Dog Talk: When this family adopted the dog, they changed her life and their own

  • Animals
  • Sunday, 22 Oct 2023

ReRe really lucked out with her adopted family, the Teos. Photo: Teo Yi Qi

Shelters are full of adult dogs because so many people want puppies. Luckily for ReRe, life took an unexpected turn.

“When my sister Yi Lin and I went to university, we thought my little brother might miss us,” Teo Yi Qi, a student in Seremban, Negri Sembilan, shares. “So we thought we would adopt a dog as a companion.”

The Teo family went to a Malaysian Dogs Deserve Better (MDDB) adoption fair in March, hoping to meet a suitable dog.

“On the first day, we didn't have a match,” Yi Qi sighs. “But when we went back on the second day, MDDB brought in another dog for us, and it was perfect. They also had a small puppy and most people want it but my brother picked ReRe. We were a bit surprised.”

Teo Zheng Sheng explains, “I just want ReRe when the first time I saw her. Before going to the adoption event, they sent me some photos with bios. I liked her photo a lot. So when they brought ReRe out during the adoption event, I knew I wanted her. It was like love at first sight.”

ReRe with Teo Zheng Sheng.ReRe with Teo Zheng Sheng.

Although it’s hard to be certain with rescue dogs, ReRe is about two years old. The Teo family realised at once that the little dog had had a rough start in life and was nervous, so they treated her with extra gentle care.

“At first, she was really scared,” Yi Qi remembers. “We had some workers in and poor ReRe ran away. She was scared.”

The family thought it through from the dog’s perspective and made some gentle choices.

“That first week was my school holiday so I got plenty of time with her,” Zheng Sheng explains. “I thought that, as she was in a new environment, it would be normal for her to feel nervous. So I decided to accompany her the whole day, staying right beside her.”

“We didn't change her name,” Yi Qi says. “We thought that keeping it made her more secure.”

Although Yi Qi credits her sister with the initial idea, and her brother chose the dog, the whole family soon became involved in settling the newcomer.

“That first week, ReRe was too scared to eat,” Yi Qi remembers. “My brother and mum were so worried about her. We wondered if maybe she wanted to go back. But mum cooked for her.”

Chicken and chicken liver, mixed with dog food, got ReRe’s attention and the dog began to eat.

“It took two to three weeks to get her going but now she eats everything,” Yi Qi giggles.

Taking in a rescue takes a lot of time, especially with dogs who have had a bad time. But the Teo family took it in their stride.

“They need a lot of space and it’s best to let them wander about,” Yi Qi advises. “Don't touch them too much, to start with. Once they're braver, more settled, they'll come to you. Also, expect it to take some weeks. It will be hard at the start, but hang in there and it will be fine.”

ReRe is the first pet the Teos have had in the house as part of the family. Adopting her has changed them.

“I used to see dogs as animals but, with ReRe, I see her as family,” Yi Qi shares. “I didn't expect that. I always heard people talk about furry family and now I am like them.”

ReRe certainly landed on her paws, lucking out with a nice family who give her a generous home. But Yi Qi simply says, “We need her more than she needs us.”

ReRe kept her name as her family thought a new one might traumatise her.

Adopt Me

Omi is four, spayed, fully vaccinated and healthy.
Omi is named after a Japanese noble family from ancient times. While the original Omis were political powerhouses, this doggy lady is super-friendly.

Omi has cute ears and a sweet smile. She loves being with people and is a nice, easy, obedient girl. She is suitable as a companion dog for singles, families, and couples.

Interested adopters please call SPCA Penang (phone: 04-281 6559), at Jalan Jeti Jelutong, Jelutong, Penang, and visit

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Dogs , dog adoption , dog behaviour , MDDB


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