The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Singapore (SPCA) is the only animal shelter clinic in Singapore. They are in charge of both community animals as well as for animal welfare groups.
Further, according to the SPCA website, they receive around 150 animals, both pets and strays, per month.
SPCA mostly relies on volunteers and part-time staff to handle their operations.
As for Dr. Bel, she happens to be the sole full-time vet in the organization. Her duties include shelter checks, being activated during emergencies, handling animals of external clients, and finally conducting surgeries for animals.
Dr. Bel reflects that being a vet was her lifelong dream, though she took a detour when she choose to enter a Polytechnic rather than a Junior College.
However, her love for animals was stronger than the time delay, and she opted to join SPCA as a cruelty inspector.
Through the volunteering stint, she managed to work with a wide variety of animals. She worked with elephants, hyenas, tigers, and pythons to name a few. She even got a chance to work with Australian endangered animals like the platypuses, and bilbies.
Meeting a Rhino
Dr. Bel recounts of a time she met a rhino when she traveled with the SPCA to Africa.
The rhino was shot, and the volunteers had to dislodge the bullets. Unfortunately, one of the bullets was shot in too deep.
The volunteers had no choice but to flush her wound and subsequently gave her antibiotics.
Upon waking, the rhino immediately reunited with her baby.
Suffering from a seizure
Treating animals can often be an emotionally taxing experience.
Such is the case with a small white kitten who came in with a seizure.
The SPCA had to turn to a private clinic to find a stronger drug to stop the seizures. It did not work, and Dr. Bel responded by sedating the cat. This also allowed more time for the drug to kick in and take effect.
Dr. Bel went so far as to even bringing the cat home that day, and stayed with her until 3AM.
Unfortunately, the cat did not survive.
Dr. Bel opened up on the emotional ordeal that she and her colleagues had when handling animals, especially when they cannot make it.
She revealed that her colleagues all expressed their sadness differently. While some kept mum, they are still very much affected by the state of the animals.
Senior pet abandonment
Dr. Bel also revealed a much forgotten group of animals: the senior pets.
And it’s really sad because, imagine yourself when you get older, it’s the same thing, you don’t want to get abandoned by your kids. Especially when you are having health issues, that’s the most important time when you need people to support you through and take care of you.
Sometimes, when people abandon them here, you can see them trying to look for their family.
Dr. Bel lives by example and lives with her own senior geriatric cat. She points out and appreciates the changes in her cat’s character such as being more grumpy and increasingly impatient.
Commitment to animals
I wanted to be a vet because I wanted to help those that nobody wants to help.
Despite having to tend to a high number of animals on the daily, Dr. Bel still keeps a positive outlook and her passion for animals brought her far.
On 5 and 6 October 2019, SPCA will be celebrating World Animal Day at Star Vista.
You can watch the full video on Dr. Bel and find out more information on the event here.