Updated: Sep 21, 2020
By: Mei Qun
Mei Qun is a staff writer of Quattro Communications. Friends think she is high maintenance but they haven't met her dogs.
I had my first dog when I was five-years old. He was a white-and-tan mongrel that my mum’s friend found. We named him Happy. Happy marked the start of my love affair with dogs.
I’ve lost track of the number of dogs I had. At one time we had seven dogs running around – all mongrels. They were found and brought to us by friends of the family.
Mongrels make wonderful pets. They are hardy, full of character, undemanding and comparatively low maintenance. Very rarely do they suffer from genetics pre-disposition often found in pure breeds.
The more memorable ones I had were Guinness, an Alsatian/Rottweiler mix and JD, a Pit bull/terrier mix.
Guinness was fearless and fierce. Everyone treated him with “respect”. He was my super dog.
Each night he would scale our six-foot high gate for his nightly rendezvous with his friends and returned just before the break of dawn. We could hear the gate rattling as he let himself out and in.
One day coming back from school the house was in an uproar. Guinness was in the midst of an epic fight with a neighbour’s pit bull. Blood was splattered all over the living hall and the two were really having a go at each other in the bathroom. The pit bull’s owner was splashing water on the duo. All I cared about was Guinness. I rushed in, grabbed him by the collar, all the time screaming at the pit bull owner to do the same. That was how we ended the fight.
Guinness came away with a chewed-up ear and scarred snout. I was secretly proud that the pit bull fared no better.
One day, Guinness left the house to never return. We went searching but he was nowhere to be found. A family friend consoled me saying that Guinness knew that his time was coming and because he was a good dog and didn’t want me to grief. He left so that I didn’t have to see him die. I accepted her explanation because that was the only closure I could get at that time.
A friend found JD whimpering in the secondary jungle at Bukit Ceylon. She took his sister and I adopted JD. JD had a pure white coat and if looks could kill his definitely could. He was very protective of my mother and me. No strangers (or even friends) could step into the compound if one of us was not there to greet them.
When JD was with us, I had to go away for an extended period. On my return I was greeted by JD the pig! My mum, who was suffering from on-set of Alzheimer, was feeding him chicken/char siew and siew yoke rice several times a day! His legs could hardly support his weight and he was breathing hard with every move. I truly thought he was going to keel over and die any time! He didn’t.
I had JD for 19 years. He died peacefully in his sleep.
My experiences with mongrels have shaped my attitude towards dog adoption and ownership. My priority will always be mongrels and rescued dogs. Snobs may accuse me of being a cheap-skate, not wanting to pay for a “proper” dog but their opinion is not my concern.
Currently I have three mix breeds – Mandy (a Spitz mix) whom I took from PAWS; Oscar (a Brittany/English Springer Spaniel mix) whom I found injured by the roadside; and Max, a blind Border Collier mix.
Each of them is different but, together, they add colour, warmth and, yes, angst, to my life. So, if you are thinking of getting a dog/puppy, head to the nearest animal shelter or contact a rescuer. You won’t regret it!