“When we moved into our own place, I thought the time was right to welcome a dog into our lives. My younger daughter was especially keen, so when she did well in her exams last year, we started attending adoption drives. I wanted an older dog as I am a working mum, and preferred not to deal with the boisterous energy of a puppy.
It must have been serendipity that we met Alex on the first adoption drive we attended. Alex was six years old and had a sad history. He was found abandoned but was actually adopted. Unfortunately, he was soon returned to SOSD due to his separation anxiety, incessant barking, and poor toilet habits. However, it was love at first sight for my daughter, so we put our names down on the list.
When Martin from SOSD called and said we could bring Alex home for a trial homestay, I quickly made an appointment with a dog trainer. I was determined to start things right and took copious notes! I took leave for the next few weeks and followed the trainer’s instructions.
The honest truth is that it wasn’t easy and it was immensely frustrating. Alex was insecure and couldn’t be left alone for even a few minutes without barking madly and soiling the floor.
When it was time to decide whether I was going to adopt, I honestly couldn’t say yes. I was trying my best but wasn’t seeing results, so I requested more time to work with Alex and finish the training sessions.
The next couple of months were rocky, but slowly, things got better. One morning, I woke up and realised that Alex had not barked throughout the night. He was even sleeping quietly in his bed! The change was real – Alex was noticeably better behaved. Even my neighbours and guests agreed!
We have come a long way and Alex is still work-in-progress. He occasionally still makes me mad (peeing on the sofa), but he frequently makes us laugh (zipping around like a torpedo after baths) and always, always makes us smile (just being his usual silly self). He has finally accepted his place in our family, and we recognise him fully as a member of our family. My husband, who was not a big fan of dogs, has also had his heart won over.
I recently made tags for Alex, engraved with the full name we have christened him with: Alex S. Barker. S stands for all the things Alex can be: Smart, Stubborn, Super, Sulky, Silly, Sneaky, Sassy, and sometimes just Siao (Hokkien for mad)!
I encourage anyone who’s thinking of having a dog to adopt instead of buying. More importantly, give older dogs a chance. They can definitely be trained, and have just as much love to give as younger dogs. In fact, we are now considering adopting another older dog as a companion for Alex!”
– Alex’s adopter