Adopting a dog in Singapore: My experience

Again, it’s been a while since I last posted – but I do have an excuse (I promise it’s a good one this time). I’ve been busy with a new addition to my family.

To be honest I didn’t see this one coming either, but two weeks ago I went ahead and decided to adopt a rescue dog (this was after a month of decision making, fyi), and I’m 100% happy with my decision – so……introducing our furkid, Doodle! 🙂

Doodle is a two year old mixed breed (or mutt/mongrel as many affectionately call them here…*rolls eyes*) and she is absolutely gorgeous. She’s very cat-like (independent, aloof and quite wary) but at the same time very affectionate and gentle. She knew basic commands when I met her, but she knows a lot more now and it turns out she’s a fast learner.

I found her at +SOSD SaveOurStreetDogs, one of the dog rescue organisations here in Singapore when I attended one of their regular adoption drives back in March.

For those that don’t know/don’t realise, most of these rescue organisations are completely volunteer run, meaning all those working are setting aside their own personal free time to help rescue, rehabilitate and re-home Singapore’s street dogs. Hats off to them, it is very hard (and emotionally demanding) work and I’m honestly not sure how they do it at times – serious respect.

It’s been nearly two months since Doodle came home with us, and one of the main things I’ve noticed as the owner of a ‘Singapore Special’ is that people react to your dog in a number of ways:

1) Shock and horror – there is a stupid stigma here that all street dogs will bite, be ferocious etc.

2) Curiosity – she’s obviously a gorgeous dog and people try and figure out what mix she is (I’m biased, of course).

3) Fear – she is not a tiny dog but is definitely not big by any standards (16kg – considering medium sized dogs are considered anything from 10kg to 25kg, she is a smaller medium size), so a lot of people (especially locals) would rather walk the other way. Unfortunately, here in Singapore many people own smaller dogs due to restrictions put in place for their apartments – so anything bigger than a pom or a toy poodle is considered gigantic, so they aren’t used to it.

Personally, I don’t get the ignorant mindset that surrounds Singapore Specials. All of the dogs that go through the rescue centres are rehabilitated, obedience trained and are some of the most gentle and smart dogs I’ve ever come across. I never had a serious problem with Doodle (perhaps because I believed in her from the start and didn’t come to look for a rescue dog with negative presuppositions etc.)

Another thing many people said to me before adopting a dog was that I couldn’t. I worked full time. I don’t have anyone around to stay with the dog. Sigh. Ok sure, this sort of argument has its points, but if I don’t work, how would I even earn money to keep a dog? I’m not a lady of leisure (although my Dad would tease me otherwise). Are you telling me that EVERYBODY who owns a dog stays at home and doesn’t leave the house without it? Didn’t think so.

So, one of our potential furkid criteria was that they were a) slightly older and b) low to medium energy. This worked out for us perfectly, especially as the great thing about SOSD was that they allowed us what they call a ‘homestay’ with Doodle before we finally decided on adoption, sort of like a trial period for both parties to see if things worked out. As she had passed the puppy stage and was completely grass-trained, she doesn’t chew on things or make a mess in doors. After her morning walks and food she pretty much sleeps all day and lazes around the flat – but she is always excited to see us when we come home (the cutest thing EVER).

All in all I wanted to write about this because the whole thing has been a really positive and enriching experience for me. It wasn’t something I went into lightly – I got a lot of advice and did a lot of research beforehand. But for those considering (and working full time) it CAN work for you. You just have to be very honest with yourself about your routine and lifestyle. 🙂

I’ve also written a more detailed post about adopting or fostering dogs (and other animals too) in Singapore over on the Expat Living website, which should be helpful if you’re considering.



  1. June 24, 2014 / 4:44 am

    Thanks for info! Looking to adopt one too

  2. September 26, 2014 / 3:02 pm

    I love the way you have described the reactions dog owners experience. On the other hand, if you are an expat and plan on moving to Singapore, do check out I found it to be very useful in finding a place.

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