It was a cold winter in Hong Kong in 1998. My flatmate, Ian, and I were home watching telly at night, probably BBC Entertainment channel, if not, would be “Faulty Towers” or “Absolutely Fabulous” on videotapes. He could watch them over and over again and still laughed as if he’s never watched it before. It was late, two in the morning, but I was feeling a little bit peckish. Opened our mini-fridge, and it’s empty as I expected. “How about ice-cream?” he suggested. He’s insane as it’s freezing cold out there, but we went after all.
We were staying in an old building called Western Court (西環大樓) at Shek Tong Tsui, an area which was once a red-light district full of brothels and prostitutes on the streets. So popular to the extent that it even inspired numerous novels and Hong Kong films.
The nearest place that we could get our ice-cream was 7-Eleven despite the limited choices. When we got there, a tiny little puppy was sitting by the entrance, shivering and crying, a mongrel, at most two to three months old. We looked at each other and looked around wondering what to do as we were both dog lovers. We quickly grabbed whatever was available from the freezer, paid, and asked the shop assistant if she knew anything about that little puppy over there. She was so rude, not only by ignoring us, but throwed a small can of opened food on the floor by the door, whatever that was, as a sign telling us that she had done her part. My flatmate picked her up, wrapping her around with his coat to keep her warm, and stared at me blank for a moment awaiting an answer. I knew what he’s thinking, of course. “Let’s go,” I said. And we named her, “Seven”.
On one summer weekend, we were doing some window shopping at Causeway Bay, without any particular plan. One could easily spend a day in that area as everything was there; even pet shops. We stopped by one of the pet shops as we did need some replenishment for dog food and necessities. There were dogs for sale of course. As much as we both were against the idea of purchasing a dog from pet shops, a cute little West Highland Scottie caught our attention. A fluffy puppy of about six months old with snowy white fur. The shopkeeper was so kind to let us hold him for a minute or so, even though we told him in advance that we were not gonna take him home, well, very unlikely to be accurate. Ian had a huge tote bag on his shoulder that day as we were prepared for some shopping. One of the shoulder straps slipped off his shoulder and left it wide opened while he was holding him on his forearms. All of a sudden, he kind of lost balance and dropped him into his bag while we were chatting away. I was terrified in case he dropped him on the floor. In a split second, Scottie had already adjusted himself, sitting reasonably comfortable in there with his head popping out. And he’s never returned to his cage ever since. However, until today, I am still not sure whether it was an accident. You must wonder whether we named him “Eleven”. Well, we did not. We named him, “Charlie”, and he became Seven’s new best friend ever since.