Sunday, September 24, 2023

Le roi est mort, vive le roi... woof! (repost)

Mr Wong died shortly after noon on 25 August 2010.

We suspect he was at least 13 years old (91 in human years), though that's pure conjecture. Mr Wong's origins remain a mystery even if I'm convinced he was indeed the grandson of the venerable Madam Wu (maiden name Curly-Wurly or Curlington-Wurlington on account of her spitz pedigree), one of the original Magick River dogs.

He was also known as Mr Wong Beng Oi or Golden Boy. His official designation at Magick River was Head of Homeland Security. He was undoubtedly the Dog of Dogs, veritably an ascended canine.

Madam Wu was already at an advanced age when she moved to Ampang Jaya long enough to get impregnated by Mary Maguire's mutt, Deputy Dawg (originally of the Yap clan, judging by the nervous tone of his bark). When Mary relocated to Kuala Kubu Bharu in 1997, Madam Wu returned to her former life as a jungle dog, while her daughter Lulu Yap née Lulu Wu stayed on with Mary in Kuala Kubu Bharu and later Sungai Choh. Lulu was seduced by Milligan (a rakish stray adopted by Mary) and had her first litter when she was still in her teens. Lulu's pups were all given away as soon as they were weaned so I never got to know them well.

Sometime in 1999 I found a compact yellow dog lying weak with hunger under a rambutan tree. He had an ugly sore on his back, the remains of a rope around his neck, and his fur had been ravaged by mange. But his eyes sparkled with soulful intelligence and I was compelled to nurture him back to health. My black bitch Anubis took an immediate shine to the short-legged chap I decided to call Wong. Within a week Wong was looking fine and cheerful again. It dawned on me that he could be one of Lulu's pups, born in that very house more than a year earlier. Perhaps he had been unkindly treated and opted to break loose. His instincts had taken him straight back to his birthplace...

Wong and Anubis truly loved one another. She was fond of grooming him and when she got in heat, was exceedingly patient with him, crouching down to facilitate penetration (Anubis was much taller than her royal consort Mr Wong).

Wong was extremely gentle with humans and showed a great fondness for felines. His first cat buddy was Mira, who loved rubbing herself against her canine protector and purring loudly. In fact, Mr Wong was greatly loved by everybody who had any contact with him. Even the Orang Asli were fond of him, because he never once barked at them, chased their kids or harassed motorcyclists. They kept asking me for Wong's offspring but, truth be told, Orang Asli dogs generally don't live very long.

Barely a month old, Pocahontas discovered that Uncle Wong was a warm and wonderfully bullyable friend. She was undeterred by all the tall tales I told her about Mr Wong's murky past as Chief Inspector Wong of the Special Branch (dishonorably discharged from the Force because of his unorthodox interrogation methods)...

Mr Wong enjoys the cool of the evening with Marie Cocteau - who started a fan club for the Dog of Dogs and appointed herself Purresident. Poor Marie Cocteau vanished within a few days of Baggins and Milly's arrival in Pertak. Baggins and Milly are Mary's cat-chasing mutts who grew up in Puchong (a rough neighborhood overspilling with dog-hating datuks). Baggins got into my bad books almost immediately by biting Mr Wong on the leg in a kurang ajar display of alpha male superiority. This incident broke Mr Wong's indomitable spirit and caused him to feel uneasy in his own territory.

But over the last few years Mr Wong had been showing signs of breathlessness and several times became listless and depressed. After a booster jab of multivitamins and some antibiotics, he would rally and regain his bounce. The thought that Mr Wong was, after all, a mortal being and may one day have to leave us saddened me greatly. So when a pretty female pup with Doberman Pinscher markings spontaneously appeared on the scene one day, I decided to let her stay and named her Lulu (in honor of Wong's mum). Perhaps Wong will take her as his child bride, I figured, and from their union an heir to the canine kingdom would be conceived.

As it turned out, Lulu's first litter consisted of two roly-poly pups I named Rupert and Amrita. Neither resembled Mr Wong in any way. Both had inherited their mother's chicken claw - extra toes on their hind legs that look a bit like rooster spurs.

Rupertino, a Valentino amongst dogs, was an exceedingly handsome fellow. Tragically, he was murdered together with mother Lulu on 25 May 2009 by a gang of demonically possessed Orang Asli (no thanks to the cheap brain-pickling spirits they enjoy guzzling). Another great Malaysian murder mystery that remains unsolved...

About six months before she was killed, Lulu gave birth to a single pup. A fat and feisty furball I decided to name Roger Reginald Putra because he arrived aound the time Raja Petra Kamarudin (Blogger King and webmaster of Malaysia Today) was miraculously released from unlawful detention under the evil ISA. It was a day I shall never forget, when it felt as if the winds of political change would blow away the hoodlums in high office like so much dandruff (although it would take a great deal longer than we thought...)

This little tyke was unmistakably descended from Mr Wong Beng Oi - the extreme cuteness of his being and shortness of his legs were a dead giveaway. Roger inherited his mother's characteristic rooster spur.

Roger Putra enjoyed a supremely happy puppyhood, took endless naps, and was adored by everybody.

On account of his thick coat Roger always seeks out the shadiest spots on hot days. Indeed, as a pup he would disappear from sight for hours - only to be discovered fast asleep behind the dragon jar in the bathroom, the coolest spot in the house.

Roger and his father, Mr Wong, were great buddies and only once had a falling out. The bone of contention was, what else? - a smelly bone Roger had been gnawing but when he abandoned it, his father took over and Roger didn't like that. Thought he was strong enough to stand up to the old man... he never again picked a fight with Wong Beng Oi alias B.O. Wong.

Roger, Wong and Mindy Coots aka Mrs Wong chill out on the veranda with my pet djembe.

Apart from food, sleep is a major preoccupation with Roger Reginald Putra.

I suspect there is some Wookie in Roger's lineage as he often makes Wookie sounds. Remember Chewbacca in Star Wars?

In December 2009 (three days before I was rushed to the Sungai Buloh Hospital by ambulance), Roger Putra failed to come home after chasing monkeys into the forest. I went to the river several times a day, calling for him - but heard no signs of a dog in distress. Then, on 21 December, as I was heading towards the car to be driven to the KKB hospital for a blood test, I saw Roger limping home. The adventurous tyke had been caught in an Orang Asli snare and somehow managed to free himself, though the wire had cut almost right through his right leg. Mary took him to the vet and with some antibiotics, antiseptic cream and a massive dose of TLC, he managed to heal completely.

Roger with Ayita Randhawa (whose mother is from Pertak Village).

Mr Wong used to compete with Roger for my affection. But now that Wong's gone, his beautiful, brave and beloved son will surely miss the wise and noble company of his splendid father, even though he shall relish being the new Dog of Dogs and King of All He Surveys...

Roger Reginald Putra in typical Lion King pose.

[First posted 27 August 2010]