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Kermit: The First 100 Days


The trials and tribulations of owning our first proper pet.


My job involves me watching a lot of news. I am essentially the ‘Asian correspondent’ for the Tribunist, as well as a writer for Addicting Info, however, the Tribunist position was confirmed via a phone call so I’m not sure if they realised they gave that job to a big, white guy. The website is based in the US and I’m provided material to write, but they also want me to cover stories that might not get much media coverage in the United States, as well as breaking news stories due to the fact that Singapore is 12 hours ahead of the east coast of the US. As a result, quite often while I’m writing I have CNN on in the background, but if it get’s a bit dull, ie. Inside Africa or Quest Means Business is showing, or if it is just a slow news-day, I’ll put on some music or change to Fox News for the laughs.

One of the top stories that has been almost on a continuous loop for the past two weeks or so is Donald Trump‘s first hundred days as president. So, what is the significance of the ‘First Hundred Days?’ Again, according to Wikipedia:

The first hundred days of a first-term presidency of a President of the United States are sometimes used to measure the successes and accomplishments of a president during the time that the president’s power and influence are at their greatest. The term was coined in a July 24, 1933, radio address by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, although he was referring to the 100-day session of the 73rd United States Congress between March 9 and June 17, rather than the first 100 days of his administration.

This got me thinking; it’s been about 100 days since our first dog, Kermit, arrived so I figured it would be fun to look back on the successes and accomplishments she has made in that time. I’m going to loosely base it on Wikipedia’s model for the first hundred days of Donald Trump’s presidency, so here goes…

First 100 days of Kermit’s life as a pet

Anna and myself both grew up with pet dogs so we decided a long time ago that we wanted one. In fact, we had already chosen a name for it before we were even close to buying one; ‘Kermit’. That’s right, Kermit the Dog. We just thought the name was so funny and stupid that it would be perfect for the type of dog we wanted, which was a French bulldog. When we did a bit of research we found out there was a tiny problem — Singapore likes to make a bunch of rules for everything, including a list of approved dog breeds for people that live in HDBs, meaning that we couldn’t purchase a dog that isn’t approved and French bulldogs aren’t on that list, most likely due to the “bulldog” bit:

SPCAHDBDogList

That explains why there are so many ugly dogs in this country

There was, however, a loophole; there is no law against crossbreeds so we could get a ‘frug.’ A frug is a cross between a French bulldog and a pug and it just so happens that pugs are on the approved dog list so it was decided that Kermit the Dog would in reality become Kermit the Frug. An even better pun than we could have ever hoped for.

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We didn’t expect this thing to become Kermit

Buying a dog from a pet shop in Singapore can be a pretty frightening experience, because the dogs quite often come from puppy mills, which is beyond a little disturbing if you take the time to read that article. We knew that we were heading back to Australia at Christmas so Anna started doing her research and found a bunch of breeders in both Gippsland, where my family live, and around Melbourne, where we would predominantly be spending our time. The breeders all seemed quite reputable with photos of puppies they had available, such as the one pictured to the left. So it was decided,  we would visit my family as well as our friends at Christmas as intended, but we would also be purchasing a frug as well.

Before long Christmas Eve was here and it was time to fly to Australia. We landed in Melbourne, rented a car and drove down to my parents’ place in Traralgon, Victoria. The plan was the same as every other time I’ve returned to Traralgon for Christmas — Christmas day would be at my parents’ house, Boxing Day would be a party at Owen‘s parents’ place, and then we would head back to Melbourne the next day, but we also had to fit a few other things in — Anna’s dad was arriving in Melbourne on Boxing Day and traveling down to spend a few nights with my parents before meeting back up with us in Melbourne later in the week. We also had to travel out to a breeder, Danglo Puppy Adoptions, in the tiny town of Munro, Victoria, on the 27th before heading back to Melbourne.

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Meeting Kermit for the first time

December 27th soon rolled around, so we had breakfast with Anna’s dad, visited an old friend of mine and then drove over an hour in the opposite direction to Melbourne to get to a farm at the end of a dirt road in Munro to see some dogs. They had a lot of different breeds available and Gloria, the woman who owns the place, really took care of these dogs. Imagine the smell of walking into a shed where puppies a bred in rural Australia in the middle of summer. Well, you imagined wrongly, because this place didn’t smell at all! There were fans everywhere, it was cool and clean and the woman took us over to the frugs. There were three pups remaining that were ¼ pug / ¾ French bulldog; two males and a female. The males were jumping and yapping, however, the female was just sitting up the back looking at us and we wanted a female anyway because they are generally cleaner. The owner then took us over to see the parents of the pup and it was soon clear — Anna and I had just found Kermit on the first attempt. We went inside, got all the medical and vaccination history, paid the cash and Kermit was ours. The only problem was that at that time, Kermit was only 10 weeks old, would need more shots at three months and wouldn’t be able to be flown over to Singapore for two weeks after that so we wouldn’t have her until January 25, just two days before we flew out to London, en route to Denmark and Sweden. Fortunately, Anna had several friends who were willing to stay over and take care of her.

We were more than a little excited on January 25 and at around 7pm we received a call from Kev Posh Pet Services telling us that our Kermit had arrived safely in Singapore. We were now dog owners. There is no quarantine period in Singapore for dogs born and raised in Australia or Canada so she was able to come straight to our place and she arrived at about 9pm. For the next two days until we flew out and our friends, Haruka and Elaine, took over before our return, we’d be in charge of this little girl:

Haruka and Elaine did a fantastic job of looking after Kermit during the 10 days that we were away and now that you know the background, lets get to the nuts and bolts of Kermit’s successes and accomplishments, as well as a few other details, during her first 100 days of being our pet.

Health
When we got off the plane in London on the 28th of January, Anna had a message on her phone from Haruka saying that Kermit had suffered a cherry eye and she was taking her to the vet. So, what is a cherry eye?

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Kermit’s cherry eye

Cherry eye is a disorder of the nictitating membrane (NM), also called the third eyelid, present in the eyes of dogs and cats. Cherry eye is most often seen in young dogs under the age of two. In many species, the third eyelid plays an essential role in vision by supplying oxygen and nutrients to the eye via tear production. Normally, the gland can evert without detachment. Cherry eye results from a defect in the retinaculum which is responsible for anchoring the gland to the periorbita. This defect causes the gland to prolapse and protrude from the eye as a red fleshy mass. Problems arise as sensitive tissue dries out and is subjected to external trauma Exposure of the tissue often results in secondary inflammation, swelling, or infection. If left untreated, this condition can lead to Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) and other complications.

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Cone of shame

As you would’ve just read, if it was left untreated it could have caused some serious problems, but fortunately it wasn’t a huge deal, Anna was able to massage it back into place each time it came out. It was going to require surgery, however, she was too young to go under a general anaesthetic so it would have to wait a couple of months until she was to be spayed (right). There was a minor setback, though; Anna the OCD ophthalmologist had been massaging her eyelid in a little too well and the vet wasn’t initially sure if they could operate on it at first, but they managed to fix it. Besides that, there haven’t been any problems.

Temperament and Behaviour
Kermit is a really quiet dog that almost never barks, but she makes up for it in other ways; she snores, snorts and farts. A lot. Dogs like this are known for snoring and breathing heavily, but Kermit takes it to a whole new level. When we first got her Anna had ordered quite a few different types of dog food, but when we gave her one that was made with seafood she sat on our couch and let go of a silent fish-fart that you could almost taste every few minutes for at least three hours. These things were so rancid I started to feel sick after a while. She still farts now, she was doing them the other night while we were eating at the outdoor area of a Japanese restaurant and they were pretty bad, but the worst ones are when we are taking her somewhere in an Über or a taxi. More than a little embarrassing.
As for the snoring or snorting, the breeder told us to expect this. She had already checked the dog’s nose and it was fine, but she said they still do it, she just won’t have any breathing problems. Anyway, when she is carrying anything in her mouth for an extended period of time, especially going upstairs, she snorts. As for sleeping, she has a habit of half-closing her eyes, laying with her tongue hanging out and doing this, but usually a lot louder (just ignore whatever crap Anna has playing in the background):

In general, Kermit’s a cool dog, pretty relaxed and not aggressive at all, however, she does have bursts of madness where she’ll adopt a psychotic, blank expression and just sprint with no direction or purpose, whether she is inside or out. If it is outdoors she will just do a massive circle as round as her leash will allow, but if it is indoors she will bounce off walls, jump off tables, run under the couch and slam into objects until she’s tired. Her leash extends to about five metres (15′) long and one time I was walking her outside in a field in a pair of shorts when she began doing this. I received the most painful rope-burn in the back of my knee that day!

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We’re losing her, Kermit’s about to go crazy!

When Kermit was teething there was nothing she wouldn’t chew on. She’s getting slightly better now, but she is still nowhere near stopping completely. Anna spoils this dog like you wouldn’t believe — She has toys, bones, snacks, stuffed toys, bits of rope, but some days Kermit craves the taste of a wall, a chair leg, a doorway, some power cables, the corner of my computer’s monitor, that type of thing. Her favourite was to go where our washing was drying and take underwear off the racks. Several times a day, Kermit would blindly run into the living room with bra flailing over her head, the cups obscuring her vision, but now we’ve fenced that area off. We also give her these dried rib bones to chew on and initially she would gnaw on the same one for a couple of days, leaving a few bone fragments laying around our apartment. Now they last a couple of minutes. She’ll just stare you dead in the eye while chewing these things and all you can hear is the sound of bones grinding and cracking, eating them like Pringles. It’s quite disturbing. Another problem now is that she’s a bit of an attention-whore and if she isn’t getting enough, she is now large enough to reach up onto benches and tables and just take whatever she wants, whether it is a piece paper or clothing. Last night she had Anna’s credit card in her mouth.

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Scarface (actually, she was just chewing on a wall).

The only other time she goes crazy is if she sees another dog. Most dogs will sniff each other, do that weird canine yin-yang thing in an effort to reach the other’s butt, but Kermit tends to go a little nuts. It’s the only time she ever really barks and she will pull as hard on her leash as she can until she is standing upright on two legs, but not in an aggressive way, she’s just excited. We found out off another owner that French bulldogs are known for playing quite roughly, but we also figured that out the hard way last week. When we travel we will be putting Kermit in what is essentially a dog-hotel, but they also do a daycare thing too so we decided to take Kermit there once a week to get her used to being around other dogs. Last Wednesday was her second time there and Anna received a call saying that Kermit was bitten on the face by another dog because she would not leave her alone and the dog just got tired of her shit. Oh, and that Kermit also ate the owner’s pot-plant, as well. The bite was nothing, just a small scratch under her nose, but it appears that the black pigment is gone, thus she will most likely have a small white patch there, kind of like a negative image of Marilyn Monroe .

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So, Kermit, where is the poop?

Training
Training Kermit hasn’t been too much of a hassle, she has finally worked out where to go to the bathroom if she can’t hold it in, something that took about two-and-a-half months to be able to do consistently. When she didn’t do it properly or there was a pool of urine waiting to be stepped in somewhere around the apartment, she always gave us a guilty look (left). To train her we used to lock her in a caged off area near her kennel with a pee-pad in it so she would work out where to go and then let her out and give her a treat when she was finished. The only problem is that now if people come over or we are eating dinner we still lock her in that same area, but Kermit has decided that drinking a lot of water and pissing in the correct spot is an instant “Get Out of Jail Free” card, so she heads straight to the water bowl and then tries to force a leak out on her mat. It just doesn’t work that way.
Anna has also managed to teach her a few simple tricks and commands, such as shaking hands, “sit”, “stay”, that type of thing, but we get the feeling that “fetch” and “roll over” are a foreign concept that she will never grasp.

Public Reception
There are a lot of factors at play, but Kermit has generally had mixed reviews. Traditional Chinese people, especially the elderly, hate her. We were told by the person that runs the day care for her that this is because many Chinese people believe that dogs with black faces are bad luck, which seems ridiculous to me, but all superstitions are stupid in my opinion, including Western ones such as a black cat crossing your path or walking under a ladder. Still, we had one man tell us that the reason he hasn’t won 4D (the Singapore lottery) is because Kermit lives in his neighbourhood, not because the odds are also almost non-existant. We also had a man ask if she was a dog or a cat and Anna has an auntie who insists on reminding us that Kermit is ugly at any possible opportunity, once even asking us if we actually saw what she looked like before we bought her.
On several occasions complete strangers, particularly the elderly again, have attempted to kick her, even when she’s on a leash. Anna thinks this might date back to when there were a lot of stray dogs around decades ago, but it’s still no excuse — I don’t like assholes, but I don’t try to randomly punch them when I see them and they’re everywhere! Also, earlier this week a man from the gas company came to check our gas metre and I opened the front door thinking the security door was shut, but it wasn’t and Kermit bolted out. Now, the man at the door was Malay, almost all Malays are Muslim and I understand that it is haraam for Muslims to touch any moist part of a dog, including the nose, but it was his first instinct to wind up and try to kick her in the face. Fortunately he missed, but his company received an extremely upset letter from Anna.
Despite all of this, most other people here love out dog, some kids are a little scared at first, but then they realise she’s harmless, fun and playful.

Other Random Events

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    Kermit at Sentosa

    Kermit will pick up anything when she walks, but she particularly loves old tissues and snails (well, I guess she is part French).

  • She also loves ants, especially large bull-ants. There was one time when she was outside, flipping around, going crazy, and scratching at her face. When I eventually managed to get a proper look at her, I saw that there was the last segment of a live, giant, red bull-ant hanging out of her tear duct with its legs still trying burrow in. I was able to pull the massive ant out of her eye and she was fine again. I’ve also had to pull them out of her mouth and jowls on other occasions.
  • Another time when we were taking her for a walk she started rolling around in something on the ground and it smelt rancid! It turned out to be a decomposing dead rat and it took a couple of showers to get the fermented rat juice smell off her.
  • We were told by several people that Kermit wouldn’t be able to swim. We’ve taken her to the beach several times and it turns out she has no problem swimming. It is only an issue when she thinks the waves are solid objects and tries to bite them, resulting in her ingesting litres of seawater and her doing salty liquid shits that could pass through a sponge for the rest of the day. That and she also took a dump in the water where a bunch of people were swimming. It just floated by them. Kermit absolutely loves the water now.
  • She feels the need to sit on anything uncomfortable; power cables, people’s feet, any random object, but she tends to avoid flat areas.
  • She was once chewing on a bone on the couch, but the bone fell on the floor. Kermit is perfectly capable of getting up and down off the couch, but instead she just stared at me a let out a solitary bark, like she expected me to pick it up so she didn’t have to.
  • I’ve mentioned how she goes nuts whenever she sees another dog, but she also does it when she sees her own reflection, be it in the wine fridge in our living room or on the surface of a shiny black car that is parked on the street. In a never ending spiral into madness, she gets crazier because she thinks the dog she is looking at is getting crazier too.
  • Two weeks ago, Anna was cleaning something with bleach and she turned her back for a few seconds, only to turn back around to see Kermit licking it. Anna told me and later I saw brown foam around her nose and mouth and started to get a bit worried. That is until I realised that there was a lot less coffee remaining in my cup than before. Needless to say, it was difficult to get her to sit still for a while.
  • Anna found a massive tick on Kermit’s skin so she got paranoid and searched her for more. Later she thought she found another and attempted to pluck it off, but it turned out to be a nipple. This was by a doctor, ladies and gentlemen.

Owning Kermit has had it’s ups and downs and will more than likely continue to do so, especially when you have to explain to everyone she encounters why a female dog has a male name, but we definitely made the correct decision. Sure, it’s sometimes hard to relax when she is a tad hyperactive and I discovered quickly that a soft, unseen dog turd on a tile floor makes a cheap, organic roller skate, but she’s making us get more exercise by taking her for walks, we’ve met a lot more people in our neighbourhood that we normally wouldn’t have, and it’s just been fun in general having a dog around the place.

In all, Kermit’s first 100 days have been a resounding success.

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About Dr. Tan's Travels (99 Articles)
My name's Tim. I'm a freelance writer and former ESL teacher from Melbourne, Australia, who taught in Daejeon, Korea for six months in 2007 and, until February 2015, had taught in Singapore for seven years. My wife, Anna, is an ophthalmologist. Between March 2015 and July 2016 we spent a month in Pondicherry, India, three months in Bonn, Germany, and 12 months in New York before returning to Singapore, all for training and work placements for her. The reason I wanted to keep this blog is because I suffer from epilepsy and have a terrible memory, therefore this would be a great way to help me remember our travels. I will do my best to keep it updated and even continue writing now that we're back in Singapore, but there is one problem; I have a pretty severe phobia of anything medical.

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