R.I.P. My Best Friend, Angel

This post is about my furry best friend who passed away recently unexpectedly. Her name is Angel and she had been with me throughout the 12 years of her life.

I was 11 when my Mom bought Angel from a breeder in Bishan whose Shih Tzus are all of champion bloodline. She was barely 2 months old and was so tiny and quiet. She had a twin brother and I remember vividly that Mom and I were deciding between her and her brother in the play pen. In the end we chose her as we preferred females but since she was still very young, we left her in her mother’s care until she was a few months older.

I came home from school one evening and was pleasantly surprised to see the little Shih Tzu resting in her cage. I didn’t know she was arriving that day! She was quiet and not definitely as active as the puppies you see on display in pet shops. She just slept until it was mealtime, when she would slowly walk to the bowl and nibble the soft puppy food. We kept her in the cage for several days as she was too small to roam around at home but she never once barked for our attention. That was when Mom and I thought she was really sensible and special.

Even then we still hadn’t thought of a name for her. Eventually we named her “Angel”, which was taken from her pedigree name reflected on her SKC cert. Her full name was “Singlion’s Angel Ov Love”. She was indeed an angel in my life.

Angel when she was 1, 2 and 12 (a few months before she died)

Angel when she was 1, 3 and 12 (a few months before she died). We have watched each other grow.. She had witnessed every milestone in my life, from PSLE, “N” level, “O” level to Diploma. Sadly she will not be there for my convocation. I was still planning to have her in my family portraiture.

On the onset of her freedom, she was still rather sheepish and didn’t dare to move around much until we started playing with her. She grew to be more playful and cheeky. Slowly, she recognised her name but like other new pets, she also started defecating and urinating everywhere in the house. She once even pooped on my Dad’s mattress while we were out which resulted in her getting a huge spanking from my Mom. We didn’t want to toilet-train her because the floor in our common toilet was always wet and we didn’t want her undercoat to be drenched in the process, so we cage-trained her. Gradually, she understood that all her businesses (including vomiting) had to be done in the cage. She also learnt to bark on her own when she heard noises at the door or when somebody comes home! These “skills” were then passed on to Chubs. She was an extremely intelligent girl 🙂

Angel and her new pal, Chubs. Probably the only clear picture of them together.

Angel and her new pal, Chubs (early 2013). Probably the only clear picture of them together.

No pictures when she was a puppy unfortunately, because I didn’t have a camera back then.

This is her looking at me through the gate as I was leaving for school.. It certainly feels different now without her.

This was her looking at me through the gate as I was leaving for school.. It certainly feels different now without her. I miss her welcome barks and hugs.

Looking at you with the visible white of the eye = guilty

Looking at you with the visible white of the eye would mean that she’s guilty (especially when she’s getting reprimanded for doing something wrong)

Angel's constipated look when she's barking hahaha.

Angel’s constipated look when she’s barking hahaha. Wuuf!

When she was 4, she gave birth to her first batch of puppies which unfortunately were all sold away. Thankfully my Mom still keeps in contact with some of the owners. She went on giving birth the second and third batch with the latter being absolutely accidental. I was there during all 3 labours to help her break the placenta 🙂 After all her puppies were sold, she was left alone again. And probably because she didn’t have to care for her puppies anymore, she became active and energetic again.

3rd batch of puppies! Angel did a great job as a mommy :)

3rd batch of puppies! Angel did a great job as a mommy 🙂

Solo time with her favourite girl.

Solo time with her favourite girl.

With the (ex)hubby. I miss you too Wenwen.

With the (ex)hubby. I miss you too Wenwen.

This went on for the next few years until she turned 10. Her eyesight and hearing started failing but she could still eat and play normally, just less responsive to our calls. That’s fine and we still loved her as much as before, but that also made it more difficult for us to ditch negative thoughts of her leaving us sooner or later.

During the same year, she ran away from home (probably when my Dad was leaving for work, he left the door open and Angel sneaked out when he was wearing his shoes) and my Mom didn’t realise it until I returned home from school (was already in Poly) at about 7pm. Usually Angel would bark and welcome me at the door but on that day she was nowhere to be seen. I panicked, asked my Mom where Angel was and that was when she recalled not seeing Angel for the past 4-5 hours. We rushed down and searched high and low for Angel until midnight but to no avail. I had work the next day but I requested for leave of absence because of this. I cried so hard that day as I thought I had lost her. Thankfully some passers-by saw her and with eyewitnesses’ accounts, we managed to traced her back within 2 days. She was rescued by one of the shop vendors in the vicinity and I was overjoyed to have her back.

As I got older, I took on jobs to earn extra income hence I was able to throw mini birthday celebrations for her at Doggiestyle Cafe during the last 2 years of her life. It was something I’m so glad I did. I remember how her face lit up when she saw the sumptuous food we ordered for her. She had barely any teeth left so I had to hand-feed her. But really, no complaints. I really enjoyed my time with her 🙂

At her 11th birthday. The last time she dressed up.

At her 11th birthday. The last time she dressed up. You can really tell from her eyes that she had aged a lot.. But to me, she’s still that same old Shih Tzu puppy I first saw 12 years ago.

At Doggiestyle cafe for the first time and she really enjoyed me feeding her!

At Doggiestyle cafe for the first time and she really enjoyed me feeding her!

My room door was always left ajar so that she could come in. When she found herself alone in the living room, she would try her luck and see if anyone’s bedroom door wasn’t closed properly, and then used both forelegs to push the door open. Mine being the first bedroom she’d usually target always ended up as her first and final successful try (my mom and sis didn’t like her to be in their rooms because Angel loved to shake the loose fur off her body). When she’s in the room, she’d look for the owner as if to inform her that she had allowed herself in.

Bought this cute bunny outfit in Taiwan. Sadly she never got the chance to wear it again.

Bought this cute bunny outfit in Taiwan. Sadly she never got the chance to wear it again.

Despite her age, she still had energy to play with us. We would do the bunny-hand posture and lumbering walk and Angel would respond with a high-pitched bark and run off. We do this almost every week and we could see that Angel was enjoying it too because sometimes she’d assume that we were playing with her and run off even though we were just looking at her (lol). But we didn’t know that her heart was already failing and all these vigorous exercises just made her heart even weaker. Then signs started showing on her final week where she’d often feel breathless and was always chocking on nothing, but it was on and off and we thought it would go away. In the wee hours of 9 August it became worse. She retreated to a dark corner and appeared very weak. We wanted to bring her to the vet but it was already 2am and all nearby vets would be closed by then (what’s more, it was National Day). Frantically, we went to Google for afterhours emergency contact numbers and we found one at Jurong West, just 15 minutes drive away from my home.

In the car to the clinic, Bf probably foresaw that Angel wouldn’t be able to make it through the night so he took my phone and snapped a picture of Angel and I. It was taken in the darkness and both of us can hardly be seen in the photo but I’m never going to trash it.. Because that was my final picture with Angel.

My final photo with her. Looking at this picture just makes me heart ache..

My final photo with her. Looking at this picture just makes me heart ache..

Angel remained breathless throughout the journey but all I could do was to hug her tight and hope that she’d recover soon. However, it never happened. The moment the vet saw Angel, he quickly carried her into the operating room without uttering a word. While my family, Bf and I were waiting outside, we could hear Angel’s cries. It broke my heart into million pieces.

After a long wait the vet finally came out and spoke to us. He said Angel’s heart was failing and swelling badly. Hence it was unable to pump enough blood and all the fluids in her body were blocked by the swollen heart and trapped in one area. She must have felt really terrible. We were advised that if Angel made it out that day, she’d have to be on long-term medication to prevent the heart from swelling again.

We left the vet without Angel because the vet wanted to put her under observation overnight. The vet remained very optimistic which gave me hope that I’d see Angel again.. but the hope was dashed when I received a call from the Vet about Angel’s death at 9am. I was devastated.. I wasn’t ready for that.

Seeing how grief-stricken I was, Bf helped to make cremation arrangements for Angel. We went back to the vet to collect her body and I broke down again when I saw her carcass wrapped up on the table. Her eyes were half opened and the cloth used to wrap her up was wet with her saliva. Every night I’d brush her fur and tie her topknot to keep her neat and tidy but I didn’t have the chance to do so on that night before. So I retied it heavy-heartedly while tears rolled down my cheeks. I hope Angel looked her best on her way to rainbow bridge 🙂

Anyway, we engaged Tengoku for their cremation services because I wanted Angel to be cremated privately. They were really understanding and patient with me as well and I really appreciate that. They offered to cancel Angel’s license on my behalf and even sent my cards to make me feel better (but I ended up crying again geez lol). If you’d like to know, I opted to collect her ashes (same-day collection) instead of allowing them to scatter into the sea because I don’t believe the theory behind dispersing ashes.. I mean, I don’t do it to my deceased relatives so why should I do it to my dog? She was close to me like my sister.

Right now, Angel’s urn is still on my table and I’m still trying to find a columbarium for her. If anyone’s got a place to recommend, please drop me a comment. 🙂

Take care, Angel.

Take care, Angel.

I miss you Angel.. Hope life’s much better up there. We’ll meet again someday 🙂

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Alfi is 4!

This is a pretty belated posted dedicated to Alfi who has recently turned 4 less than ten days ago. Alfi is the portmanteau of my boyfriend, Alphonsus, and myself, Fiona, in case you don’t already know. I address Alphonsus as ‘Bf’ on my blog posts because I’m too lazy to type out his long name everytime I have to mention him. Lol, just kidding but yeah convenience is one of the reasons.

I shall not be naggy and reiterate how we first met because I had already documented it here. Instead I shall update on our progress. Since that blog post, the relationship wasn’t smooth-sailing and we even broke up for 3 days – his first time initiating ever – recently because of my temper, unreasonableness and irrationality. I agreed to his request but regretted immediately and tried to win him back thereafter. I used to hurl insults at him, assume without first understanding his point of view and then scream at him. He was hurt but his love for me never diminished. He continued to care for my well-being and supported (majority of) what I did. Somehow silly me never noticed any of these and distanced myself even further away from him because I didn’t want to be too emotionally dependent on him. But I didn’t realise that by doing so, I am also causing us to grow apart from each other. We didn’t speak to each other for 6 days prior to the breakup (ironically after the Batam trip) because of a very minor issue. I started it and that was his last straw. Thankfully after trying for 3 days, he agreed to come back on the condition that I change my attitude towards him. For the first time, I took the initiative to salvage the relationship. Throughout the years, he was always the one doing the job. From that, I truly comprehend the meaning of “怱掻äș†æ‰æ‡‚ćŸ—çæƒœ” (you only appreciate what you have until you lose it).

Losing him would also mean losing his family, who had been treating me really well for the past 4 years. They even asked me out for dinner when they knew about the breakup, hoping to find out what happened and also to talk out of me. I sobbed like nobody’s business uncontrollably at Crystal Jade (where we dined). I’m so glad it’s not going to ever happen again, I swear.

Putting the sad past behind us, I’m all ready to make a fresh start. 🙂

Us over the years 🙂

First photo of Bf and I when he was wayyyy slimmer =X This was at Haibin Prawning Place and before we got together.

(2009) First photo of Bf and I when he was wayyyy slimmer =X This was at Haibin Prawning Place and before we got together.

(2009) We had gotten together and I'm glad he doesn't mind camwhoring at well. Very seldom he would move away from the camera lens when I attempted to take pictures :)

(2009) We had gotten together and I’m glad he doesn’t mind camwhoring at well. Very seldom he would move away from the camera lens when I attempted to take pictures 🙂

(2010) We love frozen yogurt and we still do. We would always get the largest size possible (unless it's self-weighed).

(2010) We love frozen yogurt and we still do. We would always get the largest size possible (unless it’s self-weighed).

(2010) Our first NDP parade together but sadly it was only preview and.. he didn't get the tickets for free. He paid for them because I wanted to go. :')

(2010) Our first NDP parade together but sadly it was only preview and.. he didn’t get the tickets for free. He paid for them because I wanted to go. :’)

(2011) At my graduation ceremony, Singapore Polytechnic. He wanted for me to leave the auditorium under the scotching sun because I didn't have enough tickets for him. Thanks for waiting dear.

(2011) At my graduation ceremony, Singapore Polytechnic. He wanted for me to leave the auditorium under the scotching sun because I didn’t have enough tickets for him. Thanks for waiting dear.

(2011) Still in Bangkok but we took this photo for a reason. To remember the beautiful asses in the background hahaha.

(2011) At one of our many (Asian) holiday trips.. This was in Bangkok and we went with his family. He wanted to take with the cub so bad. Look at his grin LOL.

(2011) Still in Bangkok but we took this photo for a reason. To remember the beautiful asses in the background hahaha.

(2011) Still in Bangkok but we took this photo for a reason. To remember the beautiful asses in the background hahaha.

(2012) In Beijing which I was very unwilling to go because it's China - thought there was nothing much to shop there. But I was wrong. Beijing changed my perception of China. Sadly it changed again for the worst after my Chengdu trip.

(2012) In Beijing which I was very unwilling to go because it’s China – thought there was nothing much to shop there. But I was wrong. Beijing changed my perception of China. Sadly it changed again for the worst after my Chengdu trip.

(2012) In Taiwan, our most favourite holiday destination so far. We aim to go back again this year or mid next year. Let's do it!

(2012) In Taiwan, our most favourite holiday destination so far. We aim to go back again this year or mid next year. Let’s do it!

(2012) At his graduation this time. Unfortunately there wasn't any proper pictures of us on the camera. We did take pictures but it was with Polaroid camera (which pictures are kept by him)

(2012) At his graduation this time. Unfortunately there wasn’t any proper pictures of us on the camera. We did take pictures but it was with Polaroid camera (which pictures are kept by him)

(2013) Our simple Valentine's Day celebration.. We actually don't celebrate it at all but this photo needs a caption anyway.

(2013) Our simple Valentine’s Day celebration.. We actually don’t celebrate it at all but this photo needs a caption anyway.

(2013) Us waiting for Gordon Ramsay at Newton Food Centre a few weeks back! Hid behind some irritating trees and their leaves kept scratching our skins. Happy we got to catch a glance of the star but sad it wasn't upclose! Left before 7pm because it was too crowded and our view wasn't very fantastic.

(2013) Us waiting for Gordon Ramsay at Newton Food Centre a few weeks back! Hid behind some irritating trees and their leaves kept scratching our skins. Happy we got to catch a glance of the star but sad it wasn’t upclose! Left before 7pm because it was too crowded and our view wasn’t very fantastic.

On 7 August 2013, our fourth year anniversary, we didn’t do much because I didn’t have enough sleep the night before (was rushing to meet my design deadline). There was a 1-for-1 movie deal for Safra members (limited quantity) for and Bf being kiasu wanted to make sure he wouldn’t miss it so we got up early to catch Red 2 at Shaw Lido. Then we ate at my favourite French restaurant, Canele which sadly is falling to the bottom of my charts..

My classic pasta - not very nice. I thought Pastamania's was nicer even though I don't quite like Pastamania either.

My classic pasta – not very nice. I thought Pastamania’s was nicer even though I don’t quite like Pastamania either.

Me and my pasta! Whoa I look rather tanned now.

Me and my pasta! Whoa I look rather tanned now.

Bf and his 4th year anniversary gift - a photo album of 90 photographs taken from 2009 - 2013 :)

Bf and his 4th year anniversary gift – a photo album of 90 photographs taken from 2009 – 2013 🙂

Dinner at Fat Boy's for that day. Really made us fat!

Dinner at Fat Boy’s for that day. Really made us fat!

Bf's customised burger (Make-Your-Own-Burger)

Bf’s customised burger (Make-Your-Own-Burger)

Off-topic but seriously, what happened to their menu? It seems to be shrinking and the quality is getting worse ever since Chef Pang left to open Antoinette (which is now my favourite French restaurant). Their only saving grace in my opinion are their macarons. What a pity. They used to serve really good stuff!

Okay anyway, seeing how tired and sleepy I was, Bf brought me to Healing Touch at Upper Thomson Road for a 1-hour full body massage so that I could relax and sleep at the same time. Yes, he is that awesome.. Thank you dear 🙂 It was really relaxing and the masseuse loosened every stiff part of me. Will definitely go back again if I am not lazy (transport is an issue)

Then we ate at Fat Boy’s which was just a few units away along the same stretch of shop houses. He was always footing the bill without complaints and would insist that I kept my money if I offered to pay.. Of course if I am financially capable (like when I was working full-time and he was still studying), he would reject the offer more reluctantly. Lololol!

I didn’t have a good semester break.. I lost my lifelong furry friend to heart failure, and many things happened at home. But Bf will always be there giving me advices and shielding me from (more) pain, giving me emotional support. 2 years ago when my furry friend ran away from home, he took a cab all the way from work after midnight just to search for her with me. When he knew I didn’t have time to eat at work (when I was still working at that tuition centre), he went to order Mcdonald’s for me. He knows I feel sleepy all the time, so he got me a box of Brand’s Chicken Essence when I was studying for my papers last semester. All these little details… I only have myself to blame for not appreciating them. But now I will.

Thank you, Alphonsus Neo, for everything 🙂 Happy belated 4 years to us!