During the weekend, East Coast Park’s Big Splash area descended into complete canine madness, with barking sounds being heard everywhere.
Dogs of all shapes and sizes were frolicking around. Some were having a whale of a time inside the doggie pool and getting completely soaked. Others were barking incessantly at their fellow canines, while a few simply lazed around, enjoying the open air.
Singapore’s largest dog-adoption event
That’s because Singapore’s largest dog-adoption event, the National Geographic Channel (NGC) Free Pet Shop, was held there. This year, it featured about 150 dogs available for adoption. These dogs were presented by eight of Singapore’s no-kill dog shelters – Action for Singapore Dogs, Animal Lovers League, Causes For Animals, Gentle Paws, Noah’s Ark Cares, Save Our Street Dogs, Three Legs Good and Uncle Khoe’s K9 Shelter.
I had a walk around the booths belonging to the dog shelters. Some of the canines had looked so adorable, and stared at me with such imploring eyes, that I simply could not resist petting them and providing the human touch that they were possibly craving.
In fact, by the time I left the event, I had found myself hoping that every one of these adorable canines would find themselves a good home.
Educating Singaporeans on responsible pet ownership and animal compassion
The purpose of this dog adoption event, which is into its third edition, bring animal welfare groups, government and private partners together with a common aim of educating Singaporeans on responsible pet ownership and encouraging animal compassion.
Looking to adopt a stray dog at the event was 32-year-old marketer Anthony Weng, who had heard about the NGC Free Pet Shop through a friend. He had brought his dog, Yami, to the fair. Said Weng, “We had actually intended to get a companion for Yami – but in the end, he did not seem to be interested in any of the other dogs here! He just wanted to play around and chill out with us!”
Singapore dog lovers are appreciative of the information on offer
And Singapore dog lovers were definitely appreciative of the wealth of information on offer at the pet fair. These had included informative talks and sessions on a myriad of dog-related topics, ranging from pet grooming to pet care and responsibility.
Said 40-year-old taxi driver Spencer Bak, “The event is very informative and useful. Actually I only knew a few of these dog charities before today, but now I know that there are so many.” Bak, who was there with his dog Nico, was there to socialise with the dogs and help timid little Nico, whom he has had for two weeks, to become more outgoing.
A myriad of other fun activities for canine lovers
Besides the adoption drives and information, there were also fun activities for dog lovers to take part in, such as the Singapore Special Dog Show featuring beautiful mixed-breed dogs and a Dog Sports Programme, for owners to challenge their dogs through an obstacle course demanding fitness and agility.
Doggie license plates, Instagram photo printing services and caricature drawings were other form of fun available to dog lovers.
Amy Chew, who works in sales, was one of the many dog lovers in queue for a fun photo opportunity with her three dogs. She had initially made her way down to the event because she supports adoption – in fact, two of her three dogs were actually adopted.
And she had found the other fringe activities extremely interesting and entertaining – and admitted that she simply could not resist a “lookalike” photo with her three adorable canines.
Organisers are heartened by the event’s success
Event organiser National Geographic Channel Singapore and one of their partners, Subaru, are heartened by the success of the NGC Free Pet Shop, which has been held for the past three consecutive years.
Said Ms Hannah Tan, Deputy General Manager-Group marketing Division of Motor Image Group, the distributor for Subaru, “The NGC Free Pet Shop has grown beyond a dog adoption drive. It is a community that supports, educates and encourages dog owners and animal lovers to foster love and compassion for animals.”