Don’t Worry, Be Happy

June 3, 2012 § 22 Comments

Butterflies were fluttering in my tummy as we headed for our last Good Canine Citizen class. This particular class was to be different from the ones before it. After 8 weeks of training, it was time to put all our hardwork to the test. Both MM and I were hopeful that Lil’ Miss Maple would do her best after seeing how well she had adapted to learning the commands and befriending some of her canine classmates. So, when it was our turn to take the stage, we mustered up our nerves and went for it. There were times when I thought, “Oh, boy. I hope the examiner didn’t take notice of that slight deviance…” But, all in all, Miss Maple did pretty well. For the first part, that is!

The second part was a group test. And this was when it got to be a little much for the furball. The canine students were lined up in a row for a 30-second “Down-Stay”. Miss Maple was sandwiched between two of her bigger canine peers, and I think that made her feel slightly uncomfortable. About 15-seconds into the test, Miss Maple broke from her position and gingerly walked towards me. Oops. Well, that seemingly innocent move led to an automatic F-A-I-L. We didn’t bring home a ribbon that day, but we stayed on to soak in the joy and excitement of Miss Maple’s classmates who passed the exam with flying colours. Congratulations to the graduates! Here are a few of their beaming smiles :D

Although we completed the Good Canine Citizen Course sans ribbon, we tried not to let that get us down with worrying thoughts. After all, our little munchkin tried her very best to make us proud. We’re more than happy with Miss Maple’s progress and, even though the course has ended, we’ll definitely continue brushing up on her Good Canine Citizen skills. So, to reward ourselves (and to celebrate Miss Maple’s belated 2nd birthday) we headed out for some fun in the park!

If there’s one thing that can lift Miss Maple’s spirits, it would be a ball—baseball, basketball, soccer ball, tennis ball… you name it, she’ll play with it! First up, the soccer ball.

What do you think? Does Miss Maple stand a chance to play in the 2014 FIFA World Cup? Watch out David Beckham… here comes Lil’ Miss Beckham!

Next up, the tennis ball. Miss Maple is frighteningly obsessed with this itty bitty bouncy thing. In fact, I dare say that her affection for the tennis ball far outweighs her addiction to liver treats!

As we were playing, a couple arrived at the park with their two furkids in tow. It took no time at all for Miss Maple to initiate greetings with a bark. We were introduced to ‘Girl’ (a very sociable Shih Tzu mix) and ‘Honey’ (a spunky little Chihuahua). It took a little longer for Miss Maple to warm up (she often requires a slow start) but, soon enough, the trio became friendly acquaintances. Here’s a cheerful video that we’ve pieced together as a thank you to Girl and Honey for reminding us to not worry (about the past) and be happy (about the present)!

I think this is one belated birthday adventure that Miss Maple will remember for a long time to come. Just look at the furball’s sand-caked paw. I think the picture says it all. Happy Birthday, Lil’ Miss Maple!

Playing With The Big Boys

November 19, 2011 § 22 Comments

For as long as Miss Maple has been with us (almost coming to one year), we have known her to be rather timid and skittish around large dogs. But, today’s outing to the West Coast Park dog run had us in for a real surprise—our little tyke befriended two very BIG handsome fellas named Oscar, the Husky, and Xavier, the Goldie. Of course, it also helped that Oscar and Xavier were really easy-going guys with a penchant for mighty small dogs like our Miss Maple. Here are some fun photos of our day out!

Not Your Ordinary Walk In The Park

August 23, 2011 § 18 Comments

Sunday was not an ordinary walk in the park for Maple. Unbeknownst to her, we registered ourselves and the Lil’ Miss in the 2011 National Dog Walk—an event organized by the Singapore Kennel Club to raise awareness about responsible dog ownership, as well as to promote an active lifestyle for both dogs and their owners. 

Hundreds of tail-wagging pooches showed up that day at East Coast Park to participate in the doggie sports activities and mass group walk. With dogs of all breeds mingling in amidst the crowds, it was a fun spectacle for any animal-lover at heart. Maple had never before been in the company of so many canines, some of whom charmingly stole the show with their one-of-a-kind personalities.

We arrived shortly after 3:00pm and had some time to spare before the actual walk itself so, while Momsy spent a few minutes checking out the various vendors and stalls, Popsy disappeared with Maple in search of an afternoon snack. With so many adorable four-leggers curious for attention, however, I was eager to quickly end my browse through the booths and start snapping away.

Meanwhile, MM and Maple managed to find a shady place on the grass where the little tyke could play a few rounds of fetch while waiting for the group walk to commence. Maple currently has an overt obsession with her tennis ball—a new toy that I discovered during my recent trip home. The tennis ball, manufactured by Chuckit!, is available in ‘mini’ size which makes it a perfect fit for a petite gal like Maple. 

After waiting patiently for a good hour, our ears perked when an announcement was made for the commencement of the mass group walk. We could sense the anticipation building as dogs and their handlers queued up on one side of the ‘Start’ line while curious bystanders watched from the other.

I think the excitement got to Miss Maple—she requested for a last minute potty break just as we took our positions. Oh well, at least we got that business out of the way early. Once we hit the pavement, though, this little munchkin was raring to go!

The mass group walk was a leisurely stroll that took no more than 20 minutes to complete, and I think it was just about the right distance given the afternoon heat. As a reward to the dogs for being such good sports, slices of dog-friendly cake were distributed and shared amongst the furry ones. Maple invited her Beagle friend and blogging buddy, Lele, to a plate of cake. Lele, being the polite little lady that she is, was happy with just a few nibbles of the crumbs. Our greedy Miss Maple, on the other hand, wolfed down chunks of the cake—as much of it as she could stuff in her cheeks.


We don’t typically end our walks with cake, so Sunday was definitely not an ordinary walk in the park! I certainly hope Lil’ Miss Maple won’t be expecting a double-layered frosted treat at the end of every walk from now on ;)

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Disclaimer: HAPPY.BARK.DAYS is an independent entity and was not paid to write this review by any of the commercial and/or non-commercial enterprises mentioned in the article.

These Boots Are Made For Walking: Coal Harbour

June 28, 2011 § 34 Comments

The Pacific Northwest region has a notorious reputation for inclement weather—here, rain could qualify as a fifth season. Vancouverites have accepted the cold and wet weather as a simple fact of life. You learn to deal with it by donning a raincoat and slipping on water-resistant boots. And you come to grips with the incessant water droplets by rationalizing that they are sustaining the largest temperate rainforest ecoregion on the planet—while sipping from your earth-friendly cup of fair trade coffee, no less.

After six years of living abroad, however, it seems that I need to acclimatize once again to Vancouver’s ‘enchanting’ grey skies. Mind you, I do think this is a lovely change from the tropical “I’ve-just-stepped-one-foot-out-the-door-and-I’m-already-breaking-into-a-sweat” humidity that is Singapore. So, with the temperature hovering around 20 degrees Celcius as of late, I decided it was time to head out into the city—with or without the sun!

Laced up in my oh-so-comfy hikers, I proceeded to (re)discover one of my favourite urban jaunts in Vancouver: the Coal Harbour waterfront walk.

Starting at Canada Place (the antecedent of the current Vancouver Convention Centre), I looped once around the building and filled my lungs with salty seabreeze before moseying on over a couple hundred metres  to the new extension wing.

This new wing was completed for the 2010 Winter Olympics and houses some rather interesting public art sculptures together with the outdoor Olympic Cauldron (albeit without the flames—a good measure considering the embarassing cacophony of incivility following a hockey game just two weeks ago).  

At one of the many rest stops available along the waterfront, I spent a moment watching as the water body before me transformed into a landing strip for seaplanes.

Ah, the seagull. I never thought I would ever find myself feeling so happy at the sight of these squawking birds. Singapore certainly has her own interesting share of avian species, but the seagull is just too goofy and comical not to fall in love with—that is, until they snatch the tuna sandwich straight out of your hands.


These boats remain anchored, waiting patiently for a sunny day to be let out and roam the waters.

With my urban trek almost coming to an end, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this little pupster romping around in the park by the waterfront. Sheema is the name of this sweet 1-year old Toy Poodle. Oh how she reminded me of Little Miss Maple! I think Maple and Sheema could easily become instant friends. *sigh* If only Maple had wings to fly.


Easy Breezy Walk in the Park

March 4, 2011 § 6 Comments

I have always been a big fan of West Coast Park, partly because of the family-friendly atmosphere and partly because it’s relatively close to home. Our first park outing with Maple was to the West Coast Park Dog Run, which is a separate segment altogether and accessible via a different carpark entrance. This time around, we took Maple on an easy stroll through the main park area itself.

What I like about West Coast Park is that it offers a multitude of new experiences for Maple, thereby awakening her senses and giving her the oppotunity to learn about the world around her. I think a park also serves as a safe and relaxing training ground for dogs learning to socialize with humans and practicing to walk on a lead. Both MM and I know that Maple can really use some more practice with the ‘Heel’ command!

As we meandered leisurely through the shaded footpaths, we came across families camping out in tents; kids taking roller-blading lessons; adults riding bicycles; couples peddling on go-karts; athletes running; and outdoor enthusiasts flying their kites! It was such a warm and wonderful afternoon—everyone seemed to be in good spirits.

Wish we could have stayed a little longer to explore more of the park but our tummies were rumbling, signalling that it was time to head home for dinner. If Maple could have it her way, though, I think she would much rather order takeout from McDonalds, pitch a tent, and sleep under the stars at West Coast Park!  


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