Saving Mango: Rehabilitating a Recluse in Singapore
I’m enjoying some vacation time with my family in Japan after my new “Trust Your Instincts Tour,” and it’s a very beautiful country with great contrasts. Even in the middle of a big city like Tokyo, you can’t look anywhere without seeing a little bit of nature, and everything, even the streets, is incredibly clean. We’ve learned about the ancient arts of sword-making and shodo, or calligraphy, and visited a very modern amusement park with big, fast roller-coasters and scary haunted houses. Human beings will do things that terrify them in order to feel excited; roller-coasters, sky-diving, karaoke. Dogs do not, and when dogs feel fear, it can lock them into a world without escape. This reminded me of a very special experience I had in Singapore with a shelter dog named Mango.
Mango has been at the Animal Lovers League Pet Villa shelter in Pasir Ris, Singapore for seven years. For those seven years, he has refused to come out of his cage, and none of the volunteers could coax him out, since he would become aggressive, threatening to bite anyone who got near him. Eventually, the volunteers backed off and left him alone. The people in Singapore have big hearts, but they don’t have the specific education needed to fix a lot of behavior problems that some shelter dogs can have. Without fixing these problems, they can’t adopt these dogs out. Also, since there is no government money at all, shelter conditions are poor, which is ironic in such a beautiful country.
I know that Mango would have died in that cage if I had not been able to bring him out, and teach the volunteers how to do the same. It was incredible that I, a Mexican, got to show a Singaporean dog what Singapore looks, and did it on rollerblades. Mango couldn’t have looked happier touching grass for probably the first time or actually getting wet in the pool. For me, it was an unbelievable experience to at last free this little dog from his fear, finally allowing him to walk out of his cage. It reminded me of something we should ask ourselves constantly: What “cage” of my own is my fear keeping me in? And, more importantly, if I can walk through that fear and out of that cage, what wonderful things will I experience for the first time? Think about that while you enjoy your week, and I’ll catch up with you again from Spain.