Hello there. I am Terry and I am a full-time undergraduate based in Singapore. I take photos, write a blog and design websites.

And no, I'm not a teddy bear.

Georgie Bear

I apologize that I revived this blog with a mournful post. However, I felt that it would only be just for me to chronicle what is going on in my life – regardless of joy or sorrow, the mundane or the mythical, the ordinary or the outstanding.

George and Charlie

Let me start off with a little backstory. I met Jon1, a Brit who lived in Australia but moved to Singapore recently, a few months ago by chance. He had two dogs with him – George, a 16-year old yellow Labrador Retriever, and Charlie, a black Lab around the age of four or five. It is also through Jon that I met Boo2, and both of them make a lovely couple.

The first time I met the dogs (or boys as what Jon and Boo would call them), Charlie was overflowing with puppy energy. I remembered when Jon allowed me to walk Charlie with him while he had George on a leash in a mild tropical drizzle along a slit-filled canal. It felt like Charlie was the one walking me instead of the other way it supposed to be – while George required a bit of pushing and coaxing along the way. Nonetheless, both of the boys enjoyed their daily afternoon walks. In fact, if Jon didn’t bring them out for a breather Charlie would start going a bit crazy in the house.

George was an old boy for his age. At a ripe age of 16, he had arthritis and probably hip dysplasia as well, judging from his awkward gait. He had a scary episode of epileptic seizure many years ago, where he charged at his owners and were ready to bite their heads off. Thankfully, after a trip to the vet and being on the right medication, Jon and Boo never seen that wild side of George again.

George to Charlie was like yin to yang. While both Labs were exceedingly gentle towards me, George was the mature one. He was quiet, calm and composed. Charlie would sometimes breakout in a frantic, madman dance in the morning when he hears Jon or Boo coming down the stairs. However, George had the habit of rummaging through the kitchen waste bin for unfinished food – as much as Charlie does, much to the chagrin of Helen, Jon and Boo’s housekeeper.

Charlie loves pawing at me for no reason. Perhaps it was his unique way of saying hello, or that he just loves the touch of my hairy legs (although I highly doubt the latter). George, on the other hand, was a bit more conserved, but still enjoyed a good pat on his tummy or a nice little rub on his back.

I remembered sleeping over last Friday. Waking up on a Saturday morning I was greeted with Charlie bouncing off the living room wall, wagging his tail in wild abandon. George was lying on his favourite cushion and looked at me. I gave him a good pat on his back, and some fur came off. Oh boy, he’s shedding again! I tried to stick the fur back onto his back but decided otherwise.

Little did I know, that was the last time I saw George.


Sunday evening came a few messages from Jon. He informed me that George had passed that very morning. I was napping at that time, so I only got up way past eight in the evening and saw his message. I immediately replied, initially expressed my shock and then my sorrow. I tried to place a call but nobody picked up the phone. Jon clearly needed some time for himself.

Monday was a public holiday, but Jon had to go to work because of the nature of his occupation. He told me it helped him to take things off his mind – and I understand how much being around with people helps to ease the pain of a tragic loss. Afterall, George is 16. It is like losing a child of your own, grown up to an age of a teenager and then disappeared overnight, never to be seen again. The sense of loss and parting, while still new to me, for me being only 22 and have not seen too much deaths in my life, is profound. I could feel it.

My heart ached.

George & I

It took me a bit for the feeling of loss to sink in. Who am I George? Maybe I’m just a friend that his master introduced to him three months ago. Or maybe he’s that skinny little Asian kid who drops by once in a while and tickles his ears just for the fun of it.

However, I am not strictly a stranger to George. Despite the short time that we knew each other, I loved him. As a dog, as a friend and as a companion. He still craps the carpet once in awhile, and accidentally squeezes the lemon in all the wrong places in the house, but he’s an old dog. Humans do that too, when they get old and lose control over various muscles in their body.

So on Monday evening I set off to the mall. To get a small condolence card and a flower in the memory of George. I was a bit undecided about what kind of flower to give. It definitely will be a colour of white – representing purity, innocence, clarity and peace – or yellow – George’s coat colour. Roses are nice but they’re a bit too romantic for my liking. I settled for a white lily.

The Visit

I was planning for an anonymous and quick visit. My plan was to drop the card and the flower in Jon and Boo’s postbox, text them about it on my way home. I don’t now if it was arranged by George, a higher being or just Lady Luck, I bumped into Jon and Boo on the road. They look surreal from a distance – behind my glasses I squinted hard. I started a soliloquy.

Okay, I see two figures walking a black dog. That doesn’t look like Charlie. He looks too small to be him.

However, the glittering chain from Jon’s neck gave him away in the distance. My hands trembling, I plucked the earphones from my ear.

Boo? Jon? I shouted into the distance, the road ahead of me lit dimly by yellow fluorescent lights. It was them. Then Charlie saw me (or he picked up my scent). He charged at me wildly  and excitedly, dragging Boo along as he locked the leash.

I hugged Boo. Sorry, I whispered softly in a squeak. In contrast to Boo’s calm and composed response, I stared to sob. Behind Boo appeared Jon, who started crying when he saw me. I hugged him tightly, too. I have rarely see a grown man cry – I’ve never seen my dad cry, too. Male figures in my lives are always a stoic figure that offers a calming presence.

We walked back to their place. Boo decided to take Charlie on a longer walk past their house, so Jon and I talked a little. We hugged each other a bit more, and we cried a little more. It’s amazing how tears flow just so freely. Boo finally got back from his walk, and he fished out a vase from the cabinet above the refrigerator. He carefully plucked the leaves at the bottom of the stem and placed the white lilly in a vase filled with water. Thank you, he said.

After sending Boo off to bed, Jon and I sat on the balcony. There we sat, my hand on his back and his on my shoulder, facing the cloudless night sky and we chatted away. The conversation inadvertently steered towards describing George’s last moments, which Jon faced some problem reciting. His voice, chocked with tears, trembled in cold night air. Holding back my tears in my eyes, I gave him a few pats in the backs and a few squeezes to his palm.

It was to my great comfort that George passed with little suffering. 16 years is a very good run for a dog – and more importantly, he had the one of the most loving and caring owners in the world. Both Boo and Jon took very good care of the boys – monthly grooming, daily walks and balanced, timed meals.

Just like how seashells always remind me that each being’s passing leaves something beautiful behind, George’s loving disposition, gentle nature, impeccable fur and calm composition will always have a special place in my heart.

Allow me to conclude this entry with a quote from Sogyal Rinpoche:

…when we finally know we are dying, and all other sentient beings are dying with us, we start to have a burning, almost heartbreaking sense of the fragility and preciousness of each moment and each being, and from this can grow a deep, clear, limitless compassion for all beings.

  1. Name changed for anonymity.
  2. Name changed for anonymity.
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