For those that have been following me for the last year and a half, there’s been one special furry addition to my life. Over a year and a half ago, I was introduced to a lovely little lad named Argos here in Hong Kong. You’ve seen Argos make a few cameos on my social media, usually by photobombing my photo shoots because he loves attention, and he’s even appeared on the blog when we stayed at the Rosewood Hong Kong back in 2019.
Here’s a little background on Argos: he’s a 10 year old Italian Greyhound who has called Hong Kong home for most of his life. Named after Odysseus’s loyal dog in The Odyssey, he’s my beau’s dog, having been adopted in Australia. He is one unique little fella, both in personality and physicality (he has alopecia on the underside of his body which makes him feel like smooth velvet). I wasn’t sure what our relationship would be like when we first met, so this is the story of our journey and our new bond.
As most of you know, I have two cats named Renly and Daenerys back in Los Angeles (I share custody of them but the pandemic put a wrench in that for the last 12 months). While I did grow up with a family dog – a half border-collie, half Airedale named Kayla – the last time I spent time and lived with a dog was in 2008. I was used to raising cats, and I was also missing my own. I was worried I wouldn’t know what to do with a dog and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to bond with Argos.
I had been shown photos and videos of Argos for most of his life. Contrary to what some might think, I’ve actually known and been friends with my current beau for over 10 years. I was excited to meet Argos for the first time, and also extremely nervous. My beau treats Argos like his own son, and so my relationship with Argos was going to be important. I adore fur babies and would have 40 of them at once if I could, but relationships need to come naturally.
I first met Argos in September 2019 at the beginning of my relationship with my beau. I met him within the first 3 hours of me arriving in Hong Kong. Of course he was very happy to meet someone new, and that first day was a momentous one as we slowly got to know each other. There were a few hiccups here and there, due to me having raised my cats for the last 8 years, and Argos doesn’t understand what being hissed at means when he misbehaves. For the first few days we were friendly and sweet towards one another, but it was a few days later where our relationship really cemented and our bond was developed.
About 5 days into my visit, my beau left Hong Kong for work and left Argos in my care. We were getting along just fine and I was getting used to having a pup around. Because I had not made any friends yet in Hong Kong, and because I was all alone in a new country, I was super grateful to have a fur baby to keep me company. This would give us time to get to know each other better. Everything was going just fine until the second morning of just me and Argos.
I had woken up early to feed Argos his breakfast and noticed he wasn’t really touching it. I had asked him if he was hungry and he did his usual excited dance around his bowl, but once I filled it with breakfast he barely ate. Already my spidey senses knew something was up. My cats love food so much and whenever one of them acts weird when it comes to eating, I know something isn’t right. As I sat down to eat my breakfast, I heard these odd, gurgling noises coming from Argos’s stomach. At first I thought it was just gas and that maybe he would pass some wind. I needed to get some work done, so I went to the desk in the home office and moved Argos’s bed into the office so he could be nearer to me if he wasn’t feeling great. The noises continued, so I texted my beau to let him know and to ask if I should take him to the vet. Suddenly, Argos got up and ran out of the office and into the living room. I then heard a familiar noise I am used to with my cats – it’s a sound they only make when they’re about to vomit. I ran into the living room and found Argos in the corner vomiting up blood. I went from 0 to 100 in less than 2 seconds, scooped him up in my arms, grabbed his favorite blanket, and called the number for the vet that my beau left with me. Within 15 minutes we were at the vet’s office.
There I was, sitting in a vet’s waiting room I had never been in before, in a new country, holding a dog I knew for barely a week, with his fur dad halfway around the world. Argos kept looking up at me with the saddest eyes, and I just kept telling him we were going to get him help and that everything would be okay. The vet brought us in and had a very thorough look at him. I stood back and let her and her assistants do what they needed to do. They needed to take some blood to run some tests, but Argos wouldn’t stay still for them to insert the needle. The vet turned to me and said, “Maybe his mum can come over and hold him so he feels more comfortable.” My eyes widened. “Oh, I’m not his mum. I just met this dog a week ago.” “Still, I think he’d stay still if he saw you. Can you come around over here so he can see you?” So I walked around to meet eye-to-eye with Argos, who was feeling very panicked and anxious. I took his little head into my hands and spoke to him with the same voice I use with my Daenerys whenever she is nervous at the vet. He immediately relaxed and the vet was able to get enough blood for the tests she needed to run. After some praise, I took Argos off the vet’s table and put him on the floor. He immediately stood on his back legs and began clawing at my leg, begging to be picked back up with the most desperate eyes. I let him curl up in my arms and he refused to move from there from then on. I held him in the waiting room as we waited for his results to come back. He kept looking up at me and all I kept thinking was how much this dog must hate me now because in less than a week of knowing me, I brought him to his least favorite place to be poked and examined. But I already felt fiercely protective of him, even though he wasn’t even mine. I was ready to take care of him and get him whatever he needed. I was ready to be like a mum to him.
The vet came back out to reveal Argos had pancreatitis, and so he was immediately put on medication and his diet was re-evaluated. It was not life threatening yet, but it could develop into something life threatening if we hadn’t caught it and got him the attention he needed. Since then, I take Argos to the vet every 6 months to have his blood checked to make sure we defeated the pancreatitis (we have!). Once we got home, I immediately cuddled with Argos on the couch under a blanket as we watched some Downton Abbey. For the next few nights, I broke my beau’s rule about not allowing the dog to sleep in the bed. While Argos was recovering, this boy was not going to be let out of my sight, even during the night. I let Argos sleep with me each night until my beau came home (although now Argos knows whenever my beau leaves Hong Kong for work, he gets to sleep in the bed with me haha).
I’ve always wanted to adopt an older animal, whether it be a cat or dog. I’ll admit and say that originally I was thinking a cat (#crazycatlady for life!), but a friend of mine tends to adopt older animals from shelters so they have a loving home for their final years. I’ll admit that at first I was afraid to bond too closely with Argos. I’ve never taken care of a senior dog before (my family dog passed away in 2013 after I had already moved to California) and I wasn’t sure how easy it would be to bond with a dog who already has his favorite people. Then I became worried that if we did grow close, how would I handle the heartbreak of losing a fur baby again if my beau and I were to split? Then there’s the heartbreak of another kind that I can’t even talk about. Of course I wanted him to like me, especially if I was going to be around all the time while I dated his dad, but I was scared to grow too attached to him for all those reasons. What didn’t help is I was missing my own fur babies back in California and felt that if I got too close with Argos, I would be betraying my cats back in Los Angeles. But my beau put it very beautifully that Argos is NOT and NEVER will be a replacement for my cats. He’s an ADDITION to my life. From that moment at the vet until now, Argos and I have developed such a deep, lasting bond. Whenever I traveled abroad (pre-COVID), I had realized my heart was missing three fur babies (four now if you count Luca!).
Argos even began to take over as a therapy dog. As someone who suffers from severe anxiety, I get severe panic attacks that cause me to go into these spasms, and Argos never freaks out when it happens. Instead, he comes right over to me and lays across my lap or my chest and gently gives me kisses until I relax and the anxiety spasms cease. He doesn’t leave my side if I am sick, and if I am alone with him he doesn’t let strangers come too close to me (he must know we are in a pandemic!). I began to truly feel like a fur stepmum to Argos, and as someone who has a stepmom myself, those bonds can be really loving and really special. It’s no secret I’ve missed my cats terribly during this pandemic. I always knew joint custody wouldn’t be easy, but thanks to COVID I’ve never been separated from them for this long and my heart keeps breaking each month that goes by where I don’t see them. But at the same time, I’m really grateful I’ve had Argos here with me, and this time in Hong Kong really helped solidify our relationship.
As I finish writing this blog post, Argos is currently asleep in my lap. I don’t know where he learned to be a lap dog and curl up like a cat in my lap, but I’m not stopping him. He’s such a beautiful, unique, wonderful creature that I can’t believe I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. I love him as much as I love my cats, and I’m sad that they’ll probably never meet (Argos is too old for plane travel and I won’t put my cats in cargo to come to HK). Argos and I have grown so close that my beau’s friends joke that I stole Argos from my beau (I didn’t.. he’s still very much my beau’s dog!), but the truth is Argos stole something from me – my heart.
Thanks for reading this very lengthy story. Don’t worry, a post about Luca is coming soon too.