Are there times when you get disappointed?
There’s this hopeful joy when a suitable candidate comes in and we’re able to match a suitable cat or dog to him. But adoptions fall through all the time. Not just at the last minute, but even after the signing of paperwork, adopters may still reject their new companions. Once, a couple said that they just couldn’t handle their adoptee after only a few hours with him. I had to stop everything I was doing, drive all the way from the outskirts of Singapore to the city centre, to retrieve the cat.
I get the buyer’s remorse, but isn’t it basic courtesy that adopters who changed their minds bring the animals back to the shelter?
We don’t take that chance. We’re afraid they would simply abandon the animals. The animals could get into harm’s way. And by the time we find out, it would be too late.
You give animals that passed away a funeral-like ritual. What is the significance of this dignified send-off?
My mother believed that all lives must be respected. She felt that they had a sad fate, a life where they were controlled. They had no true freedom. Even at the shelter, they were caged. Some of them never found or would never find a home, so they would be stuck with us till they die. She felt it was unfair, so she thought that a proper send-off was the least we could do.
I came across scientific journals that state that the brain operates for another twelve hours even after we draw our last breaths. When I shared this with my mother, she thought we should lay the animals down and let them be for a while. We spread incense powder over them, which has a nice sandalwood aroma, to stifle the odour of rigor mortis. They are laid with flowers, then wrapped in a white blanket, before being cremated.