Cover Story - By Your Side

As COVID-19 spreads across the globe, Hong Kong people are fighting the pandemic by wearing masks and social distancing. While we all feel anxious, it’s wonderful to know the city is still full of love. Some of us continue to stand by their furry friends during this difficult time. In this issue’s cover story, we share some beautiful and heart-warming stories about humans and animals.

 

To soothe your soul

In October last year, Catherine was grief-stricken after her dog BB died, a Dachshund who had been her companion for more than 15 years. Then, in mid-February, she met six-year-old mongrel Bella at the SPCA Sai Kung Adopt-a-Pet Centre. She was ready to welcome the joy of having a dog again. “Bella is an older black dog with a tiny white spot on her face and has cherry eyes; she's not good-looking,” said Catherine. However, when she discovered Bella was a victim of animal cruelty, she worried people would be unwilling to adopt her, so she decided to take her home that night.

Catherine did experience a few seconds of concern about the virus. But was able to dismiss them by knowing the facts. “Bella is already part of my family. It doesn't matter if I need to use one more mask to bring her out for exercise.” Bella was a little nervous at first. So, every night, Catherine sat side-by-side with Bella, gently stroking to calm her nerves. Despite the anxiety of the pandemic, they enjoy this special time together - bonding and building trust with love.

 

For the joy of companionship

Agnes always had a special connection to animals, growing up with cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters, parrots, pigeons and turtles. As a mother of three little boys, she became a pet foster parent two years ago. “I'm a full-time mum, but can still make extra time, space and energy for animals. I want to gain more knowledge of animals. So, why not foster?” she said, smiling.

With small children, Agnes also started small – in size – fostering rabbits and hamsters. “Building a close relationship with animals is a miraculous process, which brings greater satisfaction than any fear of disease,”she said.

With schools closed, she taught her kids how to care for and respect animals. They took responsibility for feeding and cleaning, and built a playground for the rabbits and made a hamster maze. “I grew up with animals and continue to learn more about them. As long as you maintain personal hygiene, you don't need to worry at all.”

The whole family enjoys a wonderful time with their temporary pets.

 

Always on my mind

Sharon is volunteer carer with the SPCA’s “Cat Colony Care Programme”. She has taken care of stray cats for more than 15 years. As COVID-19 spread across Hong Kong, she knew that cats could not become ill, but took simple steps to raise her already high hygiene standards. With many people staying at home to reduce social contact, she has been carrying out extra preventive measures, such as picking up abandoned masks and providing clean water and food. “Every day I needed to wear a mask when I go to work. I have enough masks and disinfectants for daily work, so I don’t need to worry about this. The key is to keep personal hygiene,” Sharon said wisely.

As the virus spread, she paid extra attention to the health of the cats, and she spent time to check the latest facts and anti-epidemic measures. “I need to check when streets or areas are blocked, as it may affect my route to meet the stray cats.” Sharon does not worry about her health, she is only concerned for her charges. “They are always on my mind, I need to be careful and do everything I can,” she said.

 

Unconditional love illuminates every corner of our city, just as the wind blows away dark clouds that cover the moon. Let us stand together, and use the wisdom of love to protect our beloved animals.

With the spread of COVID-19, the Society faced many difficulties and challenges in its daily operations. We purchased epidemic prevention materials for front-line staff, relocated manpower and equipment resources, and implemented extra measures for commuting.

During this tough time, we remained at the forefront of efforts to rescue animals and have done our best to maintain normal services. Our 24-hour emergency veterinary services and animal rescue services continued to operate normally. Our adoption centres, Mobile Clinic and Animal Welfare Vehicle, as well as animal welfare programmes were uninterrupted.

We sincerely have appreciated all our SPCA staff, supporting organisations and groups together with the unwavering love from volunteers and animal lovers.

We truly believe our difficulties will eventually be resolved, and we will overcome all trials. We have survived the past 99 years, and will be here for centuries to come.

 

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