Earlier this year, Singapore opened its first-ever facility for rehabilitating stray dogs in order to help increase the number of dogs who are able to be safely adopted!
The facility is designed to be as safe and comfortable for the dogs as possible, despite not being the literal home environment that dogs so dearly deserve.
There are rooms designed to mimic what a typical home in Singapore would look like, with couches, a dining room table, and more. Dogs will be exposed to normal “home happenings,” like the sound of a vacuum.
The dogs sleep in kennels, but they are sound-proofed so the dogs are not stressed by the sounds of other dogs. They also do not face each other, so the dogs can have privacy and feel safe away from other dogs while they adjust to the new environment.
The center was opened by the Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS) of Singapore.
"While previously fearful of people and/or showing aggressive behavior, these dogs now demonstrate positive behavior towards humans and are able to live comfortably in a home setting, which increases their chances of being reformed," AVS said.
Why do dogs need a rehabilitation facility?
Stray dogs may benefit from a rehabilitation program for a number of reasons.
When dogs have been living on the streets, they will need to get comfortable with what it is like to live in a home.
As humans, we have expectations of how we want our animal companions to behave. For example, we expect to potty-train them, and teach them that certain objects in the house are not for chewing. It’s for our safety, the safety of the dog, and for keeping our houses in good condition.
But the biggest challenges stray dogs face in transitioning to a home are the emotional ones.
Emotional Challenges Stray Dogs Face
Stray dogs may be suffering from mental disorders. Have you heard of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
PTSD is a condition that has been researched thoroughly in humans. It is often looked at in soldiers who have returned from war. After having gone through such a traumatizing experience, even the return to a safe environment can be incredibly challenging. In humans, some PTSD symptoms include depression, anxiety, issues with sleeping, and irritability. PTSD symptoms in humans are mostly related to the mind and impact mental health. Since dogs cannot tell us what they are feeling, PTSD symptoms in dogs are inferred through physical behaviors – for example, urinating out of fear when meeting a new person, shaking/trembling, incessant barking, and more.
Dogs who have been abandoned may suffer from PTSD for a number of reasons.
The dog may have come from an abusive home. Physical abuse has clear impacts on the animal as they may suffer from broken bones or bruises. But what might be less clear to see are the emotional wounds which are equally as powerful as the physical ones. Abused dogs may struggle to trust humans and suffer from severe anxiety and depression.
The dog may be struggling as a result of being abandoned. Studies have found that abandonment and bond disruption can drastically alter a dog’s behavior. For example, separation anxiety is a condition that is extremely common in shelter dogs. The trauma that comes from being abandoned can lead a dog to become incredibly stressed when left alone. Dogs may incessantly bark or howl, or even destroy objects in the house. Extreme stress can also lead the dog to injure themselves.
Can all stray dogs be rehabilitated?
Rehabilitation centers, like the one in Singapore, should definitely be commonplace. Every dog deserves a chance at a happy life. But behavioral challenges aren’t the only reason that dogs are put to death in shelters.
As it currently stands, far too many dogs are put to death every year. Dogs who are perfectly healthy, totally loving, and worthy of a home and a family.
The main issue? Overpopulation.
On any given day, worldwide, 600 million stray dogs roam the streets without access to food, shelter, or a loving home.
While there are programs in place across the world that try to save as many dogs as they can, it is simply impossible to find a home for every single stray dog when the number of strays only continues to increase.
Think about it: 600 million dogs will go on to reproduce. Ultimately, 1 billion homeless pups end up being born every year, just to suffer.
What would a long-term solution look like?
Stray dogs and cats will continue to reproduce, year after year, without end.
The best way to limit the amount of suffering that stray animals face is to limit the number of stray dogs and cats who are born in the first place.
That’s why 600 Million Dogs is working to solve the overpopulation crisis right at its source.
The Spay and Neuter Cookie is in the research and development stage. It is being designed to be a safe, one-dose, permanent birth control for dogs and cats.
We believe that this Cookie has the power to change the world for hundreds of millions of stray animals across the globe!
Read the rest of our website to learn more!