3 Singaporeans – Dr Gan, A Dentist, Dr Herman, A Doctor, and Mr Ariffin, a Law Undergraduate will be taking on the Borneo Ultra Trail Marathon on Feb 18th 2017 to raise 30k for Exclusively Mongrels Ltd; a welfare group set up for Mongrels in Singapore. (https://www.facebook.com/exclusivelymongrels/)
Do support them in their cause, if you can. And share this story so as to spread the word (maintenance and upkeep of the dogs can be a huge cost). Mongrels are actually highly intelligent, and can be more healthy and robust as compared to pedigrees, which may have hereditary diseases. For example, the popular Golden Retriever breed is prone to hip dysplasia.
A story told by Dr Gan summarizes everything — The state and welfare of stray dogs in Singapore, supposedly a first-world country, is actually worse than jungle dogs in Borneo. The Orang Asli, primitive junglers in Sabah, apparently treat dogs better than the average layperson in Singapore:
When Dr Gan, an EM member, was running through the trails of Sabah in Oct 2016, he stumbled upon a stray dog.
Being an avid dog lover and the proud father to three rescued Mongrels, he had to stop in his tracks. He fed the dog and it even ran alongside him for a mile or two. Further along the route, he encountered more stray dogs too.
All of the stray dogs he encountered seemed well-fed and were very approachable. They all displayed no aggression, despite being in the middle of a jungle. To Dr Gan, this was a tell-tale sign that the Orang Asli, who lived in villages in these jungles, took care of the dogs by feeding them. The fact that these Orang Aslis were living in harmony with these strays was indeed very commendable in his eyes.
These thoughts stuck with him throughout the run, and on the journey home too.
He couldn’t help but compare the Orang Asli’s hospitality to how a Singaporean layperson would react upon encountering a stray dog. More often than not, even in the absence of aggressive behaviour, a Singaporean who sees a stray dog would view it as no more than a pest and would either chase it away or even, call the authorities. As it so often is when the latter option is exercised, the authorities would have a hard time rehoming the dog and EM has to step in to ‘bail’ the dog out before the authorities euthanize it.
It is strange, he remarked, how the Orang Asli from the jungle can treat these strays with reverence while many Singaporeans would report a stray to the authorities without the slightest hesitation.
“Would the situation end up the same way if, instead of a stray mongrel, there was a stray pedigree dog?”
Armed with the notion that more needs to be done not just for these dogs but also to empower and educate the general public in Singapore about the plight of these strays and what can be done to help them, he then called on his two running buddies to undertake this journey with him.
It was going to be a journey that united his two passions – running and dogs; a journey back to the jungles where he first encountered the strays; back to where he first witnessed the hospitality of the Orang Asli; back to where where the spark was first ignited. He, and his Team, hope to bash through the jungles of Borneo, all in the hopes of blazing a new trail for Mongrels back home, in Singapore.