IPOH, July 15 — Tan Juat Jong has been rescuing stray dogs for over two decades.
With age catching up, the 65-year-old is now appealing to animal lovers to help clear out her shelter by adopting the dogs there before anything happens to her.
Speaking to Malay Mail when met at the shelter located in Tanjung Rambutan, Tan said it pained her to part with the dogs, which she had grown attached to.
As she is not getting any younger, Tan, who tends to the dogs alone, said it was the best solution for the furkids.
“I spend my waking hours attending to them and only return to my rented house at Canning Garden in the evening.”
How did she start rescuing strays?
Popularly known as Auntie Kelly among the animal welfare non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Ipoh, Tan said she used to be a person with Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
“Before I started rescuing strays, I was a cleanliness freak. So much so each time a guest leaves my house, I will clean up the house.
“Then one day, I saw a group of puppies near the place I was staying and took pity on them.”
Starting with 10 dogs, the pack gradually grew.
Due to incessant complaints from neighbours, Tan was forced to move to the present location 16 years ago with the assistance of some supporters.
Tan then continued with her rescue work where she would rescue dogs that had been abandoned.
These dogs normally had a host of medical problems.
There are also cases where people would dump the dogs in front of her shelter.
After nursing them back to health, Tan would keep them at the shelter.
To date, she has 130 dogs.
To make matters worse for Tan, one of her major supporters had pulled out of supporting Tan financially recently.
“She told me she has retired and had no means to continue supporting me monthly,” said Tan, adding that the supporter used to give her (Tan) RM1,900 monthly.
“The supporter advised me to think about my own well-being and suggested I just release the dogs but I could not get myself to do it.”
With funds running low, Tan admitted she was racing against time to get the dogs adopted.
“I hope to be able to take care of them till my last breath but with no financial assistance, it will be an uphill task,” she said, adding that she had no backup plans for the dogs if anything were to happen to her.
“Hence, it is imperative I get the dogs adopted as soon as possible,” she said, withholding her tears.
Tan said her shelter's operation cost is about RM6,500 monthly.
“The majority of it is for food as water to clean the kennels is drawn from a nearby river while there is no electricity supply.”
Lions Club of Ipoh MALI, which has been assisting Tan since 2018, would donate kibbles and other necessities needed at the shelter.
Its president Foo Jen Imm said those who want to adopt Tan's dogs or donate to the rescuer could contact the club.
“We will help Tan to screen suitable adopters and let Tan concentrate on looking after the shelter,” she said, adding that all female dogs at the shelter had been spayed.
For more details, contact Foo at 016-5512585 or visit the club's Facebook page.