When 26-year-old Oh Chin Ying found Rosie in a canal in Pasir Ris, she was so weak she could not get up by herself.
The only sign that she was alive was her wide open eyes that were looking straight at him, Oh said in a series of Instagram stories that documented her rescue process.
So hungry she gobbled up her food
Covered in fleas, ticks and dirt, Oh, a volunteer with local non-profit animal welfare group Action for Singapore Dogs since 2017, speculated that she had fallen off the ledge into the canal.
As it looked like it was about to rain, which meant the puppy might be swept away by the currents, Oh knew that he had to take her with him.
He brought her to a vet clinic that was 10 minutes away, where the vet said she was severely emaciated and had not eaten in days.
Rosie was then given some food, which she quickly gobbled up as she was “so hungry”, Oh said in a video featured on the Instagram page of American media outlet The Dodo.
She received her first bath as well, where most of her fleas and ticks were removed and washed away.
Unfortunately, Rosie was found to be highly anemic, and tested positive for tick fever.
She was so weak the vet said her chances of surviving were 40 per cent.
He even told Oh not to be surprised if he wakes up the next day and finds her gone.
Oh eventually brought her home, and put her up in makeshift beds for the time being as he had not expected to bring home a puppy that day.
Steady progress as the days went by
Together with his girlfriend, Chen Meihui, also 26, they took care of Rosie and paid close attention to her.
While Rosie showed no improvement at all for the first three days, where she stayed mostly in her “spaceship” — the name Oh gave to her makeshift bed — she managed to lift her head up on the fourth day.
She was smiling constantly as well, and would lick the hands of anyone who reached out to her, he said.
She showed steady progress as the days went by.
Oh began hydrotherapy sessions with her too, so she could get the strength back in her legs.
On the seventh day, Rosie even managed to take a few wobbly steps.
Finally, on the 10th day, she started walking, much to the joy of her owner and his family.
As she was nursed back to health, Rosie started to reveal more of her personality, which was a “puppy that just wanted to play”, Oh said.
Here’s a before-and-after comparison that captured Rosie’s amazing transformation within a few weeks:
And here’s Rosie celebrating her first birthday — Oh and Chen set her birthday on the day six weeks before she was found.
Chanced upon Rosie when he was looking for another stray dog
Recounting to Mothership the day he chanced upon Rosie, Oh said it was actually his first time walking past the canal.
He had visited the area to feed a dog that his friend had alerted him to, but as he could not find the dog, he decided to feed other stray dogs in the area with the food he had.
That was when he saw Rosie in the canal, which looked like a “small black mass”.
Rosie living her best life now
Oh said that Rosie now enjoys going to the dog park, and visiting her friends, which are other dogs owned by Oh’s friends.
She also enjoys snacking on her favourite food, which is boiled chicken and sweet potato — something that Oh says she goes “crazy” for.
Chen has also taught Rosie several tricks. In addition to teaching her “paw” and not to go into the kitchen, Rosie now knows “hug” and “hi-5”.
Oh said: “Rosie is also very easy to teach because she’s so smart and learns so quickly!”
He added that watching Rosie go from “this little puppy on the verge of death, to the amazing dog she is today” makes he and Chen feel “so lucky to have a dog like her”.
He continued: “We can only hope to help more dogs who aren’t as lucky as Rosie.”
Oh rescued two other dogs before Rosie
This is not the first time that Oh has rescued a dog off the streets.
He once picked up a mixed-breed dog in Seoul which was later adopted by a couple there, who named him Robin.
He picked up another mixed-breed dog in Shanghai when Oh noticed her rummaging for food in the trash located below his Airbnb apartment.
Oh brought the dog to a local shelter, and she was later adopted by a woman in Canada, who named her Singapore.
Encourages others to adopt as well
Oh, who plans to adopt another dog in the future with his girlfriend when they get their own place so Rosie has a playmate at home, would also like to encourage others to consider adopting from a shelter instead of buying from a pet shop if they are looking to have a dog.
He said while he understands that purebreds like “pugs, golden retrievers and corgis” are cute, mixed-breed dogs are “just as cute and lovable, and are in no way any lesser than a purebred dog”.
Adopting from a shelter achieves the following three things too, he said:
1. It lowers the demand for puppies in pet shops which come from puppy mills, where although the conditions aren’t as horrific as the ones overseas, they still breed dogs constantly until they can no longer do so.
2. It gives local shelter dogs a loving home, some of whom have been in the shelter for years.
3. It helps to make space in the shelter to rescue more from the thousands of stray dogs which are currently living out on the streets.
Oh also cautions against getting a dog or a pet out of impulse, saying they are a lifelong commitment, and not just the “cute moments you see on Facebook videos”.
He said: “Getting a dog means a commitment to everything that comes with the dog, and being ready for any challenge that comes with being a dog-owner.”
He said while no dog is perfect, and every dog comes with their own set of quirks, it is “only with patience, acceptance and love that both the owner and dog can become the best partners to each other”.
Top image via rosie.theposie/Instagram