The Dog Adoption Series is a series of interviews with Singapore mongrel dog owners, to highlight the joys and the issues that they face when they adopt a mongrel dog.
Tiger Looi the “Angry” Mongrel
I first discovered Tiger Looi on Facebook when I saw her “Angry” videos. I was an instant fan. And I am not the only one.
Tiger’s facebook page has more than 10,000 likes! (As of 26 Feb 2017) So I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one who found it entertaining watching her interactions with her mom, Siewyuen.
I was also very amused by Tiger’s name – Tiger Looi – which makes me think of 雷老虎. How very gangster-like and utterly incongruous with a girl dog. And yet how appropriate at the same time considering all the “angry” videos her mom makes of her :P
But the reason behind her name was rather literal. Siewyuen says, “Tiger has brindle patterns, and those stripes look like Tiger markings. I’m someone who names my pets quite literally, like how my black mynah is called ‘Blackie’, colourful parrot called ‘Rainbow’, brown mynah named ‘Brownie’ etc, you get the drift. HAHA.”
But let’s talk about Tiger! ;)
5 Questions with Tiger Looi’s Mom
So, why did you choose to adopt a dark-coloured dog like Tiger Looi?
Siewyuen: I first saw her litter’s adoption post on the Facebook page “A Stray’s Life“. And I went down to their adoption drive and found a sleepy baby Tiger there ^^
Honestly, I just found the whole litter (all dark-coloured) extremely adorable, and the question of colours did not even occur to me. I like all dogs regardless of their colours!
Integrating a new puppy or dog into everyday life
How easy or difficult was it to integrate Tiger into your family when you adopted her? Did you also have any other pets that you needed to introduce Tiger to?
Siewyuen: At that time, I had been telling my family I was considering adopting a dog. I showed them adoption posts on Facebook but they never really took me seriously. So I’ve got to say they were pretty surprised with the fluffy bundle I carried home that day, haha!
My dad loves dogs like me, but my mom didn’t. She never liked any dogs my dad used to keep.
The biggest surprise came when my mom started to take a liking to Tiger about 1 – 2 weeks afterwards.
Normal puppy antics aside (e.g. chewing up things, and play biting), Tiger was easy to take care of. She understood things quickly and was very responsive.
I would probably say it was easy to integrate Tiger into the family given her charms! In fact, my mom totally fell in love with her.
I also had a rescued mynah and two tiny parrots at the time. Tiger was oblivious to the parrots but she was scared of the mynah because it pecked her on the nose once. She was being a curious puppy, sniffing the cage, hahahah! The mynah is the no-nonsense and feisty big brother in the house.
How about your neighbours? What were their reactions to Tiger when you first adopted her? And who are some of Tiger’s best doggie friends in the neighbourhood?
Siewyuen: The neighbours found her cute as a puppy at first. But sadly, over time she grew up and they found her fierce-looking.
Tiger lovesssss walks!! She goes into loud whining mode when she hears the word “gai gai” (local dialect for going out).
But Tiger doesn’t have many friends around the neighbourhood. I don’t see many mongrels around here and when we see smaller dogs, the owners tend to drag them away, haha.
Tiger Looi’s personality, behaviour and quirks
How would you describe Tiger’s personality when you first adopted her? And how has her personality changed over time as she grew older?
Siewyuen: When she was a puppy, she insisted on sleeping in the toilet every night. And we had to clean and dry the entire toilet for her, to ensure that there was no soap or water lying around. As she grew older, she slept mostly on the sofa.
Once or twice when the weather was hot, my parents would let her into their air-conditioned room to sleep together. She liked the air-conditioning so much that she would carry her pillow to the room door every night, to hint that she wants to be let in. She will knock on the door with her paw or do soft barks.
My parents totally melted at that, and after a few times of doing that, my parents let her in to sleep together every single night now.
Other than where she likes to sleep, Tiger has not changed a single bit! She is always cheeky and ready to play.
Loves entertaining us with her tricks ever since she was young. And super manja! That’s for personality.
As for behaviour, of course she shredded her puppy antics once she reached about 1.5 years old.
If I remember correctly, Tiger was food aggressive which was how you managed to train her to be angry on command. What would you advise other dog owners whose dogs have aggression problems with food?
Siewyuen: Yes, yes, she has food aggression. I would say hers is a slightly different case, as we’ve had her since she was a young puppy and we are able to read her very well. So we know where her (snapping) limits are.
In general, food aggression shouldn’t be encouraged, as it can be quite dangerous for the other people/pets around.
Unless you are very sure of your dog’s reactions/ temperament, you should try to cure the food aggression by maybe seeking training tips. This is especially so for owners getting dogs, which are not puppies.
Thank You Siewyuen for sharing Tiger’s story with us!!
Tiger is adopted from A Stray’s Life. Check out more adoptable dogs on A Stray’s Life facebook page here.
Siewyuen volunteers weekly at Mercylight. Check out more adoptable dogs on Mercylight’s facebook page here.
About the Dog Adoption Series
More than 900 dogs were culled in 2015. Almost all 900 of these dogs were mongrels. This is according to *theonlinecitizen.com article about mongrel dogs in Singapore. It says this “grossly disproportionate number of Mongrels” can be due to several reasons, displacement of their natural habitats being one, and the perceived “unattractiveness” of mongrels which makes them harder to find adopters for.
It is not uncommon. Big dogs and black dogs are often mistaken as fierce by people unfamiliar with dogs, regardless of whether the dog was displaying happy or tense body language.
Related: In Sep 2015, the 10 most popular Singapore dogs accounts that I could find were all white or light coloured small to medium dogs.
It gets worse for dark-coloured or black dogs. A 2015 Straits Times article** revealed that at dog shelter SOSD, ‘it takes three times as long to rehome black or tan dogs compared to white or cream ones, even if they share similar temperaments.’
“The bias against black dogs, commonly termed “black dog syndrome”, is most relevant when adopters meet a dog for the first time,” the newspaper quoted a spokesman at Gentle Paws. “The potential adopter will, generally, be uncertain of the dog’s temperament and black dogs are generally harder to gauge or assess. It’s more difficult to make out their facial expressions”.**
The Dog Adoption Series is a four-part series featuring 4 black or dark-coloured mongrels that have been adopted for a while. I hope these interviews will help potential adopters have a realistic picture of life with an adopted mongrel and some of the joys and issues that these adopters face.
Black or dark-coloured, these singapore specials can be lovely additions to the family too!