Animal Posers

Some years ago, I recall bumping into a pair of dog-owners in a typically humid Singapore park (in Tampines), obviously walking their dog. There was nothing strange to that sight, but it was baffling to see the dog’s breed. It was a husky, an obviously unhappy one. The best phrase I can describe the dog is – it looked drained. Then, the only real husky I have seen was a gorgeous furry one on a roadtrip in Canada, and it was love at first sight for me- because the husky was so obviously enjoying the whiffs of the cold wind against his face, his eyes glistening with joy. The husky I saw in Singapore, was far from glistening from ANY kind of joy.

Two years on and I was back in Singapore again. I read a local story with much anger and frustration. Some chap decided to own a husky, kept him tied outside his landed property house (in a typical Singapore heat of 32 degrees, mind you!) and didn’t care much about the dog’s welfare. I think the observant neighbours called the SPCA, and the cruelty made news. I was fuming then, and remember ranting to DH about it.

Now, this year, I got to interact quite a bit with these lovely dogs in Alberta. These are trained, running huskies, whose daily ‘job’ is to run sleds across fields of snow and frozen lakes. I saw how they rolled on the snow with glee, barked in in excitement and most of all, that glisten of joy in their eyes were etched perpetually. I appreciate how much these huskies are born for the cold weather, the Canadian-kind of cold weather may I add – the kind of cold that even some Canadians define as punishing. I therefore, cannot fathom why would supposedly dog-‘lovers’, a definition I contest in this case, would keep huskies in Singapore when the weather is so unnatural for these canines.

Today, a friend told me about her ex-neighbours who used to own not one, but TWO huskies in their HDB flat. They are walked every day, but even if the dogs are being walked at dawn or dusk (when the weather in Singapore is the coolest) and possibly kept in air-conditioned rooms 24/7, the huskies are still being kept as pets in their most unnatural state, cooped up in a concrete jungle. I am so ready to take on the debate about ‘cruelty to animals’ without batting an eyelid with the Singapore husky-owners.

I was also told about how owning huskies in Singapore has become a trend now. People are seen walking them in parks and beaches, and in increasing numbers.

It will be a long shot, but I really hope the authorities (the AVA) will come in to at least ban huskies in Singapore. It is ridiculous and totally unacceptable to have a cold-weather dog like the husky in an island enveloped by tropical heat. In some ways, it is almost a joke. I googled and just saw an ad for a white husky puppy going for SGD$1,388 – and there were a few interested queries. Seems like the husky is a coveted pet.

I realised that there is a very thin line between animal lovers, and animal posers. I hope Singapore husky owners know that they cannot win this argument, no matter how they try.Deep down, if they truly care for their animals, it is not hard to believe that they do. They just let their desire to have an exotic animal (at least for tropical Singapore) for showy purposes rule their better judgement. That to me, is a very sad state of affairs for a nation of thinking adults.

The next time you see them walking their huskies at the parks or beaches, look at them direct in the eye and ask if they REALLY think their dogs are happy with the Singapore weather. And then pat yourself in the back for doing your part to stop these ultimate animal posers.

The huskies can’t talk back, but YOU can.

PS: Huskies (including the popular American and Siberian ones, are banned and restricted from ownership in the US. And the last I checked most of the US are located within the Northern Hemisphere. Hah. Go figure. )

Missing Cookie

Dear Cookie,

I hope you are safe, wherever you are. You are very much missed,and your absence have been keeping both of us anxious at night – from both ends of the globe. I hope someone has found you, and have generously kept you warm and fed in their home .

It has been 5 long days and I pray that you will one day find your way to the cat door. Your bowl of food and your favourite toy is right there waiting for you. I am even looking at a live webcam setup just for you, in case you walk in and I can see you.

I remember the day of my departure for SG, you were jumping happily on the frosted grass and was looking at me over the hedge.You made me walk back into the garden and play hide-and-seek with you for a minute or two more, so that you will get distracted. The last time I saw you was when you joyfully hopped your way to the shed.

Stay safe Cookie. We will never give up looking for you.