Friday, 11 January 2019

"The Ugly Dogling"

My husband and I spent almost 2 years contemplating about getting a pooch. He being a westerner was anal about providing ample space within and around a house for it to run around. He was paranoid that our future pet might go bonkers within a confined apartment. We debated on that notion multiple times almost becoming bonkers myself. To save my sanity, I decided to let the matter rest (for the time being) with the realization that men spawn from planet Mars πŸ‘½. 

4 years on, we finally managed to move into a humble landed house. This was it! The time has come to finally look for our first pup. I had no preference for breeds. As a matter of fact, I never had a dog of my own. All I hoped for was a dog with excellent temperament and will be good with our future human kid(s) (#wishfulthinkingofanamatuerdogowner). On the other hand, my husband had ideas already planted in his head of having either a Great Dane, Labrador or Golden Retriever. For some reason, he wanted a male dog - like I wasn’t dealing with enough testosterone already 😴. We agreed that Huskies will not be in our list of choices due to their long fur, crazy all year long shedding, the climate we live in, obstinate attitude plus extreme high energy. My husband grew up with dogs, but he never dealt with Huskies, so to him, they were pretty much unmanageable. 

For 4 weeks, we constantly went back and forth different animal shelters. I had to deal with my internal struggles of guilt between wanting to purchase a dog versus adopting one. We visited many shelters and several pet shops. We interacted with many dogs, but I did not feel any connection throughout our initial search. Before you judge, unless you are a pet owner, you would not understand the saying, “My pet chose me, not I.” I was waiting for that moment.🐢

I randomly walked into a pet shop in Pasir Ris Farmway on 1 March 2018. My husband was not in town for the week, so I thought I would just continue with the hunt – solo.  There were 8 dogs on sale but for some reason, 2 female huskies that were siblings caught my eye. One had gorgeous black and white coat of long fur the other had white and light copper / red short, uneven fur and looked quite scrawny. It looked like an oddball, I would not have known those 2 were siblings if the breeder had not told me so. The gorgeous sister was pacing in its crate when I saw it. It had a very intense almost “cold” look. She did not seem interested in any interaction, but she was going for a thousand dollars more than her odd-looking sister πŸ’°. I went up to “oddball” and there she was, lying on her side, as though posing for a photoshoot with "Victoria Secret", with tail wagging in such slow-motion that I could almost take a perfect “Boomerang” shot πŸ“Έ. 

“Oddball” looked at me in the eye as I stood and watch her. When I put my fingers through her crate, her ears flatten backwards. “This one very very good temperament. I think she likes you,” the breeder said in her high-pitched voice. I could sense the hopeful tone wishing I could be the one closing the next deal for her. I politely smiled while images of rolling eyeballs went through my brain πŸ™„πŸ™„πŸ™„. “I take her out for you to see! Come Come!” in her most enthusiastic voice the petite breeder instructed her caretaker to take “Oddball” out of her crate before I could say anything. He carried the little pup out and immediately its ears flattened backwards even more, and she gave me the most submissive puppy eyes. I took her from his arms and the little “Oddball” started to shiver a little. This dog is pretty big - I thought. I put her on the ground and she immediately went back into her top model position πŸ˜… with ears still flattened backwards. As I gently stroked her, she sniffed and licked my hands. “This one half Singaporean, half Australian but born here. Her temperament is very good. Very sweet and well-behaved girl. See she likes you.” I had to laugh out loud when the breeder told me the nationality of "Oddball". Coincidentally, my husband is Australian and I a Singaporean. 

I told the breeder I will have to discuss with my husband who took a trip back to Mars πŸ˜† and we will decide afterwards.  As I drove home, I thought about all the dogs I have seen that day. I knew I had to tell my husband about “Oddball” and show him a picture of her. I couldn't wait for him to crush my hopes, telling me we will not be getting a Husky. EVER πŸ˜’. But I also could not wait to counter his negativity by telling him this dog could almost pass as our human child with it's Nationality - It was a sign πŸ˜‚.

On 3 March 2018, I went back to the same breeder and from 8 pups that were initially up for sale, they were left with 4. “Oddball” was one of them. Her sister was sold the day before (for a thousand dollars more mind you!πŸ’Έ) She greeted me the same way she did 2 days ago. I guess she was still fantasizing about that Victoria Secret photoshoot 🀷. I have not heard her make a sound. “Is she a mute, haven’t heard her bark?” I asked the breeder πŸ˜…. “She can…. but she is quiet.” The breeder knew it was my second trip down and clearly, I was showing interest. She tried to give me a good price, but I wasn’t sure. It was almost everything my husband and I talked about NOT having. “A Husky? Really babe?” He had questioned me with deep uncertainty in his voice over Facetime two nights ago when I first told him about “Oddball” (#Dreamcrusher). “I think you better go back down to have look at other dogs before deciding. I don’t think a Husky is a good idea.” Trying his best to advise me against making any rash decisions. All those thoughts constantly flooded my mind as I looked at “Oddball” for the second time. Once again, I told the breeder I will wait for my husband to return the next day to take him down to the shop for him to have a look himself.

On 4 March 2018, my husband and I decided to make a trip down to Pasir Ris Farmway for the last time. I did not know if “Oddball” was going to still be there or if we will see any other pups that would catch our eye. I was going down with an open heart. Surely someone would have taken her by now. It is a Husky after all and I know how sellable they are here. We had booked a movie “The Red Sparrow” that evening so we had no intention of getting a dog that day, there was no way. We walked around an adoption shelter at Pasir Ris Farmway first and when I finally took my husband to meet “Oddball”, it was left with her and the 8-month-old male husky in the shop. “What happened to the rest of the dogs?” I asked the breeder in bewilderment. It had only been 4 days. “All sold already. This one waiting for you.” She said with a laugh almost proud of herself for saying that.  I asked for “Oddball” to be taken out of the cage and forced my husband to hold her. It was as if she knew we were coming to get her, she just snuggled in his arms. “Are you sure she is a husky?” My husband asked in doubt. We had driven to Jurong before that to meet “Oddball’s” brother who looked exactly like their gorgeous sister. Both were sold within a day. I looked at “Oddball” and it looked back at me, I knew I had to ask the breeder one last question. The fate of “Oddball” if I did not take her. 

The internal struggle of purchasing a dog versus adopting one sent a feeling of guilt through my body once more. However, the short pause from the breeder led me to think, “I may be supporting puppy mills from certain people’s point of view if I purchased this puppy but if I do not take this one home with me, I would basically be sending it on a path of uncertainty and maybe it might not even have a chance in life! That would be cruel too! It was not its choice to be born into this world and be put on sale. Its two siblings have already gone off to homes and she was one of the last ones left behind just because she did not look as pretty or cute as the other dogs or her own siblings. I knew there was something about “Oddball”. I knew the breeder could be right, or maybe I’m just an easy con-victim 😏. But I just had this strong feeling that she was going to be the first dog I ever had, and she will also be the best I ever had. This was definitely not an impulsive decision nor me purchasing a pup just because it looked cute (trust me, she wasn't exactly the cutest little thing πŸ˜…). I had a feeling she knew I was going to change her life like how she was going to change mine. "I’m taking her. Nobody wants her, I will take her." 

I confidently told the breeder, almost forgetting my husband was the one with the cash and we had a movie to catch. I wasn’t going to wait a night to pick her up. So, like a pro, I told the breeder to shower and groom “Oddball” and get her stuff ready. My husband and I will carry on with our movie plans and return at 10pm that night to pick “Oddball” up 😏. We contemplated taking the 8-month-old Husky as well, but being new Husky owners, we won't sure how to handle 2 huskies and the other was already almost full grown and was highly vocal πŸ˜”.

Just like that, on 4 March 2018 at 10pm, we took our scrawny little shivering new addition home and welcomed her into our family. We got ourselves the “Ugly Dogling” and named her “Dusty Rose 🌹”. Dusty was going to be the best dog I ever had despite how weird people said she looked and how they questioned if she was even a Husky at all. How she was so skinny, and her fur looked messy. Just wait and see people, I will nurture her to be one of the most beautiful dogs you have ever seen. Just you wait 😠.- I secretly thought to myself when people start pinpointing the flaws in Dusty as if I cannot see them with my own two eyes😳.  

All hell broke loose on the first night. The puppy that I've mistaken for a mute cried murder for 3 consecutive nights 😱. Her cries were so loud and sharp that I was almost certain my wine glasses in the cupboard had all shattered 😲. We also discovered that the "angel" we saw at the kennel had massive food aggression, was a poop eater, had an appetite for the furniture and fittings in our house and was as obstinate as a Husky could be.This scrawny little “Ugly Dogling” that appeared to be as cool as a cucumber was a far cry from what we saw before we brought her home. “What now?” I thought…… (#sendhelp)

1st time meeting "Oddball"

The Gorgeous Sister
(If anyone knows her, please let me know so we can reunite the siblings)

Scrawny Little Thing

The night we brought her home

2nd Day in her new home

2nd Day at home and already proving to be the most beautiful puppy

Barely 2 tiles big at 3.5 months

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