Monday, April 15, 2013


Note: This article was first published in Animal Scene magazine issue of December 2012

A cuddly pekingese, Epoy was very close to our heart. So there was much grief when he was claimed by a kidney ailment last Valentine’s Day.

As days passed, I would always hear my wife lament why Epoy hasn’t come back yet. To console her, I would share my thoughts that perhaps Epoy was still looking for a good vehicle, i.e. a nice breed of dog.

We don’t buy pets. Jedi, our first dog, was given by my sister. Epoy was a gift from an officemate and Tisoy came from a friend. Even Twinkle, our rock pigeon, just landed on our driveway as if coming from nowhere.

Even Tisoy, our white spitz, seemed to be missing Epoy. He would sit in the front door and watch the gate. It’s a good thing that his appetite for food was not affected.

We would like to believe that Epoy would find a way back home thru a puppy. And from where? I had no answer for that.
Dra. May Balcita at left with Bambi

It was a hot afternoon when our neighbor Teddy texted me. He was asking if we were ready to take in a new pet. His pug just gave birth to 6 puppies.

After consulting with my wife, I texted back in the affirmative. With my camera and a bit of euphoria, I went out to see the puppies.

The one-day old puglets all looked the same. But in our minds, we were thinking that Epoy was successful in treading his way back to us.

From time to time, I would be visiting the puglets to take photos and videos. I would also bring some dog treats for Angela, the mother of the puppies.

After a week, my wife received a message from Epoy’s vet. We thought we were just being informed that her pekingese gave birth to two puppies. But we got the surprise of our lives when Dra. May Balcita promised one of the puppies to us.

We had difficulty sleeping that night because of mixed emotions. The cotton white pekingese was born on June 4, exactly on Epoy’s birthday. Speculations aside, we decided to put a closure to the sadness that was haunting us.

The pekingese puppies were named Barbie and Bambi. Although the two puppies looked almost the same, Barbie was admittedly bigger and cuter.

After several visits to Dra. May’s clinic, the time came that Barbie was finally released to be an official part of our family. Born and raised in the vet’s clinic, it was Barbie’s first time to go out of their domain.
Barbie being introduced to our other pets

Upon entering the car, Barbie gazed around if trying to recognize the environment. I shook off the thought that this puppy had known the car. But when Barbie stared at me, I developed goose bumps.

Before the car moved, the white pekingese was reaching for the air vent, seemingly enjoying the cool air. Once in a while, Barbie would be looking at me as I was driving.

Before we reached home, Barbie had tasted the following: my hand, the hem of my shirt and the hand brake handle several times. Upon reaching home, Barbie’s eyes made an inventory of our house.

Barbie saw Twinkle who was waiting by the stairway. Tisoy was on a leash near the door while the puglet Pipoy was in a small cage. There was not much fanfare, a good indication that our pets had accepted the newcomer.

Before the day was over, it was obvious that Barbie was enamored with Tisoy. She would beckon Tisoy with soft barks. But Tisoy was naturally aloof so he would just go away. It didn’t occur to us that Barbie’s mother looked like Tisoy.

Unlike Pipoy who is a dynamo, Barbie plays coy all the time. So even if my wife was tired coming home from work, she couldn’t resist Barbie’s bid to be carried. As a reward for the affection, Barbie would continually lick her hand.

When we released Barbie for the first time, it was a revelation that our demure pekingese descended from the tribe of whirlwinds. The pent up energy was only waiting to be released.
Barbie's first trip to the mall

Barbie would run in circles before moving in a straight direction. She would hide behind the sofa before darting out to surprise us. And when we ignore her, she would get our attention with the use of her teeth.

In the concrete garden, Barbie did some sniffing before finally settling with the santan plant. That was Epoy’s favorite spot especially when the santan was abundant with flowers.

From licking our hand, Barbie graduated into nibbling and then gnawing and finally to sniffing. For a good starting lesson, according to Dra. May, we should reprimand Barbie by a mild slap on her behind (to restrain her from biting).

Barbie shows good behavior with food. Unlike Pipoy who would whine when hungry, Barbie just waits to be fed. And she always finishes her meal no matter how long it takes.

Bathing time is fun time because Barbie enjoys the warm water. However, we need two towels for drying – one for her coat and another towel for her mouth to chew on.
Barbie partying with other dogs in Circulo Verde, Pasig City

And for her favorite pastime – car ride - Barbie would be on my wife’s lap and act like a tourist on a sight-seeing trip. Street vendors think that Barbie was a stuff toy.

We really feel that Epoy came back. And we are so grateful to Dra. May Balcita for giving us this bundle of happiness.