Thursday, May 29, 2008

Keeping Pets (by Peter Chan)

I think I was about 5+ when I developed an interest to play with furry animals. No I don’t mean the stuffed toys but “live” animals. My late mum told me that every morning at 7am I found my way to a construction site where the workers slept in a dormitory cum canteen. There were many puppies for me to choose but I took all the puppies home. By the end of the day, my mother was the one who returned the puppies to the construction site. Just before my sixth birthday, my father surprised me with an Alsatian puppy which was purchased from the owner of Katong-Bedok Bus Company. The owner of the bus company bred dogs for sale.


Photo 1: Different dogs from two different generations – Me and my son

As time went by, I kept more than one dog. At any one time I could have about 5 different dogs in the house. These pets were not necessarily pedigree but could be mongrels or cross-bred. The reason was simple. I started with an Alsatian bitch and a male Boxer. They had many off-springs because the dogs were not sterilized. Sometimes I took pity on friendly stray dogs and brought them into my house. There was one occasion when my aunty gave away her Dashhound. I never sent the dogs to any training school but personally undertook the task myself; sometimes my techniques worked, sometimes they flopped.

After I got married, my wife would not have anymore of my “nonsense”. I guess she was right in her opinions because we lived in a flat then. My two boys always wanted a pet; maybe this was inherited from my genes. There must be a reason that my old dogs never bit the children even when they winded up their tails, rode them like a rodeo-horse or opened their jaws.





Photo 2: Playing dead, sleeping on the desk, having her shower and on sentry-duty (Clockwise direction)

10 years ago my aunty gave us two kittens born on the day that Hong Kong was returned to China. One survived on three legs after some nutty motorist decided to run her down. It cost me closed to $2K going to Mt Pleasant Hospital for surgery, amputation and skin-grafting procedures. There was also two months of worries and nursing-care.

Personally cats are a different proposition unlike dogs because I never had any affinity towards them until now. Our black cat exhibits “dog behavior” for some strange reasons. Even my neighbors recognize that this is the only Chinese fella who whistles to his cat to come home every evening. Once a Malay neighbor asked a surprising question; “You are Chinese how come you keep cats and not dogs?”


Related posts


1) Our Kampong Best Friends
2) Oldest Cat on the Blog

12 comments:

Lam Chun See said...

This article reminds me of a Lobo song that was very popular in the (?) late 60's - Me and You and a Dog named Boo.

Zen said...

I once asked my Malay (Muslim) messager why Malay do not eat 'duck rice' and they also detest dogs. He replied that in accordance to his religion, both are considered dirty animals. For ducks they swim in drains and eat food therein and as for dogs they salivate, therefore considered very unhygienic. He further added that he and his father would be seeing a friend soon and would dissuade him from rearing a dog for reason stated above. Very interesting explanation, it shows that different races have taboo against animals, not forgetting pigs. It appears taboo against animals doesn't apply to the Chinese, except maybe the crows or owls?.

stanley said...

Zen- Taboo doesn't apply to the Chinese becasue they eat everything that breathes and flies,except areoplane.

PChew said...

I love dog but not keeping it in a flat. My daughter brought home a few days old cocker spaniel puppy and it had to be fed with milk bottle like baby. When full grown, it started to drop hairs all over the place. My wife did the cleaning and I took the dog out for excercise evryday. Our movements were restricted, especially going on holidays. The dog died after 14 years. What a relief, but sad because the dog had become part of the family.

Lam Chun See said...

I think it is not very practical to keep dogs, especially large ones, in HDB flats. Sometimes I see owners carrying their dogs and sitting them on chairs meant for humans at hawker centres. I thought that wasn't very thoughful but am too shy to tell them off.

Zen said...

I agree with chun see that it is not practical to have large animals as pets dogs with limited space like an apartment. I once saw a european lady leashed her big huskie to a tree and then having a meal at the hawker cente. The dog was cheerful without disturbing those onlookers, meanwhile its owner was eating happily away in peace. The lady was obviously very considerate towards her pet because she kept her dog's fur very short knowing that huskie abhors a warm environment.

Tom said...

Tom said...
I use to have dog called Rex he was across between collie and a spaniel, he was a intelligent dog, people allways say a cross dog are very obedient,other Pets, I had a fantail pigeon, homeing pigeons, a bantum hen, and a cat called sherry she was 19 years old before she pass away, they were all good pets over the years, but they took alot of looking after.

Zen said...

My neighbour has a small dog which is pretty intelligent and the maid used to take him for a daily walk. On one occasion the maid left him alone while chit-chatting with another maid, this little doggie on seeing that the attending maid was not looking his direction sneaked away. On seeing the the dog absconding, the maid shouted: 'goodbye!' the little fellow quickly dashed back doubly fast to his caretaker. I guessed the code-word 'goodbye' must have meant 'you, better come back'.

emm said...

Im a dog lover,a "mum" to an adorable husky-lab cross but we're not living in Singapore. I feel so sorry for the huskies I see in Singapore, my dog would faint after 10 minutes in the hot, humid tropical weather. Dogs are a womans best friend too!(im not a cat person either) :D

Tom said...

Tom said ...
Zen I agree what you said about dogs being pretty intelligent, I had read a story in a news paper about a dog, one night when the family who owned it were a sleep in thier beds the dog went round all the rooms and woke them up, and when the family got out of their beds in the morning, they found thier pet dog dead, I just wonder, when the dog went round the family was it trying to tell them that it was going to pass away?

Zen said...

When I think of huskie, the old country song 'north to Alaska' came to my mind. Some of our locals love this kind of dogs but they forget that this type of breed comes from the far north which terribly cold particularly in winter and huskie loves and lives in its natural habitat. As I had blogged before one local guy physically abused his pet huskie when it chewed up the room curtains after hearing complaint from his wife. On knowing the foregoing, My wife threatened to report him (my wife's colleague) to the SPCA. He should know that his dog was under duress, feeling agitated when responding to our hot lo our hot environment.l

Zen said...

Tom - It was reported that a few buddhist monks in Japan could predict the exact date and time of their own demise, probably through their deep meditation. One such monk told his disciples that he would have his last bowl of noodles and thereafter leave this world at a particular date and time. He died in a sitting position. Animals are known to have extra sensory perception. Perhaps the dog you mentioned had this ability.