Tuesday, 9 August 2011


There were certainly many dogs roaming around Century Gardens in Johore Bahru in the 1960s. Occasionally, we'd hear about someone being bitten and they would have to be taken to the local hospital to get a tetanus jab. This happened to Alan one day when he was out. I don't know what happened to the dog but Alan was fine (after he'd had his tetanus jab!). Some dogs were wild and just seemed to roam around scavenging for food and some dogs were owned by Forces families and stayed with them while they were in Singapore and Malaya. Unfortunately, most of the pets were left behind when their owners returned home.
To stop rabies etc (Singapore has been free from rabies since 1953) policemen would travel around on trucks and shoot the dogs with rifles. I never saw it happen but I remember Alan telling me that he'd seen it. The only contact that I had with dogs was being barked at when we were walking around the estate (the dogs were probably pets but looked ferocious to me!) and the time when I cracked my head open and was walking home and one stood up on my shoulders and licked my face! The dogs in Singapore and Malaya (well most of them) didn't look much like the dogs you got in Britain at the time. Most looked something like a dingo! I think I remember someone further down the street having a couple of poodles but they seem odd dogs for Singapore so maybe I'm remembering it wrong!
The photo shown is the only one I have of Alan and me with a dog. It was taken at Sandycroft in Penang in about 1966. The dog belonged to the cafe owner and it would play with all the kids. I loved it. I'd have been about 5 at the time but I still remember his name - 'Pepper'!
I suppose he was some sort of Labrador, he certainly looked friendlier than the dogs that lived near us!

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