Sunday, August 29, 2010

Doggie Feature: Dakdakdei

This is Dakdakdei or Dada or DDD for short. He always stands straight and regal and looks like our very own Scooby Doo.

Amazing as this may sound, DDD was one of the smallest puppies in the litter. After the first two puppies passed on, we were so afraid DDD would be the next to go. He was always the last pup to reach Debbie, always scurrying after the others for his turn to nurse. Here he is now, strong, tall and handsome, a far cry from before.

DDD was one of the first puppies to be adopted. Yet, he was brought back to us when he was about 7 to 8 months old. They said they couldn't handle him and that he bullied the house cat. We were surprised, because DDD was just a puppy when he was adopted. A puppy, young and unschooled in the ways of the world, is malleable and relatively easy to train.

Adopting a puppy sounds way more fun than adopting an adult dog. But let us tell you that the responsibility over your charge would also be a whole lot greater. How your puppy turns out depends very much on what you, the owner, inculcates in him. You need to show him what he can or cannot do. You need to be consistent, determined and willing to spend a whole chunk of time educating your young one. So if you're not ready to make such commitment, don't even think about puppies because you might well ruin the little one's life.

When DDD came back to us, he was like a wild child. He loved being around people and was often overenthusiastic when he saw us. Because he was adopted the earliest, the dogs at the shelter no longer recognised him. This included his mother, Debbie. Being used to the warmth of a house and a solid roof over his head, DDD was visibly shaken when  it dawned on him that he was going to stay for good. Whenever us humans left, the husky in him would whine and howl. The shelter was dark, cold and sometimes wet. Oh he wanted to be home where he thought he belonged. The following are pictures of DDD on his first day back.

DDD wasn't taught to socialise. Because of his exuberant nature, he often found himself in trouble with the other dogs. At first, we tried to house the three brothers - Dillon, Daelle and DDD - together and separately from the rest. But eventually, we realised that cooping the three brothers up in a cubicle was a bad idea, especially when they were growing bigger every day. So we decided to integrate the three brothers back to our main compound with the other dogs.

While the other dogs took to Dillon and Daelle, DDD didn't get the same reception. Because he was young, inexperienced and over friendly, he stepped on the toes of the other dogs. They launched a group attack on the poor boy one day and he was left, with his back on the floor, his belly facing up and quivering. Us humans had to step in to break up the fight by dousing water and pulling their hind legs back. In the end, we had to remove a traumatised and injured DDD from the others and house him alone.

Over time, we tried to introduce Dollar and Doris to DDD. But the silly boy somehow managed to incur the wrath of our two great dames as well. DDD just wants to play but he somehow always goes about it the wrong way with the other dogs.

Now, he has finally found a friend. Donna has slowly but surely taken to DDD. From Donna, DDD has learnt the game of tug-of-war. When he sees us playing the game with Donna, he would want to join in. Sometimes, we see the two of them frisking about together, playing in the normal way dogs do. It seems like DDD is finally learning, finally adapting.

While DDD hasn't been much of a hit with the other dogs, he sure has some human fans. Because he is a very active dog, some of our volunteers, especially the guys, like taking him out for a run. The volunteers are also taking a sterner hand on DDD, slowly teaching him the boundaries of what is acceptable and what is not.

DDD is almost full size now but he is just 10 months old. Ultimately, our big boy is still a little puppy. Us volunteers have found that he is very eager to learn and he picks things up very quickly. DDD can sit and shake paws almost professionally! Over the past three months he has been here, it appears that he has learnt to be a little more patient. He has come a long way since he returned to the shelter. Last week, DDD attended his first obedience class organised by a volunteer trainer. She said that our boy was full of potential and that pleased us to no end.

If you are looking for an active dog who loves human company, perhaps you might be interested in DDD. He is one of the most responsive dogs I've come across at the shelter. When I praise him in a high-pitched voice, his tail will start to wag. When I crouch down to give him a hug, I see his tail begin to wag as well. DDD loves humans despite the unpleasant end to his adoption. They say that to err is human and to forgive, canine. DDD has exemplified the generosity of his kind and their unfailing faith in humankind. We hope that someone somewhere will see DDD for the gem that he is and live up to his belief in the human race.

Here's to our Scooby Doo!

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