Published on Thursday, 11 June 2015
It isn't easy looking beyond a wet, scruffy dog, much less an aggressive one that draws blood. But entrepreneur Lim Shangpian, 26, not only saw past seven-year-old August's painful biting, she also gave the fearful dog a home to call his own. It was through a stroke of kismet that August found his forever home with Shangpian and her family. One thundery afternoon in December 2012, Shangpian's partner Aloysius was on his way back from Junction 8 when he noticed a muddy pooch pacing frantically up and down the bus stop. The dog looked terrified, but no one stopped to help. So Aloysius carried him back to Shangpian's home in the rain. After giving him a bath, the couple put up posters around the estate, posted online ads and brought the lost pooch to SPCA the following day to lodge a report.
UNWANTED AND UNLOVED
Based on August's microchip number, AVA was able to trace his owner. So after a few days, the dog's owner called Shangpian to thank her for finding August and agreed to pick him up the same day. However, things quickly took a turn for the worse. "August's owner changed her mind later in the day, telling me that she had no time for a pet as she had special needs children to care for. She was prepared to tell her kids that August was lost forever. "We told her we would care for August but couldn't keep him because my mum disliked animals. Three weeks passed, and still there was no contact from her. After Christmas, she suddenly demanded we return August, saying that her daughter changed her mind. She even threatened us with police reports. I told her that a dog wasn't a commodity that you could give up and take back as you please!" shares Shangpian. Shangpian sought AVA's help on the matter, and the authorities suggested she surrender the pooch to them for impounding, and if August's owner didn't claim him after a few days, they would allow him to return home with her. Shangpian knew being impounded would be immensely traumatic on the already fearful August and she didn’t want the dog to spend Christmas alone in AVA’s kennels. Both SPCA and AVA advised the Lims to keep August if they were better able to care for him, so Shangpian made the decision to adopt the pooch.
BITING DAYS AHEAD
Although August clung to Aloysius for dear life the day he was found, the affection didn’t last. The fearful dog was constantly hiding under tables and chairs, ready to bite any hand that came towards him. He also had food and toy aggression, and would growl or snap when anyone tried to clear his food bowl or put his toys away. During a Christmas party at Shangpian’s home, the hound bit two guests. “At that point, we were exasperated and on the verge of giving him up. Every time he bit us, it hurt more emotionally than physically because we were trying to love him and help him,” she says with a sigh. To make things worse, August initially didn’t get along with her three-year-old Holland Lop rabbit Puddles. He would try to dig and chew at the bunny’s playpen grilles whenever he saw her. “We were afraid that he would find a way into Puddles’ playpen when no one was home and rip her up. He chewed down hard on my hand once when I was shielding my bunny, making me bleed and leaving a scar,” she shares.
Since then, August has made a tremendous improvement in his behaviour.
To find out how he's doing today, flip to Unbreakable Bonds of our April/May 2015 issue.