Andrew T Edwards

Human parent. Fur parent. Same. Same

We got a new puppy. His name is Freddy and he’s a golden retriever. Freddy is the sweetest little thing, and it’s been an interesting adjustment getting used to him in our family. 
His first week – pretty cute right?
Overall, he’s pretty easy going, but the highlights include slipping over in his piss several times, or walking into a dark room only to feel soft turd squishing between my toes. Ugh, so revolting.
We seem to be getting close to the end of that phase now…. I hope so.
Anyhoo, I always had dogs growing up in Australia, but it wasn’t a community affair. We all lived in houses and you took your dog for a walk, barely seeing another human or dog in the process. However, when it comes to dogs in Singapore, it’s all about community.
Most people tend to live in apartments here, and outside our gaff there is a huge grass area and the dogs and dog-parents in our strip of condos meet there for play, morning and evening, every single day. Before Freddy, we had interacted with the doggy community, but without a beloved fur-pet of our own, we were definitely not part of the clan.
Oh how that’s changed.
We are now in the club and for the first time in a long time, I recall what it’s like being pregnant or after just giving birth. Once again, I have opened myself up to the advice of strangers.
“Has he had his immunizations? He seems to be a little young to be out here?”
Me: he’s fine, otherwise I wouldn’t bring him here.
“Is he eating OK? He seems a little thin?”
Oh yes, he eats like a horse and it feels like he’s doubled in size and weight since we brought him home.
The evening community starts to gather
“You have to be aware of ticks in Singapore.”
Yes, I’m aware.
“I’ll give you my veterinarian’s name. He’s the best in Singapore.”
Oh we’ve had a vet here for four years now and we love them. No problem.
On it goes. Unsolicited advice. From concern in our family’s inability to adjust, to advice on the true responsibility of owning a dog – yes dogs aren’t just for Christmas I want to say. But I don’t. I smile, say thank you, look super interested, run away if I see certain people coming my way, smile some more, and slowly accept that being welcomed into a clan comes with strings attached.
Everyone is well meaning, of course, and I love the communal passion for the animals in our care. But please, I’ve raised two boys, we’ve only had one broken bone, they’re strong, healthy, confident and mostly kind to others, they understand that respect is important – for themselves and others – and well, does it get any harder than raising humans?
A final Freddy smile
I don’t think it does. Freddy is a breeze by comparison and he’s a welcome, happy addition to our family. I have to say it’s lovely coming home to the happiest little dude in the world every day, especially as my boys have started to move into the phase of complete ambivalence towards their parents….
So we’re doing alright thanks and I promise, this is going to be one loved-up and spoilt little dog, integrated into every single aspect of our lives, as a fur baby should be. 
It isamazing to re-enter the world of unsolicited advice though. It all comes from the right place. Always important to remember that.
Anyone else relate?
Yours, without the bollocks
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