Fellow pet lovers, we’ve all been there…the house gate is left open, and in just a split second, your fur-baby zooms out the gate, out into the big bad world…and beyond! ARGH! Most of the time, we mercifully manage to track them down before they get any further than the neighbour’s house (either luring them back with treats or with an impromptu jog to catch them). But there have been some less than cheerful endings where a pet that runs out goes missing, and cannot be found, even with non-stop search efforts.
Hay Yan Xiang has been fostering, re-homing, and at times, adopting stray cats and dogs for over 10 years, knowing too well the dangers that come from pets that have escaped. One of her rescues inadvertently escaped, and tragically, was poisoned before Yan Xiang could find him. Yan Xiang recalls thinking to herself that if only the pet had some form of ID with her contact details, the tragedy would not have happened. Something needed to be done, and Yan Xiang decided to do it!
Introducing…Pet Identity Cards!
No, these aren’t official pet licenses (pet owners, please note that YOU STILL NEED TO GET PROPER LICENSES FOR YOUR FURKID). These identity card styled pet identification, or MyPet cards are designed to contain the following information: your pet’s name and breed, its physical attributes and your contact information. The cards come in two sizes:
- Owner’s Pet Card– this is credit card sized to keep in your wallet, and to double as proof of ownership if someone else tries getting their hands on your furkid; and
- Pet Tag– a smaller version of the Owner’s Pet Card, with the same information (minus the physical attributes) to attach to your furkid’s collar.
Aren’t they adorable? We’ve interviewed Yan Xiang to learn more about the creation of these unique tags. Check it out here!
Q: What sparked this idea into action?
A: When my rescue dog escaped from home and was poisoned, I realized something must be done. I thought to myself “If only he had a tag with contact that people could identify, this wouldn’t have happened.” So, I decided to find a way where our pet tags could be eye-catching enough that Malaysian pet owners would consider getting for their pets. Hence, the Malaysian pet identity tag was created, inspired by our own identity card, but with cute paw designs!
Q: Going by your efforts, it is clear that you are a pet lover- are there any particular pet related memories which stand out for you?
A: All of my rescues are very special to me. I have rescued pets that have been abandoned without food by their owners after they moved house. I’ve also rescued pets that have been abused, their whole lives inside a cage that is too small for them, that their heads can’t even lift! Some are thrown away on streets because they got pregnant and the owners do not want to handle the responsibility. This issue can actually be solved by just neutering or spaying their pets. One of my most recent rescues is a stray that was once very friendly, but heartless neighbours poured hot water on her, leaving a huge scar on her back! She littered under a car and neighbours threatened to splash water on her and newborn pups to chase them away (video can be found on Instagram under pawlifematters’ Ruby’s Rescue).
Ollie (our pet IC model) is also one of my rescues. He was born in a factory during the initial MCO. They had no food since all factories had to be shut down, and the owners just left them there to fend for themselves. He was the smallest of the pack and was bullied by other bigger dogs. His only source of “food” was sand and black oil under the lorries in the factory. On my usual stray feeding routine, I decided to rescue Ollie as he was the smallest, thinnest and couldn’t fight for his portion of food. Even though I tried feeding him by hand, it will be snatched away by other bigger dogs.
When I rescued him, he was badly infested with ticks and fleas. He was very hungry, weak and helpless. At just 2.5kgs, Ollie was later diagnosed with severe case of mange and malnutrition. It took us months to get him back to the pinkest of health. Still, I am so proud of him for pulling through all the hardships life has thrown at him. He is now living his best life with his other rescue siblings at home.
Q: Why choose an IC rather than the typical dog tags? What gave you the idea?
A: There are many pet tags sold in the market. However, there are still thousands of pets missing or stolen every year in Malaysia. Most of them do not have identification, and do not make it back home. Plus, with the experience of losing my dog, I knew something had to be done. That is why I wanted to create something eye-catching, fun and interesting enough for Malaysian owners to get for their pets. Of course, I am planning to create more fun and quirky pet tags in the near future!
Q: What is the preparation process of these pet ICs?
A: After an owner confirms purchase, they will fill up a form of their pet’s details and insert a pet photo. We will then customize the pet IC and generate it into a card.
Q: How many versions of the pet ICs are available and what is the pricing?
A: For our pet IC, we have 2 variations – Pawrent card (credit card size) and Furkid’s tag (for cats and dogs, to be hooked on their collar). These can be bought as a set or separately. Each tag is RM35.
Q: Are the pet ICs your only form of merchandise or do you sell other pet-related products as well?
A: We do also sell home-made pet treats which are healthy and yummy. All these treats are made in small batches to ensure freshness and quality. All ingredients are human-grade and sourced from local markets. We do not put any preservatives, colouring or nasties.
We also sell home-made pet shampoo made from natural ingredients like neem leaf oil, spirulina and high quality lavender essential oil. These ingredients are safe for pets. They help ward off ticks and fleas, while keeping your pets smelling nice.
15% of sales from Paw Life Matters will be donated to local animal shelters, the rest will be used for stray feeding and our own rescue missions.
Q: What is it that drives you to do what you are doing?
A: The happiness we see through pet’s eyes after a rescue is enough to keep me going.
My mission at the end of the day is to help as many strays off the streets as possible, finding them a FurEver home. Though they may be homeless, dirty, hungry and sick, they still have so much love and loyalty to give. All they need is a home and some TLC. These rescues will bring happiness and joy to the families who have adopted them. They are very forgiving even though badly mistreated and abused before by humans.
If you’d like to lend a helping hand (or paw), and contribute to Yan Xiang’s efforts, pay a visit to the Paw Life Matters site here, and check out the goodies available!