Friday, August 12, 2011

A great big Teeny story

Daisy's story was so wonderfully received that I was hesitant about writing this entry. I was worried that my next adoption story would somehow pale in comparison to Daisy's.

Many a time, I found myself sitting in front of my laptop, staring at the blogger template before me and willing the words to flow. In the course of my dalliance and procrastination, it suddenly struck me that I was being absolutely silly.

This time round, I might not have top quality images from Sebastian to aid me in telling my story. My words might not string together to form the most perfect of sentences.

But in the midst of all these imperfections, there nevertheless remains a beautiful story to be told. Just like every dog has its day, every dog has its own unique adoption story to tell.

I shouldn't allow my trivial uncertainties to prevent this story from being told.

So here it is... let me present to you the great big story of a dog called Teeny.

Teeny isn't what most people would recognise as small. But for a mongrel, she was indeed pretty much... tiny.

David and Goliath?

Teeny was once a stray dog roaming the streets together with a group of other smaller sized mongrels, Oscar, Queenie and Yen Yen. All four of them were rescued together and brought to the shelter by their rescuer on a long term boarding basis.

The brownies

I recall showing people around the shelter and introducing our dogs to them. "See that tiny one with the white socks?" I would so often point out. "Yup, that's our Teeny." 

Teeny has always been well-liked at the shelter because of her wonderful temperament. She is gentle, cheerful and affectionate. She loves a good cuddle and is great with children.

To put it simply, Teeny is pretty much the perfect pet. I always suspected that the main stumbling block for her was the fact that she was a mongrel. The reality of being a mongrel meant simply that she was not HDB-approved which cut off many avenues for adoption.

It's funny how lives can be changed in the span of one short day or from the making of one single decision. When Teeny's adopter, Lenne, decided to adopt a dog and not buy one, that changed the course of Teeny's life forever.

The pair of them

The curious thing was... Teeny wasn't Lenne's first pick. When Lenne arrived at the front steps of Gentle Paws, she was first interested in Didi, a Jack Russell who was up for adoption at that time. Fortunately for Teeny, someone else arrived earlier and had first dibs on him.

And so we gently steered her elsewhere. What about Teeny? She's rather small as well. Look how sweet she is. Why don't you take her for a walk?

And from that moment on, everything fell into place. Lenne and her family decided to make Teeny's short 2 day home stay with them a permanent one.

It's been almost one year since Teeny was adopted. Let us just remark what a difference a year makes. With Lenne, Teeny's horizons have widened considerably beyond the four walls of the shelter.

Getting to know you: Teeny's new pal

Not only does Teeny get a warm roof over her head and humans to call her own, Lenne also brings her prawning with her friends, swimming at private dog pools or simply lazing around at dog cafes.

Watching and waiting as the humans catch some prawns

Argh! Swimming is painful!

Chilling out at the dog cafe

Lenne informs me that initially, confronted by the presence of other dogs at the dog cafe, Teeny would hide in one corner and growl at them. But months of socialisation has made Teeny open up.  In her subsequent visits to the dog cafe, instead of huddling herself up in one corner, Teeny has started sniffing and exploring the grounds, even following the other dogs about.

Opening up

What I found particularly poignant was Lenne's observations on this matter. It was very comforting to see Teeny change, she said, it is almost like seeing your kid grow up. 

At 24 this year, Lenne is in essence a young and free spirit. What sacrifices did she have to make in adopting Teeny, I wondered. Did her life change drastically as a result ?

Lenne tells me that she shares the responsibility of caring for Teeny with her younger sister. Sometimes, she has to rush back from outings with friends to feed Teeny and bring her for her walk. Other times, she has to forego family trips overseas so that there was someone around to care for Teeny. She couldn't bear to put Teeny on boarding, even if it was for just a few days.

Never too old for new tricks!

On that note, Lenne cheerfully adds that with every sacrifice comes a far better reward. Teeny's there for her whenever she reaches home from work. Teeny's there for her during every festive season. Teeny's there for her when there is no one else at home. Teeny is there for her when she is sick and feels plain awful.

In short, Lenne informs me emphatically, with Teeny around, she is never alone. Teeny is there for her unconditionally, for better or for worse.

Family time!

I have always believed that the simplest and clearest indicator of  a successful adoption is in where the dog is allowed to sleep at night. It shows plainly the extent to which the dog is accepted and included in the family. Guess where Teeny sleeps?

Time for bed!

Lenne tells me that when Teeny tires of her bones at night, she would jump up on the bed and curl herself up next to Lenne. The thought of Teeny having a clean, warm and cosy place to lay down to sleep each night is an extremely comforting one. This is worlds apart from nights at the shelter, where rats scuttle out from their hiding places and the weather can be harsh and merciless.

Getting down for some serious bone time

It is funny how strays, never previously domesticated, adapt so quickly to life in a human household. Perhaps this is proof that dogs are truly people animals.

Nodding off to sleep

The saying goes that dogs are a man's best friend. But this particular story is about the bond between a homeless dog and one very determined girl. Thank you for making the adoption possible for Teeny, Lenne. Thank you for opening her eyes to a world that she could never have experienced at the shelter. And last but not least, thank you for loving Teeny.

Your journey together has only just begun. Come what may, here at Gentle Paws, we hope that you'll hold on to Teeny and never let go.

This entry could not have been completed without the help of Lenne. Thanks for allowing me to bombard you with so many questions and replying them ever so promptly! Any mistake found in this article is mine and mine alone. 

For adoption and other enquiries, please drop us an email at Our adoption portal can be found


  1. Love this post, thanks for sharing!

  2. Love this post. It's really great to see such post. Hope more and more of furry girls and boys will get this kind of chance, too. :) Thank you for sharing.


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