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Mon, May 17, 2010
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Pets are the new 'love pledges'

A PET dog or cat has become the new engagement ring among young couples looking to show their commitment to their significant other.

A growing number of young professionals are choosing pets as a gift to demonstrate their commitment, because they see taking care of an animal as a "trial" for bigger responsibilities, pet-shop owners told my paper.

This group of buyers has fuelled increases of 10 to 30 per cent in the sales of pets in the last year, compared to the year before, at five pet shops whose owners my paper spoke to.

Action For Singapore Dogs (ASD) has also seen a 20 to 30 per cent rise in the past couple of years in the number of unmarried couples in their late teens to mid-20s who adopt dogs from ASD, said its president, Mr Ricky Yeo.

Mr Kelvin Zeng, 43, owner of Marked Paws, a pet shop in Hougang which saw a 30 per cent increase in sales, said: "The bulk of the increase comes from (the sale of) dogs and some cats."

Small animals such as hamsters are not popular choices as "fur kids" - animals seen as substitutes for children - probably because they do not seem as responsive, he added.

The potential buyers will ask questions such as whether the animal would be able to recognise them if they see it only once a week, he said. "They also look for smaller breeds, because those are easier to cart around," Mr Zeng added.

Similarly, Ms Kim Chang, 27, a storekeeper at a pet shop in Choa Chu Kang, attributes the 20 per cent increase in the sales of pet dogs she has seen in the last year to young couples.

"They are mostly in their early to mid-20s and probably have not committed to marriage yet, as I hear them talking about whose place the animal will live in," she said.

"It can be quite worrying when, even on the day they buy the animal, people are still uncertain about how to split the responsibilities involved," she added.

Mr Yeo said: "We get many enquiries from couples who see getting a pet dog as a way to complete a "picture-perfect" life.

They ask if they can adopt a dog which is guaranteed to be quiet and well-behaved.

"These people form 90 per cent of the enquiries we get and we advise them not to adopt a dog as they don't seem ready.

"Getting a dog is a commitment of over 10 years. It should never be seen as a trial for having a kid," he added.

Marketing executive Andrea Ng, 25, who recently bought a cocker spaniel together with her boyfriend of two years, agreed that sharing a pet is a huge decision and that it needs to be given lots of thought.

She said: "My boyfriend and I felt that it was time to move to a new stage in our relationship. We wanted to share new experiences. Both of us love dogs, so we decided to get one together.

"It's a good way to deal with challenges together. It's also a way to pledge our commitment to each other."

But what happens to the pet if the relationship turns sour - a problem that animal activists have expressed concern about" Miss Ng does not think that is a problem as long as couples give the situation - and the responsibilities involved - careful thought.

She explained: "The most important thing is to make sure that at least one of you really loves the animal and is prepared to take care of it even if the relationship ends."


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readers' comments
Devious rightly. Maybe that's why the need to do trouser pressing so often..
Posted by RedDotter1 on Tue, 18 May 2010 at 15:46 PM

Thank-you for accepting the thoughts which I may have successfully communicated to you from my modest brain, but I am neither as cool nor as gifted as "Snoopy".

More like "Pink Panther". A little accident-prone and a little devious.
Posted by Trouser Press on Tue, 18 May 2010 at 15:40 PM
Mr T, you snoopy dog, u..
Posted by RedDotter1 on Tue, 18 May 2010 at 15:00 PM

1. If you want cute and insist on dog, get a Corgi like the Queen of England.

2. Projects to raise-up the standards of 3rd World Humans would be to suggest to all tissue-sellers in SG that if they put the cheapest of cheap bottled water in a shopping cart and sold that instead, at $1, they would be better off.

3. The above is not having a go. The cheap tissues are nigh-on useless in SG's humidity and USA and Europe have far better cheapo offerings than the fluffy pulp which Disable people try to sell.

Moot points...
Posted by Trouser Press on Tue, 18 May 2010 at 10:56 AM
It is worrying to see such fad culture sprouting. This seems to say more about possible lack of valued and principled objectives of young couples if this points anywhere as society trends.

What does it mean to be going into the next stage of a relationship? Have such couples done responsible R&D options? Projects could have been just as fulfilling involving bigger soicial circles, family concerns and self developments without involving an animal's life.

I can imagine they think it's entertaining, cute & closer involvement with each other. But nothing can be more wrong.

They should behave responsibily by nannying someone's pet dog a day or so than to selfishly have a pet dog 'entertain' their bored lovey-dovey time together. You want entertaining & cute? Go get a battery-operated stuff dog or other toys. Having a puppy for the .....
Posted by RedDotter1 on Tue, 18 May 2010 at 10:45 AM
Having a dog is indeed like having a children which move the relationship to a new stage. It could also strained a relationship which is similar to having a child. A married couple could even divorce when they already have a child, the child can grow up to fend for themselves when they grow up even when abandoned they have adoption home or organization to look after them but all the dog have is only you. When abandoned, they can only suffer or put to sleep in SPCA.
Posted by solenoid on Tue, 18 May 2010 at 00:40 AM

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