PEO­PLE AND THEIR PETS

Get­ting hitched means ac­cept­ing ev­ery­thing about your sig­nif­i­cant other: Lumps, bumps—and furkids.

Pets (Singapore) - - Contents - BY GIL­LIAN LIM

ADE­LINE WANG, 26, BANK IN­VES­TI­GA­TION OF­FI­CER JAR­ROD SCOTT TAN, 26, AU­DI­TOR ALLY ,11, YORKSHIRESCHNAUZER CROSS SNOWY, 4, BI­CHON FRISE

For this cou­ple, their furkids are more than just pets—they’re fur-mily. When asked if they saw their pets as their chil­dren, Ade­line Wang chor­tled in­stantly: “To­tally.” That’s why when they were tasked to plan their wed­ding in early 2016, they knew with­out a doubt that they had to in­clude Ally and Snowy.

In fact, Snowy only came about be­cause of Ally, the 11-year-old York­shire- Sch­nauzer cross. “We had only been dat­ing a year when Ade­line asked me to take care of Ally when she and her fam­ily went to Aus­tralia for a hol­i­day,” shares Jar­rod Tan. The then 22-year-old stu­dent and his fam­ily had such a paw-sitive ex­pe­ri­ence with the ex­citable Ally that at the end of the 10-day stay, they were en­cour­aged to get a pooch of their own. That was how Jar­rod’s mum even­tu­ally brought Snowy the Bi­chon Frise puppy home.

Through­out the next four years of their re­la­tion­ship, the pooches played an ac­tive role in the cou­ple’s bud­ding ro­mance. As the more ex­pe­ri­enced paw-rent, Ade­line would guide Jar­rod and his fam­ily on how to take care of the then-puppy. They’d bring the pooches out for play dates and

watch as Ally showed Snowy the ropes, from sniff­ing the pave­ment, to walk­ing on leash, and even to poop­ing and pee­ing out­side for the first time. Be­ing a new paw-rent also showed Ade­line a dif­fer­ent side of Jar­rod. “He has a much gen­tler side to him when it comes to an­i­mals,” says Ade­line with a smile.

It was a nat­u­ral and undis­puted de­ci­sion to in­clude their pups in their wed­ding, which hap­pened last Novem­ber. “Both our pets have given us laugh­ter and me­mories over the years, just like a fam­ily mem­ber,” says Ade­line. From hav­ing their two furry faces sketched and stamped on wed­ding in­vi­ta­tion cards, to be­ing the flower girls that walked down the aisle dur­ing the first walk-in, it’s safe to say the two fur­balls re­ceived as much at­ten­tion as the ac­tual cou­ple—al­most as if they were the ones get­ting mar­ried. Ade­line shares more.

How im­por­tant was it that your part­ner liked an­i­mals or got along with your furkid? Hav­ing a part­ner who is also an an­i­mal lover is like a bonus in a re­la­tion­ship, as I al­ways felt that he would have this un­spo­ken kind­ness and pa­tience in his char­ac­ter and he would treat me like that too. (laughs)

Was it hard to plan the wed­ding?

We had al­ready de­cided we wanted our dogs to be with us dur­ing our wed­ding cer­e­mony’s walk-in, so we had to hunt for a pet-friendly ho­tel, which is very lim­ited in Sin­ga­pore. When I ca­su­ally en­quired on the avail­abil­ity of the ho­tels more than one-and-a-half years be­fore our cho­sen date—think­ing I still had plenty of time—I ended up hav­ing only two dog-friendly ho­tels to choose from. The rest were fully booked! Thank good­ness the ban­quet man­ager at Re­gent Ho­tel Sin­ga­pore was prompt and was avail­able that very evening.

How did the wed­ding go?

It was ex­tremely fun to have the two girls there. Our guests were quite sur­prised to see them; the girls got their pic­tures taken and re­ceived lots of free pets. We made sure to in­clude them in the tea cer­e­mony as well as the first walk-in.

Were there any mishaps?

Ally pooped on the car­pet be­fore the tea cer­e­mony. (laughs) Thank­fully my brother was quick to clean it up. For Snowy, she didn’t want to do the walk-in when it was her turn! That stub­born girl plopped her butt down and absolutely re­fused to move. She ended up be­ing car­ried by my brides­maid.

What are your post-mar­riage liv­ing ar­range­ments?

As we moved out one year be­fore the wed­ding ban­quet, our two girls re­main at our fam­ily homes. The main rea­son is that we work 8am-to-6pm jobs and didn’t want them to stay home alone for long pe­ri­ods of time with­out any­body to keep an eye on them.

Any in­ten­tion to get a pet to­gether as a mar­ried cou­ple?

Yes, but not un­til we can align our work sched­ules to prop­erly take care of our pets.

Do you have any tips for cou­ples with pets who are in­tend­ing to get mar­ried soon? Pet-friendly venues in Sin­ga­pore are lim­ited, so do book early! Also, furkids can be pretty un­pre­dictable dur­ing wed­dings—just look at Ally and Snowy. So what­ever hap­pens dur­ing a wed­ding, just laugh it off as this is what makes your spe­cial day dif­fer­ent and it will be a sweet me­mory to re­mem­ber.

To Sacha Tong, it was a no-brainer that her sig­nif­i­cant other had to like dogs.

“He doesn’t need to be as pas­sion­ate about dogs as I am, but he needs to at least un­der­stand why they’re im­por­tant to me,” she ex­plains. “It’s es­sen­tial that he demon­strates the com­mit­ment and ef­fort in get­ting to know my furkids. It’d have been a deal-breaker if it was oth­er­wise.”

Thank­fully, her then 23-year-old boyfriend, Scott Chen, loves dogs and was great with her two pups when they first started dat­ing in 2007. To be fair, he had it easy in the im­pres­sion man­age­ment depart­ment be­cause Sacha’s two Golden Retriev­ers, Dal­las and Peb­bles, adore every­body they meet. Case in point: Scott over­slept and was a no-show at their first doggy date to Botanic Gar­dens! “But Dal­las was a sweet­heart and de­cided to give Scott another chance to im­press him, so we ar­ranged for a make-up out­ing,” shares Sacha with a laugh.

She shares such a spe­cial bond with both furkids that she couldn’t imag­ine hav­ing her wed­ding with­out them. Both pooches are in­cred­i­bly close to her heart—Dal­las was her first dog and she’s had him since he was three months old in 1999. Peb­bles was adopted later on in their re­la­tion­ship in Oct 2013. While choos­ing to have both pups present at their wed­ding lim­ited their venue op­tions, Sacha and Scott chose to look on the bright side—it made the se­lec­tion process a lot eas­ier. “We even ex­plored host­ing our wed­ding in Perth, which was where we first met, but canned the idea af­ter de­cid­ing we wanted Dal­las and Peb­bles present on our spe­cial day,” says Sacha.

The wed­ding cer­e­mony was held in May 2015, and it was ev­ery­thing the cou­ple wished for. Sadly, 15-yearold Dal­las waited pa­tiently to walk his beloved paw-rent down the aisle be­fore pass­ing away two months later. “He passed away on the night we left for va­ca­tion,” she shares. Sacha tells us more.

Where did you have your wed­ding cer­e­mony?

We had a fab­u­lous bar­be­cue and open bar at Rochester. Sadly, the restau­rant has since closed its doors.

How were your two pooches in­volved in the wed­ding?

They were part of the en­tire process in ev­ery way—they walked me down the aisle and were present through­out the en­tire wed­ding cer­e­mony. I had two brides­maids ac­com­pa­ny­ing them, so Scott had to have two less grooms­men. (laughs) We did not want to have a photo shoot prior, but man­aged to squeeze in a few shots at the MacRitchie Reser­voir area and had them in those photos as well.

Were they well-be­haved dur­ing the wed­ding?

Yes, in­cred­i­bly! We were re­ally for­tu­nate and blessed to have ev­ery­thing run smoothly. Granted, both Goldies were ex­hausted by the end of the night.

How have the dogs fac­tored into your post­mar­riage liv­ing ar­range­ments?

We were liv­ing to­gether prior to get­ting mar­ried, so the dogs were a con­stant fea­ture in our pre- and post-mar­riage lifestyle. Now, with only Peb­bles around, we still have our hands full as he is an older dog. We are hav­ing heaps of fun as a mar­ried cou­ple, that’s not to say that there haven’t been any ar­gu­ments! Any plans for chil­dren or another dog?

No plans for kids in the fore­see­able fu­ture, but we won’t rule out adopt­ing more dogs. I’ve a soft spot for Goldies. (laughs)

What would have hap­pened if Scott didn’t like your two pooches, or vice versa?

Some dogs take time to warm up to new ad­di­tions and some need to be taught to co-ex­ist with a new party. Cou­ples need to re­ally work hard at in­te­grat­ing their pets in a new en­vi­ron­ment, such as get­ting mar­ried or mov­ing in to­gether. Choos­ing to aban­don your pets is not a so­lu­tion.

Do you have any tips for cou­ples with pets who are in­tend­ing to get mar­ried soon?

1. With all things, set­tling down to a new lifestyle or with some­one new needs time for every­one to ad­just, even the other half. You can’t ex­pect to have your pet and other half get along like they have been best friends from the get-go. There needs to be a lot of en­cour­age­ment and a new rou­tine may need to be es­tab­lished.

2. Have a game plan, and most im­por­tantly have pa­tience and de­ter­mi­na­tion.

3. Since throw­ing out your other half is not re­ally an op­tion, nei­ther should toss­ing out your pets.

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The happy fur­mily: Ade­line and Jar­rod with Snowy and Ally.

SACHA TONG, 34, MAN­AGE­MENT CON­SUL­TANTSCOTT CHEN, 34, FI­NANCE AND COM­MER­CIAL MAN­AGERPEB­BLES, 13, GOLDEN RETRIEVER

A brides­maid walk­ing Dal­las down the aisle, while Peb­bles is hap­pily watch­ing.

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