11 summers ago, Angel was a birthday present, Dr Chan arranged, to help with relocation.
That he is still with us, as healthy (and as greedy) as can be, I remain grateful.
Yesterday, the sweetest friend’s uncle passed away. I found out when I awoke from my comatose, jet-lag state. He was an extremely respected man in Singapore, a true philanthropist in action and deed. There is sadness, a feeling of yet another chapter closing. I wonder if there will ever be a younger person, who will rise to a similar stature of giving and gifting again.
Angel was the only dog whom I went with to Obedience Training. I felt if I was going to take care of a large dog, I needed my dog to be even better behaved, so as to not (unintentionally) hurt those around him. At Canine Obedience, I learnt it’s not the dog we’re training, but the human parent. Sit, stay, down, heel, come– a lot is revealed about character, when these commands are practised over and over again.
I taught him fun things I’ve never bothered teaching others. So Angel learnt, roll-over, who’s your mommy, paw. As for Obedience School? I’m convinced Angel graduated on good looks and aristocratic manners.
He really can’t be bothered to come instantly when called. He’s too mellow, too laid-back. Last year he lost his voice. When he tries to speak, he now makes hoarse sounds that resemble coughing. In all his years with us, he’s probably only truly barked once, alerting us then, his best friend Bam Bam had died.
When Bam Bam died, I learnt a dog like us, can feel loss as acutely. I learnt a new level of pain. It’s one thing to experience your dog’s departure. It’s a different degree of burning witnessing one dog, mourn the other.
What else has Angel taught me? Patience. Lie on the couch, and life takes on a changed perspective.
Loyalty. No matter how often I leave, my return is greeted with a joyful love so true. Gentleness, kindness… The daily reminding of slowing down, and smelling the morning dew. I’m an action-driven person who comes alive striding. But God gave me this dreamy dog, more concerned with sniffing every tree on a walk, than dashing and arriving.
I hope my friend’s uncle is allowed rest and peace. The amount of giving he has done for this country is staggering. I know his passing is keenly felt. Looking at my old dog, I think- because we are inadequate and ignorant, God sends angels.