Monday, 16 July 2018

Interview with Bu Ismawanty of Shelter Melati Part 3 (last part)

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.

The kennel boys with Bu Isma.

A kennel boy cooking.
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. 

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.

You can follow Bu Isma and her dogs through her instagram and facebook.

You can read Part 1 and 2 here. You can also read my writing of my visit to the shelter here.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Interview With Bu Ismawanty of Shelter Melati Part 2

Have you ever seen this video? That's a video of Hope, one of Bu Isma's rescued huskies. Hope was rescued on 13 July 2017, in a wretched condition. He was locked in a very small cage which was covered by a tarpaulin on the 4th floor of a rich person's mansion. When he was rescued, he was full of sickness and had malnutrition.

Hope was reported by his owner's relatives to Bu Isma on the fasting days of June 2017. His name wasn't Hope then, it was Demon. He was reported to be in a bad condition. In the photo that was sent to Bu Isma, Demon's case doesn't seem urgent. He was tied and his skin was full of skin disease, but he still could stand up. 

Bu Isma said that Demon's condition wasn't too bad, so she didn't rescue him. In addition to that, she was busy. Even if she rescued him from that place, there wouldn’t be a clinic available for him to undergo the medical evaluation and treatment that all rescued dogs must undergo before they are brought to the shelter;  as Demon was reported on the days leading up to the Idul Fitri holidays. Most of the vet clinics would be fully occupied with healthy pets, as their families were away on vacation.

Bu Isma told the informer to ask Demon's owners to bring him to the vet, as he only had skin disease. But the informer told her that Demon's owners didn't want to bring him to the vet because they're really stingy. They also complained that they bought Demon for a really expensive price, so why did he get sick? Well!

After the fasting month, close to the Idul Fitri holidays, Demon's informer pleaded with Bu Isma to rescue Demon as he couldn't stand anymore. He also kept on vomiting green stuff. The informer also reported that the owners rarely fed him because they were lazy to climb to the 4th floor, even though they had servants who could've fed him.

After the Idul Fitri holidays, Bu Isma contacted Dr. Magda Rumawas, a vet who often helps her with her rescued dogs. She asked Dr. Magda if she should rescue Demon, as all vet clinics were full. Dr. Mag said that she will provide space.

So off went Bu Isma to Demon's house. Demon's owners are a couple who had servants, and the house was big and grand. The whole house wasn't used though; the upper floors were only for the clothesline. When Bu Isma arrived at the 4th floor, she was confused as she couldn't see Demon. "Where's Demon?" she asked. The owner then opened a tarpaulin which revealed a really sorrowful sight:

There wasn't food at all. Even the water was outside of the locked cage. He was really scrawny, his skin full with wounds and holes, and had dirt in his eyes. He was even chained to the cage, even though he's already inside it. Demon couldn't stand at all because he was in the cage for too long. The small cage prevented him from standing correctly; he had to bend his body and legs. A lack of exercise made the muscles in his legs weak, causing his legs to have no power to support his body and stand straight.

Bu Isma was infuriated. When she was about to lift Demon up, the owners asked for a compensation from her, as they bought Demon expensively. Bu Isma raged at them saying that theywere outrageous. They had broken a lot of rules about animal rights and they could be sent to jail. "Okay, how much do you want? I have brought my lawyer. If you want to ask for your compensation, you can negotiate it with my lawyer! But afterwards, you are going to jail!"

Demon's owners became frightened. Bu Isma immediately wrapped him in a sack that she found there and tried to carry him. Even though Demon was very light, Bu Isma wasn't strong enough to carry him as she was shaking so much from anger. She immediately brought Demon to Dr. Mag's clinic where he was infused and treated. His name was changed to Hope.

The next day when Bu Isma visited Hope he was doing well. He had found his appetite. But after that she became really busy so she didn't visit him for a long time. One day Dr. Mag messaged Bu Isma, telling her not to hope too much for Hope, because his condition was really unstable. His infuse couldn't get in and he didn't want to eat. He was moody all the time, as if he felt he wasn't loved at all. 

Bu Isma's friend asked someone who could do AnimalTalk (or BodyTalk) with dogs to communicate with Hope. AnimalTalk is a method to communicate with animals telepathically. Telepathy deals with speaking directly to the mind without using external communication such as body language and words.We can convey and receive feelings, images, intentions, etcetera directly mind to mind.

That person said that Hope conveyed that he didn't want to get well, he didn’t want to live anymore. He felt grateful that Bu Isma rescued him, but after he was rescued he was just left here. He saw no difference between here and back home. He felt abandoned in both places.

According to what they’ve learnt from his replies, Dr. Mag asked Bu Isma to visit Hope with praises and a happy face. Although Bu Isma felt sad every time she visited Hope, seeing his poor condition, she put on a happy face for him and often praised him."Wow, you're so handsome Hope, you're so cool! Please get well soon, so that I can bring you home!"

These seemingly small and insignificant gestures and words really made a great difference. The infuse then could get in well and Hope started to eat. With numerous visits and help from Bu Isma and donators, Hope fully recovered. He is a really handsome dog now!

Hope is just one example of the many dogs who had similar fates like him. You can help fund the other dogs' lives in Bu Isma's shelter, like how Hope's donators helped fund Hope's life.

You can follow the dogs in Shelter Melati through their instagram and facebook.

Part 3 will be the last part! Wait for it next week!

You can read Part 1 here and my visit to the shelter here.

Sorry for late post *facepalm* I broke my promise.

Monday, 28 May 2018

Interview With Bu Ismawanty of Shelter Melati Part 1

Last December, I visited Shelter Melati, an animal shelter founded by Ismawanty Mima. During that visit, I interviewed Bu Isma. I wanted to hear her story about how she founded the shelter, and how she manages it now. I hope that by writing it in my blog, more people may know about animal shelters and may give them a helping hand.

Shelter Melati has been operating for nine and a half years. It all started when Bu Isma was on the road to the mall with her youngest daughter. She was stuck in a traffic jam, and there was a Shihtzu standing on the side of the road, staring at every vehicle passing by. When Bu Isma passed it, her youngest daughter opened the window and greeted it. The dog followed Bu Isma's car after that, even when the car was running fast. Feeling sorry for it, they opened the car door and the dog immediately jumped inside. It was really drained and fell asleep immediately.

They didn't go to the mall in the end. They just drove around confused about what they should do with the dog. They couldn't bring it home, as Bu Isma's husband didn't want dogs at home, so it ended up in a pet shop. Bu Isma paid for a month's boarding, where it will be fed and groomed routinely.

A month's boarding stretched to 6 months. Bu Isma couldn't just leave the dog in the pet shop its whole life so she decided to bring him home and hid it in their upper floor guestroom. The dog wasn't discovered by Bu Isma's husband for 2 days, as it obeyed Bu Isma's warning not to bark. But the dog couldn't live in a room all alone with no one to accompany him, so on the 3rd day, the secret was out. Bu Isma had just left the room after feeding it, and it barked. Bu Isma's husband happened to be at home on that fateful day.

Her husband was really surprised to hear barking sound inside of his house and immediately searched for the dog. When he opened the door of the room where the dog was hidden, the dog happily went out of the room with its tail wagging. Bu Isma's husband was flabbergasted and ran back downstairs shouting "Dog, dog, there's a dog!" with the Shihtzu on his heels. The dog was smart though, and when Bu Isma's husband shouted "Sit, sit, sit!"; the dog sat down. After much explaining by Bu Isma and her youngest daughter, Bu Isma's husband relented and allowed the Shihtzu to stay if it obeyed the boundaries and rules that he set up. They decided to name that Shihtzu, Cirita. Cirita becomes the family's much beloved pet; it was even loved by Bu Isma's husband in the end.

However, Bu Isma couldn't bear to see dogs in sad conditions and continued to take in stray dogs. They all stayed in her garage, and they kept on adding up to a total of 15 dogs. Until her husband couldn't bear it anymore.

One day, her husband asked her, "Do you pick me or your dogs?" Her answer had to be given at the latest on the following day. If she picked her husband, all the dogs must go; and if she wanted to keep the dogs, her husband will leave. At that time, Bu Isma didn't know anything about animal shelters nor about dog lovers' groups; where she could ask for help. It was a really difficult question.

In the end, Bu Isma chose her dogs over her husband. Based on her logic, her husband could take care and fend for himself, while the dogs can't as they're already depedent on her. Domesticated dogs will definitely be confused if they were left on their own, especially on the street. They would not know how to find food and they might be hit by vehicles. A lot of people in Indonesia still don't tolerate dogs too, so they might be abused or persecuted.

On the day that she gave that answer, her husband just walked away from the house without taking anything with him. However, Bu Isma wasn't too concerned financially because she still have her house, cars, and money in the bank. Her children generally respected her decision and didn't get involved in their parents' matter. However, her eldest daughter did question why she picked her dogs over her husband.

After that tough decision, instead of focusing on her own life; Bu Isma rescued more and more dogs until the number rocketed up to around 120 dogs. At that time she didn't know about donations that people could give her so she paid all the expenses purely with her own money. Since she no longer worked, she didn't have substantial income but the expenses to feed and maintain the well-being of her rescued dogs are great.

Her monetary condition became so bad that once she only had Rp. 10.000,- in her wallet. She had to choose between feeding herself or the dogs. She chose to feed the latter but could only afford to buy them rice, which was not even enough.

Fortunately, she was then discovered by several dog lovers'. They donated dog foods and introduced her to vets who could help her. One of the vets asked her to make an account in social media so she could tell the public, especially dog lovers, about her condition and they might help her. Bu Isma didn't know anything about social media though, let alone make an account on one of them. Eventually, someone helped her make a Facebook account and taught her how to use it.

Then came a problem: her neighbours complained about her many dogs. They felt that their lives were disturbed by the dogs. Some didn't like dogs, some were disturbed by the noises, and some by the smell. Bu Isma was forced to leave the neighbourhood in 3x24 hours. She had nowhere to go. Confused, Bu Isma posted on Facebook about her situation.

Fortunately, a Facebook follower contacted her and lent a 4.000 m2 land in Pondok cabe. The area is generally deserted so no one will be disturbed by the dogs there. However, at first, there was nothing at the land, except for a building and a rambutan farm. Luckily, a lot of animal lovers, especially dog lovers, helped with the shelter's establishment. One of them was the famous writer Alberthiene Endah.

No one in her family supported her though, except her mom and daughters.

It was June 2017, when someone reported about her relative's Husky who wasn't cared for. In the photos that the person sent, the Husky did looked uncared for, but his life wasn't in danger. Bu Isma decided not to rescue him, as she already had a lot on her hands. In addition to that, something happened that distracted her completely from that Husky.

On July 2017, the shelter caught fire. It happened at 00:30 a.m. The shelter was using a large amount of electricity power and they were unaware that the cable in the main house was actually outdated. The cable wasn't strong enough to withhold the immense power of the electricity and had a short circuit. It burst into flames.

It was past midnight and the shelter was far from other residents, so it was hard for them to find people to help them. Coincidently, a taxi was driving past the shelter,and they asked him for help. He immediately called the police and firefighters. He went in and somehow he managed to take the generator out, which was very heavy. The fire might have been uncontrollable if it wasn't taken out.

Bu Isma was sleeping at her daughter's house when she was notified of her shelter's fire. She immediately went there with a motorbike, and when she reached the shelter, the police was already there. She desperately and hysterically tried to get inside, wanting to save the dogs; but the police detained her from getting in. There were some kennel boys who were brave enough to go in and get the dogs out.

There were dogs that were just neutered/spayed inside the house, house cages around the main building with lots and lots of dogs, and 6 individual cages around the house cages. The kennel boys were confused about how to open the cages and lead all of them out to safety. There were some dogs that panicked so that instead of going out, they went in. A total of 26 dogs died. it was a great loss, and was a very hard and sad time for Bu Isma. With the help of donators, they were able to rebuilt the shelter and go on operating as usual.

Interviewing Bu Isma.
You can follow Bu Isma's instagram and facebook to keep up with the dogs she had rescued.

Part 2 will tell about the rescue of one of Bu Isma's dogs. Wait for it next week!

While waiting, you can read my visit to the shelter here.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

My Visit to Shelter Melati

I had read these dogs' stories, seen their pictures, thought about ways to help them, and shared their biography, but I had never met any of them. No matter their size, their breed, they all ended up in this place; where they hope they won't stay for long. This encouraged me to visit an animal shelter to meet those abandoned that crave lots of love and attention. They may not be able to speak like us, but their hopeful eyes communicate their desire to be loved.

I chose to visit Shelter Melati because I had met the founder, Bu Ismawanty Mima, several times during weekly dog lovers’ meet up at The Breeze, BSD City, Tangerang. I also interviewed her so that I can share the stories about how she founded and managed her shelter. I hope that by sharing the knowledge, more people may know about animal shelters and could help by donating, adopting, fostering, etc.

After making an appointment, we decided on the last days of December (I forgot precisely when, as it's been a long time) and off I went to Pondok Cabe, Pamulang, Tangerang Selatan, a place really, really far from home. I’m not allowed to tell the address of the shelter to deter those who want to abandon their dogs there (if you want to visit you can direct message Bu Isma for an appointment through her instagram @ismawantymima or her facebook ).

Bu Isma found and rescued the abandoned dogs mostly through reports from various people. She would receive calls and messages from various sources, and will save those with certain circumstances (such as a dog in critical condition, a lost dog, etc). She cannot save all the dogs because her shelter is already overpopulated.

We were welcomed by the kennel boys there, and greeted tremendously by excited barks. A lot of the dogs jumped in their cages, their tails wagging. My first impression of the shelter was that it was pretty neat. It’s actually quite spacious. There was a building presumably for workers to rest. It was surrounded by many open spaces and house cages of the dogs.

In front of one of the house cage, there were two smaller cages. They held a medium sized dog with a bowl of dog food that scattered around in the cage. In front of the other house cage there was a brown husky called Molly with ropes tied around the lock of the cage. Even though the ropes had been tied tightly, she still could escape by biting and chewing at the ropes. She does it everytime guests come to visit, as she wants to play with them. Huskies are masters of escaping.

The house cages and the two dogs in front of it
Some of the dogs in one of the house cages.
In front of the building, there is a medium sized yard with trees. There were several cages there with dogs that hadn't been vaccinated so they couldn't join the others yet.

I met a lot of dogs at the shelter. One of them was a pitbull named Lady. Pitbulls are known for their fierce temperament, but Lady here is a really sweet dog. At first, I was a bit afraid to pet her, but after letting her sniff my hand, she seemed fine and so I petted her.

Next to Lady's cage is a gate leading deeper into the shelter. Several dogs were individually caged on the yard and on the porch of the main building. I've got nothing to say about the interior of the building because there was nothing in there. I went straight to the back of the building, passing several fenced areas filled with dogs. I had to quickly follow Bu Isma though, so I didn't have time to go to each area. The first thing I saw in the backyard was this husky called Asa being bathed:

He was really excited and kept on asking to play, but I couldn't stay there for long because there were others that I hadn't met yet.

Down from where Asa was being bathed, there was a wooden cage on stilts full of huskies and a golden. The last time I asked Bu Isma there were around 12 huskies. It had been a while though since then, and she had rescued some more these past months of 2018. 

It was a really joyous moment for me, hugging and patting each of them. There was especially this one golden that kept on asking for pats even when the huskies had calmed down. 

On both sides of the wooden cage on stilts there were house cages filled with more dogs. Some were put together while others are caged individually.

The dog here is caged individually.
When we left the backyard to return to our car, most of the dogs became silent with sad and questioning eyes. "You're not bringing us back home?"

I know that the photos of the dogs here aren't really clear, but I hope that the photos show that not all dogs in shelters are sick and old, as they had been cared for by Bu Isma until they return to their healthy self. Many of the dogs here are still relatively young. It is also not a sad place. Yes, they feel heartbroken when they were abandoned, but they will always show a happy and grateful smile to those who take care of them, and a little visit from you will definitely brighten their day up! 

Bu Isma's interview will follow next week.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Cheryl is Snowy After All: A Roller Coaster Day

Since I first got Cheryl, I really wanted to know her original name, her real age, and her birth date (so I can celebrate it :D). I thought it was impossible to know it, but I did get to know.... in a roller coaster way.

My Mom posted my last blog post in a dog lover Facebook group right after I published it on my blog. It got plenty of reactions from the members; some were touched, and lots of them gave likes. But one reaction caught me on surprise. Someone messaged my Mom, asking if she could see Cheryl. My mom read it 2 days after the message was sent though.

Kak Natalie (who sent the message) said that she lost one of her white poodles on December 2016. Her lost poodle was named Snowy (Owi), and was spayed when she was 1.5 years old. She also included the last photos she had of Snowy before she was lost.

Cheryl isn't an all-white poodle, she has brown fur on her paws, around her mouth, and around her butt. The photo is exactly like Cheryl, but there could be other poodles with brown fur around those parts. There were 2 facts that that person wrote that matched Cheryl. She was adopted by my neighbour around December 2016, and according to my neighbour, even though a lot of dogs had mated with Cheryl, she never got pregnant. Kak Natalie also lives in the same housing as I do, although in a different block, a bit far from my house.

My mom checked Kak Nat's FB, and from her posts, she looks like a real dog lover. My mom also asked several questions about Cheryl to Kak Nat, and the answers she gave matched with Cheryl's character and behaviour Although to make sure that she is the first owner of Cheryl, we must meet her in person. Kak Nat said she will come to our house after work, at 6 o'clock. The conversation in FB hadn't finished when she said that she's on her way now to our house. It's not even 6 o'clock yet, only around 4 o'clock. :D

I won't go into details about Kak Nat reuniting with Cheryl, as it was an emotional reunion :).

We invited her inside, and she told us the story starting from Cheryl's parents.

Cheryl's mom is white poodle named Kerry, and her dad a black poodle named Bon Bon. They had 5 puppies, Snowy, Vodka, Paris, Charlie, and Chirochuka, born on April 1st, 2007. I couldn't believe that Cheryl is actually 10 years old! She still acts like a puppy (except the chewing habits puppies have). She doesn't seem like a grandma :D.

 Kerry died from cancer, while Bon Bon died from heatstroke. It's possible that all of Kerry's kids may have inherited Kerry's cancer genetics, as Vodka and Paris died of the same disease.

Snowy escaped when Vodka was still sick. Kak Nat just came home from work and let all her dogs out into the front porch so that they won't disturb her preparing the medicine for Vodka. When she finished and called all her dogs in, Cheryl was gone. Later on she found out that Cheryl escaped from the hole at the side of the sliding gate.

Kak Nat didn't ask for Snowy back, but we decided to give her back. Although we felt sad, it was the right thing to do. We didn't give Cheryl back though, we said that we must tell my neighbour (that found and kept Cheryl) first, because I already promised my neighbour that I will take care of Cheryl until the end. Giving her back may seem that I just left Cheryl.

At first my neighbour didn't agree on giving Cheryl back, as she's bothered about my feelings. But before our neighbour called Kak Nat, Kak Nat decided to give Cheryl to us (all communication was through phone, as my neighbour was away), as she doesn't want to break the bond Snowy already has for us. In her honour we renamed Cheryl into Snowy, aka Owi.

Knowing Kak Nat was such a blessing, as we got lots of dog knowledge from her. She's the only dog lover that I'm friends with around here. I also got a book of touching dog stories.

Last Sunday we visited Kak Nat's house. Her house's actually just opposite my relative's house from which I adopted Chiko! I also ever walked Snowy close Kak Nat's house! Kak Nat also often heard Chiko's barks when she comes home from work. It's just......

Well, I think everything has a connection to each other....

Chiro, Snowy and Charlie

Monday, 18 December 2017

My Best Furry Friends

It's been a month since I last updated my blog, due to some busy schedules and 2 newcomers in my family :). I'd like to start from the early days of September, when I got my first newcomer in my family.

Let me introduce you to my first four-legged member, Cheryl:

She's my little sweet mini poodle and only barks when necessary. This sweet girl was rescued from the streets by my neighbour, which possibly means that she was abandoned  away by her previous owner. But my neighbour needs space for her business, so she's been looking for someone to adopt her dogs (she's only got 2 left now).

These cases of abandoned dogs are very common, sometimes with unreasonable reasons. I couldn't imagine anyone abandoning Cheryl . She's such a darling and is very smart (although she's a picky eater).

There are a lot of reasons for people to abandon their dogs:

- People buy only because they want it. They see the cute puppy on the windows of the pet shop then buying it, before even learning about the dog breed or considering whether they'll be able to raise it. Will they be able to keep their dogs for their whole life? Will they move to somewhere where dogs aren't welcomed? etc. Pets are for a lifetime, it's really cruel to just abandon them.

- They breed their dogs, then abandon them when they're deemed "undesirable" for them. You're the one who decide to bring them to this world in the first place.

- People only buy them according to the trending breed, then abandon them once it's not trending anymore. Like the Siberian Husky, we can find lots of them in shelters, due to them being the trend in previous years.This year I've seen a lot of red toy poodles, they seem to be the trend this year.

- They were bought just for fame and glory. Their owners bought and raised them without love (although it's not always the case) and enrolled them into dog competitions just for prize or money. But once the dog becomes too old, or doesn't win many competitions they will just abandon or sell them, where it's unsure whether the one who buys it will treat the dog well.

- They are gifts/presents. Never give a dog as a present, as the one who gets it might not always be ready for the responsibility of taking the dog until it dies, especially a child.

- They were given without the one who receives' consent.

- There are many more reasons that I might not know.

Who could ever abandon this sweet girl?
I first saw her roaming the streets, and I immediately felt a connection with her. She's very sweet and quiet, just like a doll, and was a rare sight to see. The dogs that roam my neighbourhood are usually mongrels, and none of them are mostly white like Cheryl.

I had been following her for several days around the neighbourhood when I finally met her owner on one late afternoon. She was a friendly woman and was considering to give Cheryl to me as she needs space for her business. At first I refused as I thought she was just being nice to me, but she kept on offering Cheryl whenever I met her. Once I knew the reason, I decided to adopt Cheryl. After getting agreement from my dad, Cheryl was brought to my house to adapt to it first. Although my neighbour wants to give Cheryl away, she's sad to part with Cheryl. But finally she feels relieved when she saw that I take care of Cheryl well.

I didn't immediately keep Cheryl, I just brought and introduced her to my house first. I let her go back to my neighbour in the evening to sleep there. I did this for several days, to let her gradually adapt to my house. All she did in our house was roam the front porch and laid down on her new bed my neighbour gave to me inside. And once I think she's ready to settle down in her new home, I take her permanently.

The first few days were a bit hard as I still don't have a leash for Cheryl. Whenever I took her out to walk, she would always run to my neighbour's house. She would just dash there without caring about the vehicles on the road, which makes it dangerous. Once she got to my neighbour's house, she didn't want to go back, so I had to carry her home.

When the leash arrived, the problem above was solved, although it was still hard to bring Cheryl home. Gradually, though, she came to know that my house is her home. Even without leash, Cheryl will always stick with me.

Since I adopted Cheryl, I've been immersed into the dog world. I wanted to save one of my relative's dog which was given to them; not as a present, but because they wanted to move house and cannot bring their dog to their new house.

First my relative's dog was really spoiled. It was bathed in warm water, was bought clothes, and was taught tricks. But after some time, as my relatives were often on the go, there was rarely anyone to play with the dog (it's a lapdog). Slowly the lapdog was just kept in the backyard and only given limited food once a day. This resulted the dog to be malnourished that even minor wounds couldn't recover and became infected. His fur became matted as he was rarely given a bath. He also never went out so he lacks social skills. 

Then there was a Chihuahua not far from my house which I saw was always locked up in its cage. I wanted to take him out for a walk but I didn't know the owner so I still don't dare to ask. Although my mom has met him once or twice and said that he was kind. However, I was unsure whether I'll be able to take the Chihuahua for a walk. Because usually I was exhausted after just walking Cheryl.

To get some experience in walking more than 1 dog, I decided to take my relative's dog out for a walk. Then my mom asked my relative if I can take their dog out, they asked if I would like to adopt the dog instead. That results in:

Meet Chiko!

 All those wounds and infections were due to malnutrition.
He's a cheerful, playful, and energetic bichon frise with an alpha behaviour. Alpha behaviour means that he was born with a leader attitude.

We guessed that he was an alpha because he acts dominant. When we just got him, he insisted on sleeping on the sofa, unlike Cheryl who went down immediately when we asked her to. It is said that alphas like to sleep in a higher position so they can keep an eye over their territory.

There are many more examples but it will be too long to tell all of them here.

After we picked him up, we immediately brought him to the vet to be vaccinated. The vet said to put him in a cage for 1 week so he can rest. Once we got home, we put him into the cage. It was a big cage and we didn't have any space for the cage inside. He started crying and barking as he didn't want to be left outside but we had no choice.

A week has passed and we decided to castrate him, so he won't have the desire to mate with any dog. I disagree on breeding more dogs as there are already a lot of dogs with sad fates like him waiting in shelters to be taken home. After the castration, we allowed him to stay inside but he wasn't allowed to move around too much during his process of healing, which was hard as he was a very active dog.

This was Chiko "playing" the piano.

How could anyone ignore/abandon these 2 dogs?
Unlike Cheryl who just smiles politely, Chiko expresses his feelings really clearly on his face. He's very expressive.

In the beginning it was hard settling down with these two, even though we settled down with them one by one. First we had to get used to their new behaviours, then there's their vaccination, new rules for them, etc.

From adopting these two, I learned a lot of things about caring for dogs. Once you get a dog, you are responsible for it for the rest of the dog's life. So consider carefully before getting one. Even if there is a sudden change in your life, you must be able to fit your dog into the change, not abandon or leave it.

It's not easy to keep a dog ( if you really want to keep them properly).They must be vaccinated, brought to vet when sick (which isn't cheap), potty trained, manner trained, etc. I also suggest castrating them so there will be no more dogs that might end up with sad fates.

If you'd like to own a dog, I suggest you go to a shelter and give them a chance for a forever home.  Of course you must pass their terms and conditions before you can bring them home. One of the shelter that I know is Shelter Melati in Tangerang. You can check their instagram .

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

The End of My Basic Cooking Class

On the 30th of September, I did the written and practical exam for my basic cooking class. The entire course was about cooking basics, except the 3 last courses, where we were taught to make  main dishes: Chicken Picatta, Beef Stroganoff, and Chicken Cordon Blu. For the written exam, it's not so hard, but I think I messed up a bit when writing the recipe for the Chicken Picatta. For the practical, we were asked to make Chicken Picatta too. I think I did all the steps correct, except the taste of the chicken was too salty, so I didn't really like it. Although, if I eat it with the other foods on the plate, the saltiness won't be so prominent.

At the end of the exam day, the whole class had a group photo with Pak Udan, our main chef mentor, and together with the whole supporters (the parents) who supported us throughout the whole course.
My first trial for chicken picatta at home. This was after we were taught how to make it in the course.

My practical exam result (chicken picatta).

Beef stroganoff (made at home).

My Chicken Cordon Blu (made at home).

A pic of me cooking (not during the exam).

Class photo with Chef Udan. 

Group photo with all the supporters (parents).
Since the last post about my cooking, I haven't posted about the other cookings I've made at home. Here they are: