June 2020: To my previous owner, the phrase “put to sleep” suggests a quiet and peaceful death, though in my case, it had a cruel sting. What did I do wrong? I loved you. You were my everything, you were my world for over seven years.
Is my sin in my skin?
I have atopic dermatitis and I stink like unwashed socks. A problem you no longer see fit to treat – or have I become a burden, being old and blind in one eye? Whatever the excuse, you had decided: I was to die.
It was the worst of times, what with the raging Covid-19 pandemic, imposed social distancing and nationwide movement restrictions.
How and where to get help? It looked like I was doomed but fortunately my Maker had other plans. A Greek philosopher once quoted that everything happens for a reason but then I was too emotionally confused and frightened to see it.
To all my saviours, my undying gratitude and thanks.
From the ladies in JB who raised the alarm, negotiated my release and kept me safe. A shout-out to Esther who drove tirelessly from Penang and transported me to Jackie in Subang, Selangor. Here I was medically assessed and cared for while an appeal for adoption was launched on social media. Who was willing to provide this ageing dog – with lifelong medical needs – a second chance in life?
And so I waited patiently... and hoped fervently for a miracle.
It happened! On July 18, 2020, I found my forever home.
I was renamed Mei, short for Meihua (Chinese for plum blossom), a flower that symbolises resilience and perseverance in the face of adversity.
My mummies (oh yes! good things come in pairs) embraced me from the word go. They gave me space to settle in and immediately set boundaries to curb unwanted mishaps. They did their utmost best to make me feel welcomed and comfortable even though they were still grieving for the much-loved Mop (2017) and Kim (2019), my predecessors, both rescued from shelters. I can never replace them but by sharing the love they left behind, their memories are honoured.
No efforts were too big or small as my mummies struggled to manage my ageing heart, dry eyes and keeping my allergies under control. It was a rough ride, with quite a few setbacks and relapses. Let’s not forget the tears of despair shed. Throughout these frustrating months of trials and errors, home remedies and countless visits to the vet, they expressed no regrets for taking me in nor thought of giving up on me.
As they are retirees with zero incomes and living on a small budget, I am straining their resources but they just tighten their belts and soldier on.
Finally a dietary regime of hypoallergenic kibbles and healthy home-cooked food (comprising brown rice, buffalo meat, salmon, mixed vegetables, coconut oil, turmeric, etc) was formulated. This is why my coat has become thick, smooth and glossy.
I get a bath every four or five days. They use a combination of medicated and calming/soothing shampoo to prevent yeast and fungus from growing on my now nicely rounded bod, and I smell nicer for it, too though I must confess that there are still days when I am more like Pepe Le Pew, the malodorous skunk cartoon character.
Thrice daily, eye drops are applied. And twice daily, I am inspected from head/ ears to paws and tail to ensure I stay in tip-top condition. Believe me when I say this is a back-breaking job.
And finally, the piece de resistance – costly six-weekly injections. They target and block signals to my brain that trigger itching that cause me to scratch and lick. The injections help my inflamed and irritable skin to heal. Such a relief!
It is a year now and my mummies' hard work is starting to pay off. Now I get to enjoy life as a pampered pooch. Leisurely walks with my head and tail held high, soft cushy beds to lie in, plush toys to play with, and healthy tasty treats to clean my teeth! I am also pretty as a picture with regular grooming and my top knot fixed with fancy hair grips and ribbons. I couldn’t be happier.
To my doting mothers, what did I do to deserve this?
I must have done something right for you to love an unloved dog. To give me a home and a family to call my own. Most important of all, you showed me that I am not disposable.
I can’t change my past, but I can rewrite my future.