Tag Archives: pets

How green is your pet?

A dog’s eco-footprint equals to two gas hungry SUVs. Maybe the environmentalist should stop protesting against the car drivers, they should protest against the pet owners. If we raise carbon tax at the gas pump to help fighting the climate change, should we also impose some kind of tax to discourage people owning pets?

Continue reading How green is your pet?

In memory of Charlie


Charlie Chan-Ma (1995-2009), after several months of suffering from cancer, it left us quietly yesterday.  Charlie is the most adorable and most lovely Golden Retriever in this world.  Living with it changed my view on dogs and pets.  I used to hold the traditional Chinese view on dogs, which have only two functions, guard the house and as a delicacy.  Meeting Charlie let me know the love of dogs and learn to be a responsible pet owner.

Charlie was Pat’s dog, it grew up with her and married along with her into the Chan’s family. I became Charlie’s step father and I was helping Pat to take care of it. I met Charlie on the same day I first met Pat. Charlie was our match maker. It was a church group BBQ gathering on a beach. My first impression about Pat was the girl with a big dog. “Does your dog eat chicken wing” was my pick up line. I always had been allergic to dogs since a little kid, but I didn’t have allergy on Charlie. Charlie witnessed me and Pat getting together and walking into the church. We wanted to make Charlie our ring bearer in our wedding ceremony, but too bad it was already too weak to stand up for a long time and walk the aisle along with us.

Pat and I had many memories with Charlie. We went to cycling in Stanley Park with Charlie running behind our bicycle. We had ice-cream in Denman Street and used Charlie as my food stool. Charlie was the perfect foot warmer in a cold winter night when watching TV. We spent many great time walking it in the park, played fetch and caught with Charlie. Charlie also took away many of my first times. My first time picking up his poo; my first time cleaning up his mess on the carpet. It also took away my kiss on my wedding day before I kissed the bride.

In memory of Charlie, I always wanted to turn its body into a dog skin rug, like those tiger skin rug, for our sofa (Pat is dropping sweat while reading this line). Pat doesn’t think it is a good idea plus it is already too late, the body is already cremated. Maybe we could name our future son Charles Chan in memory of Charlie. If there is reincarnation, I believe Charlie will incarnate to be our son to continue the predestined affinity.  Goodbye Charlie, may you rest in peace.

Pet Euthanasia

Charlie has diagnosed with lung cancer and possible cancer in other vital organs.  Although it can still eat, drink and walk, he is much less active than he used to be.  I have been wanting to put it to sleep in SPCA to end his suffering, but Pat object to the idea and thinks Charlie should die peacefully at home.  I can imagine it is a tough decision to take your pet to SPCA, especially it grew up with you and has been accompanying you for many years.

Pat has a good friend who is a vet.  She gave us some good advice on when should we put Charlie to sleep.  Sometimes it is more cruel to the animal prolonging its needless suffering on the world.  Here are the signs we should watch out for Charile:

  1. signs of coughing – lung cancer / cancer spread to lungs might cause them to cough a lot
  2. coughing up blood – i’m guessing if the tumour is around the throat you might notice that
  3. general appetite / demeanour
  4. check his gum colour – should be nice and pink, if it is pale (white) – if there is a tumour in the liver like a blood blister, if it pops and bleeds into the abdomen – the animal might go pale. If the colour is bluish / purplish – probably not oxygenating ok, short of breath / can’t breath properly.
  5. Any difficulty in breathing – take him to the vet if he does appear breathing up / colour not great / gasping for air – this is critical.
  6. size of belly – if they are really bleeding into the abdomen due to the popped blood blister in liver, you might notice the belly getting fatter and when you poke on it, there is a wave pattern that you can see.

Charlie has none of the above symptoms yet, so it should be able to live on for a while and and kicking around in the house.  It is easier to make the touch decision if we some objective guideline on when should we say goodbye to Charlie.  For the mean time, let’s feed Charlie well and let it enjoy the remaining days of its life.


I just know cats can have AIDS too. I read it from a poster at the animal hospital when I take Charlie to see a vet. There is HIV for human and there is FIV (Feline immunodeficiency virus) for cats. There is about 10% of cats in North America are FIV infected FIV. Cats of FIV basically suffers the problem like human with HIV. Its immune system will stop working and it eventually dies from all sorts of diseases.

Condom can stop the spreading of HIV in human, maybe I should invent condom for cats, so the cats can have safe sex without the danger of having FIV. Then I did a little bit more research and it turns out FIV is transmitted by cat saliva, so my cat condom idea is not that useful. Or maybe I have to make a condom that’s is big enough for cat’s head.

Greedy Vet

Today I just pay $400 to have my dog cut open for no reason. My dog, Charlie, has a big lump around his neck. The vet said it could be parathyroid cancer and suggest us to have the lump removed. We made appointment with the Vet for the dog have the surgery today. After the vet cut open Charlie, he found out it is not a parathyroid cancer. The high calcium in Charlie’s body maybe cause by some other cancer. Since the vet already open Charlie, I would expect him remove the lump even it is not a cancer tumor. It turns out the doctor just stitch up the opening without doing any operation. I am $400 short, Charlie has a wound around his neck and suffer from the pain of the surgery, but his condition has no change. I should ask for a refund from the vet for doing nothing useful.

When we picked up the dog, the vet suggest the dog take more test to diagnose the problem. He suggested us to do X-Ray, CAT scan or even MRI and those tests are expensive. More diagnosis means more money for the Vet, I can see why he suggest further treatment. But to us, what is the point of knowing what kind of cancer he has. My dog is 13 years old, it is almost at the end of its life. Even we know where the cancer is, we won’t let the dog to go through the painful and expensive cancer therapy. A dog won’t last forever. If Charlie die naturally in a painless way, it would be already be a blessing for him and for us.

I have been suggesting taking Charlie to SPCA to put him to sleep. Pat strongly disagree my idea. She said she would send me to SPCA before sending Charlie. I don’t quite understand why people are so attached to their pets. It is just an animal. Wouldn’t it less trouble or sometimes even cheaper to simply get a new one. It is kinda like buying a new computer to replace your old computer. All pets have to go at the end, so you can’t avoid feeling sad when losing your pet, it is just the matter of sooner or later. What is the point of extending the ownership when it brings you more trouble than joy? The owner should just bite the tongue, put it to sleep and suffer a brief moment of feeling bad instead of a prolong period of feeling bad.