Finding myself through furry friends

After spending so much time with two dogs – Stephi and Whiskey – over the last 3 months, I’ve come to realise how I’m able to love in a way which I’ve never did before.

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Since I was little, my instinctive reaction whenever I see anything furry was to avoid and keep my distance.. It was sort of an unintentional classical conditioning, as I learnt it through observing my mum’s overly exaggerated reactions to animals. Growing up, I’ve never really kept any pets as well, just a goldfish (which died after a week) and a terrapin. I’ve been taught to think that pets are dirty and well, I still do think they can be pretty dirty (because I can be a clean freak) but I’ve learnt to close an eye because the positive feelings that comes with pets outweigh the negative feelings I get from the germs and what nots.

I think the turning point of my stance towards animals changed when I became attached to a cat that would loiter around my block more than a year ago.

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Isn’t it the cutest? I’m not sure if it has an owner or it’s abandoned, but I haven’t been seeing it around for the longest time ever.

After spending so much time with Stephi and Whiskey, I realised that there was so much about pets that I never knew.. The dogs made me realised how smart they were and I was really surprised when I saw how they knew when to get off the lift and which direction to head towards…. And it probably isn’t even a big deal right?

Warming up to Whiskey was really easy initially as he is friendly and likes attention. I love how he always jumps on me to greets me, as if it was a little tiny hug of welcome before he walks away to scratch himself in a corner.

It wasn’t as easy when it came to Stephi.. I still remember how she would look at me with so much doubt when I first started cleaning her paws and little bits after going for a walk to pee and poo. I was afraid of breaking her legs, and she probably was afraid of me doing just that too. Stephi can be cool in her own ways and would quietly sit in a corner or on a chair and just eye me as if she was watching my every move…. Before she gets drowsy and proceeds to snore. Heh.

But recently, I started giving her really intense back scratches and I must have done something right because she has been approaching me on her own (instead of me going over to disturb her) and waits for me with those eyes that scream, “Where’s my back scratch?”. So I proceed to scratch her and whenever I stop, she’ll turn to look at me as if to say, “Hey, I didn’t say you can stop.”

I get a great sense of satisfaction when she starts to wag her tail vigorously, and make cute little high pitched sounds.. And I’ll mimic those sounds, hoping that she might understand my gibberish too.

So finally on Friday, we got the chance to bring the dogs out to Botanic Gardens to explore. Seeing how excited they were, especially with Stephi’s incessant barking, made me happy that I was able to do something to put them in a good mood.

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I realised that whenever I take walks with the dogs, I started to take more notice of other dog owners with their dogs, and I feel a greater sense of connection with these strangers as compared to when I simply stroll at East Coast Park with my family.

As time goes by, I wonder whether or not I should have a pet of my own in the future… It’s not going to be easy, and the thought of it being alone at home pains me to no end. However, I feel like having a pet makes me have something to look forward to after a long day of school or work.. That of course depends on how I decide to view things depending on my mood for that day. I could be in a bad mood and think of how I’ve got to feed the pet, clean up after it and be very frustrated or I could think positively and look forward to the company I get at the end of the day.

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Here’s a cute blurry photo of Stephi being all greedy for a treat after the long walk to end my incoherent post!