Wednesday Woofs {No. 05}

August 24, 2011 § 13 Comments

Have you ever thought what it would be like to one day pack up all your belongings, leave the familiar home that you’ve come to know so well, bid farewell to family and friends, and sojourn for a year or more in a completely new and foreign land? For one Californian husband and wife duo, this is the adventure they have embarked on.

Jeffrey and Flora are currently residing in Singapore and, from the articles in their travelogue, it looks like they are making remarkable memories out of this lifetime experience. It is no wonder that Jeffrey and Flora’s blog was recently nominated as a finalist in the Best Travel Blog category of the 2011 Singapore Blog Awards—quite an amazing feat for two newbies in Singapore! [Editorial Note: I have been living in Singapore for six years and have yet to acquire the same level of expertise. I have a lot of catching up to do!]

What intrigued me about this adventurous pair (besides our shared interest in travel) is their love for their family companions, Lord Stanley and Little Joe—two Bedlington Terriers who travelled across the ocean to join Jeffrey and Flora in tropical Singapore. How has life been like for these two canine expats? Flora gives us the inside scoop—read on to find out!

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Tell us a little bit about how your two adorable Bedlington Terriers, Lord Stanley and Little Joe, entered your lives. Is there a story behind their unique names, as well?

A few years ago after we finished school and got married, Jeff and I were finally ready to add a dog to our family. Jeff really liked the look of Bedlingtons, so we did our research and discovered that this breed would actually suit our urban lifestyle quite well. They are smart, active, and have such great personalities. They’re also great apartment dogs. We spent a lot of time learning about the breed and looking for breeders, only to confirm that this breed was the one for us. Months later, Stan came into our lives.

Part of my research about the breed included signing up for a Bedlington mailing list, and it was through this list that I found Little Joe. He was given back to my breeder from a family that no longer wanted him, and my breeder was looking to find him a forever home. I called her up and said I wanted him, and now he’s a part of our family. He had some odd habits and trust issues from his last family, but he’s opened up so much in the past two years. He’s a testament to the fact that love really does heal wounds.

Their names have to do with our love of hockey. We named Stan (a.k.a. Lord Stanley) after the Stanley Cup, the trophy given to the best team in the National Hockey League at the end of the season. When Joe came around, we added the “Little” to his name after one of our favorite hockey players, Joe “Little Joe” Pavelski. In keeping with this hockey theme, we plan on naming all future dogs after NHL trophies.

What brings you to sunny Singapore? And how did the decision arrive to have Stan and Joe join the both of you in Singapore?

The opportunity to move to Singapore came about because of Jeff’s work–he transferred to his company’s Singapore office a year ago. There was no question that we would bring Stan and Joe to Singapore with us. They’re a part of our family and it would have been really depressing for us without them in our daily lives.

[Editorial Note: Jeffrey and Flora’s blog provides an informative and detailed account of their experience exporting/importing Stan and Joe out of the US and into Singapore. For anyone who may be curious about the process, Flora’s post of FAQs is a great starting point.]

What were some of the biggest adjustments Stan and Joe had to face living in a new environment and how did you help them to overcome those issues?

I get asked this question a lot, but to be honest the dogs adjusted really quickly to Singapore. I don’t think they liked the plane ride or the 10 days in quarantine, but they got over it as soon as they came home. They are used to living in apartments, so getting in the elevator to go on walks is completely normal to them. I kept their feeding and walking schedule pretty much exactly as it was in the US. The heat can get to them sometimes, so I make sure their hair is never too long and I avoid walking them during the middle of the day.

One thing I miss is socializing them with other dogs at dog parks. Although there are a few dog parks in Singapore, they are far from me and I don’t have a car.

How would you describe a typical day in the life of Stan and Joe in Singapore? Is it any different from when you were all based in California?

A typical day starts around 8 am, when the dogs let me know they’re ready to go outside. Usually it’s Stan who tells me he has to go potty by rustling the curtains of the bedroom door. Then we come back and eat breakfast. Most days I stay home with them, but if I have appointments or errands to run they are well-behaved and stay home alone. I take them out to pee in the early afternoon, and again right before dinner time. Then everyone has dinner together. After dinner, we hang out together and Jeff usually throws toys and tennis balls around the house for Stan. Right before we all go to bed, the dogs go on one final potty break for the day. Then it’s lights out. The dogs sleep in dog beds next to my side of the bed.

Singapore is a great launching pad for short getaways to neighbouring countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. When you’re both away from home and exploring other parts of this region, is there a boarding place in Singapore where Stan and Joe go for their own mini-vacation?

All our travel would not be possible without The Paws Resort. They are reasonably priced and even come pick our dogs up before we take off on a trip. Whenever The Paws Resort calls to let me know they’re here to pick up the dogs, Stan and Joe get so excited. Our dogs are so smart; they can tell when I’m talking to the kennel staff on the phone and they start barking and scratching at the door. I’m always sad to send them off to the kennel, but it’s comforting knowing that my dogs love staying there and that the staff keeps me updated on them while I’m away.

If Lord Stanley and Little Joe could lead a walking tour, which three places in Singapore would be at the top of their itinerary?

Since we don’t have a car and don’t really go anywhere far from home, Joe and Stan would probably just take you to East Coast Park. We moved to the East Coast of Singapore so they could have space to roam around and go on long walks.

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Thank you, Flora, for taking the time to correspond with us in this interview. You may wish to know that our Lil’ Miss Maple couldn’t agree more with Stan and Joe’s choice of East Coast Park. This lovely green oasis by the beach is right up there on Maple’s list of favourite places in Singapore. She’s wondering if Stan and Joe have ever tried grabbing a coconut from one of the food vendors at East Coast Park—nothing beats a refreshing sip of coconut juice after a long walk! Until then, happy tails and travels.

All images have been re-published with permission from Flora Morena de Thompson.

Wordless Wednesday / No. 06

August 17, 2011 § 15 Comments

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It’s Wordless Wednesday—time to blog hop!

Wednesday Woofs {No. 04}

August 10, 2011 § 8 Comments

It feels like decades have gone by since our last ‘Wednesday Woofs’ edition! For those who have yet to be acquainted with ‘Wednesday Woofs’, this is a special segment in which we feature an interview with a newly discovered blogger and their furry pawpal(s).

When I first stumbled upon the website, PUPARAZZA, I knew immediately that this was one unique blog that required some friendly interrogation. Who is the person behind the camera of PUPARAZZA? Where does this puparazza find her fashionably cute subjects? And how can a celebrity-wannabe like Miss Maple be ‘caught’ on film? Enquiring minds want to know!

In this week’s ‘Wednesday Woofs’ article, we will learn a little bit about Ryan Hebert, the Atlanta Georgian behind PUPARAZZA and a very talented professional photographer with her own smashing portfolio of fashion and interior design shoots. I hope you’ll enjoy reading snippets of our interview and be inspired to hone your own paparazza, I mean, puparazza skills!

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The idea of a tail-chasing paparazzo following hot on the paws of some very fashionable four-legged human companions is ingenious. What was the inspiration or motivation behind PUPARAZZA?

My partner has her own dog walking business, Britt Walks Dogs, and we thought it would be fun if we joined forces. I enjoy blogging and thought why not make a doggy style blog, like the satorialist, but of our four-legged friends. As for the name of the blog, a female paparazzo is a paparazza. So take away pap, add pup, and there ya go!

It takes a fair amount of courage and confidence to approach a complete stranger and request a photo of their dog, without appearing like a suspicious dog-napper! How do you handle such encounters and develop a friendly rapport with the people and dogs that you meet?

Courage, not so much but good running shoes yes! It usually involves me running across the street, to catch up with an adorable or fashionable pup.  The funniest example I have of this was when I spotted Reid Ewing from the TV show Modern Family with his dog. 

I pulled a U-turn, parked illegally and ran over to him panting like a race horse (bet you thought I was going to say dog haha). We had a nice conversation. He was very gregarious and very much in love with his adorable little rescue dog, Racky. As for developing a friendly rapport, I have always enjoyed interacting with complete strangers which is good since I am a photographer. My favorite author, David Sedaris, puts it best, “I always depend on the kindness of strangers.”

Four-leggers are not the only subject of interest in your diverse portfolio of work. As a photographer, what other projects have you taken on and what has been your favorite shoot so far? 

My biggest passion in life is traveling, immersing myself in new places, meeting new people, and learning about other cultures. I  love shooting all kinds of people and subcultures. The photos I am most proud of are a series I did of refugee women that I volunteer teaching English to from the International Rescue Committee, a resettlement organization here in Atlanta. Currently, I am editing some photos from a trip I took to Nicaragua.  While I was there, I shot some photos of adoptable dogs for an organization called Building New Hope that, among other services, runs a health clinic for street animals to alleviate their suffering and to curb their population. The facility provides a much needed community health service by reducing dog bites, rabies, parasites and flea and tic infestation. Check them out.  They are always accepting volunteers!

Your career involves quite a bit of travel to different places and locales. Is there any one particular city that has impressed you with its dog-friendly environment and fashion-forward pooches?

I find myself in Venice Beach, California, a lot for photo shoots and the pups there, like their ‘handlers,’ are very fashion-forward and seem to set the trends for the rest of us. 

I also recently went to the Castro District in San Francisco and have never seen so many doggies and babies in my life. It is like a doggie/baby wonderland. It seems like a really great place to raise a family. It is incredibly dog-friendly, community-oriented, and progressive.

You and your partner have a 5-year old rescue dog named Tully. Tell us a little more about how Tully entered your lives.

My partner adopted Tully from the rescue group, Animal Action Rescue, in Atlanta. (As she says, “It was love at first sight. He’s the only man I’ll ever love.”) Just last week we went to Pet Smart to pick up a new leash for Tully before a hike and fell in love with another rescue, a 1-year-old miniature version of Tully. Needless to say we went for a leash and left with a new addition to our family. 

Her name is Foxy and she is the sweetest thing ever. She is almost perfect. Her only annoying habit is that she has commandeered this one specific throw pillow that used to go on our bed. She enjoys humping it much more than we ever enjoyed using it as a frivolous bed decoration so we have relinquished it to her.

If Tully could direct a photo shoot for a travel advertisement, which one of these destinations would he choose:

(a) A rustic log cabin that extends out onto a pristine freshwater lake surrounded by aromatic pine trees and snow-capped mountains.

(b) A villa resort on a tropical island oasis with beaches made of fine sand and palm trees that sway to the sound of ocean waves.

(c) A picturesque little town where thatched-roof cottages, cobble-stoned streets, and rolling hills evoke a sense of old-world charm.

(d) A modern-chic cafe on a bustling city street at night set against glittering glass skyscrapers and bright neon lights.

Hmmm that’s a hard one.  It is a toss up between (a) and (b), Tully looooves water. I think I am going to have to go with (a) though because I’ve never met a squirrel that lives on a tropical island. 

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Thank you, Ryan, for such a fun and insightful interview! We hope to see more of your photographic encounters with the four-legged fashionistas of the canine world. Meanwhile, Lil’ Miss Maple will carry on wishfully thinking that one fine day she is going to grace the cover of Doggie Vogue 😉

All images have been re-published with permission from Ryan Hebert.

Wordless Wednesday / No.05

May 18, 2011 § 35 Comments

"I can be naughty and nice... but it's just so much more fun being naughty!"

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It’s Wordless Wednesday—time for some blog-hopping fun!

Wordless Wednesday / No. 04

April 27, 2011 § 22 Comments

“How do I look? Am I ready for the camera? Someone pass me a mirror, please.”

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It’s Wordless Wednesday—time to blog hop!

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the Wednesdays category at The Adventures of Little Miss Red Maple Leaf.