Singaporeans have increasingly stepped up to speak up for our furry friends. Three animal lovers share how volunteering with animal charities has empowered their own lives.​​

Geri Lim and Sparky

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Chased by wild dogs when she was young, Geri became fearful of canines.

But today, she is the proud owner of a dog named Sparky, which she adopted from SOSD Singapore (SODS stands for Save Our Street Dogs).

Geri recalls that Sparky was described as having an “aggressive” past. Inspired by his story and the connection she felt upon meeting him, she decided to bring him home despite her fear of dogs.

So how did she overcome her phobia? SOSD sent her and Sparky, which was also afraid of humans, for pack walking before the adoption. The weekly activity involved the pair walking with an entire pack of dogs.

Sparky now not only has a mellow and affectionate demeanour, but gives back through SOSD’s Healing Paws programme, where Sparky brings companionship, motivation and recreation into the lives of residents at children’s homes, elderly homes and hospices.

A regular volunteer for Lions Befrienders, Geri also brings Sparky along to meet the elderly folk.

She says: “It’s nice to see how Sparky brings smiles to people.”

To help save more dogs from the streets, donate here.

Tan Su San

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Su San has seen too many rabbits being abandoned because of impulse buying and the mistaken belief that they make low-maintenance pets.

The volunteer with House Rabbit Society Singapore (HRSS) says: “Everyone wants to buy a new bunny or a dog, myself included. But behind the buying is an industry largely motivated by profit and greed – the breeding. Fostering is a great way to stop the buying.”

HRSS, started by a group of concerned volunteers in April 2002, runs a fostering programme to rescue and re-home abandoned rabbits. “Their owners have either deemed them too difficult to handle, bought them on impulse or abandoned them due to sickness or age,” Su San says.

She herself is a foster parent to rabbits. Receiving affection from the animals that she takes care of and the belief that fostering gives hope to the abandoned are why Su San continues to believe in fostering.

“My volunteering journey with animals started in a somewhat unconventional way. My girlfriend, Dionne, and I were looking for more meaningful activities to do together, besides the usual meals and movies. And volunteering came to mind!

If the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way that its animals are treated.

MAHATMA GANDHI​

Leader of the Indian independence movement against British rule who advocated non-violent civil disobedience

Jing Kai

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Jing Kai volunteers with the dog mentor programme at SPCA Singapore, which assists dogs at the society to improve their chances of finding homes through regularly coaching in basic obedience skills conducted by volunteers.

He says: “Spending time at the shelter has for us, become a way to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, to slow down and appreciate the little things in life, to push all our troubles and worries for the week aside and focus on the here and now. Volunteering at the SPCA has given us more than we have given it, so why not do a little more to give back?”

To help the SPCA save more animals, donate here.