Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Pampered pooches

Over the past 2 years since I have been the proud owner of Winnie dog, I am certain that many of my friends have read my Facebook updates with derision.  Like a proud new mother I have religiously posted photos of my little darling simply looking adorable, wearing a new outfit or surrounded by the aftermath of one of her more destructive moments.

Adorable Winnie

New outfit Winnie

Aftermath of destructive Winnie

I have gushed endlessly about my unconditional love for her and how in my eyes, no matter how naughty she is, she is still undoubtedly the most perfect pup imaginable.  Leaving her behind when we moved to Hong Kong was very very tough - see my earlier blog.  However, very soon after arriving here it became apparent that the Hong Kongers are even more bonkers about their dogs than us Brits.

Living in the hustle and bustle and forest of concrete skyscrapers, I would never have thought that I would see quite so many pampered pooches on a daily basis.  It crossed my mind that there would be a few yappy handbag dogs being lugged around in Louis Vuitton's by pristinely manicured and coiffeured ladies of leisure, but I have been staggered to see the sheer quantity and variety of dogs being trotted triumphantly around the streets of Hong Kong.  I have witnessed every imaginable breed from westies to weimararners, chows to chihuahuas, poodles to pomeranians, corgies to collies, beagles to bulldogs, and of course countless mutts and mongrels.

As I have been breathlessly scaling my way to the top of The Peak, I have plodded passed domestic helpers trailing after collections of dogs, armed with newspaper and bottles of water to pick up and wash away any 'mess' the dogs make.  I have witnessed several skillful helpers manoeuver pieces of newspaper underneath their canine companions' rear ends as they 'assume the position'.  And I have watched panting labradors refusing to take another step as the helpers desperately try to coax them up the steep concrete pathways.

Some of the more bizarre sights I have seen include dogs wearing shoes - and I'm not only talking about miniature dog breeds - I have seen a golden retriever sporting colourful trainers.  I have observed spaniels with their coats cropped short apart from a skirt of fur half-way down their bodies, making them appear as though they are wearing tasseled rugs across their backs.  I have held back the laughter as I have passed by Yorkshire terriers wearing orange nail varnish on their claws.  And I have rolled my eyes in disbelief when I have discovered leaflets advertising animal communication lessons and dog reiki workshops.

Dog in shoes

Dog communication and reiki workshops

Perhaps the best thing about living in a country of dog lovers is that there is always a dog in the bar that I can stroke and pat when I am missing my Winnie.  There are also countless dog owners who give the impression that they are more than happy to be bored by our stories and photos of wonderful Winnie.  Enthusiastically they tell us about the Hong Kong dog rescue centres from where they saved their dogs and they helpfully suggest that perhaps we could do the same.  This is usually followed by me gazing pleadingly at David while he asserts that I will never be permitted to set foot anywhere near to one of these rescue centres.

My new friend from the bar last night - Harry

So while I spend a lot of time wishing Winnie was here with us so I could buy her shoes, paint her nails and enrol her into a dog reiki workshop, I am happily surrounded by countless four legged friends to help fill the Winnie shaped hole in my life.

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