16th July 2017.
There was a mad flurry of panic in the room as the humans tried to get a working live stream of the Wimbledon Finals. Before I knew it, Federer was two sets up.
"Me thinks. The match will be over by the time we manage to get a live stream", mummy joked.
You see, mummy has been a fan of Federer since her days as a vagabond. Those were the days before I was even born into planet earth - as a dog. A blonde dog. So the cliché goes that "Age is only a number" but the reality is, age is everything. No one really cares for talent or the 'has been'. One's value only lasts for as long as the word 'Senior' has not hit home. And in the tennis world, in a very crude way of saying, one has surely recognised Federer as being over the hill and way past his prime of being the people's champion.
Age is cruel. The body recovers slower. Limbs get creakier. One's movement slows down. Reduced hands-eyes co-ordination. Glucosamine becomes an essential part of one's life....
So yes, at 35 (turning 36 on 8th August), Federer had defeated the age-odds by winning not only the Australian Open but his much-coveted 8th Wimbledon title.... and well, only his 18th and 19th Grand Slam title respectively.
The accolades started flying around and as usual, I have decided that the debate of 'G.O.A.T.' was just so these writers have some thing to write about. After all this time, it has become nothing more than meaningless rants on their part to 'fill in the blanks'. Yawn.
Again, I guess it's believe that I can achieve such great heights. I wasn't sure if I was ever going to be here again in another final after last year..... I always believed I could always come back and do it again. And if you believe you can go really really far in your life and I think I did that and I'm happy I kept on believing and dreaming. And here I am today at this age and it is really fantastic.
- Roger Federer, post match interview, Wimbledon Finals 2017.
What Roger Federer did with that epic, record-breaking Wimbledon win was give hope to many. I was no exception. At 66 human years young (turning 72 in September), I am considered way over the hill in doggie time. There are many days and nights when I wonder what's next at my age.....
Will I get that one last opportunity to do a meaningful show?
Will I get to jetset the world with mummy?
Will I ever get to play 'ball boy' at a tennis court?
Will I ever get to embark on my 'Dog For God' ministry?
Will I.... ?
Mummy always tells me, "Flapper, there is nothing wrong with dreaming. Part of dreaming is not knowing how it is going to happen. Considerations are merely excuses for not wanting to make things happen. Dreams give hope. It is okay if hope brings disappointment. At least you've tried. But most importantly, KEEP PRAYING. Trust in God's timing. If it is meant to happen, it WILL happen. BELIEVE."
|Close your eyes... and dare to dream. Dream brings hope. Dare to dream and dare to believe. PRAY. You never know.....|
Mummy does get past her fumes of "only in Singapore..." pretty quickly. She will perk up, smile and tell me, "It's okay. Maybe it's not meant to be or the wrong timing. Let's look at something else. For now."
There are also days when I get disheartened and asked, "Mum.... I am but an old blonde dog now. Will I...."
My brutally honest mama would just smile and reply, "I don't know, Flapper. For as long as you are still healthy and mobile, there's always a chance of maybe. Keep believing."
Of course, I've created a monster, so I know I need to always win every tournament.
- Roger Federer, 2008
I felt for Roger Federer when he made this statement. He had made winning look so easy that even though he was getting through to the quarterfinals and semifinals of most major tournaments, he was receiving so much flak for his 'decline' and he was getting written off. For all other players, it would be, "Well done!". Pat on the back. But for Federer, nooooo, it becomes newsworthy. I will say it again, these reporters or writers MUST have something to write
Mummy calls me the doggie 'Federer' while Frodo is, well, she WANTS to refer to him as the doggie 'Nadal' but the only thing they have in common is perhaps 'raging bull'. Frodo is infamous for his lack of talent in precision so yes, if he were to be a human, he probably would not make it to the pro-circuit at all.
Mummy says, "Flapper has created his own monster. Because of how accurately he catches a ball/toy or how easily he figures out things, his precision is a given and people see it as a norm... boring."
This means, no matter how impressive my catch is or how quickly I figure puzzles out at this ripe old age is, it is 'meh' to the humans just because "it is Flapper." There's only one person who still looks at my photos and videos in awe. She smiles. She opens her eyes wide and she says, "Wah! Old man! Not bad! You still have the moves!"
She is of course immensely happy just because I have outlived my mobility age. Every day that I am mobile, she give thanks. Every day that I can still play, she give thanks. Every day I can still jump and catch the ball/toy, she knows I am blessed.
|I created my own monster. No matter how impressive I catch a ball, it is considered "meh".|
|Frodo, on the other hand, is winning the hearts of many with his derp face and legendary inability to catch.|
Frodo epitomises that theory.
People have told me 'Betty, Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with old friends...' .. At my age, if I wanted to keep in touch with old friends, I'd need a Ouija board.
- Betty White, SNL, 2017
I broke out with a wry smile when I heard Betty White's skit on Saturday Night Live. She could not have said it better. At my distinguished age, I've been seeing one by one of my pals cross the rainbow bridge and it seems like Doggie Heaven has no Facebook. I have been saying more goodbyes than 'Hello' lately. And most recently, I had to - sadly - say goodbye to two very very precious friends.
I did not mean to say goodbye.
I did not want to say goodbye.
But I had to say goodbye.
Goodbye Mr G
|Dear Mr G, you still owe mummy one bite. She has not bitten you yet. Thank you for all the joy you brought to everyone.|
Time passed and that once feral cat became the sweetest and cutest cat possible. He was unabashed about needing affection and had an adorable 'meow'. He was the Frodo of the cat's world. He could be throwing up and the humans would hold back his orange mane and find him absolutely adorable. Those eyes of his melted the humans' hearts and I always hear mummy say, "G has better recall than most dogs I know".
It was true. Mr G loved human's attention so much that he would run full speed to them with beady eyes when called. And not only that, he would actually wait at the door for the human to return. He loved belly rubs and he would let mummy dangle him in whatever way she deemed fancy. BUT! He never did become any more cooperative on the treatment table.
Mr G crashed a couple of times through the course of those one years nine months at his new residence. He was a cat of extremities. He was either very well or very down. There was no such thing as 'okay' with him. Each time he crashed, he recovered quickly. But as the crashes became more frequent, it was becoming clear that he could be losing the battle of the bladder. He, operatively, became Miss G. The kitchen sink was thrown in to treat this
On 4th June 2017, Mummy woke up with a very bad feeling about Mr G. But she did not receive any phone calls so she thought maybe not. As it turned out, Mr G suffered a major crash and after all human efforts of resuscitating him, he survived. Barely. The spirited Mr G laid there for the next few days like a living vegetable and almost unrecognizable. He looked frail. The only glimmer of hope? He could still conjure up resistance during bladder expression.
On 7th June 2017, G finally lost the battle. For the first time, I could see tiredness in his eyes and a look of resignation. He was a different cat. This battle was not G's to win anymore. He triumphed the odds so many times but this time, he could not. I know he is in a better place and free from his bladder problems. He is probably making God laugh with all his antics and nipping Him in the arm for attention.
This was one very difficult goodbye but I had to.
Goodbye Mr G.
You are still very badly missed.
Mummy has not bitten you yet.....
|Goodbye Mr G.|
Goodbye Miss Hallie
Hallie and I met at a bus-stop at Lim Chu Kang near my work place. There were a few packs of stray dogs in the area but she was a loner. She would be lying on the grass in the rain away from all the rest of the dogs taking shelter at the bus-stop. She never played with the other dogs. I’ve seen her being fed by some people who fed the stray in the area and she was having pretty nice food like chicken rice.
As the days passed, the number of dogs in the pack would get lesser and lesser as the younger less experienced dogs got knocked down by heavy vehicles and cars. I noticed one day that Hallie was running after cars and it would be dreadful for her to be knocked over just like the other dogs. I tried to feed her some dog food to get nearer to her. Surprise surprise, she did not want to eat it at all. So much for feeding a scrawny stray dog! I needed to get her away from this place or she won’t survive very long there with all the chasing of cars. So I spoke to a friend to find a temporary place for her as I won’t get my own place until 5 months later then.
So it was set.
We made plans to catch her (and some of you may know that some strays are quite difficult to approach). So with my fiance, we walked over to near where she was lying down and made a clicking call. And guess what! She came running over to us with her tail circling in the air like a helicopter’s blade.
And so her name is Hallie and thence adopted me.
This scrawny girl was almost bald when we got her. She was quite fearful, freaked out with thunderstorms and had a bleeding mass on her vulva. We arranged for her sterilization and mass removal. With some nursing care, Hallie recovered well. Over the next few months, we tackled a few other medical issues with the vaginal discharge and Grade 2 heartworm disease. Then, we tackled her picky eating with some strict feeding habits.
And all those were history.
She is a fun loving girl who loves to chase lizard, squirrels and diving in snow. She’s also rather gentle with our toddler and starting to tolerate interacting with other dogs.
- Hallie's Mummy, 2014
I first met Miss Hallie way back in 2014. I liked her a lot. She was a sweet, gentle, timid and very guniang. Miss Lim Chu Kang was more like a Sheltie-mix and ate like a princess.
|We last met Miss Hallie in March. She joined us for Frodo's 6th Birthday party.|
|Miss Hallie would never stand close to the dogs but she did entertain us with a group shot. Don't be deceived by the smile. Her condition had already deteriorated significantly then.|
Miss Lim Chu Kang was quite happy to sloooowwwwllllyyyy sniff the fields. No chance of getting running shots of her. She was too preoccupied in her own little princessy world. Mummy could not stop laughing as she recounted the
|"Entertain you for photos? No way! I'd rather sniff the grass in my own time."|
|Mummy always says, Miss Hallie has the same emo eyes and tragic look as I do.|
Shortly after Mr G left us, mummy told me that Miss Hallie was not doing well. She had a pre-existing heart condition which deteriorated quickly in the past year. I heard that after Frodo's birthday, the excitement got the better of her heart but she recovered nevertheless.
By around May/June, she was on a rapid decline. The once chubby Miss Hallie became very boney from her lack of appetite. And in a blink of an eye, she went from standing to... immobility. Diagnostic tests were run. Her thoracic x-ray was "O.M.G.!" It was ridiculous how quickly she had deteriorated.
"Hallie! You must make it to Flapper's birthday party this year!", mummy said to her.
The humans were keeping their hopes up that Miss Hallie would pull through. Each time Hallie's mummy reported that she ate, resounding cheers all round.
Everyone was rooting for Miss Hallie.
Then came that awful awful day of 25th June 2017. Heavy thunderstorm. Mummy had a very bad feeling. You see, on the day of Mr G's cremation, it was heavy downpour and thunderstorm. Mummy was starting to hate thunderstorms. It never seemed to bode well.
True enough, mummy received a text to say that the thunderstorm had tipped Miss Hallie over the edge. Noticed the bold 'freaked out with thunderstorms' in Hallie's story? Well, sadly, her fear got the better of her and her heart could not take the stress.
Just like that, Miss Hallie passed on that afternoon. 😢
Goodbye Miss Hallie.
May we meet again across the rainbow bridge.
|You can prance free now, my dear friend.|
I am a very positive thinker, and I think that is what helps me the most in difficult moments.
- Roger Federer
After two months of glooms with dooms, the age thing started playing in my head. Believe it or not, the only survivor in two months is my grumpy 'ol curly-earred brother, Dumbo. I should be thankful that Dumbo managed to survive his seizure scare, no? But still, I kept wishing that both Mr G and Miss Hallie could have survived too.
|Our latest family shot together. Grumpy Old Man is doing well though he might have had suffered a minor stroke on his left when he had his seizure. Still, I am grateful that Dumbo managed to survive through that horrendous season of death.|
The age thing bugged me. A LOT. Let's face it. Uncle me ain't young anymore. I am turning 11 years old in September. In doggie kingdom standard, I am antique. Saying goodbyes is reality slapping me hard in the face to remind me of that everyday is my bonus. It brought me to self-reflection mode.
I am grateful that my life picked up pace at nine years old. Late bloomer, perhaps! I am grateful for the varied opportunities I've had and with my most recent collaboration with Sony Mobile Singapore, it elevated my WETnesday XPERIAnce that one notch higher. And no, unlike Mr Federer, I do not get million dollars endorsement deals.... not even thousand dollars deal.
But what I do get out of the collaborations is an avenue to expand creativity and energy. It has provided me with a fulfilling senior life. More than I ever dreamed of. More than I, a mere doggie, could ever ask for.
After the passing on of Mr G and Miss Hallie, I started thinking about what's next. Would I still have more opportunities of jaw-dropping collaborations now that I am all white in the face? Would anyone still want old man me?
There is always that space of unknown which makes 'come what may' all that more appreciated.
So yes, while I was mulling over that matter of age, Roger Federer gloriously won Wimbledon which gave me that huge glimmer of hope. His legendary comeback at the age of 35. winning two grand slams after a long time title draught which resulted in new records being set in the tennis world.... it was totally mind blowing!
Federer's epic Wimbledon win had a huge impact on me. It renewed my hopes and promise of life as a senior dog.
Most importantly, remembering about dreams, believing.... and faith.
|Federer's epic win renewed my hopes and promise of life as a senior dog. Thank you Mr Federer!|
Love. Cope. Hope.
If I could eventually spread a message about how dogs can contribute to community through Social Media, great! But if because of the laws I can't, it's okay. The work still goes on. I am here to serve the people and that's that. I am old. I don't know how much longer I have left but for as long as I can, I will.
- Flapper Choo
A few days before Federer's glorious Wimbledon win, Daddy asked me with a broad smile on his face, "Flapper, would you like to do volunteer to do some doggie therapy for Love Cope?"
Daddy started telling me, very briefly, about Love Cope and how he was involved when it first started up. It is the community and services centre for St Hilda's Church. Daddy told me about how this lovely lady from Love Cope gave her testimony that morning and he could not resist but to ask if I, Flapper Choo, could volunteer.
My blonde eye-lashes sprang to life.
Thank you God!
After all these years of waiting, FINALLY! But after many disappointments from before.... to the extend of being told with incredulous and absurd looks, "HOW CAN DOGS CONTRIBUTE TO COMMUNITY?", I did not dare put my hopes too high up lest it gets cruelly crushed again.
My meeting with the lady from Love Cope all set up. Daddy was more excited than I was as he knew it has been my long time dream. I pretended to keep a cool nonchalant composure but secretly excited I was.
Dream a little dream.
The meeting went way above my expectations. The people were so so nice and so welcoming. For the first time in a long time, I was not ostracized to be outdoors but was welcomed warmly indoors. I was not given ugly angry stares for my presence but greeted warmly by everyone including the residents. And after a long chat with lovely Ms A and eventually Ms M (who proudly showed me her cute Golden Retriever), I knew then and there it was the right place, the right time... God's time.
And most importantly, they understood my intentions and could see my joy of serving people. It is not the quantity, but the quality. Even if it is just one person.... that's good enough.
I was moved.
It is all set.
I am ready to rock and roll in September.
After all this years of waiting... Praise God!
Maybe I will never get to be part of that meaningful doggie acting role in this lifetime but that's okay. It's this work that is more important. God's work.
And I cannot wait to start!
Don't write the old men out yet.
We have more stored in our tank.