IPOH, Feb 11 — Canadian Iara Ramananstas was working as a maintenance specialist at a factory in Kampar when she first spotted a stray dog.
The kind-hearted Ramananstas rescued her and sent her to a veterinarian in Ipoh to assist the dog, that was malnourished and weighed a scrawny seven kilogrammes in August last year.
Subsequently, the dog now named Sibelle was handed over to the Ipoh Society for the Prevention of Cruelty Against Animals (ISPCA).
But ISPCA could only keep her for three months and would have to release her back to the place where she was found if she could not be adopted.
So, ISPCA president Ricky Soong asked Ramananstas, who was now back in Canada, whether she wanted to adopt Sibelle.
Ramananstas thought about it and agreed.
And that is how Sibelle’s story has a happy ending that recently started with a flight to Quebec, Canada which was 13,000 kilometres away from Malaysia.
Soong said this was the first time a stray from the society was adopted so far away.
He added that Ramananstas would constantly follow-up on Sibelle’s condition while she was with the society.
“Iara would sometimes message me twice a week. Then one day I decided to ask her whether she would want to adopt Sibelle seeing that she was very concerned about the dog’s well being,” added Soong.
“After getting Iara’s agreement to adopt Sibelle, we began to gather information on the procedures needed to send her to Canada and the cost.”
The amount quoted by the agent made Soong’s heart sink.
“We were given a quotation of RM5,600 and deep down I was not confident that Iara would proceed with the adoption,” he said.
However, Soong’s worries turned to joy when Iara agreed to pay the amount.
That was in early December.
“To ensure Sibelle was well taken care off while undergoing quarantine, we sent her to a grooming centre. In the meantime, we prepared all the documentation required such as pet passport and the necessary vaccination,” added Soong.
On February 6, Sibelle was put on a flight and arrived 30 hours later at Ramananstas’ home.
“Before arriving, Iara prepared Sibelle’s bed and toys. She even asked me to get Sibelle’s body measurement so that she could get clothing for Sibelle. Sibelle also has two paw siblings to play with now. Something she would not get if she is a stray,” said Soong.
Following Sibella’s successful adoption, ISPCA hopes that more strays will have a happy story like Sibelle.
“ISPCA cannot make it by itself. We need everyone’s assistance. Do not hurt strays even if you do not like them,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ramananstas said Sibelle was coping well since arriving in Canada.
“We are now training Sibelle to go outside to urinate or defecate. Also we are showing her to wait her turn to eat. The first command we are showing her is No, and also sit,” she said.
Ramananstas said Sibella might need three months to adjust to the new house.
“We have to make sure she understands all three dogs have to respect each other. No dog is allowed to bite or attack. If she tries to bite, we say ‘No’ and put her in her cage for two minutes for her to calm down,” she added.
When the weather gets warmer, Sibelle will also be taking long walks so she can learn how to socialise with other dogs and people that she will meet, added Ramananstas.
Asked why she decided to rescue Sibelle despite the many strays in the area, Ramananstas said she took pity on Sibelle.
“She was hungry, all by herself. The other strays were far from her. She was very lonely,” added Ramananstas, noting that Sibelle was named from a mix of the name of the plant she was found (Sibelco) and Belle which means pretty in French.
Ramananstas hoped that the people would donate to help the strays.
“Even if it’s RM5. So that they can sterilise more dogs which would decrease the number of strays,” she added.