Your Dad, The Dog Whisperer

Dear Boys,

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Nancy, my Pug

Back when I was still staying at Bedok South, I cam across a little dog that was left at my block’s provision shop. The auntie at the shop say someone left the dog there and she was feeding the dog water.

It was an affable creature, totally lovable. I was probably 16 years old? There was only one response, bring it home!

It was a pug. True pedigree Pug. not a mongrel, not any street dog.

Fat little bitch. My mum and I named her ‘Nancy’, well for a good reason, my mum thought she looked kind of like the recent First Lady of US, Nancy Reagan. So we called her that ever since.

And it didn’t occurred to me why would anyone want to throw such a lovely dog away. It didn’t occurred to us to bring her for a medical check up. We just took her in and she became part of us ever since.

I’ve always been a dog person. Before Nancy came along, I was kind of frolicking with dogs and mutts. Back then they served a more utilitarian purpose, more like guard dogs. Those dogs I came across and played with are all mongrels, average size, hardy creatures, totally lovable.

Lucky

There was a ‘Lucky‘, a mongrel who actually belonged to my dad’s neighbour. He had a shop/warehouse in Eunos, and the next door guys makes roller shutter doors, the company was called ‘Standard roller shutter’. I think they are no longer around.

Lucky was a great dog, he know his way around Eunos and live, came and went as he pleases. He eats whatever we feed him and I will always remember, cycling to the Eunos wet market to buy $2 worth of slop; scraps of food from the mixed vegetable stall and bring the big bag of rice+whatever the hawker have left, mostly meat. Lucky will eat them all up. Oh, yes, he eats ice cream too, but with a brain freeze look after that. Lucky also chases cars, trucks and anything that has 4 wheels on.

He was as loyal a dog as it can be, even though the mutt don’t technically belong to us, he followed me everywhere; he often followed me and my mum to the bus stop at the main road, which will need him to climb and cross an overhead bridge. He would wait with us at the stop, watched us board the bus and went his way. The very next day, we will always find him back at the shop.

As a mongrel, he’s not the cleanest mutt, and has his fair share of dog’s breath, stink, fleas and ticks. I would pluck them off him, take a hammer from my dad’s tool box, and put that flea out of its misery, between concrete and hammer. blood would splatter on some of these big fat, juicy blood sucking fleas. The fleas couldn’t flee fast enough from me. Ha ha.

Back to Nancy

So Nancy came to stay with us. and by then she was already a fully gown dog, so our attempts to house train her failed utterly. She pee and poop almost all over the house. We would get angry and beat her after she she mess up doing her business; she would give us the most sorrowfully sweetest look. We cannot be angry with her for long.

While she was with us, she is just the sweetest dog. My parents were going through a divorce and she was our constant source of comfort. Pugs are generally mild tempered, and Nancy was just that. Not the sharpest tool in the dog world, but she is certainly the sweetest. Sometimes, she do earn her keeps as a ‘guard dog’, as she would know the presence of a person before we hear them. And if it was me coming home, she would wag her small curly tail, happy like only a dog can be.

On quiet days, she’d be happy just to sit with you, while you rub her tummy, message her face, play with her fats. You can rub her chest, that little cluster of pointy fur that bunched up there.

It was only good for a year.

One day, Nancy wasn’t her usual self one day and we couldn’t figure out why. She lost her appetite and drank a lot of water. I was working then and I just couldn’t get my mind off her. She was not the jumping cheery self. Just tired and lethargic.

I bought her to the vet, and they checked on her. They pinch her and the skin sort of clumped together, a sign of dehydration, which could goes to show some kidney problems. They would have to keep her there overnight to observe her.

So I left.

She never came home.

The next day, the vet called my mum at home (those were the days mobile phone isn’t that mobile yet) and told her that Nancy’s condition has deteriorated overnight, and they will have to put her down.

That was that.

I never get to see Nancy, never got to say good bye.

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Nancy, basking in sunlight, I often laugh at her doing this, it is as if, she is solar powered, recharging, her leash is like a power cord. LOL.

I have very little pictures of Nancy, these were the days digital imagery wasn’t prevalent. But my memory of her is deep and still is. Having a dog changes a person. You cannot be a complete human being if you have no relationship with an animal.

I finally can understand why she was left abandoned at the void deck by her previous owner(s). They’d probably knew about her condition, and couldn’t afford the maintenance. Or she has grown up, and they have grown tired of her. But even though she was only with us for 1 year, I’m sure we gave her the best possible life all the way to the end.

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