They Got Me On Camera…

Another one of those stories about living here... 

Borrowed random sign about cameras (this one's not in our development though)

Borrowed random sign about cameras (this one's not in our development though)

Several weeks ago, one of our lobby receptionists conspiratorially approached me. "'Someone' in your household was caught on camera letting your dog pee in a public area. We wanted to let you know before you receive the letter in which you will be slapped with a HKD 750 fine."

'Of course' it must be our helper. After all, we don't remember doing that, right? "If we really get fined she needs to be charged something for it," Kings says. Our helper did not agree. "Sometimes really cannot see, is not my fault."

Calling the manager for more details, the timing doesn't add up. That's the time I walk JD while dropping Rockstar off for Chinese tuition. But... I've never even seen her do anything on the pavement like they said she did, on camera or no (that I know, she always does it in grass near where they have the "official" doggy toilets, because of the smell - I mean, obviously we worked on this from competition days, it's an immediate disqualification to mark the pitch). And from the time log it was a dark and cold night, not even broad daylight. How could they be so sure?

AND the dog was with me at the time, not our helper.

For weeks I look out for the letter. They've got pictures. The whole bunch of staff saw it, they've been gingerly stepping around The Lady Whose Dog Peed On Camera. (Thank God it wasn't the kids 😀 kidding.)

When it arrives, they're not kidding. The thick envelope contains a letter 5, 6 pages long in two languages and with words like "legal action" and "maintenance fee." And there in the appendix, are photos of me and Rockstar.

For two days I'm too mortified to really look at the pictures. Finally, when I do.......... They don't look quite right. In the screen dump, JD is in the wrong place from where the soiled pavement has been circled. And again, I have absolutely no recollection of that ever happening - it wasn't like she did it and I quickly scuttled off so I wouldn't have to clean it up. I search my memory for any time I might have impatiently run off without pouring water to dilute the dog's pee. Nothing.

"I'm sorry, but the stills don't look quite right. May I see the tape please?" It's just... not only do I not have any recollection of ever seeing her do that, she crouches often, not every time does she actually do something." (JD even as a young dog had a dodgy, sensitive stomach.)

I'm on school run for one of the kids and when I pass the desk about 20 mins later, the receptionist calls over, "Tape'll be ready by 3pm at this desk. Ok, sure.

It's 3.10pm when my cellphone rings repeatedly. "We're waiting. And with the tape. You going to reach back soon or what?"

Oops. I thought she meant I can view it at her desk any time from 3 (because that was what we did previously). Can we call back? More profuse apologies (on my part). When the Miss and I finally get back, another uniformed attendant is waiting with a large laptop.

"Can you see it? Your dog is....... right there. Left corner of the screen."

I have to squint and follow her finger, the light is bad, it's dark, but.......... JD scrabbles literally less than two seconds to deposit a mark (not the larger watermark I initially thought they were highlighting, it's actually a much smaller trickle. Literally, a mark. But it's unmistakeable. Amazing the eagle eyed attendant who goes over all these tapes, whoever he or she was, still caught it. I have to follow the attendant's finger closely or I would miss it altogether. "<apologetically> See, you never saw it. She did it literally walking behind you as you turned to watch your son." 

photo 1-183 photo 2-178

It became obvious they'd all watched (not just, as I initially assumed, the single attendant who spoke to me) when I submitted the requested apology letter (yes, they required one!) because after being unable to find the original attendant when I printed it out, I tentatively approached other staff who immediately cut me off with "Yes yes we are aware..." Oh. Just as well I also came clean to the helper that it wasn't her, she was relieved and said Wah and they can catch that within a couple seconds when it's not even a busy period...

And well, here's the text of the letter I had to draft to management. They cced our new landlord too; I have to get round to sending a copy there as well...

To Whom It May Concern, With reference to letter dated xxxxxx and earlier conversations with your management: When the issue was initially brought to our attention, I assumed responsibility irrevocably for the aforementioned act, and endeavoured to issue a formal written apology and a assurance that this would not happen again.  This letter with the CCTV stills was misplaced among my husband's office mail and as such I only saw the pictures two days ago (for this I apologise as well.) I requested to view the video because I had absolutely no recollection of the incident in the stills. I am impressed by the efficiency at which the video was then made available for viewing, that afternoon. From the subsequent video, it is clear that we were completely unaware the dog had relieved herself on the pavement in the split second she crouched behind us to do so that evening. For the oversight and subsequent trouble in cleanup, we do apologize unreservedly. As this is a first time offense and we received no prior warning, we do appeal for the costs to be waived, however we also accept the contents of the video.  Thanks and regards.

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About Aileen

I blog about living and raising my son in Hong Kong - where toddlers have entrance interviews, parents keep test score spreadsheets, private school debentures can trade for more than half a million USD. Raising Rockstar's the most important thing I'll ever do. We show our true colors by the choices we make in bringing up our children. My blog is a message to my toddler son, about what the world and his parents are like today - for when he becomes a teenager and knows everything.
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  • mun

    They are really efficient and eagle eye too. So if you had known and poured water over the area to clean it, will they still fine you?

    I mean you can’t stop JD from doing that if you are backing her in other to prevent future occurences.

    • Aileen

      Sorry I didn’t get the second sentence, but re first one I think the correct thing to do is pour the water.. Which means technically you have to have the water with you…

      • mun

        Please allow me to rephrase my 2nd sentence – how do you prevent this from reoccuring? I mean when JD has to go, she has to go.

      • Aileen

        So when she goes, you have to clean up… If she doesn’t need to go and is just marking, reminding her not to (last vestiges from competition days) when she is still just sniffing (or if all else fails hurrying her along) usually works… She walks sufficiently to not need to “go” before we reach a proper area for the dog to do it, but to answer your question as best I can, she once couldn’t hold it and apparently had diarrhoea (in the designated dog lift) – as told by our helper’s slightly urgent and awkward message because she got scolded for it as she was cleaning it up…