Monday, March 2, 2009


This article was first published in Animal Scene, December 2008
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By Ninong Alex

It was a rainy night when the one-month old puppy arrived. With its milky white coat, it’s only logical to name him Tisoy. And perhaps to end our mourning for the passing away of Jedi (featured in Animal Scene Magazine June 2008 issue), our new pet immediately showed its affection by constantly licking my wife’s fingers.
Tisoy in his original home

Brought in a milk carton, the small bundle of joy was obviously bundled with ticks and fleas. We didn’t have the heart to wait until morning to cleanse Tisoy, i.e. to rid him of parasitic pests because allowing the parasites to stay overnight may contaminate Epoy, our thick-haired pekingese. Armed with a tweezer, my wife and our maid worked alternately on the puppy until way past midnight. The cup of greenish dishwashing soap looked like kiwi fruit because it was dotted with what appeared to be dark spots but which were actually ticks of various shapes and sizes.

On his first morning with us, we noticed that there was something unique in Tisoy’s face - a very slight hue of brown on his forehead that formed the shape of a heart. And in the middle of the heart shape was a dark dot as big as a ten-centavo coin. The combination of the heart and the dot gave Tisoy a semblance of a Hindu royalty.

Tisoy’s continual scratching persisted for a few days until the sun shone when he had a taste of his first bath. Aside from being afraid of water, we found out that the dark dot on Tisoy’s forehead was not really a symbol of blue blood but actually a nest of fleas! We also discovered that his eyelids were lined up with micro-minute ticks! And so we were back to the tweezer chore with a magnifying glass this time.

The mischievous puppy exhibited a liking for slippers, rags and hemlines. And due to Tisoy’s over-dynamism we had to tie him on a leash. Made of cloth, the leash appealed to Tisoy’s taste buds so we temporarily changed it to a slim steel chain. In fairness to our little pet, Tisoy had learned toilet manners in a matter of two days.
First Christmas of Tisoy with Epoy and Twinkle

Small as he was, no one would expect that Tisoy has a deep liking for the camera. He would pose upon seeing the camera and when he doesn’t see the anticipated flash, he would hound the person holding the camera. His antics would clearly be seen in videos taken when he was still a puppy.

After the usual vaccinations like deworming and anti-rabies, Tisoy grew up to be an overly playful dog. And since he was bigger than Epoy, it appeared that Tisoy was bullying the small pekingese. For this reason, Tisoy remains in a leash and he would be set free only when someone is around to look after him.

And as a way of introducing our new pet to our circle of friends and relatives, we held a pre-new year party in Tisoy’s honor. After the successful party, when we were all exhausted and ready to retire, Tisoy vomitted without warning. And even before we could clean up the mess, the energetic puppy barked with a matching gesture of wanting to go out of the house. Our maid brought Tisoy to the garden to satisfy the call of nature.

“May bulate po,” our maid declared with fear because she had just heard the story, told by one of our guests, about a dog that died of heartworm. Despite having undergone deworming twice - when Tisoy was 3 months old and another a month after - it seemed that Tisoy was harboring a sturdy breed of parasitic worms.

And before Tisoy could settle on his assigned corner of the house, he again vomitted. After a succession of vomitting and defecating, I held the puppy in my hand. That’s when I learned that Tisoy has a very slim lower torso and a somewhat swollen ribcage. I thought to myself that the sickness may be inborn because Tisoy is a mix of spitz and pomeranian, actually a progeny of inbreeding - the product of a sister and a brother.
First birthday celebration

My wife got worried because it was obvious that our energetic puppy was already on lowbatt. After calling up the vet for an emergency appointment in the dead of the night, we immediately set out for the clinic.

Although not normal but not really alarming, parasitism is a disease that may interfere with the digestive system and at times may cause malnutrition or excessive loss of weight. So I pointed out to the vet the unnatural body contours of Tisoy. At first, Dr. Ignacio was smiling and then his face showed wonderment. Indeed, Tisoy’s big ribcage is unproportionate to his behind. But after a thorough examination, the vet declared that there’s nothing wrong and it was just similar to pigeon-breasted kids. My wife threw me a glance because she knew that I was also pigeon-breasted when I was young.

After administering the medications for the worm and vomitting, Tisoy began recharging his batteries by taking a nap in the car. Back at home, it was noticeable that Tisoy had lost his usual pep and agility. And on the next day, it was already new year’s eve, he didn’t mind the sound of firecrackers in the neighborhood. Definitely, something’s wrong with Tisoy.

The mystery was uncovered when our maid reminded us that our house was immaculately clean, meaning there was nothing for the puppy to chew on, not even newspaper. Even the curtain bottoms were tied with rubber bands. And just to test the waters, I threw one of my slippers near Tisoy. But the once playful dog didn’t budge so I called an emergency meeting. But before we could start analyzing the problem, Tisoy was already chewing on my slipper. However, he stopped when he saw that we were watching. Our maid pronounced that Tisoy was not a puppy anymore because he’s already aware of ethics.
In Camp John Hay, Baguio

On New Year’s Day, our superdog was back in his old playful self. Unlike Epoy who hates New Year celebrations, Tisoy didn’t show any intimidation of the flaring fireworks and the deafening firecrackers.

On Tisoy’s first birthday, he had finally said goodbye to his leash. His favorite spot in the morning is the terrace where he could spy on the people in the street. Pity the newsboy and the messengers for they are pestered with Tisoy’s relentless barking. Tisoy’s unpredictable ferocity, according to the Buddy Palad, the original owner, may be due to his Spitz bloodline because Pomeranians are usually tame.

And in times that we see Tisoy walking like a sexy woman, we just shake our head and banish the though that Tisoy may be a gay dog. For sure, it’s just the figure of Spitz.