Fear and repulsion.
Those are the usual reaction towards “Singapore Specials” — our local stray dogs — regardless of whether or not they have been adopted. There is widespread stigma about these strays, commonly mongrels, that they are untrained, ferocious and will attack. Thus, most choose to turn a blind eye to the issue of stray dogs in Singapore.
Due to the discrimination they face, Singapore Specials have a lower chance of being adopted and will stay in animal shelters and foster homes for extended periods of time. Every week, animal welfare group Exclusively Mongrels Limited (EM) bails these Specials out of abandonment and endure the strain of sustaining their lives, even though they are a Non-Profit Organisation that runs solely on donations by the public.
In a bid to raise awareness on the plight of these dogs, EM held the inaugural Singapore Specials’ Day (SSD) on Saturday, October 28, 2017. With the event, the group aims to educate the public about our Singapore Specials and advocate the adoption of these strays.
Guests at the event included Mr Desmond Lee, Minister for Social and Family Development; Mr Henry Kwek, Member of Parliament (MP) for Nee Soon GRC; and Mr Lim Kok Thai, newly appointed CEO of the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA). Other special guests present were local artistes Gwendolyn Lee, Wilson Wong, Rachel Chua, and Jacintha Abisheganaden. They too believe that these strays deserve a home and as much love as any other pedigree dog.Puppy up for adoption in the arms of Minister of Social and Family Development, Mr Desmond Lee.
About 350 people and their pooches gathered at SSD — in Leban Park — making it the largest event by any local animal welfare group. Kicking off the occasion was a “Dogathon”, where 70 dogs and their owners took part in a 1.5 km fun run. Dog behaviourists K9 Kampung were also on site to share tips on the issues new dog owners face, such as how to housetrain a dog.
To fund their future efforts, EM conducted a Give Asia campaign dubbed “Saving SS with a T”, where limited edition t-shirts designed by Gilda Su and Nicholas Wong were sold at SSD.