I have been around dogs most of my life. But I had a special connection with the dog that had seen me growing – Duda. At the late age of 15, he passed away in Portugal, where I am originally from, at my family's place in March 2017. It wasn't easy to accept his passing, mainly because I was in Singapore at the time. Shortly after Duda's death, I got to know Robert in October 2017, my husband.
Welcoming a puppy into our lives become more present in our minds when we got to know our good friend Lisa in March 2018. She has three lovely senior Singapore Specials, and she told us about Exclusively Mongrels.
Yet, it took us some time to find our apartment and settle our lives before accepting this responsibility. A dog is a lifetime companion, and so this decision could not be made lightly. Robert did not have dogs before, only a cat, but he was eager to have one and learn.
After two years of living together in an apartment next to the Singapore Botanic Gardens, Robert and I decided to take the next step and adopt a dog. We chose to adopt because we do not support the unethical breeding of puppies. From January 2020 onwards, we looked for several non-profit animal welfare organizations in Singapore. It took as some time to adopt a dog as the processes were quite lengthy. But that did not stop us.
In April 2020, we saw that Exclusively Mongrels had just bailed out a litter of seven puppies (!) from the pound that needed help. At that time, we were already working from home due to the coronavirus impact, and so we decided that it would be the perfect timing to help a young rescue dog adjust to his / her new home.
We couldn't physically meet the pups anymore as the social distancing rules had tightened up in Singapore. So, we did a video call with the fosters instead. That's how we got to know "Gus," a 2.5-month-old male pup. He was already microchipped and had his first jabs.
Gus was a lovely pup fostered by Stefanie. She named him after Gus Cruikshank. Gus had a small wound at the back, and he was the only dog at that foster place (the other six siblings had company from other dogs at their fosters). It turns out that Gus was only with Stefanie for a short span of 4 days because we decided quite fast that he was the one that needed the most help. We ran to the Pet Lovers Centre shop to get food supplies, a harness, leash, toys, and a playpen to get ready for his arrival on the next day.
Gus arrived at our place on 10th April 2020, which was Good Friday public holiday. Indeed, this little 2.5-3 kgs pup was truly a blessing. We renamed him to "Dante "inspired by the poet Dante Alighieri due to the 'Inferno' (hell) times that we live in (COVID-19), in addition to loving the movie 'Coco' from Pixar (the dog is called Dante).
After a one-week homestay, we couldn't imagine our lives without this little one anymore. Exclusively Mongrels doesn't have any fixed fee for adoption, but we decided to make a generous donation to contribute to other dogs' welfare.
The first weeks were not easy as Dante was still adjusting to this new lifestyle as a "pet." In general, pups require full supervision. But we did not give up on him. Instead, we put a lot of effort into positive reinforcement training to overcome common puppy problems such as chewing and potty accidents. We also engaged a private trainer to help us with the training process – Mark from Happy Dog Training.
Now that Dante is about eight months old, we can see the results of having invested so much time and effort. Dante is a very confident and friendly pup, and socialization played a significant part in getting a well-behaved furkid. He is now almost 16 kgs.
He loves playing with other dogs & human friends. He also walks well both leashed and off leashed. He doesn't chew on furniture anymore (the teething phase is over!), and he doesn't need us to walk him ten times (short walks almost every hour) anymore. He is now fully grass trained and happy with two long walks per day (at least 1h each) and one short walk at night before sleep.
Dante had already the chance to reunite with some of his siblings. He has met Snickers, Rory, Atlas, and Bailey. Hopefully, he will be able to reunite with Dash and Hunter someday too. Rory's owners live near us, and so Dante often plays with his brother. They can't get enough of each other!
In conclusion, to everyone who is out there considering having a dog: adopting one dog won't change the world, but the world is changed forever for that one dog. Before you decide to buy, please consider checking the non-profit animal welfare organizations near you. There are plenty of furbabies that need help.
Adopt, don't shop!
Cláudia and Robert