Friday, May 6, 2011

DEDIONE IS DEAD!

kee@fswmag.com

DEDIONE IS DEAD!

L1210853.JPG

My darling French poodle, my precious only son, the joy of my life Dedione Kee died around 4.30pm on 4 May 2011, making it the saddest day in my life. The only other days which will be even sadder will be when my parents go to heaven!

L1210853.JPG

Dedione lived with me for 13 years and gave me unconditional love. Even when he was a puppy and I spanked him, he would whimper and run away to hide in his corner only to emerge 10 minutes later having forgiven me and climbing up the large wooden mother-of-pearl antique settee to join me. For 13 years he sat next to me on my right as I typed and worked on my desk. Now I keep glancing there half expecting to see him sleeping or licking himself.

L1210853.JPG

This was where Dedione died. He slept here on 3 May and did not move from this spot all morning till he died in the afternoon.

L1210853.JPG

He looked like he was sleeping..

L1210853.JPG

You wouldn't know if he was sleeping or gone to heaven to wait for his master, me...

L1210853.JPG

Dedione was the greatest gift ever...

L1210853.JPG

Dedione now dead, with tears in his eyes as he loved me too

L1210853.JPG

My darling Dedione, how Daddy misses and loves you!!!! But you know this...

L1210853.JPG

You made me so happy for 13 years, how can Daddy ever repay you?

L1210853.JPG

Dedione Kee, my son


It was the actress Nancie Foo who gave me Dedione when he was 2 and half months old. I brought him home inside a paper bag and I carried him into the garden to bury him in a paper bag too. Not the same bag though...

Nancie Foo had a poodle which lived for 15 years and he bred with another poodle and Nancie was given 2 puppies as a result. When I went there to choose, one puppy came rushing and bouncing to me so obviously it chose me and I took it. I had known Nancie’s poodle which was also named Dedione which was imported from Paris and a true French poodle. I used to visit Nancie’s condo just to play with Dedione. Whenever I was overseas, I would look forward to returning home to KL so I could visit Dedione again.

Nancie always assumed I went to see her as she was such a famous actress but now the truth must be revealed. I went to play with Dedione under the pretext of visiting her and her little daughters!

So when I got Dedione’s puppy I named him Dedione as to me, all poodles should be named Dedione. Such a lovely name! Dedione senior died in Nancie’s arms. She was out but her mother phoned her when Dedione was dying and she rushed home. “Dedione forced himself to stay alive and tears actually came out of his eyes as he looked at me though he was then blind,” recalls Nancie Foo. “I carried him and hugged him till he died. My father buried him in the hillocks behind our family home in Taman Connaught.”

My Dedione also didn’t suffer which was a blessing. He suddenly became weak on 3 May after a shower. I usually showered him once a week or every ten days. After I towel dried him, he remained wrapped inside the towel. Normally he would rub his face on the towel and climb onto the settee to face the fan so he would get dry faster. For an hour he stayed inside the towel.

I took him out and he walked around like normal. He had been suffering from diarrhea for the past few days but he was his usual, active self. In the evening he seemed weaker and could not climb up the settee. I cooked his favourite sausage and he refused to eat, turning his head away each time I tried to put the meat inside his mouth. Earlier I knew something was dreadfully wrong when I ate Kit Kat in bed and Dedione did not climb onto my bed to demand his share. Normally whenever I ate in bed or on my workdesk, Dedione would smell the food and climb up to join me. I know chocolate is bad for dogs so I would only give me a tiny piece which he licked from my finger. Though blind as a bat, his sense of smell remained excellent but that night he was no longer interested in food.

On Wednesday 4 May 2011 he was so weak he could not stand and just continue sleeping. I made an appointment with the vet for 5.30pm and left the house at 3.45 pm after hugging and kissing him goodbye as I had a foreboding this might be the last time though I admonished myself for harbouring such thoughts. Nancie Foo said I should pour some water down his throat as he might be dehydrated. I did and he swallowed. When I let go of his head, it fell onto the floor! I screamed as he did not even have the energy to hold his head up! I returned around 5 pm and he was dead!

L1210853.JPG

This was how I found Dedione

L1210853.JPG

Rigor mortis had not set in yet

L1210853.JPG

So I was able to bend his leg

L1210853.JPG

I covered him and went to bed to try sleep and maybe this was just a dream

L1210853.JPG

I slept or maybe fainted for an hour but Dedione's body was still cold and rigid
L1210853.JPG

Dedione literally died at Buddha's feet

L1210853.JPG

Dear God, why did Dedione have to leave me so soon?


Even in the morning his body felt coldish even when he was alive so I guess that was a sign he was on his way to heaven. I sat and screamed and bawled and howled. I don’t think I was ever sadder. The last time I cried was at my grandfather’s funeral in Kota Baru but I was 10 and not that close with my grandfather. We were so rich then we had professional mourners who were paid to weep at my grandfather’s funeral! The funeral procession paraded around town and there were stilt walkers. I sat on a lorry and threw coins to the crowd and felt like a beauty queen.

L1210853.JPG

Digging Dedione's grave...

L1210853.JPG

Never knew his hightech HTC had a built-in torchlight which was placed conveniently on the fork of a plant!

L1210853.JPG

Rest in Peace, Dedione Kee

L1210853.JPG

Dedione looked like he could wake any moment

L1210853.JPG

How could I bury him when he looked like this?

L1210853.JPG

His grave was very small as he was a toy poodle

L1210853.JPG

I couldn't believe Dedione the light of my life had been extinguished!

L1210853.JPG

Not goodbye, but good night

L1210853.JPG

Dedione is now safely buried

L1210853.JPG

Unmarked and unknown but etched in my heart till eternity ends


Dedione’s funeral was on a smaller scale. Only me and my dearest friend who came at 1.30 am on 6 May with a changkul to dig a hole in the garden downstairs. Now from my balcony on the first floor I can see Dedione’s grave. Unmarked and unknown to all but me.

Dedione’s body was quite small and I wrapped him in the towel he died in. My friend dug resolutely and sweated gallons and I never knew digging was so tough! He insisted it should be deep enough and had to stop several times to catch his breath. He was the only one Dedione loved apart from me. Dedione had been blind for the last two and half years and deaf too but when my friend came, he instinctively knew it was him and would start barking. I always declare Dedione was holding a conversation with my friend!

After digging, I slowly and reluctantly placed Dedione inside the hole, hoping he would wake and start barking. When he was weakening, I prayed to Buddha and Jesus to cut some years from my allotted life to give to Dedione so he could live longer but this wish was not granted. Six years ago when I was in Goa, India, I prayed to St Francis Xavier at Basilica of Bom Jesus to restore his eye sight which was beginning to blur but this request was also denied.

L1210853.JPG

Dedione on my settee the night before he died

L1210853.JPG

This was how we lived. I sat next to him typing and he slept next to me

L1210853.JPG

I always felt so happy when Dedione was next to me

L1210853.JPG

This was our universe

L1210853.JPG

I too needed just a small space for my ass...

L1210853.JPG

This was Dedione looking out for me when I left the settee to go to kitchen or loo

L1210853.JPG

He was blind but out of habit he continued to poke his head out

L1210853.JPG

Dedione, you were my greatest gift!


So I looked at Dedione in his grave for the last time and wept. I didn’t say goodbye, I said goodnight. “Good night Dedione. Wait for Daddy as it won’t be long before Daddy will join Dedione. Dedione can now meet Dedione’s doggy daddy who is also named Dedione and Dedione’s doggy mummy in heaven. And your brother Nicholas.”

Of the two puppies, Dedione’s sibling died 3 years ago aged 10. Dedione was always a healthy dog and NEVER fell ill which always surprised me as he cost next to nothing. Then everything just packed up on 4 May and he had massive organ failure I guess. It happened so fast but spared him any pain. He died in his sleep which was a mercy and I hope I can do the same when my time comes as I don’t want to impose on others nor suffer the indignity of looking unglam from a long drawn illness lasting months or years and looking and feeling pathetic. Now that Dedione is dead, I have no more fears about death. I know when I die I will meet Dedione again. Even if I fail to enter heaven, Dedione will meet me at heaven’s gate. I haven’t committed any major crimes so hope springs eternal.

I used my bare hands to cover him with soil. It seemed so unreal I was burying Dedione. It was like an out-of-body sensation I was doing it as I had never bothered thinking about Dedione’s grave. My original idea was to stuff Dedione like the creatures in Natural Zoological museums but I could not find a taxidermist!

I wept so much as the earth begun covering Dedione’s face and body. I could not continue so my friend used his changkul to cover him and finish the job. He even removed his slippers and using his bare feet, stomped and patted down the earth tightly to compact the soil. He then stood erect and saluted Dedione! He said, “Goodbye Dedione and rest in peace. You had a good life with your master.”

Anyway I had no more tears left. My head throbbed. My left molar ached. It was the worst day of my life.

Even now I cannot believe Dedione is dead but he must be as I can’t find him anywhere in my condo!

Even after he became totally blind, he never complained or at least not that I know of. I have never changed the position of furniture so he had no problem finding his way using his mental map. Sure he bumped into the wall and chairs but he always found his way around. He even managed to climb into my metre high dustbin when he smelled food but usually could not climb out. So once in a while I would hear scratching noises and discover him trying to get out from the dustbin and looking extremely guilty.

He was the ideal dog as he never barked, yipped or yapped like other small dogs. When he was growing, I was worried he was dumb but of course he barked when he saw me bringing food. For the last few years I used to tell him “Dedione’s world is now dark and silent but Daddy is Dedione’s eyes and ears OK?” He must be bored being blind and deaf so he slept a lot which was the best thing to do in his situation.

When he was young, his ears would prick and stand erect when he saw me bringing him food. I would always say “Hungry, Dedione? Is Dedione hungry?” and he would stand on his hind legs with ears pointed up and bark. As years went on his ears could no longer stand when he was excited as I guess the muscles could no longer work.

Over the last 13 years I would talk to him using the same words and the darling would respond accordingly. I would hold him my hands and kiss his head while saying “Dedione, Daddy loves Dedione but does Dedione love Daddy? If Dedione does not love Daddy then Daddy will go away and never come back.” That was when he would start whimpering a bit before barking to tell me he loved me while wagging his tail furiously.

Each time I travel I would take out my suitcase and leave it at a particular spot on the floor. Then I would clear my throat, wag my forefinger at him and say “Ahem, Dion (I called him Dedione, Dion or Dion Dion but usually Dedione), Daddy is going away but Daddy is coming back. Is it Ok Dedione that Daddy is going away but Daddy is coming back?” This was when he would rear back, stand on his hind legs a while, bark indignantly and run to look for my suitcase. Then he would jump on top of it, pressing it down hoping I would not open it.

I would lift Dedione off my suitcase but he would immediately jump back in an attempt to stop me leaving the house as he knew this suitcase was the first step towards my departure. I love it when he pressed his tiny paws on the suitcase to prevent me from opening it!

Even after I opened the bag, he would jump inside and remain there as I started packing. He would simply sit among my clothes till I finished. When I closed the suitcase, he would jump on top and stay there for a while before joining me in bed or at my desk. At night he would sleep on top of my suit case!

My house is full of Buddha statues. On the floor are Reclining Buddhas and statues of Standing Buddhas. Not ONCE did Dedione pee or poo or step or climb or break any! Never in 13 years did he defile or desecrate any Buddha statues! Did he know these were sacred objects of worship? He must have known by instinct.

Even when he became blind due to cataracts, he never despoiled Buddha statues. I used to tell him all his life, even when he was deaf, “Dedione, Buddha gave Daddy to Dedione and Buddha gave Dedione to Daddy so we must love each other as Buddha gave us to each other.” So he must have understood the divine implication!

Dedione had such beady black eyes then. He walked on tiptoes when he was young and always reminded me of a ballet dancer. He was always happy to show his teeth, so small and perfect in a neat row at the bottom. When he became older, some fell off and he became reluctant to show his teeth! Whenever I tried to prise his mouth open, he would oppose as if ashamed of the little gaps inbetween his once perfect teeth! His fur also dropped over the years, exposing a rather pretty pink skin in some areas. The hair on his head, once so luxuriant became more manageable and tame as they were shorter and not so curly.

When he was being toilet trained or being naughty like gnawing my shoes, I would say loudly and sternly, “Dedione, what is this, Dedione?” before grabbing and spanking him. Soon he associated “Dedione, what is this, Dedione?” as a prelude to a spanking so whenever he heard that, he would flee and hide in his corner by the window. So occasionally just for the fun of seeing him run for cover, I would turn to him and say “What is this, Dedione?” just to see him leaping off the bed and scampering to his ‘safe’ house. Or he might be sleeping peacefully and not disturbing anyone and I would gently poke him in the ribs to wake him. Once he opened his beady eyes I would squeak “What is this Dedione?” and he would waste no time fleeing for cover. I never over did this to prevent him from being dysfunctional!

After he became blind, he seemed to lose all toilet training and would pee at certain places regularly. It became second nature to me to quickly glance at the usual spots where he would pee. I believe he did this to mark the spots so he could move easily, the way lions and other animals peed on rocks and bushes to signal this area has been taken. So I had a stockpile of Kleenexes around.

I miss him waiting for me behind the door. For many years, at least nearly a decade until he became blind, he waited for my return by sleeping behind the door and next to the wall, out of the door’s reach so when I opened the door, he would not be pushed aside! As I walked nearer towards my door, I would look at the narrow slit between door and floor to see him waiting for me. I opened and there he was, getting up on his feet and shaking his head if he was sleeping or jumping on his hind legs.

Dedione only ever knew one trick and that was “Pray to Buddha’. Each time I said ‘Pray to Buddha, Dedione” he would roll over on his back with four legs up in the air but with the front two clasped close together while pawing at the air. He really looked as if he was praying!

Once I took him to the editor of Star Weekender Sharifah Intan’s old house where her grandfather Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj used to live. There was a small, open air disused pond in the garden now devoid of water. Dedione traipsed along its side and before my eyes fell inside! Luckily he landed on soft earth filled with leaves so he was totally unhurt as the depth was under two metres. He howled piteously and of course I jumped in immediately to rescue him. He snuggled comfortably in my arms as I checked his body.

Then I realised I could not climb out! So it was my turn to shout for help. The garden was vast and it took a while before my editor heard my screams, saw my predicament, laughed her head off and went to fetch a ladder.

Another time, I took Dedione to Princess Becky Leogardo’s house. She was having a party and many guests were sitting by her pool. Dedione strolled happily as guests fed him. Before my eyes, he walked near the pool and I thought if he continued doing so, he would walk straight into the water which was on the same level as the floor. He continued doing so and splash, he walked directly into the water! Everyone screamed. I took my handphone out of my pocket (even in such contingencies I had the presence of mind not to jump into water with my mobile!) and was about to leap into the pool to rescue him when Dedione suddenly made a U-turn and started instinctively to swim back!

My eyes popped and stood on stalks. I had never taken Dedione for a swim before. This was the first time yet he knew what to do as dogs swim by instinct simply by paddling all four feet while keeping their head above water. Now I know the meaning of ‘dog paddling’!

He also had a tendency to snooze behind my back when I slept on my side. Naturally when I eventually turned to lie flat on my back, I landed on him and sort of crushed him. He would wake and yelp indignantly, giving me a dirty look as he walked to the edge of the bed where he would step on my store of blankets to get down to the floor.

However he did not mind if the same thing happened when we were both at my settee. He sat at my right amid cushions and his teddy bears. When I answered the phone, I liked to lean and lie on my back, using the settee’s arm to rest my head. Usually I checked if Dedione was sleeping there. Once in a while I forgot or his apricot fur blended too well with the cushions and I ended up lying almost on top of him. Strangely he would merely squeak and wriggle his way out and resettled himself by my side.

Though he was ignorant of thunderstorms and lightning, he was quite happy to walk briskly to me during the audio-visual effects of the storm. I would hug and cuddle him and whisper, “Dedione mustn’t be frightened of this world, Dedione. In this world, Dedione, there are many monsters but Dedione mustn’t be afraid as Daddy will protect Dedione. If monsters come attack us, Dedione must run away and hide. Dedione is a small dog. If Dedione is a big dog, Dedione can fight monsters but Dedione is a small dog.”

These are the same words I used repeatedly over the years so I am sure Dedione understood. Dedione was not my first dog but he came at the right time and stayed the longest. When I was 6 I had a mongrel called Dickie which lived for 7 years but I was small and my parents cared for him. When I started working I rented a tiny studio and had a German Spitz called Nicky. After 3 years he went missing as my landlady did not look after him properly. Then I had a Silky Terrier called Baby Pepin but he died a few months later!

When Dedione entered my life, he was at the right place at the right time. I was prepared to care and love him. He never left Palladium so he must think the entire universe was Palladium. I left him upstairs in Max Cheang’s condo when I travelled overseas. The first few times we took him out in Max’s Mercedes, he shivered and shook from fright so I had to hug him close to my heart till he calmed down, while whispering terms of endearment to him. He hardly saw other dogs and only met Max Cheang’s grumpy Shih Tzu which bullied him. So I am convinced Dedione considered himself to be a human or he assumed we were all dogs like him.

Even now, for the last 3 days since he died, I realised I was calling out to him and mumbling his name in the shower as my tears mingled with the water.

I have tons of anecdotes like all pet owners. I am still expecting Dedione to stroll casually past me without realising it as he was blind. I would stand in his path so he would bump into me and wag his tail while looking up at me through unseeing eyes. The night before he died, he bumped into a side table but instead of readjusting to continue walking, he simply sat and started to sleep. I knew he was getting weak and beginning to give up his ghost.

We used to pray together at the gilded golden statue of White Tara aka Tibetan Goddess of Mercy given to me by the great feng shui master Lillian Too. I mean, I would hold Dedione in my lap as I prayed to Tara and would hold his two front legs together in supplication.

Lillian Too told me to do a water offering ie place a bowl of fresh water in front of the statue. So I did, first in a small jade bowl and now in a large agate bowl. The first few times, the bowl of water vanished mysteriously overnight which I interpreted as a miracle. The goddess had accepted my humble water offering! It was a week before I discovered Dedione drinking merrily from the jade cup!

Dedione was the greatest possession I had. To hell with my clothes, jewels, watches, ornaments and worldly possessions which I used subconsciously to impress and show off to others. So what is a Datukship? I would give all my ships and planes and Rolls-Royces away just to get Dedione back. Not that I have all these but when it comes to what matters, Dedione matters most. Of course even more important are my health, parents and career but Dedione gave me the most pleasure and happiness no Cartier, Rolex, Maybach, Ferrari, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Gucci and Tod’s can come near. Gold is cold but a living Dedione is best to hold!

Like all my dog owner friends tell me, should their house catch fire, the first thing they would rescue would be their pets. Dogs are angels sent by God to comfort us as their love is unconditional, never dependant on designer labels, fancy cars, costly condos or big bling!

So thank you Nancie Foo for giving me Dedione, a present that officially lasted 13 years but will be with me till the end of time.