When Lionel Vytialingam slipped to the store to grab a few groceries, he didn’t expect to come home with a rescued dog. But Vytialingam, who lives in Malaysia, also didn’t expect to encounter a stray weaving through traffic, which led him to abandon his errands and chase after the dirty, disoriented pup.
“She had no idea what she was doing or where she was going,” Vytialingam told The Dodo, recalling how small, dirty dog was weaving in and out of traffic. “There were cars and bikes going along the street and she was walking right into them like she thought they were family.”
Vytialingam jumped in his car, followed the dog down the street and, finally, managed to coax her out of the road. As the pup trotted towards him, he thought he glimpsed a paper note attached to her collar. “I hoped it would be some form of contact information — some way for me to get the little dog back to some home that was looking anxiously for her,” Vytialingam said.
But when he opened the letter, he saw it was in fact a “dear john” letter from the dog’s owner. “My name is Siggy,” the torn paper read, “and I’m the most loving and attentive doggy you’ll ever see! My master is very sorry he had to leave me here with you, but he just can’t look after me anymore. I’m very sorry about that, as I am sure he is, too.”
“I broke down in tears,” Vytialingam wrote on Facebook, recalling his raw, emotional reaction to learning that the dog had been abandoned. “Probably wasn’t a good sight for all the passing vehicles.
Vytialingam had another dog, Sammo, waiting at home, but leaving little Siggy to fend for herself wasn’t an option. So he scooped the dirty, abandoned pup into his car and brought her back to his house for food, water, and a much-needed bath.
The little dog was skittish at first but quickly warmed up to her new protector. Before long, Siggy was following Vytialingam everywhere around the house. Having just being abandoned by her previous owner, she certainly wasn’t about to let this new human out of her sight!
“She was the gentlest, most loving little dog I had ever seen,” Vytialingam said. “When she’s with me, she’s calm,” he said. “[She] just sits near or on me and either falls asleep or tries to get my attention by nibbling my fingers or yelping or tugging at my shirt.”
Unfortunately, Siggy and Sammo didn’t get along, which left Vytialingam wondering who could care for the friendly pup. Fortunately, the dog lover didn’t have to look far. “He’ll be taking her in as soon as the COVID-19 Movement Control Order here in Malaysia ends,” Vytialingam said of his brother, who plans to adopt Siggy once Malaysia lifts its quarantine order. “It’s really the perfect match between them because they share some personality traits.”
Regardless, Vytialingam hopes Siggy’s rescue story will dissuade other people from abandoning their pets during the coronavirus pandemic. Experts agree dog and cats can’t give you COVID-19 and animal shelters can help re-home your pet should you find yourself unable to care for them for any some reason. There is no excuse for abandoning your pets. Not even in a global pandemic.
J. Swanson is a writer, traveler, and animal-enthusiast based in Seattle, an appropriately pet-crazed city where dog or cat ownership even outweighs the number of kids. When the weather permits, she likes to get outside and explore the rest of the Pacific Northwest, always with a coffee in hand.
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