One of Pulau Ubin’s resident dogs, Kopi-O, was killed in an accident on Feb. 3, 2021.
The two-year-old community dog died after an alleged hit-and-run with a taxi on the island on Wednesday morning, and was subsequently given a proper burial by Ubin residents.
According to a post by one Terence Tan, residents were so desperate to save him that they brought him to a vet on mainland Singapore, but to no avail.
Following his burial, Kopi-O’s brother Teh-C, was spotted mourning him atop his sibling’s grave.
Tributes poured in from many residents of Singapore who reacted with sadness at the dog’s passing.
Numerous people shared their own photos of Kopi-O, as well as various anecdotes of their encounter with the stubby short-legged dog, describing him as Ubin’s “star”.
Kopi-O was well known and beloved because of his friendly, human-loving nature, and would often tag along with visitors during their hiking and exploring trips.
Here he is accompanying various visitors along the island’s paths.
Standing guard for visitors
Kopi-O was also fondly remembered for following students during their Outward Bound Singapore camps, and turning what was a gruelling trip into a memorable one.
One particularly endearing trait of Kopi-O, as Ubin visitor Emmanuel Goh told Mothership, was that despite acting as an unofficial Ubin “guide”, Kopi-O would sometimes forget how to return to his home or would be too tired to walk back, and would thus have to hitch a ride on one of the vans travelling around the island.
Other Facebook users shared how the furry companion would act as a “guard”, providing a comforting presence when they camped overnight at Ubin.
The people’s dog
Kopi-O was born and raised on Ubin alongside his paler-coloured siblings, who are also aptly named Teh-O and Teh-C.
Terence Tan, who regularly visits and volunteers on Ubin, told Mothership that the dogs’ parents Nini and Tua Tao introduced residents to their pups in late 2018.
Kopi-O swiftly took up his position of resident “guide” dog a year later in 2019, and started “taking care” of people trekking and cycling around Ubin.
Tan said that despite the lack of traffic on the island during the pandemic in 2020, Kopi-O made the effort to “swing by town once in a while”.
“It wasn’t about the food for Kopi-O, he could manage,” he said.
Here’s Kopi-O with his favourite human, Ah Di.
Although the elderly man is the dog’s owner legally, “Kopi-O is the people’s dog”, Tan opined.
“He’s so loved because he took care of everyone without discrimination; a heart of gold,” Tan said.
Kopi-O, you will be fondly remembered.
Top photo from Jo Ann Kuek / FB and Jerlynn Goh / FB