After learning the history of Shelter Melati from interviewing Ibu Isma on December 2017, I then asked about how she usually rescues dogs on the street. It's easy to differentiate between dogs that were abandoned and the ones that strayed from their homes; just look at their condition. An abandoned dog is usually in a sorry state, while dogs that strayed from their homes are usually in good conditions.
The first thing to be done after rescuing a dog is to bring it to a vet immediately. The vet will give it a full check-up, which includes a blood test, a distemper and parvo test (this is required, as distemper and parvo are deadly and they can spread easily to other dogs). Generally, the rescued dogs will need to stay in the vet clinic until it is completely healthy, vaccinated and spayed/neutered. It is unethicalto house a sick dog together with the other dogs in the shelter.
When a dog reaches the shelter, Bu Isma will first put it in a cage by itself. Then she will put the cage into a bigger house cage with a group of dogs so they can get to know each other safely. It's dangerous to put the newcomer with the other dogs immediately, for various reasons.
First of all, there’s a hierarchy in a pack of dogs. The lowest rank is omega and the highest rank is the alpha. Omegas are the most submissive dogs, while alphas are natural leaders. No two alphas can be put together, as they will fight for the leader position. If the newcomer is an alpha, there will most certainly be a fight between it with the existing alpha. Sometimes, the newcomer isn’t able to socialise with the group even though it's not an alpha because it had previously experienced a big trauma which made him insecure with other dogs.
Once the newcomer gets along with the pack, it will be released from its individual cage into the house cage. Someone will still watch over the dog's interactions with the others. If everything is alright, the dog will stay with that pack. There are some dogs that don't get along with all the other dogs and need to be caged individually. Most of these are alpha dogs. They take much longer to place than non-alpha dogs.
Bu Isma has 9 kennel boys to look after the dogs. A kennel boy is responsible for several cages of dogs. Their responsibilities are to feed the dogs, clean the cage, watch out for the dogs’ health and interactions. The dogs are fed dog food in the morning and cooked meals for dinner. Visiting hours are arranged according to a certain time, to avoid distraction for the dogs during feeding hours. The dogs are usually very excited when there are visitors and won’t focus on their food.
With the daily caring for the dogs taken care of by the kennel
boys, Bu Isma focuses on rescuing dogs and taking care of the dogs’ other
welfare, such as bringing the dogs that need special attention to the grooming
centre or to the vet. She would also process dog adoption application. This
includes conducting a survey of the people who wants to adopt dog and matching
their personalities to the most suitable dogs. Many dogs that were rescued had
bad experiences in the past, and they can be traumatic. Bu Isma wants the dogs
to have a forever home, where they will be loved and cared for well. This not
only means giving the dog healthy food, attention, and vet visits when they're
sick; but also giving enough space depending on the dog's body size. The bigger
the dog, the more space they need. To reduce the risk of repeating the dogs'
sad past, Bu Isma has to check the capability and readiness of the adopter. One
of the things she does when surveying an adopter is conducting an interview.
She also surveys the house to check if it's safe for the dog and if the space
qualifies the amount of space the dog takes. Once she finds a suitable adopter,
she will send the dog there. The adopter has to report the dog's condition
regularly to Bu Isma.
|The kennel boys with Bu Isma.|
|A kennel boy cooking.|
Bu Isma shows her dogs only through facebook and instagram. She rarely joins dog events as her shelter is always busy. Joining events like those means she has to be there throughout the whole event, and she has no one to help her. If any of you can help Bu Isma promote her dogs so they can get adopted, or help her in any way, just send her a message through her instagram or facebook! She will be more than happy, as her shelter is overcrowded already.
You can help Bu Isma in a lot of ways, such as donating or adopting. If you like a particular dog in the shelter, but can't adopt it, you can be an OTA (Orang Tua Asuh). An OTA pays for a dog's expenses every month. The expense for every dog is the same, big or small.
Bu Isma hopes that in the future, the ratio of rescued dogs versus adopted dogs will be more balanced. Currently, the number of dogs that she rescued is more than the number of dogs adopted out. Just for example, recently, 2 purebred dogs were adopted from her, while 11 mongrels arrived. Once a mongrel enters the shelter, it's hard for them to get adopted out, as people prefer purebred ones.