How have you been?
Don't think we don't know what scrapes you've been getting yourself into! Just so you know, we have been getting updates from Shauna, your Person.
We know you have been chasing squirrels and birds in your garden as if that's your mission in life. We know you have been trying to attack the small dogs in your neighbourhood with an insatiable zest. We know you are still terrible at meal times, still needing to be coaxed to eat your greens. We know you still haven't mustered up the courage to jump into that swimming pool of yours, no matter how inviting it looks.
You are so busy every day chasing your squirrels, going for evening jogs and long walks, hopping on to the car for rides, hiding under the bush to enjoy your bone, rolling about the grass in your garden just for fun... I am sure you don't pause to think about just how lucky you are.
It's not every dog that gets to meet a family like yours. So, while you climb into your comfy bed for the night, don't forget to count your blessings before you slip into doggie dreamland.
I am so happy you've found your family, Dribble boy. The moment your dirty red collar was removed and replaced with your shiny new blue one, I felt like there was a change of guard, a hand over of some sort.
Do you remember that when we first embarked on our weekly walks, you were afraid of everything? Hah. Being Dribble, I am sure you will claim to have no recollection. But hey, there's still me... I remember.
I remember when I lifted the dustbin lid to throw poop on our walks out, you would jump out of your skin in shock when the lid banged back down.
I remember the first time you jumped over one of those little drains along the pavement, your hindlegs fell in and it gave you a scare. We kept practising on the drain and other slightly bigger ones until you became the Master of easy drains.
I remember when I first started walking you, you were unruly! You would walk where you want, how you want, dragging me along in your excitement, like a bossy puppy.
I remember I stumbled across the Dog Whisperer program and was inspired to instill some discipline in you. I would disrupt your precious walk at intervals and press your butt down insistently, adamantly refusing to budge until you sat.
I remember you would sulk and I would sulk and we would both sulk as we walked back to the shelter after those training walks. I would complain to Wee at the end of day about how very difficult you had been and how you were very angry with me.
I remember the first time you sat on command, without the need for treats or cajoling, and the pure joy that took a few seconds to sink in. Sitting became so automatic for you after that. All I needed to do was slow to a stop and tug on the leash... and you would sit. You were an extremely adorable sight sitting by my side at the crossroads as we waited for the traffic light to turn green.
I remember that with practice, I didn't need a leash or collar to let you know we were going for a walk. All I needed to do was to stand by the gate of your compound and call your name. The other dogs would come forward as well but you would always be faster. I would hold open the gate just a little and you would slip out nimbly. This would set off the whole shelter barking in indignation. I would scurry out of your compound sheepishly, put on your collar and leash, grab my bag and together, we would set off.
I remember how the walks grew longer in duration over the years. At first, we stuck to our usual route. But as we gained momentum over time, we began to explore other roads leading out from the shelter. The walks were very enjoyable. We were without a care in the world and our only mission was to put one paw in front of the other to cover new ground.
So Dribble boy, all I want to say is that... my shelter experience would have been very different without you. Building a routine together takes effort and some perseverance. I can't believe we managed.
But that was the limit of what I could do for you... giving you a routine and a meagre bit of stability in your life. A routine is sadly not a warm home with a loving family.
For the life of me, I couldn't understand why nobody paused to really look at you all this time. Beneath all your naughty ways, you are the sweetest dog ever. Don't cringe, Dribs. I'm sorry to inform you that's what you are.
You're more sweet than macho the way you would sidle up next to us on the bench, the way you would rest your head on our laps, the way you would lick our faces approvingly when we looked you in the eye...
You were very easy to love.
I was busy manning the booths at our Adoption Drive/Flea Market last December. I wasn't there to meet Shauna and I didn't promote you vigorously. In fact, one of our regulars warned that you were a handful and perhaps not such a great fit for a first time handler.
When we brought you for your trial homestay at their place, we were also quick to give them a full and frank disclosure of your faults.
Dribble can't get along with other dogs. Dribble is inexhaustible. Dribble is not toilet trained. Dribble might dig the garden. And as Florence would say (to which I wouldn't entirely agree!), the list goes on...
But you won the family over any way. You did it by being you.
And that makes me think that, perhaps it was all meant to be. This family was meant to be yours.
It so happened that they picked you out of so many dogs in need of a home. It so happened that they decided not to adopt a puppy. It so happened that you looked like a dog the family had many years ago. It so happened that they are a big active loving family to provide the exercise and affection you need to keep you happy.
You're Dribble Sim now. You are a part of a family.
Look who's gazing longingly at the turkey at a family dinner over Christmas?
There is Papa Sim who brings you for evening walks after work, Mama Sim who brings you for car rides and impromptu trips to the supermarket, Sister Sim who defends you staunchly whenever anybody thinks your lack of pedigree makes you inferior, Grandmama Sim who coaxes you to eat your meals and plies you with treats, Helper Sim who feeds you, bathes you and clears up after you with nary a complaint.
Best of all, there's your Shauna Sim, your Person... who slept with you on your first night home so you wouldn't be afraid, who brings you for long 5km jogs around the estate, who takes you all around the island to explore new parks, who brings you back to the shelter for visits, who updates us, your worried guardians, about your new life and who basically saw this whole adoption through.
I have always firmly believed that one day, you would be adopted... And then that intangible one day became a very tangible today... Before I know it, it has been more than a month since you left the shelter.
So this is really the end of the Dribble chapter in my shelter story. It's a chapter that has been filled with lots of exasperation but also a lot of laughter and love. The idea that I can no longer expect you to be waiting at the shelter for me to take you out for a walk gets me a little nostalgic.
But the thought of you having a loving active family and a warm cosy home to protect you from the downpours that you hate fills me with a rush of gladness.
With that, it's time to say goodbye.
You have an exciting new life ahead of you, Dribble Sim. You have new friendships to forge and new humans to protect and love, not forgetting all those squirrels and birds to chase.
Please continue worming your way into their hearts the way you have been doing!
In the van, on the way to his home...
And please update your Facebook Page!
See you soon! And be good.
See you soon! And be good.
Dribble has been a shelter dog all his life until he got adopted last December. Dribble turns 3 on February 28.
Photo credits go to Sebas, Jialing and of course, Shauna and family.