Thursday, 26 April 2007

Lessons from my Rottweiler

Hello again, I found this article about another Rottweiler who is helping the writer in his daily routines. 3 cheers for Vai... Woof! Woof! Woof! Happy Birthday Vai!!

WHEEL POWER by ANTHONY THANASAYAN The Star Thursday February 1, 2007

GUESS who celebrated his 11th birthday last Monday? Fans of my service dogs who never miss my adventures – and escapades – with my marvellous mutts that I write about in this column, will know which of my three loyal canines I am referring to.

That’s right folks; it was Vai’s birthday on Jan 29.

The Rottweiler got to be top dog for that day following a special car ride to the nearby fast food drive-in restaurant.

After that, the old boy was treated to a gratifying belly rub on my bed next to the telly, as his two canine comrades, a German Shepherd and a Golden Retriever, watched with envy.

Many of you will recall that this great furry ball of energy was only a little pup when he came into my life. The experience unexpectedly turned my life completely around and led to many inspiring firsts.

Vai was my first dog – the decision to keep him as a pet was totally mine. Initially, everyone told me that I couldn’t have a dog simply because of my disability.

Vai obviously thought otherwise and saw my abilities instead of focusing on my physical shortcomings. He just leapt from the pet shop owner’s grip into my arms and the rest is history.

Vai was also my first pedigree. Everyone I knew then warned me about Rottweilers and their so-called “fierce reputation”. Vai, again, taught me otherwise. He was a godsend.

Even though I was quite an activist on disability issues, there was a deep emptiness inside me.

I got depressed when people didn’t understand what handicapped people had to go through; some even got nasty in some situations.

I can still remember the times when the personnel of a few shopping centres thought I was a potential shoplifter just because I used a wheelchair. I was even taken into private rooms and interrogated or physically searched for things that I “took”.

And I can never forget how I was yelled at once by a cleric for suggesting that his church provide disabled-friendly facilities!

Sometimes such things would get me down so much that I would try hard to fight away the tears, secretly in my room.

And each time I did, Vai would lick away each drop and get me smiling again.

Whenever I am with him, there’s no time to mope. He taught me the precious lesson of how to surf along life’s waves and whatever it brought along.

Most important of all, of course, is to see others through Vai’s eyes: anyone in wheelchairs is cool and fully normal.

Disability was no excuse for the Rottie. He demanded total attention from me. By looking after him, I also learnt to take care of myself because I didn’t want to end up in hospital and be separated from him.

Vai not only gave me a reason to live each day but he (together with my other German Shepherd, Biman II, who joined the team a month later) went on to inspire me to set up Bivai Special Dogs – a programme in which I train other dogs to help the physically handicapped.

It was also Vai (and Biman II’s) remarkable work in transforming my life that led me last year to form Petpositive, or the Malaysian Animal-Assisted Therapy for the Disabled and Elderly Association, in which I serve as president.

At Petpositive, besides using canines, our team of medical, veterinary and other professionals also work with a host of other pets to bring about positive living in our members’ lives.

Vai has also saved me during dangerous situations. One night as I was driving in Kuala Lumpur, a group of drunken youths in the car behind overtook my vehicle and suddenly stopped in front of me.

One of them got out and approached my car. Vai, who had remained mostly hidden in the back seat, suddenly sprung into action. The sight of him was enough to send the rogues fleeing.

Vai’s very much a retired service dog now. In his old age, he’s mostly interested in his food and sleeping under my bed or wheelchair.

But anytime I need his services – like opening the door or picking up something for me when the other canines are not around – he always obliges.

Thank you Vai for impressing upon me that I am normal just like any other person. And also for reminding me that whenever there’s a “bad dog” situation, it isn’t the breed that’s really at fault but rather a guilty owner lurking somewhere not far away.

Here’s to many more years of learning and happiness with you, dearest old boy!

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

So hi... This is my new blog, as you can see, I am a Rottweiler. People always misunderstand Rottweilers to be nasty and vicious dogs. Well they are wrong, we are just dogs that are very protective of our owners and loyal.

My ancestors actualy deliver meat and cash payment from butchers to their customers. If we are vicious dogs, butchers will go bankrupt!! So please.. do a little research before judging us... we are dogs, we listen to you as an owner. If you are mad, we will be mad...

Responsible owners love their dogs, care for us, take us for walks, play and at times share their feelings with us. Dogs have feelings too...

One other thing that I wish to reiterate, never cage us. We are free dogs and we need our space. We wish to live a life without without boundaries. Some of my ancestors are sheep and cattle herders.

My cousins, auntie and uncle in Europe are working for a home for terminally ill children who suffers from cancer. We are used as therapy dogs, because we are dogs that can show affection, love and friendliness.

This blog is created for the thousands (unfortunately) that believe in Rotties are the best buddies, against the millions who believe that we are vicious killer dogs. It takes a great mind to understand us, but sad to say, there are not so many left...