‘Fur’ the love of it ― Malaysian woman has no regrets dedicating her life to saving strays over the last two decades

Sylvia Looi
·3-min read
Independent rescuer Joanne Low's ‘I Need A Home’ Facebook page also serves as an adoption platform. ― Picture courtesy of Joanne Low
Independent rescuer Joanne Low's ‘I Need A Home’ Facebook page also serves as an adoption platform. ― Picture courtesy of Joanne Low

IPOH, March 3 ― Joanne Low has never regretted giving her all to save stray dogs and cats which she started 21 years ago in Kuala Lumpur.

“At that time I was a tutor and one day one of my students rescued a puppy and asked me to keep it.

“I initially declined but the student claimed that she could not get anyone to look after the puppy.”

And that set the 53-year-old on her path to rescue work, and later in 2016, venturing into feeding her furry friends.

Speaking to Malay Mail in conjunction with International Women's Day on March 8, Low said initially she would dip into her own pockets to treat strays with medical issues that she rescued.

Strays that had been nursed back to health were either put up for adoption or sent to shelters, added Low.

“But when I was introduced to Facebook, I set up a group called I Need A Home where all information about rescues is uploaded there,” she said, adding that appeals for donations were also posted at the group as were adoption pleas.

It takes time to build trust with a stray dog before it can be rescued to be treated. ― Picture courtesy of Joanne Low
It takes time to build trust with a stray dog before it can be rescued to be treated. ― Picture courtesy of Joanne Low

After two decades, Low has lost count on the number of strays she saved in the past two decades.

“But my most notable rescue was initiating the work to save dogs abandoned by Pulau Ketam residents on Pulau Tengah in 2009.”

Tapping on her vast rescue experience, Low was asked by a friend to help with the issue of strays in Manjung last year.

Describing the problem of strays at Manjung as dire, Low said the only way to control its population was by spaying the female dogs.

“As the welfare of dogs was not a priority for people in Manjung, many canines end up being neglected.”

“Females are not spayed by their owners which led to uncontrolled breeding.”

Since starting her rescue work at Manjung in June, Low said she would spay up to three dogs every month.

“If we have more money, we would do more.”

Independent rescuer Joanne Low said besides feeding strays at Manjung, she also sends those in need of medical treatment to veterinarians. ― Picture courtesy of Joanne Low
Independent rescuer Joanne Low said besides feeding strays at Manjung, she also sends those in need of medical treatment to veterinarians. ― Picture courtesy of Joanne Low

Low said she works closely with two veterinarians in Manjung.

“One of the vets charges us RM190 for every spaying procedure that includes three days boarding while another charges us based on the dog's weight.”

To ensure accountability, Low said all donations she receives are noted on the I Need A Home Facebook group.

Low, who works as a real estate agent, said aside from spaying, she would also feed strays in the area.

“Every day my feeding round takes me to 10 areas in Manjung.”

Feeding the strays, added Low, was important as it helps to build the trust between her and the dogs.

“Then it will be easier for me to catch them and send them to clinics to be spayed.”

Low welcomes donations to help spay female dogs at Manjung and also kibbles for feeding.

“We also look forward to people adopting strays rescued by us.”

Those who want to assist Low can contact her at 011-16068677.

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