Max would follow me wherever I go. Every evening, after all the chores are done, I would sit back and read the papers. And Max would be at my side. One evening, I sense that there is something missing while reading the papers. Max was not at my side. He was still at the dining area. I must have forgotten to put him down at the living hall or to prevent him from getting wet while I do the watering at the garden. I looked at him and he returned the look and at the same time trying to attempt to get down the few steps to get to me.
I put down the papers and went to him. I assessed the situation and decided to teach him how to go up the steps first. It would be easier than going down the steps. I put him down at the bottom of the step. I put his 2 front paws on the first step and then lifted his two hind legs and put it on the first step too. He is now standing on the first step on all 4s. I repeat these for the second step and the third step is history. Clever boy, I said to him. It was a nice feeling seeing him going up the steps. I put him back at the bottom step to let him try again but Max got other thoughts. He ran straight up the stairs to the second level and he headed straight to my bedroom. The happy face he radiate then was a sight to behold. How happy he is running here and there discovering new frontiers.
After a while absorbing Max happy face, I return down stair. But Max is still up there at the edge of the stair looking down at me. I laughed at him. He doesn’t know how to come down.
I went up and carry him down. While trying to figure out how best to teach him to go down the stair, Max took a big leap from the dining level to the living hall, a height of 3 steps. After landing, he turned round and look at me grinning and sticking out his tongue at me, ‘See I can jump now’. After that, he went up and down the steps like a pro.
Max taking his first step coming down.
By now, Max is set to conquer new frontiers.
The Chinese new year holidays came and went. Max is still ‘hiding’ from the home front. Max has almost or already settled in or is it that I am settling in?
I visit pet shops more often and bought toy bones, treats and what not. If I feel that he does not like a certain dog food, I will change to another brand but lamb meal is still a prerequisite. It was like a monthly affair changing the dog food but he takes it all the same. I am controlling myself not to give him lots of junk food in the hope that he remain healthy. But, these endeavours, proof in later years resulted in Max becoming a fussy or choosy eater. He has been on solid food ever since he came over. I had never give him soft food like milk, porridge or even ice cream. He doesn’t know how to eat these in later years.
During the day, I usually fenced him within the kitchen to restrict the area for him to do his business. All was well until one day I returned to see the mess he can make in the kitchen. The dustbin was over turned and rubbish everywhere, my shoes was all over and for a puppy not even more than 2 kg, he can dragged my golf bag with full irons from one end of the room to the opposite side of the room. This golf bag easily weighs around 5-7 kg. It really amazed me to see what Max can do given his size at that time. The days that follows, he stay in the cage while I’m at work until one pet shop I’ve visited suggests that I get some fence to make a pen so that he could have a bigger space rather than locked up in a small cage. I did bought some of these fence but not for a pen but to fenced up the area to prevent him from accessing it.
Max still does not know how to climb the stairs nor going down the steps leading to the living hall from the dining. He will play with his toys on this level and wait for me to carry him down. I will just leave him down stair when I retires for the night up stair.
Another thing is that Max likes to play with water and every evening while I am watering in the garden, he would happily gets wet and then ran into the house in the living area and ‘boogie’ out all the water on his body onto the floor of the living hall. After doing that, he will happily return to the garden for a second round. So in order to prevent him from doing this, I will put him on the dining level until I finished watering the garden.
That arrangement was the best until Max learns to climb the stairs.
Chinese New Year is fast approaching. How to hide Max from the family front? For all the negative reactions I received when I tested the water, I don’t think I want to introduce Max now. It was just barely 2 weeks that Max came. Then, Calvert who said he wanted Max and would come over daily to clean up, said he wanted to take Max back to his family home for new year in Malacca. It is also for him to test the water there, his mum who will eventually be taking care of Max. The plan was, he will take Max on Wednesday (eve) and I will take a bus to Malacca on Sunday and we will return together in his car. Chinese New Year was on 7 February 2008 (Thu).
I am still hoping that someone will take Max off my hands. But it was not meant to be. When I reached Calvert’s Malacca home, I saw Max running happily in the bungalow compound. Ah.. I thought. It would be a nice place for Max. But when the mum saw me with Max on my lap, her welcome was very lukewarm. I can guess there and then that she is not very keen in having Max, another dog added on to the husky. I was stroking Max on my lap and he licked my hand. It was then, after some thoughts, that I told myself I am going to take Max fully.
Max is 4 months plus and the pictures above shows how small he is then. How not to like him?
Max is mine now.
The week following his arrival, I saw myself visiting the pet shops in Jalan Sultan more often during lunch break. Buying anti pee spray, anti smell spray for the poo, shampoo (which I actually take a smell first as if I am buying it for myself). None of the spray works. Cleaning up after him is beginning to worked up on me. Maken said that I have to teach him to pee and poo at a certain place by observing him. When he is smelling at a certain place, it means that he is looking for a place to do his business. If that happened, quickly take him out or place a newspaper somewhere and leave him there until he finished doing his business. But how am I to observe him when I am at work and return in the evening to see all the pee and poo at different places of the kitchen and the dining?
Take him back to the pee or poo and whack him with a rolled up newspaper, Maken had said. After a few times, it didn’t work. I found it is more taxing and stressful on me whacking and scolding him than cleaning up all his business. After each whacking session, he would just sit on the floor looking at me with pleading eyes and wondering what its all about that I am doing to him. He did not even utter a noise or whine. He just keep quiet. Until this very day, when I show him the cane or rolled newspaper, he will immediately sit down and waiting for the punishment, whatever it is. It is only when I read some books that a dog may not know or understand why you punish him if the offence is committed more than 15 minutes ago that I stopped whacking him. Imagine, he is innocent if the punishment comes after 15 minutes of the offence.
It is only the first week and I am beginning to feel stressed out. The next thing I bought from the pet shop was a cage which Maken had insisted before. In order to prevent him from doing his business every where, I have to caged him during the day when I went to work. Also, Davi, my cleaner lady, whose comes once a week, say that she is afraid of dog and also insisted that I put him is a cage if she comes over every Wednesday.
Whatever it is, the anger that had been built up will be melted as soon as he comes and licked my hand. This bring a smile back to my face.
Meanwhile, perform a search on the net “What is the most common name for dog?”
By now, his name is Max.
That evening, I prepared some of the milk that Maken gave and put it into the new plastic red bowl. I was expecting that he would run to it and licked it all up. But he just gave it a few licks and went away and lay down on the towel that I had prepared for him earlier on the dining room floor. I was sitting on the floor watching him. He looked up at me and it was then I notice his soulful eyes. It was a pair of sad eyes. Maybe he missed Maken’s family or he is frighten of being in a new strange place. I was wondering what am I going to do with him?
He got up slowly, taking small and slow steps, he walked towards me with his head down and eyes stealing glances at me. When he reached by my side, I patted his head and holding him with both hands, I lifted him up to look at his face trying to assure him that he is in good hands. Suddenly, a wet tongue came and gone in a nick of time leaving me with a wet nose. And then I saw a little tongue hanging from a cheeky smiling face. I let him down back on the floor and he was dashing everywhere excitedly. I found out that he does not know how to climb stairs nor down. So for now he is confine around the kitchen and the dining which are just next to each other and on the same level while the living room was at a lower level.
I cleaned out the bowl of the milk and refilled it with the dog kibble that I had bought. He gobbled it all in no time at all. I decided not to bother with the milk anymore. That night, I left him downstairs making sure that I leave a small light on in the living room so that it won’t be total darkness at the dining area. I went upstairs to retires for the night. I checked later in the night and found him in the kitchen in total darkness. For the whole night he did not bark or whine. That was good. A well behaved dog so I thought.
The next morning, as I had to leave for work early, it was still dark. I came down and switched on the kitchen light. Lo and behold, there he was running towards me. And behind him, on the middle of the kitchen floor, there was a pool of pee and a few lumps of poo near to the toilet door.
Our adventure is about to begin.
Immediately the next day on Monday at the office, Maken asked how was it. I just smiled and say I will think about it. No more discussion or any mention about this for the rest of the week until Saturday when packing up to go back after office (we worked alternate half day on Saturday then), Maken say that he will bring the puppy to my house on Sunday and asked me to fenced up the gate. With that he gave me his typically wide smile and went off.
And dutifully on the way back, I dropped by the hardware shop to get some wire nettings. I did also stopped by a pet shop to get a plastic bowl and ask the people there what food to gave to a puppy and was introduced to a puppy formula. They asked me what type of dog and I answered a silky terrier. I ended up buying the plastic bowl, puppy food and a brush (to brush this type of dog long hair, I was told).
I reached home and also dutifully fenced up the gate. A neighbour walked by and asked me why I am fencing up the gate and I answered, its to keep out the dogs. But on second thought, it should be to keep in the dog.
Sunday 27 January 2008, Maken came at around 4.00pm with the whole family. He brought the puppy and just put it down on my drive way and hand me some milk powder and then the whole family (who were still inside the car) yelled ‘Goodbye Junior!” and left.
The puppy was in a daze. He looked at me and I looked at him. Then he get up and ran towards me. I picked him up and take him inside the house.
This puppy was not originally intended for me. After 4 months, since his birth, he is now at my doorstep without me even asking for it. Its like he is looking for me all this while and could be my best friend in our past lives. Like it or not, at the back of my mind, I think I am going to spoiled him bad.
Finally, fate has accomplished another mission.
Back at the home front, I started talking about having a dog and at the same time, testing the water. It was hot. Their reactions hovers around the ringgit and sen thing. ‘It will be expensive la’ ‘You got a lot of money and time is it?’ ‘A lot of work la…. clean his shit, bathe him, take him to the vet and so on..’ ‘If I got free time, I may as well take a nap’ Whatever their comments were, I seemed to have heard nothing except the one from my niece which was ‘Yeah’.
Time waits for no man and the months keep rolling by including Christmas day. Then one Friday in January 2008, Maken suggested I take a look at the puppy first. I think he had planned for this already as before I could say yes or no, he told me to meet up on that coming Sunday at the pet shop cum vet in Taman Segar KL where he will take the puppy for his second vaccination. Without telling Maken whether I will be there or not, that day comes to an end and while driving home from the office, I was thinking about this for the first time.
Calvert had says he wanted this puppy but there was no concrete confirmation from him except he did ask when is the puppy coming. What if he went back on his word (or had he gave his word to take this puppy?), will I be able to cope with this puppy? There were no answer to this. I really don’t have any idea.
Sunday January 20, 2008, I found myself at the pet shop cum vet. Maken was so happy to see me there and he quickly went in and took out the puppy. It was so small, a small ball of black/brown fur. It was so light, I can even hold it with one hand. He was cute.
That meeting lasted for 10 minutes and had to returned to the vet for his vaccination. I went back after handling the puppy back to Maken.
Fate is working overtime on that day.