Odie Valentino, the much-loved rose among the thorns

Seven-year-old Odie is a beautiful Shih-Poo who is much loved by all the women in his household.

Odie Valentino was born on July 7, 2013 to a Shih-Tzu mum and miniature Poodle dad. And odd combination one may think but Sheela K was told the Shih-Poo breed is irrefutably the cuddliest, most adorable cross breed designer dog in the pet market today.

“Described by the breeder as cute, affectionate, friendly, and highly adaptable to condo living, Odie was our obvious choice. At seven weeks, he was already potty trained and responded to his name,” Sheela says.

Odie is the love of Sheela’s life.

Her eldest daughter Dimi remembers well the first day they picked Odie up.

“When we sat down, Odie crawled up towards us to get some warmth by sliding under our legs. His eyes were covered in black fur but on his forehead between his brows was a streak of white fur in the shape of a feather,” she recalls, adding that although his eyes were barely open, they were taken by his antics and nuzzling.

Odie grew up quickly before their eyes. “I watched his curiosity grow from being baffled by small noises to nothing much at all. I watched his courage grow from that first leap off our sofa to venturing out in the open,” Dimi says.

She adds that although she migrated overseas years ago, she misses Odie every day because he was the most loved pet she ever had.

“Every time I’m home for the holidays, I am greeted by the most excited tail wagging and pouncing. Definitely makes me think that perhaps he misses me as much as I miss him,” she says.

Odie looking rather smug here, lounging with his bestie Angry Bird.

Sheela’s second daughter, Thris says Odie makes their home feel more alive. “Being the naughty pooch he is, there is never a dull moment.”

Thris also says Odie “miraculously” knows when they’re not feeling good and will allow them to smother him with love and snuggles.

He’s very smart and is a master of reverse psychology, Thris says, knowing how to make everyone feel guilty when he’s been caught doing mischief.

Sheela says that Odie is extremely smart and alert, and even as a young pup, it was easy to train him. “Odie enjoys the attention and loves being taught new tricks. But just as he is easily trainable, like many small dogs of this breed, he tends to act stubborn at times.”

With three different owners who consider themselves leaders of the pack, Odie dislikes hearing a strict tone or authoritative language, and will sometimes ignore the hand that feeds him, Sheela says.

Odie loves his food, particularly papaya.

But his obedient nature makes him a good companion dog to her elderly mother (pati). “When my mother was diagnosed with a terminal disease and became immobile, Odie took it upon himself to motivate and bond with his frail companion.

“He would wake her up with wet kisses and hurried barks in anticipation of the great day ahead. When he was certain, pati was awake, he would then throw his ball on to her bed to ensure she exercises her rheumatoid cramped fingers, as how she had taught him.”

Much as Odie is fed a balance pet meal, he loves papaya and is sure to give you the stinky eye if you do not share your desserts with him.

“After his main meal, he demands a fair amount of ball time – it’s a daily regimen that helps monitor his weight. Then he is a happy pup, dozing on the cool floor or taking in the view from our breezy balcony.”

After a rigorous game of playing ball, Odie retires to the balcony to rest and relax.

As a long-haired dog, his fur needs grooming once every two months. “Otherwise he looks like a fat lamb with tangled fleece,” Sheela says.

When it’s bedtime, Odie scratches the bedroom door and will stare Sheela down if he’s made to wait. “His favourite sleeping place is at the foot of my bed on a big colourful rug where he dozes off immediately into a dreamy whimpering stage of cute noises.”

Sheela says that it is during these quiet moments that she tries to snap pictures of Odie. “He’s learned how to pose really well for photos. Sometimes he looks regal, other times he looks glaringly irritated that I have invaded into his dreamy space.

“I cannot imagine life without Odie, and I just hope the inevitable is not for another few more dog years. That unbridled happiness and unconditional love even when he makes me go crazy is still bearable.”

Odie in the midst of a seriously long snooze.

Sheela says she loves her quiet time with Odie and how he follows her around most of the day as he inhales the aromas of her cooking and baking, and waits impatiently for his bowl of chow.

“He understands every single word I say, and moves his head from left to right even when I sound humanly illogical to his dog-licked senses.

“I firmly believe having a dog makes me a happier, healthier, and generally nicer person. That symbolic bond created between human and their much- loved dogs are able to fill most of the creaks and nooks that life throws our way.”

TELL US ABOUT YOUR PET: FMT Lifestyle readers are invited to send in pictures (landscape format) and a short video (if any) of their furry, scaly or feathery friends to [email protected]. Don’t forget to include details like your pet’s name, age, breed and a short story about them.