Monday, February 26, 2007

Are Things Looking Up For Blackie?

It seems that Blackie might be adopted into a loving home soon! I was overjoyed when I read this news, I ran all over the house and did cartwheels/ spins in the air! You know, for stray doggies like us, the happiest day of our lives is the day when we get welcomed into a new home with a loving family. (I will NEVER forget the day when I became a part of Sharon and Jules' family!) We are also like our human counterparts...we need lots of love too! It might not be cheap to keep a dog; considering that our medical bills cost way beyond that of humans, but the unconditional love and loyalty that we can offer is definitely something that money cannot buy or compensate. I pray hard that Blackie would soon find a wonderful home and a loving owner and I believe that St Francis (my favourite saint) is also praying for her! God bless Blackie!

February 26, 2007

OW far would an MP go for her constituents?
Far enough to adopt a stray dog to keep her constituency happy.

Ms Lee Bee Wah, MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC, said: 'I don't have a dog. Since the residents have such a strong bonding with the dog, I'm willing to adopt it.' She was responding to The New Paper report on Blackie on Chinese New Year's eve.

The Compassionate Ms Lee

Ms Lee has received about 30 e-mail messages from the public after the story appeared, urging her to save Blackie, the stray mongrel, that has become a pet cause among residents of Yishun Street 81.

The 4-year-old dog had been living at the void deck of Block 825 for the past three years.In that time, she became a friend to the children and other pets in the neigbourhood, a companion to the elderly, and provided solace to those who lost their loved ones. The residents call her their 'ambassador of love'.

She had managed to do what any MP or grassroots leaders would hope to achieve: A common bond within the community, and harmony among neighbours. But two weeks ago, someone alerted the Centre for Animal Welfare and Control (CAWC) of the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) about Blackie. When the CAWC officers tried to impound Blackie, they were stopped by some of the residents. If Blackie were impounded, she would have been put to sleep.

One group of residents were so determined to save Blackie that they gathered the signatures of 76 people living in 11 blocks in the estate to stop AVA from taking the dog away. Afraid that AVA officers would return for Blackie, resident Jimmy Ng decided to keep Blackie in his parent's kampung house at Lorong Buangkok, off Gerald Drive.

The residents then sought their MP's help to save Blackie. Ms Lee said: 'I've received a lot of response not to kill Blackie. It'll be good to keep her.' Nine readers have also written to The New Paper on Sunday after our report, telling us how they are touched by the unity of the residents. Two of them have even offered to adopt Blackie.

A reader, who identified herself only as Bee Cheng, wrote: 'I am pleasantly surprised to see how a stray dog can foster bonding among people in a neighbourhood, regardless of race and religion.' Dr Tan Chek Wee, from Geylang East, is touched by how Blackie has brought out the 'kampung spirit' among the residents. He even wrote an e-mail to Ms Lee.

RC chairman Sahul Hameed Kadir has since met some of the residents to discuss how to help Blackie. Ms Lee said: 'There are always two camps - people who want to keep the dog and those who don't. We shall let the residents decide if they want the dog. Of course, we hope to find a win-win situation.'

When told of the last-resort possibility that their MP, who lives in Serangoon Gardens, may adopt Blackie, housewife Dulcie Lim, 59, said: 'That's good. Let her adopt! Tolong. I trust my MP, that she will take good care of Blackie. Serangoon Gardens would be a nice area for Blackie to live.'


THANK you very much for doing a feature on Blackie. It was a lovely article. I am not a dog lover, neither do I live in the estate mentioned. But I strongly feel that Blackie should be allowed to remain in that estate. From your report, many people hold the dog dear and value her presence in the neighbourhood as a source of joy and affection. The Government is always holding meetings, forums and the like to find out how to build the 'HDB heartware'. Sometimes, social ties depend not on pre-arranged functions and places for people to 'connect', but a common concern for someone or an animal that brings people together in unexpected ways. Kindness and compassion - isn't that what we want to see in our people?

- Neo Kai Ling

IT was really touching to read the story on Blackie. I really hope the dog will get to stay with the residents.
Our treatment of animals is a reflection of our society's progress. I read the AVA's reply with great disappointment. It is the same type of reply that I have read in other articles. We are always talking about being innovative and inclusive, but do our actions show likewise? Let's hope Blackie's case will change the lives of all strays in Singapore.

- Seah Bee Leng

THANK you for a wonderful report. We are presented with many gifts in this little island, such as our fantastic 'hardware' (upgraded estates). Yet I feel a sense of hollowness in the software as I see people looking glum or littering our public places. Reading how Blackie has made alive the endangered 'kampung spirit', I feel a ray of hope for our future. I can only hope that the AVA will be more sympathetic in applying 'man-made' rules. After all, Singapore has been rabies-free for 50 years, and there are also anti-rabies vaccines available for Blackie. Blackie is gentle not just to humans but also to cats. She is indeed a good role model for some of our delinquents. I hope that the MP, Ms Lee Bee Wah, will keep this 'kampung spirit' going!

- Dr Tan Chek Wee


Sunday, February 25, 2007


There was an intersting article in the papers recently on one of my friends named Blackie. She's the resident stray at a block of flats in Yishun and the wonderful residents are petitioning to their MP to keep her there as their mascot and symbol of social integration, harmony, bonding and love....Please pray for Blackie so that she will not be impounded and put to sleep. Strays like us, really need a louder voice as many fail to see that just because we are not purebred pedigrees, we are lesser doggies.

That's no stray, she's our ambassador of love
By Joyce Lim
February 18, 2007

A MONGREL has managed to do what grassroots organisations, religious bodies and Government organisations have long strived to achieve: A common bond, a warm sense of belonging and harmony among neighbours.

Blackie the stray has become a pet - and passionate - cause for a residents from 11 blocks at Yishun Street 81. They are a diverse lot - young, old, married, single, - from all races and religions. Alas, today, the last day of the Year of the Dog, brings news that Blackie's days may be numbered.

Blackie has been living in Yishun Street 81 for the past three years. In that time, she has touched the lives of many of the resident there so much that she has brought residents from 11 blocks together to fight to keep her alive.

Blackie The Yishun Stray

Last week, someone complained to the authorities about the four-year-old dog. And so Blackie may now be put to sleep. That has marshalled the residents from Yishun Street 81 into action.

First, a resident took Blackie to a kampung in Lorong Buangkok, off Gerald Drive. Then came the petition. Residents gathered the signatures of 76 people living in 11 blocks in the estate to stop the authorities from taking the dog away. They wrote to their MP, Ms Lee Bee Wah, to intervene. (See other report.) A resident, Madam Dulcie Lim, 59, described Blackie as their 'ambassador of love'.

'Before, I didn't know many of the residents here,' she said. 'Most of us kept to ourselves. But Blackie has helped us break the ice and even bond with each other. Isn't that what our Government always wanted to achieve?

'Blackie has done so much for this neighbourhood. It is not fair that she has to leave this place. We all love Blackie and we want her back.' In the letter to their MP, the residents wrote about how Blackie has become an integral part of their community.

'We sincerely hope that you, our good MP, can understand this strong bond we share with this very special dog... spare the neighbourhood the heartache of losing this dog,' the residents pleaded with their MP.

Blackie, who is known as 'Xiao Hei' (Mandarin for little black one) was found abandoned at Yishun Stadium three years ago. A resident spotted her and brought her to Block 825. That became Blackie's home.

But last week, the Centre for Animal Welfare and Control (CAWC) of the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA), received a call from Ang Mo Kio-Yishun Town Council about two stray dogs in the area.

On 8 Feb, the CAWC team checked the site and spotted Blackie. Five residents spotted the officers from their flats and rushed down to save the pet. Fortunately, she was not impounded that day.

The residents were told that Blackie cannot be kept at HDB void decks as it is a public place. Under HDB policy, Blackie is too big to be kept in a flat.

HDB residents can keep one dog of an approved breed such as silky terrier or Maltese because they are smaller and more suited to living in flats. Said a resident who wants to be known as only Priscilla: 'We were so worried that the AVA officers would return for Xiao Hei. So for the time being, we've housed her in a nearby kampung.'

The 52-year-old housewife said: 'I've known Xiao Hei for three years. Every day I would buy $2 worth of roast meat for her from the market. She is a good dog and never bites anyone.' Added Madam Lim: 'Blackie is very friendly. She even shares her food with the stray cats. 'I've seen how she would let the cats eat first. When she feels that they have had enough, she would shoo them away and eat her share.'

Blackie’s Human Friends Lobbying For Her

A resident claimed that she saw Blackie trying to save a kitten which had fallen into a drain. Madam Hasmisah Mohd, 42, unemployed, said: 'I heard a kitten crying for help but I couldn't find it. It was Blackie who led me to the injured kitten inside the drain.' Ms Joyce Koh, 31, another resident, said: 'Whenever she saw my car driving into the carpark, she would run behind my car. She would then wait for me to park and walk me to the lift.'

Poly student Ashwin Gunapathy, 19, said that there are more than 70 residents vouching for Blackie. He said: 'We want her back in the neighbourhood and we are all willing to put our names down to apply for a licence so that she can stay here.' He was among the 30 residents who met this reporter at Block 825 last Monday.

Madam Juliana Tan, 53, said: 'I lost one of my daughters over a year ago. She was 28 when she died of a blood disorder. 'I used to be afraid of dogs, but I don't know why I started talking to Blackie about my dead daughter. I was mourning and Blackie gave me solace.' Madam Tan lives with her younger daughter in a three-room flat.
A couple, Madam Soh Oi Chue and her husband, Mr Tang Yeo Soong, recalled how Blackie would accompany them to the market. She said in Mandarin: 'At 7am, Blackie would be at the foot of the block, waiting for us. 'She would follow us to the market where we would buy her her favourite duck's neck. I miss Blackie terribly.' Mr Tang helped to bathe Blackie and clean up her makeshift home daily. He said: 'Our three children have already grown up. Blackie is like our little daughter. Some of us even chipped in to have her sterilised.'

When Blackie was knocked down by a car last December, it was Ashwin's father, Mr Gunapathy, who took her to the vet. The fees came to $200. He also helped move Blackie to his temporary home.

The New Paper team tagged along with a few housewives last Wednesday to meet Blackie in her new home. She wagged her tail and ran towards the housewives when she saw them and jumped on them. It was a touching scene. Madam Lim said: 'We call ourselves the desperate housewives. But we are not desperate for men. We are desperate to save Blackie.'

Home for Blackie might be answer
SHE was pleasantly surprised when some residents asked her to help save a stray dog.

'I believe what they told me is genuine. Apparently there are people who want the dog and some who don't,' said Ms Lee Bee Wah from Ang Mo Kio GRC. 'We'll handle this the same way as we have handled stray cats. We will do a survey to see how many residents want to keep the dog in the neighbourhood.

'If the residents feel so strongly about keeping the dog, we will be able to find a solution without breaking the law.' Like finding someone who lives in the vicinity to take in the dog, added Ms Lee.

Mr Madhavan Kannan, head of AVA's centre for animal welfare and control, told The New Paper that they are unable to accede to the residents' request and have advised them to find a home for the dog. 'The residents may keep it in boarding farms at Pasir Ris Farmway or Seletar Farmway till they find a home for the dog,' said Mr Madhavan. For the purpose of rabies control, AVA impounds dogs found wandering in public places.

Mr Madhavan said: 'Although some dogs may be tame, there could be times when a dog can turn aggressive and may attack another person's pet or children. 'There are also people who fear the physical presence of stray dogs at the common areas of an housing estate. Some people are also disturbed when dogs come close to them and sometimes sniff.'

Since Blackie is not allowed to roam freely in public areas and she is considered too big to be kept in a HDB flat, would Ms Lee then consider building a shelter for her at the void deck? 'I don't rule out that possibility,' she said. It will all depend on the survey results which her committee members are helping to conduct.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Ten Peeves that Dogs Have About Humans

1. Blaming your farts on me... Not funny... Not funny at all !!!

2. Yelling at me for barking.. I'M A FRIGGIN' DOG, YOU IDIOT!

3. Taking me for a walk, Then not letting me check stuff out. Exactly whose walk is this anyway?

4. Any trick that involves Balancing food on my nose... Stop it!

5. Any haircut that involves bows or ribbons. Now you know why we chew your stuff up when you're not home.

6. The sleight of hand, fake fetch throw. You fooled a dog! Whoooo Hoooooooo What a proud moment for the top of the Food chain.

7. Taking me to the vet for "the big snip", Then acting surprised when I freak out Every time we go back!

8. Getting upset when I sniff the crotches of your guests. Sorry, but I haven't quite mastered that handshake thing yet.

9.Dog sweaters. Hello ???, Haven't you noticed the fur?

10. How you act disgusted When I lick myself. Look, we both know the truth, You're just jealous.

Taken from an email Sam and Anya's human sent.


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