‘My dog, an eight-year-old female lab mix, could use a buddy or two. In the States, she had a couple of regular doggie friends that she hung out with and she is showing signs of missing that here.
Does anyone have a dog that wants to hang?’
When Leah Nathan’s husband was abruptly offered a medical research post with the US Navy in either Cairo or Phnom Penh last year, the most pressing question was whether they could bring their dog Daisy. Luckily, Cambodia’s lack of bureaucratic hurls made the move possible. However, they would like to find some friendly canine companions for their pooch to make it less of a dog-eat-dog world for Daisy.
“I got Daisy as a rescue in Washington, DC, when she was four months, roughly eight years ago. She is 25 per cent lab, roughly 25 per cent Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie), a little Bichon Frise, and apparently a Bernese Mountain dog found his way to the party. Because we’re obsessed with her, my husband bought me a doggie DNA test for Valentine’s Day about six years ago when we were dating.
“[Daisy] was the only thing that we really worried about when moving here. We don’t have kids, and Daisy is very important to us. One thing that particularly sucked was that there was just no clear information on the internet to give us answers. Not many crazy Westerners bring their dogs to Cambodia yet. And it’s awful to put your ‘baby’ in the hands of airlines that you don’t even really trust to get your luggage somewhere safely. We ended up using a pet travel agency.
“I am pretty strongly against all of the ‘roaming’ that goes on here, and have had some sweet moments of rage directed at people who merrily watch as their dog attacks me, my dog, or both of us. Daisy is a total wuss so she just hides behind our legs and gets barked at. Not all of them have ended badly, but a lot are just kind of intense and we have found ourselves surrounded at times by up to 10 dogs. Yikes.
“She does have one ‘boyfriend’ on Koh Pich who she shares a mutual obsession with, which plays out as five minutes of peeing with each other and tail wagging.
“But I’m pretty sure she spends all of her time thinking about us. There is an obvious satisfaction in her little dog face when we come home and are settled in with her. When we leave it’s total devastation. She never makes a sound, but her face is a killer. She just silently follows you from room to room looking like it’s the end of the world, until you actually leave and then she just sort of freezes by the door or in the driveway. Brutal. Pretty sure while we’re gone she just takes one of our shoes and goes to lay with it in our bed and continues obsessing.
“That’s why we were looking for a buddy, so that she can make a friend that can possibly hang out with her sometimes to make her less dependent on us to be her pack.
“Apparently Phnom Penh is crawling with expats grappling with lonely pooches. We went on a couple of walks with new friends last week, and am hoping to start a regular weekend puppy party with a handful of people.”
As told to Bennett Murray.