“I just thought I’d sponsor her and come walk her sometimes when I’m free.”
Kuan Siong never did expect that life with SOSD will turn out to be remarkably different in 2014.
It started off as being a sponsor to one of our senior dogs Girl Girl- to be able to spend time with her he needs to undergo training before he can walk her with an assigned volunteer during our pack walks. The rest is history.
Fast forward 5 years, Kuan Siong has touched many lives (dogs and humans alike) in SOSD. Apart from being one of our sponsors, he is a regular, committed volunteer in our Shelter team and a seasoned handler whom many volunteers look to when they face issues with handling their dogs. Previously he was also involved in our rescue (SOS) team and now moved on to a member of the rehabilitation team. Now Kuan Siong has also taken on a larger role, being part of the small team that orientates and provides basic training for new kennel volunteers, guiding them in their role as a kennel volunteer, and equip them with basic dog handling techniques that the shelter endorses. Did I also mention he also helps in the transportation team to transport our dogs to adoption events, vet visits etc. If you pull up the volunteer roles in our website and check every box, yup the only match you will have is Kuan Siong. This compounds to the fact that Kuan Siong is a successful IT specialist in his day job.
Every experience in the different roles gave Kuan Siong many interesting memories. After interviewing him he recalled one incident when he was transporting dogs: A dog’s active glands in flatulence could cause panic for the driver (him) while he prays it is not a bad case of diarrhea while being overwhelmed in his olfactory senses in the entire journey within the confined space of his car! During his stint as SOS team IC, Roland struck a deep chord and tender side of his heart. As SOSD is a volunteer-run organization, almost everyone has a day job or a student. Thus, to handle the SOS calls, they have to dedicate a part of their time. Besides calls, they deal with dog rescues and his team had to review cases on a daily basis till late into the night and decide on the course of action. This is where a lot of relationship between other AWGs and feeders were formed. Roland – one of our biggest dogs in the shelter was rescued with a large wound. Of course this big boy has recovered after many years and is an affectionate boy looking for a forever home. Kuan Siong urges, “Do come by and visit him. Better still, give him a home!”
As a trainer, he has witnessed many gratifying moments seeing a volunteer progress in dog handling skills and seeing him/her advance over time to take on more challenging roles. To him, he credits the positive impact of animal welfare to each and every one of our volunteers for their selflessness and dedication of time and efforts. Rehabilitation, on the other hand, is a role that requires patience and a good judgement on how best to help the dog. This is when he started working on Hugo (pictured with Kuan Siong here), one of our long term rehab dogs, who never had a proper chance to experience the great outdoors or received love and care from our his handlers. Hugo has become a much better dog over time and now has more fwens – dedicated handlers trained by Kuan Siong, who can handle him just like the other dogs.
Each of these roles are essential and important for the smooth running of SOSD, and we are very lucky to have Kuan Siong contributing as a core member of SOSD family as every little bit counts.
“Kuan Siong concludes his interview with his usual unequivocal patience and steadfast demeanor, “The takeaway for me is that, dogs are unconditional in their love for their handlers and they each have their own quirks and nuances. Getting to know a dog takes time and it is just like getting to know a friend. I am very glad to have known so many friends in SOSD – from the dogs to the humans, especially all the dedicated staff and vollies (note: vollies is short form for volunteers in SOSD-speak).
“The best satisfaction for me is when the dogs go to their forever home. I am happy that they have a family to care for them and can enjoy their days.
“To all vollies, I would like to say thank you for all that you are doing to help the dogs. And for those who have their roles, you are doing a good job! I look forward to our vollies contributing more if their time permits. And please step up if we ever need help ok?”
To join SOSD’s big family of volunteers, please start your journey now at https://sosd.org.sg/join-us/
For more information on sponsor-a-dog, please read https://sosd.org.sg/sponsor-a-dog/what-is-sponsoring-how/