Saturday, 15 February 2014

It's a (wonderful) dog's life

Some pets have it really good, with owners who are smitten by them and lavish them with love – and more.

WE have heard it said that “It’s a dog’s life” when someone is experiencing a rough or unpleasant time in their lives. For some canines, however, a dog’s life is anything but.

Whether they were rescued off the streets, bought from a pet store or adopted from an animal shelter, some of our furry, four-footed friends now live quite a cushy life.

Homemaker Jenny W.K. Wong, 47, owns not one but three toy dogs named Dao Dao, Yao Yao and Bao Bao.

It was love at first sight the instance Wong set eyes on Dao, in a pet shop window, three years ago. He is a party coloured poodle – that is, having solid colour patches over a white coat – with a bean-shaped brown patch on his back, hence his name Dao (which means bean in Mandarin).

When Wong brought him home, he would follow her around. “He has decided I am his life-saver,” quips Wong, in an e-mail interview from Perth, Australia. She describes him as very gentle, timid and reserved.

“Every night, we put him in his cage, wish him goodnight and turn off the light.”

Dao Dao was the centre of the family’s attention for a whole month until Wong’s friend presented her with a Shih Tzu on her birthday.

It was love at first sight when Jenny Wong set eyes on Dao Dao, a poodle, three years ago. Wong sends him to the groomer's every week, takes him on car rides and likes dressing him up. - Pic from Jenny W.K. Wong
It was love at first sight when Jenny Wong set eyes on Dao Dao, a poodle, three years ago. Wong sends him to the groomer's every week, takes him on car rides and likes dressing him up. – Photos from Jenny W.K. Wong

“I must admit that when I first set eyes on the then two-month-old puppy, she looked like a dirty rag – with a really messy face, and a white, brown and black coat.

“She was a very active little pup and liked to wag her little long tail as she sashayed around the house,” says Wong. “That’s why I named her Yao Yao – it means to sway here and there.”

“Yao regards Dao as the ‘big brother’ she never had so she follows him everywhere, and Dao follows me, so you will always see me with my two little bodyguards.”

In contrast to Dao Dao’s calm demeanour, Yao Yao is energetic, cheerful, playful and extremely alert.

“She likes to climb on top of Dao when he is lying down. And she is a real glutton – she eats as if she has been starved for days! She would finish her food pellets quickly, and move on to Dao’s bowl. Poor Dao! He has no time to enjoy his food. He tries to eat faster and finish up his food before Yao Yao ‘attacks’.”

Wong’s three children love to play fetch with the dogs. While Dao Dao would bring the ball back to the thrower, Yao Yao would run off with it.

From the time Yao Yao pooped and peed in Dao Dao’s cage, Dao has refused to enter his cage. So Jenny had to get two “beds” for them: a sunflower-shaped cushion for Dao and a strawberry-shaped one for Yao.

Three months after Yao Yao arrived at their doorstep, Wong was again presented with another Shih Tzu, this time from the couple who runs the pet shop which Dao and Yao frequent for their grooming sessions.

Wong named her Bao Bao. “She is too gentle for a Shih Tzu. Compared to Yao, Bao is very elegant. Bao is only two months younger than Yao, but much smaller, standing at about 16.5cm tall whereas Yao’s height exceeds 23cm.

Bao Bao has many toys, and playing fetch with a ball is one of his favourite games. - Pic from Jenny W.K. Wong
Bao Bao, the latest addition to the family.

Wong sends all three pets to the grooming centre each week. The professional groomer spends about two hours to get them “glowing with beauty”, Wong says.

Dao and Yao love car rides. “The moment I get the car key, both of them will rush to the car. As soon as I open the door, the hyperactive Yao will jump in first while Dao will position himself nicely for me to carry him in. As for Bao, I have to call her and coax her out of her hiding place, assuring her that I am not sending her away.

Wong prepares the dogs’ breakfast every morning, as well as gives them nutritional supplements, brushes their teeth and hair, checks and cleans their ears with cotton buds dampened with a gentle pH-balanced ear cleanser, dresses them up and ties up their hair. Each pooch has a collection of clothes. The two Shih Tzus are given eyedrops and have their eyes cleaned daily with a soft, damp cloth, as this breed is prone to eye problems.

“During weekends, they get the chance to share the bed with my daughter who adores them very much. With the air-conditioner on throughout the night, the dogs sleep very soundly.

“We celebrate their birthdays, too. We had the first birthday celebration for Dao at the grooming centre. Invitations were sent out to all the dogs and their owners. Dao’s doggy mates were really dressed for that special occasion. And his birthday cake was specially made for a dog. We sang Happy Birthday and (on his behalf) blew out his candle and cut the cake. Each of the dogs got a piece of cake and some snacks.”

Aah, life is sweet …

Related stories:

Her dog, her little angel

Dog-gone on holiday

Bubbling with joy as dog owners

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle , pampered pets , dogs


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