Monday, July 18, 2011

Separation anxiety

Beagles are pack animals. We don't like being alone. Now back home in Malaysia, I didn't like being left home alone. I've climbed over 7-foot fences, killed plants and dug the garden when left in the garden. During the rainy season, when left indoors, I would scratch the grill, shoe cabinet, shred paper get the picture...

My humans used to accept it in their stride. Sure, they got frustrated from time to time. But they knew that it's part and parcel of having a dog. Then of course, my humans had a network of family and friends whom they could rely on to keep an eye on me. We had the best neighbors, Aunty C and family absolutely adored me and I was equally at home at their place as I was at my own. Aunty C would usually bring me over to her place when my humans went out. If my humans had to travel, I would usually go over to gramps homes on both sides of the family.

Now that we're in Hong Kong, away from family and neighbours, my humans are faced with the predicament of having to deal with this beagle's separation anxiety. The first few times they went out, they put me in my crate, with a special bone treat. They even left the radio on so that there would be sounds at home. When they came home, they would find this beagle in a state of anxiety, wet from water spillage from the water bottle on the crate door because I had been "bouncing" my crate, as if I was trying to move the crate closer to the door. Looks like I never did adjust to being in a crate.
Because we live in a rented apartment, they don't dare to let me roam freely in the house due to fear of damage to the property. What they've resorted to doing now is getting in helpers cum dog-sitters when they want to go out. So each time they go out, they always have to watch the time coz they have to be home by a certain time. They've also tried a doggie day care once when they ouldn't get someone to come in. But they know that this beagle is more comfortable at home. It's been pretty challenging for my humans as it means they can't be spontaneous. They are now considering a full time helper, which is very common in HK so that there will be someone home with me whenever they go out. The trade off is loss of privacy. It's a real dilemma and they're still trying to find the best solution for our family.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Beagle's First Outing in Sai Kung

My last trip to the vet doesn't count as a proper outing. So, this beagle was quite excited to actually go on a proper outing. We live on HK island - highly populated and densely built up. On my first outing, my humans and I went over to the mainland, past Kowloon, to a beautiful place called Sai Kung, a country park in the New Territories, about an hour's drive from HK island.

Since we don't have a car yet, my humans hired a van to take us there. As always, this beagle loves a car ride and took in the city sights, which gradually changed to countryside as we travelled away from the island.

The main purpose of our trip to Sai Kung was actually to visit a dog boarding place there. Since my humans had to travel for work, they had to find a place for me to stay when they are away. Now, there are boarding places on HK island, but most of them require the dogs to be in a kennel of some sort. But at DBDogsDayz in Sai Kung, the dogs are allowed to roam free in a home environment, with a back garden (which is a real treat in HK) and indoor air conditioned room to chill out in. The owner, Andrew requires a pre-boarding visit to ensure that the dogs can adjust to living with other dogs, which my humans thought was a good idea.

On the day of our visit, DBDogsDayz was at full capacity. Initially, I was a little apprehensive entering into the garden with a pack of 20 canines - large and small. But, after the customary butt sniffing, I finally settled down in a corner, whilst my humans chatted with Andrew. All went well with the pack.

After the visit, we headed into Sai Kung town. My humans had a dim sum brunch at a seafood restaurant by the pier, whilst this beagle sat patiently by the table (In Malaysia, it is rare for restaurants to allow dogs. In HK, some restaurants allow dogs at their outdoor seating area).

I tell you the seafood doesn't get any fresher than this.

After a very delicious lunch (unfortunately, there were no dim sum treats for this beagle, although my human did give me a liver treat for sitting so patiently), we took a walk by the pier and checked out the vendors selling fresh seafood from their boats.

All in all, it was a pretty good outing indeed, as can be seen by my happy face.

Note from Kess' Mama: Whilst it has been challenging adjusting to living in such a busy city, it really is lovely to be able to go to the country side with Kess and take her openly to a town or a pier. In Malaysia, we would not have been able to do so because dogs just wouldn't have been allowed. At the Sai Kung pier, people were walking their dogs, enjoying time together on a weekend. It's such a treat for us to be able to experience this with Kess.

Thanks for signing my guest book.