I was walking home from POPULAR bookstore through some “lorong” and old “taman” in the Gajah Berang area. Misty appeared like just another mutt on the streets. I have a tendency to call stray animals over and usually the response is to flee or meow/bark defensively (not aggressively).However, early November 2010, this petite little mutt actually turned to investigate the sounds of my call. She happily pranced toward my direction, showing signs of friendliness, which intrigued me.
She had a fuzzy tail and the furs on her body were growing unevenly. The thickest of her fur were on her lower back, with the grain towards her tail and then on her upper back, with grains in separate directions, much like “wings” while rest of her fur was much shorter. She also had this “natural eyeliner” which made her beautiful eyes irresistible.
She came close and leaned against me, as if asking to beloved and patted. And so I did. I believe I ended up spending about more than 15 minutes just playing with her.I had come to realise than she was bony underneath all that fur. She also had a slight limp in her hind leg. That never did stop her from being such a cheery and playful pup. She appeared to be less than a year old from her proportions.
Then it was time for me to leave. It had been about 11 months since my first dog’s passing (RIP Perdita 1999-2009 and former resident of SPCA Melaka) but I wasn’t sure if my family would be willing to take on a new pet. I wondered if we have grieved enough yet.I said goodbye to this nameless little dog and began to walk. She looked at me confused and I kept turning back to look at her, as I was frankly reluctant to leave her. Especially with those puppy dog eyes! She then started to follow me. I couldn’t just shoo her away!
Soon she had already arrived at my front gate. As I opened the gate, I noticed she ran past me and into my compound. Then she turned to look at me wagging her tail. It was as if she was saying “Haha this is MY home now, and YOU are my human!”I noticed my father’s car was parked in the compound so I had to brace myself. While he was the one who brought Perdita into our lives, I wasn’t sure if he would be ready for another dog. I went into the living room (while this small dog wandered around the large compound) and told him what had happened. To my surprise, all he said was “Well, just give her a bath then.”
Words cannot describe my excitement at the moment. I was greatly overjoyed. The little dog must have felt it as well, prancing around me despite her limp following me to where the hose was.She took a nice long nap after her bath. It must have been a relief to be fresh and clean after months on the street.
I introduced her to my mother as soon as she came home from work and the dog greeted her enthusiastically.My mother and I discussed possible names for her. While it has come across our minds to call her “Angel” due to her angelic look, we decided to go for “Misty”. Something about a name like Misty has an air of naivety and child-like outlook on life. That pretty much sums up this little dog.
(Plus, I was a fan of the first and second generation Pokemon series, but that’s another matter altogether.)
She even attempted to jump on the vet playfully and lick his face!
Today, Misty is fully grown and her fur is thick and luscious. She’s as friendly as ever if not more.I am very thankful that she came into my family and adopted US! My parents had been worried that they would have some form of empty nest syndrome after me and my siblings leave home to work and study. Misty filled up that void in their life and became their new “child” to love, care and dote.
Misty has quite a bit of quirks. She’s extremely picky about her food and has a preference for “Lei Cha” to the point of us joking that she’s a Hakka dog. Her trick to getting more food from us, despite already eating her portion for the day, is to forlornly stare into her food bowl then slowly giving us her “puppy dog eyes”. If we were snacking in the living room, she would lean on us and/or nibble and lick our limbs and furniture, as if to tell us that she’s starving, which is far from the truth as she went from 7kg to over 10kg!
My parents say that she’s also a good “therapist” and I can’t say I disagree. Whenever we get into a fight or disagreement, Misty would come to whoever is upset and hugging her for a short moment is an instant mood-lifter. Unlike us human beings, it feels as if dogs just take every day and every moment as they come.
For Misty, every day is something to look forward to. In the morning, she would bark at our bedroom doors to wake us (especially my father, who teaches tennis when the sun rises). If she gains access to our rooms while we’re still asleep, she would hop on-and-off our beds to wake us with a bark or two. She is also most definitely the most punctual of us all! She knows that my father takes her out for a walk in the morning, and then delivering her “wake up calls” comes next. Later in the day, after my mother and I come back from work, she would charge out of the door to greet us all, so much so if one of us isn’t there she would look around the hallway to investigate! Initially she whined when she couldn’t find my mother who had gone back to the car to pick up something.
These days we hide around pillars and make meowing calls to lure her, which she has now enjoyed as a little “welcome home” game. After we’re home, my mother and I would take her out for her evening walk. Later in the evening, without fail, she would join us for television in the family room (though occasionally she would interrupt us with a game of catch). On some nights, she would wait for my mother to go into the bedroom to watch a movie.Before we go to sleep she tries to join us in our bedrooms. Unfortunately, the nocturnal nature of canines makes it quite troublesome! If she spends a couple of hours in the master room, she would wake up at odd hours and decide to join me in the guest room instead. Then in another couple of hours she would choose to go out into the family room. The “routine” can be quite a bother, so we trained her to stay in the family room throughout the night instead.
I suppose pets aren’t all that perfect. But there are so many lessons we can learn from them! Sometimes we should live like dogs (not in the literal sense of course, I don’t think rolling in the dirt after a bath is advisable!). We should be more appreciative of our meals (though maybe not the begging part), be happy to see our loved ones, learn to take delight in the joys of a simple walk and if you feel like relaxing, just lie on your back!
She’s improved so much since she first came to us. From limping and skinny to being “prosperous” and a “trick-whiz”! She’s finally learned for to stand on her hind legs without any support! She has still maintained another endearing quality though, lying down on her back, inviting belly rubs!
We are very blessed to have Misty in our lives. She really inspires me to “get adopted” by more rescues! I am hoping to sell handmade fashion accessories and donate the profits to animal welfare charities. Additionally, I plan on launching Misty’s Facebook fan page (https://fb.com/MistyTheMutt) to promote the rescue and adoption of mongrels and mixed breeds as well as discourage the sale of pets that usually come from puppy mills.
"I honestly cannot imagine what it would be like if Misty had not join us on that fateful day. Whatever it is, fate brought us together and invited a fourth child to our family, bringing not only companionship but also joy and laughter to our everyday lives."