…and Cat Makes Three

Yep, this is a blog about dogs in Singapore but I wanted to share with you our newest addition. Should have called her Out of the Blue, because that’s exactly how she came to be with us. Out of the blue, the night before the April full moon, on an ordinary walk in the evening, the most extraordinary thing happened. We, okay, I, heard a meow. From the side of the gutter, on the slope by the sidewalk, off one of the more busy streets in Singapore. She was so tiny, and grey, I did a double-take to make sure it was a kitten, not a rat. Because that meow wasn’t quite a meow. Cat was just, maybe barely, one month old.

And so it is, we became a more multi-species household. The dogs now had a feline sibling, a plaything, an alien. This squeaky, fluffy, tiny little thing that smelled different, looked different, sounded different, and got to eat on the table, and so constantly. Compared to the dogs’ two meals a day routine, her seven meals probably seemed like heaven to them. Cat was on a mix of powdered milk, raw beef, ghee, and a few crunchies before she moved onto a purely raw diet that my friend made. She poo-poo’d my recipe, granted I am not the best chef.

She has sprouted exponentially and inconsistently. She has now lost her kitten fluffiness, but still has the look of a kitten. Curious. Mischievous. She is no longer that awkward staggering kitten but a sleek super-jumper.

Cat is not my first Cat but I have forgotten how cats get in everywhere. Dogs, even mine, have some boundaries. They sit on the floor, and they say on the floor, and maybe the couch and bed but cats, cats get on counters, when you are cooking, cats get on the table, when you are eating, cats get on the sink, when you are peeing, cats get on the bathtub, when you are (trying) to relax. I even cradled her in the bath once, and she promptly fell asleep.

And so it goes, life with a cat, and two dogs. A new phase.

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Pet-Friendly Staycations in Singapore

Singapore is getting more and more dog-friendly but it is still a small country. One city, in fact so options for traveling with your dog is quite limited and hikes are less than fun in this heat and humidity. The oceans could be cleaner, but given the high traffic of the container and cruise ships this will unlikely to change.

Luckily, there are a few hotels that allow dogs. Both Great World and Frasier Suites allow pets. Great World charges $10/pet/day (before GST) and if you are staying a month at Frasier Suites, the pet levy is $200. Capella surprisingly is also pet friendly (cats and dogs) and with its beach access, fantastic spa treatments, and gorgeous and quiet grounds, this hotel resort makes a great choice for human and animal.

We spent a few days at the Capella recently. Having room service and taking time out from the busy Singapore daily life was perfect for everyone. We were the only ones there and enjoyed walking throughout the grounds, encountering peacocks almost everywhere, even a family with three little ones. There are a few dogs living at The Club, apartments, duplexes, and mansions that are part of Capella. These lucky dogs have daily access to Palawan Beach which is empty in the early morning hours, perfect for easy-breezy long walks and a dip in the water.

Not everyone is comfortable with animals at Capella and that’s why you get a door hanger that lets the staff know there is a pet inside. It’s pretty easy to keep the Animal House in the bathroom or on the balcony when room service comes around. There aren’t too many trash cans but you figure out where they are and include them on the walking route.

Housekeeping will also come by with dog beds, bowls, and poop bags.

Sometimes all I want to do and need is to veg out and enjoy room service!

Squeak Squeak Goes the Shrew

Shrews live in my park.

These are little rodents that squeak whenever there is danger. I hear the squeaks a lot on my night walks.

But sometimes the squeaks head my way. These are not perhaps the smartest or nature’s selected fittest. They actually run towards me and my two large dogs, which makes at least two sources of predator.

Sure they live within the relative safety of the park’s confines. But there are lots of stray and non-stray cats that hang out in that park. It is actually a feeding spot, where aunties come around before the sun dawns to place lumps of dry (and sometimes, wet) food. (It’s somewhat of a nightmare to walk my glutton dogs with so much leftover foods, including the mushy after-rain piles)

Last night, I was out a little later than usual.

My two dogs decided to go to separate sides of the walkway. Not an uncommon thing.

I watch Creamy to make sure she doesn’t decide to roll in the puddles. At almost midnight. It’s happened before. Many times.

This is when I realize it’s rather quiet on the other leash. As I look over, my curious Blackspot, ears perked up, is sniffing a little shrew right under her.

Then squeak, squeak, and off the shrew ran. At least it was away from me!

My dog could easily have put an end to that tiny animal. I’m frankly surprised it didn’t spark any prey drive. They chase after cats, or try to. Except the ginger one down the street. They have an understanding – they stare each other down.

My theory is that the reason they chop down the beautiful flowering shrubbery that lines the edge of the park because of the shrews. It seems like the trimmers come when the shrew population gets big. There are several bins along the walk but people still just toss out their garbage, including chicken bones and other unsafe items for dogs.

Public Service Announcement – please throw your leftovers and other garbage in the bins.

Euthanasia, the Owner’s Right?

There is an uproar in Singapore because an owner had an adopted 7-month old puppy put down. The public are angry at both the owner and the vet.

The AVA has said that it is within the owner’s rights and the vet’s responsibility to advise on euthanasia and neither has broken any laws.

It is very sad when any dog needs to be put down and should be the VERY last resort.

The reason the owner Alice McElwee gave for her decision was the puppy was aggressive and bit her children.

Why is this sad + appalling?

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Dogs & Halloween

Halloween is still a novelty in Singapore.

Its biggest draw is still for adults to dress up and party.

Trick or Treating is still spotty around town. My street, with only a few kids, is quite quiet this time of the year.

Whether it will get busy with throngs of kids, as it did at my old place, it is good to be mindful of what Halloween can mean for our pets.

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When Not to Get a Dog?

I love dogs and I think everyone can benefit from having a dog in their family. Especially kids.

But the reality is a dog isn’t for everyone (aside from allergies and just a dislike of dogs and animals).

I think over the years, even mass media has shared the many benefits of having a dog.

Lower blood pressure. Better immune system. More calm + less stress. Just overall well-being.

If you are depressed or prone to it, having a dog is great!

So why would I advocate not getting a dog? Or at least the times when not to?

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New Dogs on the Block

It has been a while since my last post. Almost 6 months. WOW!

Everyday something would happen and I’d say to myself that I need to blog about it but somehow time just keeps slipping away.

In this time, new dogs have moved into the neighbourhood. Two Golden Retriever puppies. In fact, their owners talked to me before their new wards arrived. One told me they were getting a second dog, and importing from Australia I believe. The other owner actually asked me where I got Goldie. I think he was happy that she was still so healthy at 11 but not so impressed that she was adopted. But before long, a fluffy rambunctious blonde puppy came bounding up to their gate to greet us on our walks. Of course he had to be quarantined until all the shots were done.

My neighbours across the street sadly moved away. They both had a dog but one sadly died from a heatstroke. The other one simply couldn’t be taken with him and last I heard, the dog was happily living on a fish farm somewhere in the lush jungle outposts in Singapore. People are always surprised Singapore is not all concrete and glass.

The papillon down the street also moved away.

Yes, there has been a lot of movement just on my one street.

Soon, our friend Darcy the beagle will be saying goodbye to Singapore and hello to Shanghai.

New friends and old friends. Happily there are more dog-loving kids with dog-loving moms. Instead of pulling them away, the moms are teaching their kids to ask for permission to touch the dog. It’s always a good idea to ask. Just because a dog looks friendly doesn’t mean she/he likes kids and just because a dog may look “aggressive” (whatever that means), he/she could be the most patient and gentle creature. You just never know! Goldie for example is so cute (people LOVE Golden Retrievers) but she’s terrible with kids! She is friendly but when she gets excited or wants attention, she rolls on her back, kicking. It’s tough for young kids who aren’t so coordinated yet to anticipate her happy kicks.

Oh yeah, my brother adopted a dog too! Good luck!