Archive for the ‘dogs’ Category

Remember my little dog Sam?  He’s going to be 3 in May.Sammie-6

Like most dogs, Sammie was born with a pair of sparkly black eyes.  And he was a perfectly healthy, normal, active occasionally naughty fellow like every other dog that you probably have ever met.

Shortly after Sammie’s second birthday I took him to a park at Lower Pierce Reservoir where I kept him on a leash and we sat on the bench overlooking the reservoir enjoying a quiet evening.my sweet baby

As with all nice parks, people will bring their nice dogs to a nice park.  A lady with her Standard Poodle and Miniature Poodle came trotting over with tails wagging towards me and Sam.  The owner was several metres behind and her dogs were NOT ON LEASH.  Sammie, being the usual friendly fellow, welcomed them with happy wagging tail.

WITHOUT WARNING, her Standard Poodle had reached my dog and me and before I could react, he had bitten Sam on the head tearing out his left eyeball.dog attack

Yes when it happened she was shocked.  She and her husband accompanied me to the animal hospital.  They paid all the hospital bills.  SHE CRIED, SAID HER DOG NEVER ATTACKED ANYTHING IN HIS LIFE.  They said they were SORRY.

Yes I remember that they said sorry while Sam screamed and cried all the way to the hospital.  I remembered they said sorry when then the vet told us she couldn’t save his eye.  I remembered they said sorry while I watched him sleeping in his cot whimpering in his sleep.  I remembered they said sorry when I couldn’t make Sam walk.  He peed in his bed and didn’t dare to take a single step for two entire days after he was discharged from hospital.  I remembered they said sorry when he refused to eat, refused to drink, yelped out in surprise everytime I walked by his left side.  They said sorry when I brought Sam repeatedly to the vet because his wounds wouldn’t heal.  Yes I remembered they said sorry when I realised that it was really impossible for me to ever again bring Sam to a doggie cafe, to a doggie run, to the dog beach, to a doggie birthday because everytime I see a dog approach Sam, I just panic.  And while they are probably somewhere out there happily walking their dog all I have are their sincerest apologies for every time that I feel sad whenever Sam gives me a cheeky one-eyed smile.

Sammie too scared to walk after the attack stayed on his cot and peed in it, refusing to go anywhere unless we carried him

If I could go back to that evening almost a year ago, I would do anything to be standing where she was standing, having done anything to prevent her dog from coming near.  I want to stand there in disbelief.  And say that I had NEVER ATTACKED ANYTHING IN MY LIFE.  I want to say that I WAS SORRY.  I was SORRY I hurt your dog.  I was SORRY I couldn’t give you back your dog.  I was SORRY you DIDN’T LEASH YOUR DOG so that this wouldn’t have to happen.

Big dog owners have actually tried to tell me that Sammie might have provoked an attack as logically and calmly as how some people ask rape victims whether they had done anything to trigger an attack.  Do these people go up to parents whose children have been mauled by dogs that their children might have provoked a vicious attack?  No.  They will just say they are SORRY.

How many times have I heard big dog owners say that their dogs have never hurt a fly?  They say that and then when something happens, they add on a sentence: They’re SORRY.  SO SORRY.  So SORRY your child was hurt.  So SORRY your dog was hurt.  So SORRY you were hurt.

I’d rather hear that you were out there and that it was your INTENTION to get someone hurt.  That you liked to see it happen.  That you wanted it to happen and that you were not SORRY that it happened.  That whatever small useless dog or small defenseless child deserved it because they must have jumped on your dog, they must have pulled its ears, they must have been noisy, irritating, something.

That way I’d know that nobody suffered because you were merely ignorant, you were merely stupid, careless, and that every ounce I hate I feel towards you and every legal step I take to ensure that your dog is destroyed was justified.

Leash your dog.  Such a simple act.  That way we can be friends.  We can talk and I can get to know how your large best friend is more love than fur and teeth.  I want to meet you first before your dog, not the other way round.  Then I know that I can trust your dog and you can trust mine.  If all goes well, Sammie could have a friendly giant for a friend and your big dog could have a tiny buddy.

Is that so difficult?  Just a simple clip of the leash.  So many tears need not have been wasted.  And there would not be any need for SORRY.

We made a short trip to Krabi, one of the popular tourist destinations in Thailand.  Instead of scuba diving, we spent 3 nights at Phanom Bencha National Park in search of Thai butterflies and one night at Phanom Bencha mountain resort to get ourselves nearer to butterflies on the fringes of the national park.  Again, since there is plenty of online publications about Phanom Bencha, you can look up the map and other general information here.

Destroy all signs.  If you destroy one sign, it's probably not a big deal.  However, if you destroy ALL signs, you're in big trouble.  Not easy to find and destroy all the signs all over the park though.

Destroy all signs. If you destroy one sign, it’s probably not a big deal. However, if you destroy ALL signs, you’re in big trouble. Not easy to find and destroy all the signs all over the park though.

I will however include the park rules here… because they are so interesting.

Cepora iudith (Orange Gull)

Cepora iudith (Orange Gull) – the first butterfly to greet us just outside the bungalow.

As with most butterfly trips, this trip has too many photos to post in one post so you’re going to see this trip in parts.  For this part, we will cover the trails around Phanom Bencha National Park.

Cheritra freja freja  (Common Imperial)

Cheritra freja freja (Common Imperial) – hanging out on a tree behind the bungalow

As with most parts of Thailand, the locals are always friendly and offer top notch service. But it was with much surprise that unlike the diving spots, not many Thai in the mountains understand English. Nonetheless, it did not stop them from doing their best to understand what we were trying to say.

Burara oedipodea (Branded Orange Awlet)

Burara oedipodea (Branded Orange Awlet)

A lot of the road signs and even park instructions were also in Thai. However, via iPad pictures and lots of charade skills, we managed to find our way around.

A malayana looking knight flying across the rocks

A malayana looking knight flying across the rocks

Thanks to Antonio Giudici, a naturalized Italian living in Koh Phangan with his lovely family, we managed to get a lodge within Phanom Bencha national park for 3 nights at only 600 baht a night.

Polyura delphis (Jewel Nawab) - A very beautiful butterfly puddling on the grounds leading up to the waterfall

Polyura delphis (Jewel Nawab) – A very beautiful butterfly puddling on the grounds leading up to the waterfall

The park is run by a Director and Deputy Director and at first glance, the park looks more like Singapore Botanical Gardens with its carefully manicured lawns and dog-tagged trees.  The park is staffed by friendly locals who mostly live within or in the village just outside the park.  Each day, the staff will don a different colorful shirt to work.  On Mondays, they wear a bright yellow. On Tuesdays, a pretty pink.  On Saturdays, they wear white.  On Sundays, green.  They also unanimously wear blue and brown on other days.

Phalanta alcippe alcippoides (Leopard)

Phalanta alcippe alcippoides (Leopard)

They are also very meticulous about leaves.  On Sunday, we witnessed a large scale effort to sweep and pick up just about every fallen leaf within the park grounds.  This took naturally, from as early as 8 in the morning to as late as 4 in the afternoon without actually succeeding in doing so.

immaculate lawns around the bungalow

immaculate lawns around the bungalow

We believe they have their reasons.  We noticed a good number of deadly snakes during our stay, including a Cobra that lived outside our bungalow in a dead tree stump and at least 3 water snakes.  The guide also informed us not to stray into the lower waterfall areas at night as it is known that a boa constrictor frequents the area looking for fish.  This in spite of the meticulousness in keeping the park clean of leaf litter communities.

Parantica aspasia aspasia (Yellow glassy tiger)

Parantica aspasia aspasia (Yellow glassy tiger)

Because of this, however, night activity was devoid of scorpions, centipedes, spiders and other interesting creepy crawlies.  We found, however, a whole load of cicadas stuck on park trees in various stages of undress (moulting into full grown adults).  As a result of this, and also because the canteen closes at 4.30pm, we were banished to the room by 5 (butterfly activity also ceased by around then), where we would have only each other’s company, a few Choco pies and the park stray for entertainment.

The Peacock butterfly

Papilio palinurus (The Peacock butterfly)

That said, there are a huge number of Pallid Fawns in the National Park.  And a huge number of Batik Spiders.  Both of which are almost always seen at most hours of the waking day.

Pallid fawn getting eaten by a batik spider

Pallid fawn getting eaten by a batik spider

Melanocyma faunula faunula (Palid Faun) - Getting it on and creating more Pallid Fawns

Melanocyma faunula faunula (Palid Faun) – Getting it on and creating more Pallid Fawns

The park stray, whom I call Xiao Huang (small yellow), for her fluffy yellow coat and sweet demeanor and brown eyes, comes from a pack of 3 uber-friendly strays that have a penchant for following visitors on their treks with so much as a friendly pat on the head.

Losaria coon doubledayi (Common Clubtail)

Losaria coon doubledayi (Common Clubtail)

Losaria coon doubledayi (Common Clubtail) topside

Losaria coon doubledayi (Common Clubtail) topside

Xiao Huang, for reasons I could not fathom, for i didn’t have so much as a salt lick on me, followed me up a steep rock face on the 8th tier of the Huai To waterfall and while I was embarrassingly clinging on to the rock face unable to proceed any further and unwilling to give up, sweetly lopped down to a small foothold and encouraged me to make a decision.

The rock face I was attempting to climb with full gear and a dog

The rock face I was attempting to climb with full gear and a dog

"Please just climb down.  I promise not to laugh at you."

“Here.  Just put down your big camera, get down on all fours and follow me!”

At night, Xiao Huang would sleep on the bungalow porch and even on our last morning at the park, followed us to fetch the luggage and see us off.

Graphium eurypylus (Great Jay)

Graphium eurypylus (Great Jay)

Graphium doson (Common Jay)

Graphium doson (Common Jay)

Graphium arycles (Green Jay)3

Graphium arycles (Green Jay)3

There are several trails around Huai To waterfall.  On the trail leading to the waterfall, there is a patch where many different Jays hang out (as you can see above).  There is one strangely named Dog Slide Hill, which is a very steep climb.  Perhaps this is where the limits of the agile park strays was severely tested and they slid down the hill.  The map of the trails are as below:

dog slide nature trail map

dog slide nature trail map

Besides these trails, there are two others that we explored.  One, a rocky traipse to a small Sa Khe waterfall, winding through a maze of huge trees with buttresses the size of Singapore flats and boulders the size of houses.nelson for size

This was where we photographed a Blue Begum feeding on a penile shaped fungus.  And another, a very steep 750m climb up to The Viewpoint also weaving through huge trees.  The start to these two trails start from behind the canteen area.

Prothoe franck vilma (Blue Begum)

Prothoe franck vilma (Blue Begum)

The area yielded different butterflies on different days.  So be prepared to start thinking on the first day of little more than Pallid fawns that maybe you might have made a mistake in thinking that this was prime butterfly grounds.

Neorina lowii neophyta (Malayan Owl)

Neorina lowii neophyta (Malayan Owl)

On the first day we saw very little, the Yellow Gull and plenty of Malay Yeomans.

Euthalia monina monina (Malay Baron)

Euthalia monina monina (Malay Baron)

Euthalia monina monina (Malay Baron)

Euthalia monina monina (Malay Baron)

On the second day we still didn’t see much and so we went on the Sa Khe trail and shot the Blue Begum there.

Euploea camaralzeman

Euploea camaralzeman

We had the most activity on the third day.  And the sky was a cloudless blue.

Polyura hebe chersonesus

Polyura hebe chersonesus

Taxila haquinus berthae (The Larger Harlequin) -  shot on Sa Khe waterfall trail

Taxila haquinus berthae (The Larger Harlequin) – shot on Sa Khe waterfall trail

Drupadia ravindra boisduvalii

Drupadia ravindra boisduvalii

Drupadia ravindra boisduvalii (2)

Drupadia ravindra boisduvalii (2)

Chersonesia risa risa (Common Maplet)

Chersonesia risa risa (Common Maplet)

Charaxes bernadus crepax (Tawny Rajah)

Charaxes bernadus crepax (Tawny Rajah)

Of significant note was the trail just to the right of the waterfall trail where we came across the Tinsel butterfly.

This trail is marked by this bridge

This trail is marked by this bridge

Catapaecilma major emas

Catapaecilma major emas

Besides photography, it’s absolutely essential to go stand in one of the waterfalls under the blast of the water or sit in the pools and allow your mind to wander.

Amblypodia narada taooana (Blue Leaf Blue)

Amblypodia narada taooana (Blue Leaf Blue)

Here are more shots of the beautiful scenery around the Huai To waterfall:

the larger tiers of Huai To waterfall

the larger tiers of Huai To waterfall

Guess what is on the tree?  Stay tuned to Part 3 to find out.

Guess what is on the tree? Stay tuned to Part 3 to find out.

Xiao Huang on the rocks

Xiao Huang on the rocks

Xiao Huang waiting for me

Xiao Huang waiting for me

waterfall sprayNext up: Phanom Bencha Mountain Resort.  Stay tuned!

My little Papillon is all grown up.  I heard their ears are supposed to slow down so that the rest of the body can catch up but it looks like his ears have continued to grow!  But look how elegant and refined he is now, trotting past the sofa he used to knock into and pee on without any shadow of the childish fluffy puppy that he once was.

Attempting to expose my little dog to as many sights, sounds and experiences, I brought him curling and whining to a crowded beach where he could get some exercise, enjoy the romp in the sand and have small children come up to want to be friends with him.  Since he always looked like he was struggling hard whenever he was in the water, I got him a life jacket for tiny dogs (Chihuahuas and the like) and strapped him in. However, he doesn’t seem to realise that he won’t sink if he stops moving his paws.  In fact, his paws continue to paddle in mid-air even when lifted about a feet off the water.  Occasionally he would jump right into the water with you.  But most times he would just curl near the water’s edge with or without a life jacket on and refuse to get in.

By the by, my little dog is getting prettier everyday and the incidence of people inquiring whether he is a lovely little girl increases.  His black fringes have begun to grow on the flanks of his body under his brown fur, on the start of his tail and around his huge ears.  His hocks have also begun to grow out as with the fur on the chest.  Sadly, however, his little star blazer on his forehead which I loved so much when he was a puppy has disappeared into a thin sliver of white!

The Rose

Posted: January 8, 2011 in butterflies, dogs, papillon
Tags: , ,
 
The Prince and The Rose

What’s a Prince to do with a Rose?

Smell test

 

Taste Test

The Prince was given a sparkly star.

Wear it on the head. See what it feels like

Small rose

HUGE rose

 

OK you're good let's hang out

Papillon High Fashion

Posted: January 5, 2011 in butterflies, dogs, papillon
Tags: , ,

Front view

What’s there to do if a photographer keeps getting shut indoors with rain falling on all the small windows of available weekends?  Nothing better than snuggling up with your lil Papillon watching the rain streak down the windows over a warm mug of milo.

Side View

And what better thing to do out of boredom than dress up your poor puppy?  But who out there provides nice clothes for dogs without busting your wallet?  Daiso sells doggies clothes, unfortunately mostly for girl dogs, including this nice little blue raincoat whose hood is too small to go properly over the Furry Prince’s perky butterfly ears.  The damage?  TWO DOLLARS.  S$2.  Everything in Daiso sells for $2.  YAY!

I love my new raincoat! Now can I go out and play in the rain?

Still, any more expensive raincoat would still not warrant allowing my little prince out into the storm so he has to contend with jumping up and down and tearing around the house and getting under my feet and making me spill my hot drinks while I amble heavily to the couch.

back view

Such a good looking fella. He’s going to break some doggie hearts when he grows up.

A Lone Malayan Eggfly

2nd day of the new year and thick into the monsoon period, I thought the butterflies might be random and few.  Having owed the Furry Prince a big debt of numerous walks after spending too much time in one of the worst places on earth (hospital) watching sick people in their beds, I decided I’d better bring him on a mighty long walk before he got bored and peed on every single piece of furniture he could raise his little leg over.

I'm on guard duty! ^*^

This is not my Papillon’s first long walk.  He’s almost an adult but not quite.  But this would be his first baby trek (it is considered one of the easiest treks) that completely drained him of all his puppy energy and promptly set his furry head down to sleep the moment his paws touched the floor of his crate.  The trek took about 2+ hours during which the Furry One frequently stopped to do some heavy weight training.

Monopod? Piece of cake!

I tied him to my monopod when I spotted a Blue Spotted Crow puddling unawares on the stony ground.  Down! Stay! Stay now… Mummy’s gotta get that pretty butterfly in her lens ok? Few seconds later, the butterfly dog was by my side having dragged the monopod with every ounce of puppy power from his tiny 2kg frame.

Papillons are stronger than they look O_O

 OK.  So I decided to try tying him to my whole camera set up, which weighed a few times more than the dog.  I thought there’s no way a small dog like that can drag the entire thing across such terrain.  Again, few seconds later, he had dragged the entire setup a few feet to get to my side, much to the horror of both Canon and myself.  The only weight that he could not drag was the full 7kg of my entire National Geographic bag and its contents which would put it at almost 4 times the bodyweight of my Papillon.

So you think all small dogs are pushovers?  Think again.  Meantime, check out these commercial free videos of how a tiny occasionally annoying Chihuahua gets away with living with a Doberman without getting turned into dog chow: http://ramseyandpablo.com/

Life’s Best Coincidence

Posted: December 5, 2010 in butterflies, dogs
Tags: , ,

(At dog obedience class, a toy alligator waddles by threateningly…)

Silky: “Are you gonna get that?”

Furry Prince: “Naw.  Are you?  I will if you will…”

Me (to Furry Prince): “Don’t even think about it!”

The Furry Prince demonstrating the word "stay".

There’s a reason why the Furry Prince is ranked No. 8 on AKC’s ranks of smartest dogs.  Cos he learns quick as a born fighter pilot takes to the skies.  In fact, he must be the second smartest person in my life to understand all my life’s habits (the first was my Mum).  In fact, he even knows better than I do about my bowel and bladder movements than I do about his.  It must be cos he’s at the toilet faster than I can get there.  He’s in my room faster than I can bring him there and he’s almost out of the door faster than I can get him there.  Only that he doesn’t cos he’s learnt from only two times when I’ve frowned at him that I don’t like him running out of the house away from me on the road or in the carpark.  He goes everywhere I go and he knows where I’m going before I even head there.

The Furry Prince gets a new stuffed toy donut!

And he doesn’t mind that I can’t get him expensive toys or a leather leash and collar.  He accepts everything with wags and kisses and he doesn’t even mind my bad hair days.  He doesn’t make fun of my laugh, my smile and he doesn’t play mind games with me to my detriment.  He doesn’t judge me when I decide to use crate training which involves him being in a crate or harshly put, a cage for hours when I’m away.  He doesn’t make snide remarks about me and say I should be hated, topping even a long time “friend” who quietly pretended not to say anything and then diss me openly in front of other people.  Shows how much better dogs are than certain human beings.  But then the Furry Prince is better than most human beings.  I’m sure.  He patiently teaches me how to teach him and we think that we are the trainers! 

The Furry Prince playing peek a boo at my study table

He’s never impatient, he never loses his temper and he never snaps at me.  He never complains when he goes with me to obedience class, when I bring him to doggie cafes, bring him out for very long walks and bring him out to meet other dogs.  He’s more than the dog accessory to be left at home.  He has needs some of which more important than my free time such as patient professional education, early socialisation, plenty of exercise and interaction.  Something which I don’t understand why some people who say they love dogs don’t get.  He’s incredulously content to stay by my side for hours even on a freed leash while I’m preparing for exams.  Everytime I look at him incredulously still lying there, wandering around my ankles, my study table, playing with his chew toys after 2, 3, 4, 5 hours, he just looks back at me with those bright eyes, ready for me to say that it’s time to go for a walk or that it’s time to play or cuddle.  And even though I sometimes hide his toys, he’ll find them again and bring them straight back to me to stay by my side.  

The Furry Prince and the hammerhead shark have a love hate relationship

Some people believe that dogs are only there for food and shelter and because of their dependence on us.  But the Furry Prince proves them all wrong.  Between a nice dinner and just following me around while I do something boring to tears like cleaning the house, he’d choose the latter.  And many times he’d done that, much to my dismay (and the dismay of Burp!… thought they had the best tasting dog food).  The lengths I’d gone to to make him eat.  I’d even had to feed him once with my fingers.  Anything to make me stay.  And again, the Furry Prince has taught me to “stay!”  When I stopped listening to his commands, he’d had to eat in his crate.  And he’ll flip the empty bowl upside down and jump up and down on it without fail to let me know that he was done (he doesn’t bark to call us.  Unless a stranger is standing outside our door.  The many times the newspaper guy and Mac Donald’s delivery guy jumped out of their skin.)

when he gets bored, he twirls himself multiple times around my ankle and then asks for a belly rub

And it’s 5.49a.m. in the morning and I’d been studying all night and the Furry Prince’s been up refusing to sleep until I’ve gone to bed.  There must be many great things in life that I’ve not yet experienced and may never get to experience but having a friend who surpasses all friends must one of the best things that God has ever given to Man and especially to me.  I sometimes think I must have done something good to have the Furry Prince.  All the choices made by the people who’d gone through that store, all the distance he’d travelled from Australia, of all the littermates, of all the millions of people in Singapore, he was chosen to be mine.