Cuddly little bundles of hyperactivity - a kitten or a puppy can be hard not to love.
But what happens when they grow older? Do you still treat these voiceless creatures the same way?
Unfortunately, many don't and end up abandoning them.
Afraid and not used to fending for themselves, these elderly animals often end up starving, injuring themselves and eventually dying on the streets.
Hoping to give elderly dogs, especially small breed elderly dogs a comfortable home, Cecilia Zamira Louis
and her family have made it their mission to only adopt these types of dogs and give them a good forever home.
"We adopted our first elderly dog because we wanted to keep our current dog, Rover, company.
“Kiki, a Pincer mix, was the first female we took in. When we got her, our Rover was already about 10 and approaching the end. When he passed on, Kiki was upset and alone and so we decided to adopt another.
“Seeing how everyone was constantly posting on social media to not buy but adopt, we thought we’d do just that,” said Cecilia when speaking to Rojak Daily
A forever home for elderly dogs
Cecilia, a 55-year-old English teacher, said that adopting Kiki was how it all started.
“I realised that people were just throwing away all these dogs, abandoning these small fellas and so I thought, we would start adopting them.
“The dogs we adopted were mostly aged 9 or 10 and were usually blind or had cataracts and suffered from all sorts of complications.
“We decided that we would sayang
them for as long as they were around,” she said.
Since they started, Cecilia, her husband Ignatius and their three daughters Shalini, Shaila and Shamitra have welcomed and cared for five senior dogs so far.
“I have a growing dog cemetery in my garden. All of them are buried here,” she said, adding that it was heart-breaking to take in a dog knowing that it did not have long to live, but keeping them comfortable in their last days was what the family wanted to do.
“Everybody thinks I’m mad. The dogs that we take in are old and sickly so I just let them do whatever they want. They wear diapers because they're home 24/7.
“No dogs get scolded under my roof. In fact, they even have sleeping times. At 9.30pm, they are put to bed and my girls with turn on the air-conditioning for them.
“We feed them good food, make sure they’re as healthy as they can be and give them love and care,” she said.
Determined to care for elderly unwanted dogs
Cecilia explained that taking of elderly dogs was no easy feat though.
“When we first get them, we take them for a full check-up at the vet as most elderly dogs have some kind of medical issue.
“For Rufus, he had a horrible tick infestation because his owner had just left him outside for so long.
“The infection was so bad that it got into his blood and affected his bones. It was bad but we did what we could to keep him comfortable.
“Another dog, a Shih Tzu which we called Shunny, was blind and abandoned at the Selayang market. He had bruises all over. The other dog we adopted was Benji which was found at a monsoon drain in TUTA. It was just so heartbreaking,” she said, adding that although the bills came up to quite a bit, the family did not mind paying it.
Cecilia and her family are still taking care of Kiki Cassandra Francis and Shunny Sunshine Francis.
The other dogs (all given fantastic names by Cecilia's daughters) - Theodore James Francis, Rufus – Ruru Francis and Benjamin – Benji Francis have passed away.
A serious responsibility
“What irritates me the most is seeing how people have little respect for life. These dogs, especially the tiny ones cannot survive on their own.
"They are meant to be house dogs and I just don’t understand how people can just dump them,” she said.
Cecilia added that it was common to see young girls walking around with their mini dogs because it was in trend or fashionable but she the question is if the love and adoration would remain when the dog gets old.
"It's a lifelong commitment and one that should be taken seriously," she said adding that her family would continue caring for elderly dogs but she also hoped that by sharing her experience, people will understand that they should think twice before getting a pet.
“Be responsible and take care of your pets. If you don’t think you’re up for it, just don’t even buy them,” she said.
We are truly in awe of this beautiful family! Thank you for making this world a better place.