Hong Kong can be hectic at the best of times. Long working hours, action packed social calendars, quick weekend getaways and fitness classes galore are pretty much the norm for most city dwellers here. What we lack in space we make up for in energy, and the more action we can squeeze into our week, the more productive we feel. I’d been in Hong Kong for two years when I finally fell out of sync with how fast everything was going and felt a distinctive urge to get off the HK ‘treadmill’. But instead of getting a flight back home, I decided to adopt a dog!
What does Hong Kong Dog Rescue do?
Hong Kong Dog Rescue was my first port of call in my hunt for a puppy. Founded by Sally Anderson in 2003 (check out her awesome blog here) this is an exceptionally well-run organisation that rehomes hundreds of dogs every year. I went straight to the page with details about all the dogs available for adoption and saw so many different types of pups that needed a home. From pedigree pooches to mixed breeds, there are so many dogs that are looking for long-term love. Hong Kong Dog Rescue rescues, rehabilitates and rehomes all of these unwanted or abandoned dogs and puppies, providing a temporary home environment at their main Tai Po homing centre and with foster placements. After forwarding about a million dogs to my boyfriend (who was such a good sport about the cute snapshots flooding his inbox) we decided to go see some of these cuties in person.
Adopting a dog – what you need to know!
If you’re looking for a puppy I highly recommend going to Hong Kong Dog Rescue’s Puppy Adoption Sundays, held at Whiskers N Paws on the 10th floor of Horizon Plaza between 2-5pm every week. You can interact with the puppies, talk to foster parents to learn more about them and chat to volunteers about the demands of becoming a pet owner. It’s not as easy as it looks and unless you’re able to bring your dog outside three times a day and give it an adequate amount of exercise and attention, it’s important to assess whether adopting a dog is the right decision for you.
I had thought about it for a month before fully committing myself to becoming a dog owner. I set up a daily dog walker, who would take the puppy out for most of the day between 11am-1pm and 3pm-5pm, and I committed myself to morning and evening walks. I checked out how much veterinary bills usually add up to so I could rest assured that I could cover the commitment financially, and I promised that I wouldn’t go nuts with the doggie accessories… the last promise wasn’t kept!
With my decision made I went to my first Whiskers N Paws Adoption Sunday and hopped out of the cab as quick as I could when I arrived. I ran up the ten flights of stairs and scanned dozens of puppies before catching a glimpse at two big brown eyes. It took about thirty seconds for me to spot Clive (formerly known as Latte). He was in a pen minding his own business with a bunch of other identical puppies when he gave me a big puppy dog stare. All of the other dogs were being fussed over except for him and picking him up was pretty much an instant reflex. I spoke to his amazing foster mum Becky who said he was a pretty awesome chap who was already potty trained (yes!) and the rest is history.
The best thing about adopting a dog on a Sunday at Whiskers N Paws is that you can purchase everything you need on site. From beds to collars and food to toys, everything you need is there under one roof. Clive refused to walk which meant I had to carry him like a baby while he put his paws around my neck. This resulted in my boyfriend hauling an enormous doggie bed and five bags of puppy paraphernalia down the lift at Horizon Plaza, into a cab and up our five-floor walk up… I highly recommend bringing an extra pair of hands to help!
Once in our apartment it took Clive a few hours to settle. He didn’t eat for a little while and cried at bedtime for a week until he got used to sleeping on the floor in our bedroom. We found that crate training wasn’t necessary because apart from tearing up the apartment a few times while we were away, he didn’t cause much damage to the place. After two weeks our fantastic dog walker Priya started taking him for walks and we brought him to the vets at acorn to get neutered when the time was right.
Getting a puppy from HKDR has made my pace of life in Hong Kong less hectic and more zen. I explore, chill out and relax much more than I used to. I make sure to get outdoors at the weekend and leave work before 8pm. Clive comes everywhere with me and I discovered that Hong Kong food and beverage businesses LOVE dogs. Mostaccioli Brothers (Mo Bros) on Elgin Street is particularly friendly and Cara who works there always makes Clive feel like a king. He’s a huge hit at bars and for only $20 he can go on the ferry. Taxi drivers have no problem taking him for an extra $5 and friends in Hong Kong are always keen to help out if we’re ever out of town for a weekend. If we ever leave Hong Kong, which we have no plans of doing anytime soon, Clive will be coming along with us too. Getting a dog from HKDR changed my life – and if you’re committed I think it could change yours too!
What can you do to help?
If you don’t feel you can fully commit to adopting a dog but you want to support HKDR you can foster, donate and volunteer instead! HKDR is also hosting their annual gala to help raise funds to support the 600 dogs in their care.
Hong Kong Dog Rescue, Tai Po Kennels and Homing Centre, 6 Shek Lin Road, Tai Po, Hong Kong, 2508 1853, www.hongkongdogrescue.com
For a list of other organisations that you can contact to adopt a pet, check out the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department’s website here.