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Sorry for yet another delay in posts. Raising a puppy, traveling to Japan (post coming soon…maybe), work, lots of races, yada yada yada.

Anyway, a few weeks ago I wrote about the joys and challenges of adopting and raising Avon (so far) over at NotaTourist.sg. Read the full article here.

For all you dog owners (and would-be dog owners) out there, a few key things I forgot to mention:

We absolutely love Avon’s vet, Amber Vet, and cannot recommend them highly enough. They’re located right around the corner from Siglap Centre over here on the East Coast. He had some digestion issues his first week home with us, and I was able to make an appointment for him to come in the very same day. Everyone on the staff is so friendly and helpful, that Avon actually likes going there! (We’ll see if that continues after he’s sterilized at the end of this month). I have never seen a dog hop up so eagerly onto a table, then proceed to sit calmly while occasionally licking everyone around him. Even the vet was shocked at his lack-of-squirminess after receiving various shots.

It’s a state-of-the-art facility (newly-opened in 2011) and the vets are all topnotch. Besides their great website and the excellent reviews that I found on Singapore Pets Channel (another great resource for dog owners here), I partially chose Amber Vet because there’s an American-trained vet on staff. Given the often-striking difference in bluntness/bedside manner here (which seemed to carry over to the vet reviews I read in the Pets Channel forums), I thought it would be a good fit. As it turns out, the American vet doesn’t work on weekends so we haven’t seen her, but Avon’s doctor, Dr. Jansen, has been outstanding. He seems to love Avon, too, which doesn’t hurt!

We buy food (and an overabundance of toys and treats) at Pet Lovers Centre, an island-wide chain with locations convenient to both our apartment (at 112 Katong) and my office (at Suntec City). They have a “VIP” membership program (I think it cost $3 to join or something) that gives an automatic 5% discount off everything and also allows you to earn points to put toward future purchases. I’ve found the staff to be very helpful and knowledgeable, and bonus points for it being a pet store that doesn’t sell puppies.

As mentioned in my article at NotaTourist.sg, we’ve engaged the services of Woofy Nanny to take care of Avon during the week while we’re at work. He gets a midday walk on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays he goes to all-day doggie daycare. Costs range from $25-$35, which is a bit more expensive than some of the other prices quoted to me ($15 was the lowest I heard), but we’re very happy with how it’s worked out.

On doggie daycare mornings, Avon excitedly waits by the door and basically skips out to our condo entrance, where we wait for the van to pick him up at 8am (alongside neighborhood kids waiting for their school bus, it’s too cute). During the day he gets to play and socialize with about 10 other dogs, and they often go on outings to dog parks and even doggie swimming pools (like the one pictured above). At night he is tired and content. The staff is great — super-responsive, always able to answer my questions, and really helpful with medical and behavioral advice.

Avon went to puppy kindergarten at SmartDoggy (conveniently located right down the street from us), where he proved to be a very fast learner. Lucas, the trainer, owns a number of agility champion border collies, and also runs more advanced agility classes that Avon will definitely do when he gets a little older. I found it’s a great way to both bond with the dog and let him perform both mentally and physically, which is how to keep him happy!

Fingers crossed, we’ve so far been able to use regular Comfort Taxis to get around (rather than specialized pet taxis, which cost $50+). You just have to call and let them know you want a dog-friendly driver, but there’s no pet surcharge or anything. Thankfully Avon is very well-behaved in cabs, and on multiple occasions the drivers have turned around at every stoplight to rub his furry head and coo over his cuteness. After our last taxi ride, the Uncle said to me, “Wonderful dog. If you don’t want, call me, I’ll take him!” Ha, good to know.

I have really loved having a dog here. On weekends we have a wonderful routine where Avon comes with me to the bakery (where he patiently waits on the sidewalk while I go in to pick up breakfast) and then to the kopi uncle, where he loves to lie down on the cool tile floor and bask in the breeze from the fan. I feel lucky that everyone in the neighborhood has been so welcoming to him (save for the three nasty cats who have chased us into the street), but a big part of that is that he’s so well-behaved. There are just so many wonderful local dogs of all ages available for adoption here; for anyone considering getting a dog, I can’t recommend the experience highly enough.