by Pee Hai Ning, PM2
Winning speech for BVTMC Chapter Meeting on Thursday, 02 Jan 2020
Presentation Mastery, Level 3 Project 1: Persuasive Speaking
He dashed up and down along the shoreline. And up and down. And up and down again. Until he was tired, and laid down in a happy slobbery mess.
He loves the beach and would bark at the waves for playing an infinite game of Catch with him.
Good evening Toastmasters of the Day, fellow Toastmasters and Guests.
He is Rocky. Spirited, short and stubby, with his radar dish ears, he is always by the door when we come home. As they say, dogs are happy to see you, regardless of whether you have been away for 10 minutes or 10 hours. Rocky is exactly like that. Rocky doesn’t have a tail, but he compensates by wagging his butt in excitement when he sees us home.
He loves to dress up, especially loving the attention that dressing up brings. This is him in a Chinese New Year costume and a bowtie. As you can imagine, with his stubby, rotund and sausage-like physique, it was at times difficult to get him something fitting.
But it doesn’t matter. He is always ecstatic to be wearing a costume. Even if this means that he becomes a Superman that can’t walk properly, because the costume could only reach his elbows.
With such vainness, you can imagine how depressed he became when we decided to save him from the Singapore heat by shaving him bald.
He dashed up and down along the shoreline and laid down in a happy slobbery mess.
Rocky is a glutton. He loves to eat almost everything, from bones, grapes, to beer and CNY goodies. He would not even want to miss the steam cake offerings to the Gods. This is him praying for a piece of steam cake.
His favourite fruit is the durian. He may be sleeping somewhere in the house. But once you bring out the durian, he will arouse from his slumber and come happily begging for a seed with drool running down the corners of his mouth.
Once, in his excitement, he ate not just the durian meat, but also the seed itself. The next morning, he was lethargic and not eating. In the 11 years, seeing him grow up, this is the first time he had refused to eat his meals.
A quick search on Google says that durian seeds are dangerous to pets due to their cyanide content, which could be fatal.
Oh no. The durian seed must have been stuck somewhere in his intestines. We rushed him to the vet. They took an X-ray, but the durian seed was nowhere to be seen. It turns out, he had liver cancer.
This is the liver cancer tumour. Rocky became anaemic and lethargic because the liver tumour was causing him to bleed internally.
Eventually, the tumour was resected, leaving behind a long, 20 cm scar, (hands to measure), down his body. It was painful to see him with the staples holding the wound together. But, he bounced back quickly. 10 days later, he was begging for an extra slice of strawberry shortcake and enjoying the whipped cream. He recovered soon enough to be running around and knocking down chairs with his cone of shame.
He dashed up along the shoreline, then laid down in a happy slobbery mess.
One day, Rocky started developing a limp, skin lesions and an eye infection. But this time, it was lymphoma. The bout of chemotherapy was too strong for him.
He crossed the rainbow bridge with his favourite bowtie and a last meal of durian. He was 15 years old.
They say the only problem with dogs is that they don’t live long enough.
But I’m afraid, it’s not about how long they live. It is about the quality of time spent together. To be honest, I had taken him for granted. I thought he would continue to wait for me behind the door, come running at the smell of the durian and be excited to be dressing up. He was always looking so exuberant, running around, begging for food that I never thought he would leave us.
I failed to remember, and I chose not to remember that he was gradually growing older.
Rocky’s favourite place is the beach. Yet, throughout this one and a half decade, we had only been to the beach less than 10 times. Each time we went, he ran along the shoreline less than the previous.
Let this be a reminder to not just me, but everyone here. As we get about our busy lives, when was the last time you spent quality time with your parents or with someone you love?
We all like to believe that some people in our lives can last forever. But, in reality, life can be so unpredictable. Spend time with your loved ones. Cherish each and every minute. Count the blessings in your life.
Don’t wait till it’s too late.
And back to you, Toastmasters of the Day.
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