They say that if you’ve managed to make it this far through the pandemic without having a baby or buying a pet or an air-fryer, possibly all three, then you have done pretty well and we almost made it… Almost. Our inability to travel for two years until recently had Anna a bit bored and we’ve never wanted children, plus we’ve been trying to eat substantially healthier over the past few years, however, we both wanted a second dog eventually, an English Bulldog to be precise, so here we are.
In the same way as when we purchased our first dog, Kermit, it happened to occur in a year when a new American President had taken office, this time albeit much later in the year. Whenever a new President comes to term they tend to be judged based on their ‘First 100 Days‘, possibly one of the most significant stints of their presidency:
The conventional wisdom about the importance of the 100 days goes something like this: When a new president takes office, he begins with a “honeymoon” period in which he’s quite popular. However, there’s a time limit on this as presidents tend to see an approval rating drop as they stay in office. Therefore, time is of the essence. The new president should rush to enact as much of his agenda as possible before the honeymoon ends because he’ll find it more difficult to do so afterward.
In other words, the First 100 Days is used as a yardstick to measure successes and accomplishments when one’s influence is at its highest. When we received Kermit after we initially purchased her, her arrival almost directly coincided with Donald Trump taking office and before long the new President’s First 100 Days was all over the news. At that point it only made sense that I document Kermit’s First 100 Days and in keeping with tradition and following that model, I present —
The First 100 Days of Doug as Our Pet
When we purchased our first dog we were limited to what kind of dog we could have due to living in an HDB apartment, a form of public housing here in Singapore. We wanted a French bulldog, however, any breed with “bulldog” in its name isn’t approved, but pugs and crossbreeds are, hence we ended up with Kermit, a Frenchie-pug cross, or “frug” if you will. We have since bought and moved into another apartment and, although our new abode technically falls under the HDB banner for bureaucratic purposes, the guidelines and restrictions on dog breeds, sizes, and weights no longer apply to us. Add to this the fact that I had already chosen another stupid name for any future dog, ‘Doug’, despite the fact that it would almost certainly be female, it was on the verge of destiny that we would soon have another.
Anna had for months been scrolling through bulldog Facebook groups in her limited spare time, often accompanied by the occasional, “Awww, look at this guy” as she rotated her phone toward me, but at first I just thought she was looking at Bulldog, both English and French, pictures because she thought they were cute. However, the frequency and excitement that came with each new canine discovery led me to realise she was starting to get quite serious now and before long she had made a booking for October 23, 2021 at Hello Human to view some puppies, specifically a pair of English bulldogs that included this girl (left), both of which had just been imported from Australia. In the piece i wrote about Kermit I mentioned how we don’t like the idea of just buying a dog from anywhere in Singapore, because quite often they come from puppy mills here, but Hello Human do things ethically:
Health is the highest focus for our Puppies.
We’d like your love for your bully to grow day by day without facing the heartache and anxiety of health issues. So we screen through genetic health tests of the pups’ lineage and only bring in the healthiest bulldogs with good quality bloodlines.
Once we arrived at the incredibly clean store we were welcomed by a selection of beautiful bulldog puppies of different varieties, but there were two English bulldogs that gravitated to us (right), one more so than the other, namely that little, white, chubby one with the sad eyes and Marilyn Monroe-esque mole. She just kept licking my feet and jumping up to grab my shorts as we walked around looking at the other dogs. Sure, they all did it to some extent, but this particular one was just around us constantly. The staff were able to show us the dog’s papers, as well as those of her parents and their pictures so we were quite interested and told the staff that we would go home to talk it over and get back to them during the week. As we were leaving the dog store, we saw the one that had been begging for my attention throw her whole bodyweight against the gate, releasing the latch, and cheekily break into the back in a way that had us both shocked and in hysterics.
Hello Human is in an area that has great food so the plan was to grab some lunch while we were there, but when we tried to decide what to eat, the topic kept reverting back to that white and brown bulldog instead. We had only slowly walked about 100 metres when we figured if we missed out on this puppy, we would seriously regret it. We had just found Doug so we returned to the store and said we’d take her.
Later that night we went out for a drink and found ourselves scrolling through photos of what Kermit had destroyed when she was a puppy and drunkenly wondered to ourselves, “Why are we putting ourselves through this again?”.
Doug was just four months old at the time and we could’ve brought her home that day, but we recalled the madness and destruction that we experienced when Kermit arrived at an inadequately prepared home so we spent the next week dog-proofing our apartment, making sure everything was safe and secure, dotting all of the ‘I’s and crossing all of the ‘T’s, and that weekend we went to collect her. When she first arrived at our place she was understandably a bit nervous and almost immediately pissed on an indoor doormat (just check the main image), but it was Kermit’s reaction that we didn’t quite expect. She knew that another dog entering the house with nobody else present was probably not a temporary situation and for the next 48 hours she snarled and acted a bit aggressive toward Doug, but soon she just accepted the fact that Doug was here to stay and they’ve been best buddies since, just her and this girl:
But enough of the backstory, now onto Doug’s First 100 Days of being our pet, using the same criteria with which we assessed Kermit:
Despite the fact that English bulldogs can suffer from a vast array of health issues, Doug hasn’t had a single health problem from day one. Moving right along…
Temperament and Behaviour
Doug is quiet enough, but in the beginning she would howl and bark in the morning until we got up, particularly when she heard the toilet flush, because it didn’t take her long to realise that one of us would soon be coming out of the bedroom when that happened. She does, however, bark loudly if she is near the front door and another dog passes by.
When we first got Kermit we thought her farts were bad, but she has nothing on this dog! Doug does farts that can fill a room, most times they are silent, but you do get the occasional audible one too. The aromatic effect of this flatulence is compounded by the fact that she likes to get up really close and snuggle all the time, generally falling asleep in the process, but still continually farting. She always sleeps with her long tongue out and snores quite loudly so these factors combined with the snuggling can occasionally result in uncomfortable scenarios such as this (best viewed with sound):
I mentioned earlier that she kept licking my feet the first day we saw her and nothing has changed since, in fact, if anything it’s got worse. She won’t just lick your legs and feet, if you’re sitting on the couch she has no qualms about jumping up, coming over to you, walking up your body, and licking your face. Perhaps this just has something to do with her teething, as does her need to chew things, although we haven’t had too many issues with that besides some minor furniture damage and the occasional destroyed remote control, as we learnt our lesson the first time around and adequately prepared our apartment for a puppy. She has a thing for shoes, particularly thongs, and will also drag clothing onto the floor if it is left alone, as well as biting cushions, but the things she loves to attack most are plants. Maybe all puppies do it and we never knew because this is the first time we’ve had a backyard, even if it’s a tiny one, since we’ve been in Singapore, but she absolutely revels in destroying plants. Contrary to popular belief, our bulldog loves laying in the sun and although we don’t leave her out there too long, if we turn our backs for a few seconds, there is a decent chance she is going to rip out one of Anna’s plants, most of which are vegetables. She doesn’t eat them, she just tears them apart and spreads them around and she isn’t picky either, we’ve even seen her do this with onions! Now she has also kind of figured out how to open our back sliding door even further if we’re just letting some air in through a small gap and this is what we get:
When it comes to taking Doug for a walk, that can be a struggle at times too, because bulldogs, particularly English ones, are notoriously stubborn and ours is absolutely no exception:
The bulldog is very stubborn by nature, and selective deafness is a prominent trait. Bulldogs are one of those “show me” breeds – they tend to need to know there’s something in it for them if you want them to do something, and they also need to know you’re going to get what you want as long as it’s reasonable.
For instance, if you want the dog off the sofa because it’s dinner time, consider it done. But if the dog needs to go out and its raining, selective deafness can quickly kick in. While it’s not very appropriate to train dogs as if they were humans, the description of bulldogs as 3-year old toddlers in dog suits can be both accurate and appropriate.
A three-year old in a dog suit sums Doug up perfectly, if she doesn’t want to walk, she’s going to make every effort not to, up to the point where you just end up dragging her along the floor and out the door until the cement gets too rough for her to tolerate anymore. We get a lot of people look at us like we’re being cruel, but she wears a harness so we’re not dragging her by her head. Fortunately for me, I’m strong enough to be able to lift her leash and harness high enough to the point that only her paws are touching the ground so she has no choice, but Anna not so much. Even then, she will still do everything she can to avoid movement, even if it means stopping to smell every single plant, tree, or pole along the way. She gets especially stubborn when people nearby are looking at her, but that’s mainly just for attention, although not just that of humans, she loves to take any and all spotlight from other canines, although she’s a little unsure how to cope when those dogs lose interest:
I guess you could say she is a unique dog, but at the same time she is learning from the master (or “mistress” if you will). Kermit is now five years old and has her very own odd personality. She tends to do a lot of strange things that I can’t say I’ve seen a lot of other dogs do, such as scooting along the ground backwards on her belly when people are watching, but she has also highly influenced Doug’s behaviour and mannerisms over the past few months, particularly the way she sits, lays down, sleeps, and begs for treats, however, unlike Kermit she doesn’t tend to roll in absolutely anything smelly or spend vast amounts of time eating flowers. There are other examples I could list, but I’ll just let some more photos do the talking:
We designed a portion of our apartment around having dogs so there is a fenced-off area in the back living room that has a built-in pee pad with a drain underneath. Initially we used to lock Doug in there to sleep at night so we could get her to go about her business in the right place and as she got better she’s now allowed to sleep in the back living room of the apartment. We tried training her by giving both her and Kermit a treat each every time she walked in and went on the pad and it has worked for the most part, although she still sometimes misses when she pees for some reason, but this method has also developed a Pavlovian response in them both; when I have to clean up after her I use a piece of paper towel, pick up what’s there, put it in a bag, and then hose down the mat. Now whenever I tear some paper towel off the roll, whether I’m picking up turds or wiping down the bench after cooking dinner, both dogs hear it and expect a treat. Naturally I’m not going to give them one if I’m just doing regular household chores, but they will still dash around the corner, look at me, then at the bin where the treats are kept, and then back at me again, sometimes accompanied by a solitary bark. When it comes to venturing into the rest of the house, neither are allowed in my room or our bedroom and we only let Doug in the main living room at the front of the house if we are in there with her. Kermit’s fine there, but Doug doesn’t tend to make it back to the pee pad in time when she needs to so if she starts wandering around, it’s lock up time until it’s clean up time. Also, it cannot be overstated how bad bulldog shit smells, seriously, that stuff is so rancid it sometimes makes me gag.
As for tricks, she can sit and shake paws, but that’s about it for now.
The general public response to Doug has been quite positive, far better than we generally expected. There is still a stigma in Singapore about any type of bulldog, but most tend to find her cute, especially younger people, although some children are a little afraid at first, but weirdly not as scared as they are of Kermit. Because she is an outgoing and playful dog, as well as exceptionally strong, some people want to pat her, but she tends to excitedly jump up at them, although we always warn them first that it may happen so there isn’t any real problems. As usual, it’s generally only the older people in our neighbourhood that are a bit cautious of her, but Doug has the potential to knock them over so that makes perfect sense.
Other Random Events
- We took them both the first day we got Doug to our local pub, Coq and Balls, to show our friends our new furry pal and she almost immediately did a more than likely fear-induced diarrhoea-shit in the middle of the floor once there. We raced around hurriedly trying to clean it up and when we had completed the task an Irishman on the next table shrugged and said, “I would’ve just left”.
- Kermit likes to sit on uncomfortable surfaces, particularly cables, wires, and people’s feet. Doug just sometimes likes to sit on Kermit:
- I mentioned that Doug has been mimicking Kermit’s behaviour, but Kermit has been acting a bit like a mentor to her, or at least mocks Doug when she gets in trouble. I never thought I’d ever say this, but it almost seems as if Kermit is the smart one, guiding Doug in the ways of the house so they both get treats or dragging her around by her leg if they are both denied something delicious due to Doug’s actions or behaviour. This has led us to sometimes refer to her as “Mr. Kermyagi” or “Obi Wan Kermie”.
- It’s surprising how many times Doug will try to climb a couple of steps or jump up on the couch and miss. Once on the couch, it’s not unusual to see her fall off in her sleep, either, sometimes in a backflip!
- Like most puppies, Doug is very easily distracted when she’s outside. It can be nigh on impossible to get her to walk at times, but the second she sees a butterfly, leaves blowing in the wind, or just an old napkin on the ground, prepare to have your shoulder torn out of its socket.
- Sometimes Doug will walk up behind Kermit, put her entire tail in her mouth, and then just try to pull her backwards.
- When she stands on her hind legs, it looks like she has the map of Africa running up her side. Seriously, check the photo of her standing toward the start of this post.
- For some unknown reason she has one nipple that grows along her body instead of just hanging down. Add in her prominent bottom teeth and this definitely isn’t a show dog.
- We were recently overseas and received a message from our dog hotel, Brownie Buddies, telling us that the two of them had broken into the kitchen, torn open a bag of cat litter and spread it around the room, as well as a massive bag of dried dog food. I’d hate to know how much of the food they ate, but I’m fairly certain I know who instigated the acts.
- She has a weird thing where if she’s on a couch and something catches her attention, she won’t get off and walk around, she will just jump over the back and usually crashland on the floor.
We have a gate in place so they both can’t go to the front of the house as sometimes Doug can’t hold in her excitement, plus they both freak out when they hear the door bell. It’s actually our second gate, because Doug found out she could dislodge the previous one if she pushed it hard enough with her head. When I installed a new one she realised she couldn’t move it so she tried to get around it. A few minutes after I had left the room I heard her whining and when I saw her she had her head stuck between the gate and the wall (right), forcing me to take it down, release her head, and then reinstall the gate in a slightly different way with a smaller gap.
Having Doug has been awesome, but it’s not all fun and games; besides the other issues I’ve mentioned, waking up and being punched in the face by the smell of bulldog excrement the second you walk into the kitchen first thing in the morning isn’t a whole lot of fun, especially if she has stepped in it, even if the poop is in the right spot. But the pros definitely outweigh the cons, she is absolutely hilarious and the two of them together provide us, as well a lot of the other people in our community when we take them out together, with endless laughs. Overall, Doug’s First 100 Days have been an unequivocal success.
On a side-note, I just realised that a lot of the pictures of Doug and Kermit together are of them sleeping or just laying around. While that may be the case about 95% of the time, here’s what that other 5% tends to look like: