I decided to start talking about dogs here since so many of my friends and clients ask me about it. Almost everything from adoption, training, health issues and feeding them. So here is the first instalment, The Introduction.
I have always been a big animal lover as I grew up in a family full dogs, fish, terrapins, amphibians (yes, frogs & lizards), monkeys and etc. Of course, my favourite would be dogs! Man's best friend, indeed.
My earliest memories of dogs were not all that great though. I remember tripping over them at home as I was learning how to walk, however, they never seem bothered by it. And the scary walk from my Grandma's Katong bungalow gate to her front door. My Grandma had the kindest heart and would take in ANY dog who needed a home. We had pure bred Dalmatian (Spotty), Doberman, small pekingnese, Alsatians, Pitbulls, cocker spaniel and many mixed breeds. 10 over dogs in the garden at one time , if I remember correctly. I remember my dad would tell me no eye contact, no running and just walk straight to the door (a 20m walk). I was like 3 years old. Lucky for me, all the dogs were trained so I was never harmed.
Fast forward to my teens, where a friend of mine gave me my very first dog. A very beautiful and sometimes too intelligent, silver Poodle puppy I named Baby. And because of Baby, I got to experience dogs' unconditional love and joy they can bring. It is amazing how intelligent and sensitive dogs are.
She will always hold a very special place in my heart because she is my very own first dog. I did loads of research in libraries and bookstores (when internet was not available then ;p ) on how to train her, groom her and practically how to take care of a dog. I started to appreciate poodles a lot, especially black and silver ones.
I got another apricot male poodle puppy whom I named Muffy to be part of our pack. The bravest boy who will go out of his way to stay close to me and protect me.
Baby lived till she was almost 18 years old. Though she was completely blind and unable to move during her last days, we all knew this feisty girl was happy till the very end.
Muffy lived till only 9years old as he suffered from liver cancer. His death really broke me. He was in pain at times yet he was still the loveliest boy to me, and to me only. He would snap at others if they tried to pick him up as the tumour in his stomach hurt, but he would never do that to me.
Baby when she was 14 years old
Muffy at 8 years old
So I started to volunteer at dog shelters to help the less fortunate dogs who are abandoned or stray. I learnt so much about puppy mills and so many things I did not know before about how cruel some people are to breed dogs in terrible conditions just to sell the puppies. Or most reasons for giving up their dogs or even to be euthanized (yes, they do bring their healthy dogs to be put to sleep) are because the wife is having a new baby, or they are moving to smaller apartment, or just because the puppy grew up to be too big. There are even more cruel abandoned cases, too are many to tell in a single post. Ridiculous reasons? You tell me.
So after trying very hard not to keep another dog as I could not get over the grief of losing Muffy, Oliver aka Ollie, chose to come live with us (we always say he had adopted us ;p) and changed all that. He was also abandoned because he was not the healthiest young dog which would mean lots of medical bills to take care of. It was really hard to resist not taking him home and give him the comfortable life he so deserves. I would like to think that with all the home cooked healthy meals and loads of love, he is extremely spoilt and healthy now. The once skinny malnourished boy is now a pretty good looking furball now.
And this is my boy, Ollie
I always try to inspire others to adopt over buying a new puppy at the petshop (especially if you have no clue of the puppies' pawrents, most likely backyard breeder or from the puppymill) by sharing Ollie's story and with this short list below.
Here are a few pros of adopting an adult dog.
1. They have past that destructive phase when they are teething. So no chewing on shoes, furniture and etc. As they become adults, they are more self disciplined.
2. Easier to toilet train or housebreak, or most of them already are trained.
3. With an adult dog, you will already know his size as a full grown, his temperament and health.
Photos taken at the studio
I will be happy to talk more about dog related issues here and of course they will be from my views and experience. I would love to help more dogs and their human family live together happily and healthily with whatever knowledge I have to share.
Here are a few dog rescue volunteer groups you can find out about in their Facebook links :
Animal Lovers League
Till next time.
My Tiny, Dark & Handsome boy, Ollie.
Follow me on Instagram to see Ollie regularly.