Fascinating friendships are made when you least expect it. Ever since our pet came home a year and a half back, it has been a privilege to walk him at least once a day after his meal times. When he was younger we took him for a stroll around the block, to answer nature’s calls. Now that he is older, we walk him more to exercise his muscles and keep him in shape.
I had relocated to Singapore newly when Maxx came home and I had not yet met or socialized with people who lived in the condominium. Maxx turned out to be the icebreaker. It is amazing how many people will smile at you and have a pleasant hello to say to you when they see you walking a dog; especially a roly-poly pup with big innocent eyes. There was never a time that someone did not stop on their tracks to bend down and offer their hand to Maxx to sniff, lick and bite. They would coo and scratch behind his ears and ask questions. My heart would then swell with pride for having made the brilliant choice of an adorable dog for a pet. Soon, we knew all the other pet owners in the condo and stopped to say hello and exchange pleasantries, dog news and dog updates, while the dogs themselves happily sniffed each other and played tag.
I quickly found out that dog owners everywhere, not just the ones that lived in our condo, were friendly people. I could easily meet eye to eye with another pet owner walking her dog and acknowledge her with a nod or a bright smile. If she was across the road walking the other way, then we even waved to one another.
However, dog owners or pet walkers are not the only category of people that I have been able to befriend. People from all walks of life, no pun, have shown Maxx and me that there are good people in every culture, in every country, in every race.
There is this beer bellied man, with a smoke in his hand, in one of the bus stops that we pass, who nods and smiles at me as I walk past with Maxx tugging at the leash.
There is this lady of Indian origin, a security guard at the British Embassy, dressed smartly in her uniform, who never misses to wish me a cheerful good morning as Maxx stops to relieve himself, just outside the embassy, on the grass walk.
There is this old man with a Kangol flat cap and an office bag who sits at various spots on the long pavement, reading his newspaper or jotting something down in a note book, who shyly nods and acknowledges that he sees me. Wonder what is his story?
Then there is this other lady ‘skyo-rity’ (security) guard, a Singaporean born Punjaban, who works two jobs in the day, who passes by and almost always stops to talk, when Maxx rests in the grassy foot path after our brisk walk in the garden, before we resume our walk back home. She has family back in Punjab. After 23 years of living away, she came back to Singapore because she says, ‘once a Singaporean always a Singaporean’.
Maxx and I met another lady two days back and again today, and she is the newest friend that we have made. We found out that she was a lawyer, married to a Romanian professor of law, and has two two young daughters and two old dogs at home.
Wonder who we will be on our friends list next?