Animal 'unfortunates' find a loving family
Gloria Chan Nongyao watched her pet Dalmatian Bobo fight for life for a year after having a leg removed because of cancer.
But when Bobo died aged 10 in 2006, she started going out of her way to look for pets with problems or deformities that would put off other would-be owners.
'We have always been strongly opposed to buying pets,' Chan said. 'But we started to believe we should adopt the unfortunate ones which have more difficulty finding new owners, such as those which are sick, disabled and don't look appealing.'
Now her animal family of five dogs, three cats, four birds and a rabbit, includes dogs missing legs and a cat with deformed teeth.
Chan, a civil servant, said: 'Those animals have been severely emotionally traumatised as many of them were injured or abused by humans.
'They looked frightened when they first came to my family. So we needed to take a longer time and give them more love so they could regain their confidence and trust in humans.' Of the dogs, two mongrels have each lost a leg due to severe injuries and a doberman had its voicebox viciously removed before it was abandoned. A Persian cat has its teeth badly out of shape due to abuses by a former owner.
The three injured dogs were adopted from the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).
The rabbit was saved from an owner who was planning to kill and cook it. Even two of the birds have a sad story behind them.
Chan recalled: 'The two love birds were very ill in their cage in a shop in Bird Street. The shop owner sold them to me at a big discount in order to get rid of them.
'I took the birds to the vet immediately and found they suffered from parrot fever.'
Four-year-old mongrel Wong Jai was her more recent adoption, in August last year. When it was rescued from Diamond Hill Cemetery in June, its right front leg was tightly wrapped with a rubber band that had cut off blood circulation. The leg had to be amputated.
Chan, her husband, her mother and maid are kept busy every day taking care of the pets. But Chan said it was all worthwhile.
'They make not only good companions for each other, but also for all my family members. They are adorable,' she said.
SPCA communications manager Rebecca Ngan Yee-ling said animals with disabilities should not be put down as long as they could live a normal life without suffering.
'Even with three legs, a dog can live a normal life if it has a good owner. Bear in mind that they are pets and don't need to hunt for food like wild animals,' Ngan said.
But she reminded owners that because disabled pets were usually not as active as healthy ones, they could easily become overweight.