“Although the uncle (Queen Hamlet’s previous owner) cared about her, he had no idea how to look after her,” explains Hajar, who is the pooch’s current primary caregiver. Before she was adopted in November last year, she lived at a printing factory where her health was severely neglected.In the factory, Queen Hamlet was fed junk food, which included fast food, economic rice from a neighbourhood hawker stall, and assorted biscuits. The dreadful diet took an inevitable toll on her health—not only was she obese at 14.5kg, she had a yeast infection, ear mites, fleas, skin allergies, and swollen nipples. Thankfully, a kind dog lover spotted her at an industrial park and took her in. She was brought to a vet, and a lost dog notice was put up. The uncle from the factory responded to the notice, but told her fosterer that he no longer wanted her. He was not prepared to manage and treat her slew of newly diagnosed conditions. After all, she was just a “factory dog” to him, and her main purpose was to catch pests.
While he made sure she was always fed, he left her alone in the factory—exposed to the harsh printing chemicals—and didn’t provide her with proper bedding or a surface to rest on. She was overweight and the skin on her belly was blistered with painful, bleeding scabs and calluses. The vet diagnosed her with an endocrine deficiency, which worsened her obesity and inflamed skin. Due to her swollen tummy and teats, the vet also highly suspected a pregnancy, but thankfully, it turned out to be a false alarm.
Although Queen Hamlet’s health improved after being rescued, the pooch was still in bad shape. “Upon taking over from her fosterer, Queen Hamlet had zero appetite and her genitals began bleeding,” Hajar recalls. As Queen Hamlet was unsterilised, Hajar and Daniel thought it might have been due to heat or depression from leaving her fosterer’s male Shih Tzu. Hajar and Daniel became so desperate, they tried whetting her appetite with a cheeseburger. “I realised that it couldn’t just be depression because which dog rejects a cheeseburger?” says Hajar. Her condition continued deteriorating, so the couple consulted a vet who gave her medication to boost her appetite. Three days passed with no improvement. “Her bleeding got worse, and turned a jam-like consistency. We rushed her to another vet for a second opinion, and found out she was suffering from Pyometra—an infection of the uterus,” explains Hajar. An emergency surgery was performed to remove her infected uterus. It was a high-risk procedure, and the couple was warned that they might lose their newly adopted furkid. “I’d never prayed harder in my life. She had only been with us for a month, but I was not ready to lose her,” says Hajar. The operation was a success, and with that, Queen Hamlet was given a second shot at life—a gift she seemed to cherish. “During her recovery, Queen Hamlet was a real trooper. There was no whining or crying,” recalls Hajar fondly.
Today, the resilient pooch is en route to recovery. Her weight has been steadily dropping, and she is now slimmer at 12.5kg. “She’s much better now. She’s more agile, active, alert and less sluggish,” Hajar shares. Her skin has not recovered, but she is flea- and ear mite-free. As with most rescued canines, Queen Hamlet was initially anxious, and lacked proper social skills. She now handles attention better, and doesn’t lick or leap on people as much anymore.
For the full story on how Queen Hamlet returned the favour by "saving" her fur-mum, and more on her recovery, flip to Unbreakable Bonds of our Aug-Sep 2015 issue.