Having a pet has made me more empathetic

To mark Love Your Pet Day on February 20, The Weekly looks at how three local celebrities shower their four-legged companions with undivided attention.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
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To mark Love Your Pet Day on February 20, The Weekly looks at how three local celebrities shower their four-legged companions with undivided attention.

“Having a pet has made me more empathetic ”

ONE FM 91.3 DJ & Actress Melody Chen, 39, with her mixed breed cat, Mocha “I have two cats; Gabby (not pictured), who has been with me for 17 years, and Mocha, who joined the family seven years ago. Gabby was just a wee kitten in the 13th litter of a stray mama cat near Pasir Ris Park, where I used to wakeboard. All my fellow wakeboarders adopted a kitten each back then.

Gabby chose my basket of treats, so I took her home. She stuck with me through my delinquent young adult days and after I got married, I adopted Mocha through the Cat Welfare Society (CWS). He was rescued aged just three months from a hoarder’s flat with about 40 cats. He slept on me while I carried him at a CWS cat adoption event.

Cats really do choose their humans! I believe having animals surround me since young has made me a more empathetic and compassionate person. To be able to feel for another creature apart from human beings, it brings love to an even deeper level in my heart. Every pet starts out as an innocent life, waiting to be loved unconditionally. Treat them well, and they will love you to the moon and back.”

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“I feel so adored and loved”

Kiss92 FM DJ Claressa Monteiro, 46, with her Chihuahuas, Rosie & Consuela “I have three pets in total: Two Chihuahuas and a cat, Trapper (not pictured). All of them are rescues and they’ve been with the family for about four years. My mum died around that time and I was feeling extremely down, so I got in touch with Voices For Animals and they suggested I adopt Consuela.

She had been rescued from a puppy mill and was a great fit for me temperament-wise. We adopted another puppy mill rescue dog, Rosie, shortly after. I’ve always been a pet lover since young. You just can’t feel lonely when you are so adored and loved so completely by them. It makes me realise how small my problems really are in the grand scheme of things.”

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“My pug brings me joy and makes me laugh”

Television host Yvette King, 30, with her pug, Kingsley “I’ve had Kingsley for seven years, since he was just about born. Having a pet certainly teaches you responsibility because they only have you to rely on, so you always need to remember that. But more than anything else, Kingsley brings me daily joy and makes me laugh so much.

I liken him to an old man because he snores, huffs and puffs when he wakes up, and farts really loudly. I’ve learnt that I’m also going to be a terrible parent, because I can’t say no. He’ll look at me with those big googly eyes, and I’ll give him anything he wants. It’s like he hypnotises me.

For those thinking about getting a pet, please remember that a pet is for life and not just when they’re young and cute as puppies or kittens. So if you’re ready for a lifelong commitment of unconditional love, then go for it, and welcome to the club.”