Owning a dog in Singapore, as in any city, has to be a real pain in the butt. It’s something that I intend to never try myself. If I don’t have a yard I don’t want a dog. In fact, even with a yard, I wouldn’t want a dog because I’m sure that involves hours of scouting the yard and cleaning up dog turds. That’s just not something I’m willing to do. Cats area easier for me. You just clean the litter box every day. Sure, it’s still scooping turds but at least I don’t have to play hide-and-seek with them in a lawn.
Anyhow, I often wonder how it is that people in Singapore can maintain dogs. They have to be walked regularly and the messes they leave are supposed to be cleaned up, though I’ve seen personally that sometimes that’s not the case. Most dogs are large and the HDBs are small relative to their size. They can be incredibly noisy when barking at people or noises that they don’t like. They eat a lot! Still, I see quite a few people with large dogs in tow walking around the HDB estates and I think it’s great that some people have the patience and love for dogs that allow them to keep up with them and offer them a home.
I also think it’s admirable when someone takes on the responsibility of a grown dog. That offers a unique set of a challenges. In addition to the normal routine of caring for the dog, you have to try to integrate the dog into your household. Dogs have a pack mentality and, having been raised elsewhere, the person they recognize as the Alpha Male won’t be present in your home. That requires a new person to assert authority and let the pet know who’s in charge. Personally I have no idea how to go about that, but I do have some experience with what can happen when things go wrong.
I room with a local family that adopted a grown dog. When the dog arrived everyone was very thrilled to see him. He was treated well. Time was taken to play with him and walk him. He wasn’t scolded when doing something wrong. He was allowed to have fun. Somehow, things went bad. The dog became overly aggressive not only towards people outside the house, but towards people inside the house as well.
After a while, the family stopped walking the dog. I don’t know the full story behind that, because it wasn’t any of my business, but given the later track record I imagine it’s because he was prone to trying to attack unfamiliar people. He was so bad about trying to attack outsiders that the front door had to be kept closed because he would stick his head through the front gate and try to get at the people walking by. Instead, they would keep him in his kennel until he used a tray for his business and then he was allowed out to run through the house.
Later, he started going after people in the house as well. It seemed to me that as long as you let him do whatever he wanted, things were fine, but the moment you tried to shoo him away, or take something from him that you didn’t want him to chew on, he would attack rather than comply. Some of you may remember my post where he attacked me and bit my arm for trying to take a work shirt away from him that I didn’t want chewed to shreds. I wasn’t the only one that had this experience with him.
His behavior became more and more … touchy… I guess you’d call it. He would glare at people as they walked by in an evil way that gave me the creeps coming from a dog. Eventually it got to the point that no one wanted to closely interact with him for fear of being bitten. It was even a harrowing experience walking past his kennel at night to get to the trash chute. He had to be kept in the kennel at night or he would urinate and defecate all over the house. I wound up trying to avoid him as much as possible. I didn’t really want anything to do with him before, and I certainly didn’t after he bit my arm. I told him, “[Dog], we can’t be friends anymore. I’m afraid our relationship is over.”
So, in the end he made himself into a menace, a threat to health and safety. There’s nothing fun about having an animal in your house that is more likely to bite you unexpectedly than not. There’s also nothing fun about getting to know an animal and then having to send it away because it couldn’t integrate properly into your household. Despite his rather aggressive personality, I guess I’d gotten used to him being around. The house seems quiet without him here.
If you’re wondering, the dog was picked up by the SPCA. I came home one day and was alerted by the maid as to what had happened. Even though I really don’t like the dog, I’m sort of glad I gave him an ice cube the day before he was hauled away. I don’t know why but he really liked ice cubes and would come to the kitchen whenever he heard the rattle of the ice tray.
Hopefully someone will find him there and have better luck with him. If not, I hate to think of the alternative, but I suppose there was little choice. How can you, in good conscience, give away an aggressive animal to another person, since it may harm them?