Singapore’s stray animal population remains a big issue, and adopting is vital. Three Expat Living editors share their experiences with pet adoption and explain why they chose to give forever homes to local dogs.
Susannah Jaffer and her fiancé Entheo Leung adopted Doodle in 2014, when she was two years old, from Save Our Street Dogs (SOSD).
Why did you decide to adopt?
Being aware of the stray dog situation in Singapore, I just felt the morally right thing to do would be to adopt. My fiancé and I decided to visit an adoption drive at SOSD to help us make up our minds. I had seen Doodle’s profile on the website and I liked the sound of her temperament, so I made a mental note to look out for her, though I didn’t mention it to my other half.
On the day, after finishing a conversation with a volunteer, I looked up to find my boyfriend sitting happily on the other side of the shelter with none other than Doodle! I still think it was fate.
Did you have any concerns?
My key concern was how Doodle would fit into our daily routine, as both of us work full-time with no help. The fact that there is a homestay trial period meant we felt less worried about the process – if things truly didn’t work out we could either get training help or give her back to the shelter so she could find a more suitable home. Luckily, she was a perfect fit, being a low- to medium-energy dog, and so satisfied with her early morning and evening walks.
What should people be aware of when adopting?
I’ve heard some people get put off by the adoption screening procedure, but I think it’s fair and necessary to ensure all the family are on board and that your home and attitude are suitable. After meeting Doodle, I had my heart set on making her part of our family, and the team at SOSD were incredibly helpful and with us every step of the way. I’d advise others to take note that if you like to travel, you can’t just up and go, unless you have live-in help, have a willing friend to look after your fur-kid, or are happy to pay the extra cash for boarding.
How is life with Doodle?
Doodle is a fantastic companion, and she has brought balance to our otherwise hectic routines. We’re far more fit and active now, too. I’d love to adopt again eventually, but I think she’ll be the one choosing the dog! sosd.org.sg
Amy Brook-Partridge’s story
Amy Brook-Patridge, husband James and children Tabitha and Maggie adopted Pickle from SOSD in 2014, when he was around 4 months old.
Why did you decide to adopt?
The idea of adoption for us was a no-brainer; we knew there were plenty of great rescue dogs here that needed a loving home. We had tentatively looked into purchasing dogs, but pet farms here were a nogo for us, and importing a dog from elsewhere was way out of our budget.
What research did you do into adoption?
Having young children – Tabitha was six and Maggie was three at the time of adoption – one of my main concerns was that the dog we adopted had the right temperament. Finding out about SOSD’s adoption process was a great relief, as we learnt that the team makes house visits both pre- and post-adoption. They also insist on a one-week settling-in period, which gives both the dog and the family time to work out if they are the right fit.
We also looked into the process of bringing a pet back to the UK when we eventually repatriate. We were never going to be a family that left our dog behind, so we had to look at all the options, including how much it would cost us, to ensure we were ready to take on the responsibility.
Why did you choose this dog?
We attended about three different adoption drives, and it was at the last one that we met Pickle. The place was pretty chaotic, with dogs inside and out being met and handled by a lot of visitors; some were getting pretty stressed out. Pickle just sat there placidly having his head stroked – his calm character amongst the chaos had us sold.
We found out that he was discovered on an industrial estate, and he and his two sisters had had their tails docked. They also contracted parvovirus, an often-fatal disease for dogs – one of his sisters did indeed die. When we met him at SOSD he was just recovering from treatment. After hearing such a history for a dog who’d only been alive for four short months, there was no way we couldn’t take him home.
Was it everything you expected?
Our gentle giant has been the perfect addition to our family – to be honest, because of his low-energy temperament and calm nature, I feel like we’ve had an easy ride of it. It’s trite, but we really couldn’t imagine our life without him, and, quite honestly, sometimes he’s the best behaved out of the Brook-Partridge bunch!
Amy Greenburg’s story
Amy Greenburg and husband Evan adopted Jack Russell terrier Lucy in 2014, from Causes for Animals Singapore (CAS). They had already adopted Jack Russell Gary from New York, and have since had son Oliver, now two, and are expecting their second child.
Why did you decide to adopt?
I grew up with a rescue dog, so I never even considered another route when it came to pets. To me, it feels unethical to buy a dog when there are so many animals in desperate need of homes. While living in New York City in 2006, Evan and I went out to buy a television one day and stumbled upon an adoption shelter along the way. We fell in love with Gary, and ended up home that night with a dog (and a television)! It was love at first sight, and we’ve never regretted our spontaneous decision. We always knew we’d want to rescue another pup so, once we were settled in Singapore and had the extra help, we decided it was the right time. We were hoping to find another Jack Russell Terrier and, sure enough, we did!
What research did you do?
I frequently checked Facebook pages and websites for organisations such as CAS and Save Our Street Dogs. Evan and I also visited some shelters to meet dogs in person and get a better idea of their size and temperament. After spotting Lucy online, Christine from CAS brought her over to meet us that week. Once we saw that she got along with Gary, we knew we would never give up sweet Lucy!
What were your concerns?
When you adopt, you don’t know the dog’s background, and whether he or she was previously abused, which could lead to behavioural issues. When we adopted Gary, it was clear he had had a rough start, so it took some extra love and care, and some discipline. But it was well worth it, and he was quick to adjust once he saw the love we had to offer him. Lucy was easy and comfortable with us from day one – in fact, it almost seemed too easy!
How has adopting changed your life?
Adopting dogs is one of the best things we’ve ever done. The unconditional love and constant companionship they provide is truly the best! Our toddler adores both pups, and we love the fact that he’s growing up in an environment where he’s comfortable with and compassionate towards animals.
For more information on adopting in Singapore, including a listing of animal shelters, go to our article on how to adopt a pet.