Last tuesday, just as G & I were at a cafe, happily awaiting our food when her mom called to tell her the unthinkable had occurred - G's dog was missing!
*cue chorus of dog-lovers worldwide gasping with instant pangs of heartfelt sympathy*
And so I was caught up in this emotional whirlwind of what seemed like mission impossible: Operation Find Doggie Dog in the sprawling estate of Serangoon with at least 1,000 houses AFTER who knows how many hours he was gone. All able-bodied and invested personnel were immediately mobilized for this operation: dad, mom, G, me, and the guilty maid who had left the gate open. First the dog-hunt, then the flyers. Day 2 saw laminated posters, newspaper ads, and notices posted online. An elaborate marketing campaign in support of Operation Find Doggie Dog.
Yup, that's the name of this 3yo hyper-affectionate (and hyper cowardly and hyper greedy too) Papillon that has been the magnet of all love and affection in an otherwise boring household: Doggie Dog. The same name I was calling out sheepishly round the estate for almost 2 hours. Interestingly though, Doggie Dog's got a reputation as the big Papillon round the estate, probably because of all the food that he gets to eat (durian, ground beef etc) and also how he likes to repeatedly jump and snap at the hem of your shirt.
As we sped home along the highway, with empty and anxious stomachs, I had so many questions.
"How did it happen?"
"How long has he been missing?!"
"How come no one realized earlier?!!"
"What??? The maids were careless?!!!"
I have to confess, I'm a wannabe dog-lover. I don't have a dog of my own and I crave one of my own. So instead I lend my affection to Doggie Dog. But I call myself wannabe because the odd thing is, as cute and lovable as many find him, I don't quite take to him as I should be, a professed dog-lover who lusts after the pedigree puppies in pet stores. I blame it on the one time that he sat on my lap and left a tidy little smudge of what looked like soft chewy chocolate.
*cue G's mom staring into space with swollen eyes, sobbing at dinner table, and finally leaving the table to bawl in the bedroom*
Too attached to the dog, G's brother surmised and G's dad echoed and nodded. Looking down at her plate, G added, "he's just a dog right? And let's not get any more dogs after this."
*cue G bawling into my shoulder*
Even G's grandma, whom I thought didn't like dogs very much, got into the act of grieving Doggie Dog's disappearance. "Hao ke lian ah..." (translated: so pitiful). She was right about this though, it was a dangerous world out there for a cute little toy dog like him who is only bred to please and entertain. Speeding traffic, hungry rabid foaming stray dogs, cute little children who maim cute little kittens, and not forgetting the bane and Lucifer to all dog-lovers: cruel dog-haters who torture and even kill any canines in their reach.
G kept asking me whether she should give up hope. I said as long as there was a chance, however slim, we should hang on to hope. And hope came in the form of a phonecall on the evening of day 2.
As we entered another house just 20 meters behind G's, there the little fella was, tied by the collar with a cord to the window grill. Jumping up and down and doing his balancing act on his hind feet, Doggie Dog was just as elated to see us.
*cue profuse offerings of thanks and appreciation*
Never mind that the mother of that household sounded like she was extorting money over the phone or that she was admonishing G for not taking care of Dog enough, we got him back and that was all that mattered. Dog's saviour, the grandma of that household, was gushing profusely to me in teochew the entire episode. All you need to know is that she called him Happy, because he happily followed her home.
And happy we were back at G's. Out came the rare and elusive doggie treat, as the maids faithfully laid out the newspapers in his litter corner. I remember victoriously entering the house, and Dog was paraded through - smiles and tears effusing on everyone's faces. Everyone was so glad to have him back, and Dog was so glad he peed on G's dad's bed and left a huge package on the staircase within 15min of coming home. The little coward hardly pee-ed or poo-ed, say the neighbours who found him.
Looking at Doggie Dog being fawned over, I realized he was none the worse, none the wiser. He's just a stupid dog. An object that we humans attach symbols and affection to and just have to irresistably love and adore.
And I want one too! A salt and pepper miniature Schnauzer.