Wednesday, December 9, 2009

WaiSing Lee & Hero

Who is in the photo at right?

That's me, WaiSing Lee, and next to me is Hero, a 3-year-old male red brushcoat sharpei. I have been working at investment banks as a wheeling and dealing corporate banker, as a boisterous treasury trader, and currently as an analytical risk manager. Hmmm, come to think of it, my career progression somehow seems to be correlated with global economic trends. Anyways, that would be my part-time job, my other full-time job is being a companion, playmate, driver, personal photographer and secretary to Hero; in other words, I'm his butler. But I must admit the latter is a much more fulfilling and rewarding job.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

As with some weekends, I will usually have a cuppa coffee in the morning sitting on the floor at the balcony of our house. Hero will join me for a nibble or two of whatever goodies that goes with my coffee.

What's brewing?

I would love a caramel macchiato or a tall skim latte from Starbucks but will settle for Ipoh white roasted coffee for now.

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

Yes, I like to have this particular marie biscuits with my coffee which I grew up eating as a kid. It comes in all kinds of animal shapes: you have tortoise, elephant, owl, fish, etc. ... and they compliment the coffee well.

Any treat for Hero on this occasion?

You bet. Hero will have a couple of the same biscuits to go. I swear for some reasons, he is particularly fond of the cat shaped ones.

How did Hero come to be united with you?

My wife and I were looking for a dog after we got married. A sharpei to be specific, but it is hard to find such breed in Malaysia. We had to source from the neighbouring countries and have the pup brought into Malaysia. Hero was born in Indonesia by parents from California, USA. It was not an easy journey for Hero and we were very concerned about his welfare at that time. He was three months old then and had to endure a 1,500 mile journey over land, sea and air for three days under treacherous conditions before reaching us. Luckily, it turned out well and all is good.

How did he get his name?

The name was given by my wife, even prior to us getting Hero. It's a name that apparently appeared in her dream where she woke up one morning exclaiming "I'm naming our dog Hero!". My wife had two other dogs before and I had one.

Where is Hero's favorite place for an outing?

As long as it's an outing, he seems to enjoy all of them. But I guess his favourite would be the beach where he gets to run along the sandy shore and swim in the sea. Whenever we plan to go to the beach, he seems to know it the night before and he will wake up all hyperactive early in the morning, running up and down the house whilst we are still dreaming in bed. Beats me how he figures that out as we have not even packed our stuff yet.

Stick, Frisbee, tennis ball...?

Tennis ball, he loves fetching the ball.

Cat, rodent, postman...?

Without a doubt, it's the cat and rodent sharing the top position as some kind of sworn enemies from his previous life. Having said that, the feral cats like to taunt him and watch him whimper. I guess the cats get some thrill out of doing that.

Is Hero's bark worse than his bite?

For a medium size dog, Hero has a loud fierce bark that reverberates through the house, but he seldom barks unless he feels we are threatened. As for the bite, I think he has been saving it for the cats.

What's an ordinary day like for Hero?

The day for Hero can start as early as three in the morning when he wants to go out for a pee during those odd days. He will come over to my side of the bed and start poking and scratching me with his paw. If I continue to ignore him, he will jump over and lick my face until I relent and finally get up to open the door for him. After doing his business at the garden, Hero will quickly rush back in upstairs to continue with his sleep for a couple of hours more before waking up to have his breakfast. The rest of the day is spent playing with his toys and getting himself in the middle of everything with some naps in between. He greets us at the door when we come home and after dinner, he will eagerly await for his walk at the park before bed.

Any favorite treats?

Roasted chestnuts! The slightest sound of cracking the nut shell will send him dashing madly towards you and pounce on you. Once we left a packet of roasted chestnuts on the floor in the room and he practically slept next to it guarding the treat till morning. I kid you not.

What's Hero's best quality?

Hero does receive compliments for his looks but to me, he is such a clown and I adore him for that.

What's Hero's proudest moment so far? His most embarrassing?

Hero's proudest moment would be the time when we were trying to teach him how to swim although we knew sharpeis are not known to like water, let alone swim. We were unsure how he would cope but proceeded anyway with the sink or swim method. We took him to the middle of a lake and put him into the deep water alone. To our surprise, he doggie paddled back to shore without much difficulty. After a couple more drop-offs at the lake, he took to water like a duck; now swimming is one of his favourite activities.

On the other hand, Hero never fails when it comes to putting us in an awkward situation. Hero has this fixation with fetching our underwear waiting to be washed from the laundry basket and bringing it to us hoping we will react and start to chase him around for the item in his mouth and some catching fun on his part. It's a habit he developed during his puppy days which we found amusing then but really regret now when we have to buy new underwear every so often. There was this one time when the vet was over at our house to check on him. As I was talking to the vet, Hero took off to the laundry room and came back with my underwear in his mouth and proudly showed it to the vet. The situation was compounded in a way as he literally shoved the underwear at the vet's face as we were sitting on the floor. I really did not see that coming.

There was this other time when we stayed at a nice pet-friendly hotel cum resort. We just came out from the elevator and were happily walking through the swanky marble flooring lobby with Hero in tow. I noticed that people were particularly paying attention to Hero which I naturally thought was due to people being curious of his breed. But it suddenly struck me that people around us were actually trying frantically to keep their distance away from us. I looked down at Hero only to realize that he was actually walking with his hind legs open and peeing at the same time, leaving a trail of fresh pee all the way from the elevator. He must have his bladder so full that he couldn't control any longer. It was really embarrassing for all of us.

Did I mention about how Hero dropped out of obedience training school? Well, I think I'll save that for some other day.

Visit Hero's blog, "Life Journal of a Sharpei Named Hero."

--Marshal Zeringue