just help that came his way. The shelter had been slapped with a 14-day eviction order and Chua had come at just the right time.
Chua felt it was some kind of divine intervention that led her to the shelter. “I decided to do all I could to save the other dogs, although I could not find Caesar,” she said.
Chua is dedicating her 30th birthday bash on Aug 28 to raising funds for the shelter.
Guests have been politely told about a “no gift” policy and that any donation to the shelter would be greatly appreciated.
The initial target is to raise RM150,000 to find a new home for the dogs, with Chua describing it as a race against time.
Things are off to a good start, with Sim having been offered a piece of land in Bentong to build a new shelter.
Chua said the challenge now was to appeal to the authorities to give them more time.
“We have applied for a six-month extension,” she said, adding the new shelter must have proper facilities for the dogs.
She remains hopeful that her guests would contribute to the “Under One Woof” Fund.
“There are many good-hearted Malaysians out there... people who want to do a good deed,” she said.
Sim, 33, said he took over the shelter in 2015 from the previous owner who was cancer-stricken.
“I get some income through pet sitting or by charging a foster fee when someone gives up their dog for adoption,” he said.
It costs him about RM10,000 a month to care for the dogs, excluding veterinary charges.
To further help raise funds, Chua’s photographer friend took pictures of the dogs to be turned into postcards while another friend is designing a website for the cause.
In the meantime, her other quest continues – finding Caesar.