I’m not gonna lie. I was actually planning for a puppy. In fact, I even found a reputable breeder who is planning to have a litter sometime soon and had expressed my interest. But when I saw this photo, I knew instantly.
This is Pippin Tree Loo Lim, the newest addition to our family.
Pippin was given up to Voices for Animals by a breeding farm. As expected, she really wasn’t in the best condition. For starters, Pippin was born with a deformed front limb. Like many other ex-breeding dogs, she was confined to a small area for her entire life despite her deformity. As a result, her spine is curved and her right hind knee is showing signs of luxating patella. In case you’re wondering, reconstruction for her deformed limb is out of the question as her limb is not developed beyond the wrist. Amputation is not required as the limb isn’t being dragged around, nor does it affect her mobility.
We did enquire about getting her a set of wheelies but was advised against it at this point of time as it might possibly hinder her movement. Our priority is to strengthen her muscles to help her better manage her weight distribution. Besides, we actually find it rather endearing how her little limb hangs – kinda like a little big boss.
She also has a real nasty set of teeth – she is missing her front incisors and her canines are fractured. Her rotting teeth also means her breath is out of this world (not in a good way of course). Her kidney readings are slightly off and that is something we will be monitoring in the next few months. Judging from her teeth and appearance, our vet estimated for her to be 8 years old. We later found out from a friend who knew the owner of the farm she came from, that she was actually between 3 and 4 years of age. Her poor condition easily disguised her age, misleading us to think that she was a senior when she is actually just a young budding adult.
The first night we brought her back, Pippin slept like a log for a good 24 hours. I woke up several times during the night to check on her and found that she was just sound asleep. We figured that it was because she hadn’t had a good night’s rest in a long while. Our hearts broke as we wondered when was the last time she had a quiet night and if she ever had a comfy bed.
A lot of lovely friends and people came up to us saying how kind-hearted and awesome we are for taking in a tripod like Pippin. Thank you for your kind words, but really, we aren’t that. The reason I chose her was really simple – she had Pecan’s smile and Sam’s twinkle in the eye. Tell me how can I ever walk away from this?
Pippin is showing her personality each day she is with us (Or should I say, showing her true colours). From the scared, quiet dog she was a month ago, to the monster she is today, it’s such a joy watching her transform. I have since learnt that she goes crazy for squeaky toys (definitely a Pecan-ahma-in-training), screams in protest (she doesn’t not bark) when I close the windows, spits out all vegetables I offer, tilts her head when I make funny noises and, my biggest headache of them all – refuses to sit still for the camera.
It’s very exciting getting to know her every quirk. Seeing her grow in confidence and her sassy personality shining through, I guess it is safe to say that she has accepted myself, Mr Lim and our helper as her family. The big giveaway? Her happy dance when anyone of us steps through the main door.
I would love to share that the journey thus far has been amazing with a fairytale ending. Sorry to burst your bubble, but toilet training has been an absolute pain in the arse. Both Mr Lim and I had stepped on a couple of pee puddles on our poor vinyl floor. Well, I probably should be thankful that it wasn’t a ‘gold’ mine. Still, definitely a work-in-progress.
Possibly due to her past, Pippin is terribly afraid of strangers, especially young children. She is very apprehensive about getting pats and had nipped someone on several occasions. She may hop up to sniff you but that doesn’t mean that she is ready for any affection. We’re doing our best to show her that people can be kind too. But reality is, it takes time. In the meantime, if you do see us outside, it would be great if you could give her some space and refrain from touching her. Sam, the attention-whore, will be happy to absorb all massages and affection on Pips’ behalf. The happy ah ma too (even better if it comes with food)
I can’t say that Sam and Pecan are overjoyed to have a younger sibling. (Both of them much prefer male dogs) Thankfully, my two other rascals are gracious with sharing their toys, beds and food with the little girl. While they don’t rough and tumble like many other canine siblings do, they are extremely tolerant to allow Pippin to snuggle with them, steal their treats and even step all over them. So, yes, my dogs co-exist.
I didn’t use to have a strong opinion about people purchasing puppies from pet stores. While I do agree that adoption saves lives, I also believed that the home you provide the puppy you brought home matters much more than where the pooch is from. But now, when I see pet shops post photos of puppies for sale, all I picture is the poor parents stuck in a terrible environment – one that Pippin and many like her had spent way too long in.
On the day I brought Pippin home, I met an amazing lady who had a Chihuahua and a poodle with her. She had adopted the two lovely dogs (who looked gorgeous) from VFA over a span of a few years. She was back because Derrick had rescued the daughter of her chihuahua and she wanted to adopt her. The resemblance is strong (almost like a carbon copy), yet I couldn’t help but notice how much older the daughter looked. I’m not quite sure if the lady did eventually take the little girl home with her, though I secretly hope so. I was almost in tears when I heard about this and my heart ached for all the little ones who had been subjected to the horrors of a breeding farm. When they finally ‘earned’ their freedom, their replacements are usually none other than their very own offspring. It is indeed a vicious cycle. How this terrible industry can still survive is seriously beyond me.
Since adopting Pippin, I have had the honour of meeting other wonderful families who have adopted other ex-breeding dogs. Many have blossomed into beautiful pets. Yet, many still bear the scars of their history. From hanging tongues (caused by severe dental disease) to other tripods, like Pippin, we can only imagine what these darlings went through before they were rescued. This issue has never been so close to my heart till I brought Pips home. So, please, I would like to ask that if you’re looking to add a dog to your family, please research and find a reputable breeder. Better still, adopt.
I don’t deny that it still scares me sometimes thinking about the possible medical issues that Pippin will face down the road and how financially demanding that could be (Especially since Pecan and Sam really ain’t young either). But I know that we will do our very best to give her what she deserves within our means.
I would like to thank Derrick for bringing this little one to our lives! And of course, Mr Lim for being such a champion and saying yes to our new addition (Honestly, I’m not quite sure he had a choice.)
The road ahead isn’t gonna be easy on Pippin nor us (and our vinyl floors), but we’re ready to move on as a family. Wish us luck!