Photo credit: Jing Lin

Desmond Tan’s love for dogs is fur-ever

Desmond believes that pet adoption can bring new life to both the dog and its new owner.

Phang Jing Lin

Published: 21 July 2017, 7:41 PM

He has played a police officer, a lawyer, and most recently an army sergeant, but behind his tough guy image, Desmond Tan actually has a soft spot for animals, particularly towards dogs.

Youth.SG was with the hunk, dubbed one of Mediacorp’s hottest ‘8 Dukes’, and his adopted, 1-year-old mixed breed dog, Udon, at the Botanic Gardens last month. Seeing how Desmond paid close attention to his pet, ensuring his water bowl was constantly topped up, it is clear the two share a very close bond. This, even though he had only adopted Udon in March last year.
It just melted my heart to see the charming 30-year-old actor, all of 1.82m tall, interact with his dog, at our interview last month. Photo Credit: Koh

While Desmond had purchased his first dog, Hoshi, in January 2010, he now promotes adoption from animal shelters.

Hoshi (left) and Udon (right) are no stranger to the public, as Desmond often posts photos of them on his Instagram. Photo Credit: Desmond Tan’s Instagram

The gym-buff said: “I heard many stories of how animals are abandoned, abused, and how breeding dogs are used just to breed. These stories strengthened my belief in the movement for adoption.”


In 2016, he started a campaign called The Blue Socks with his army friend’s grooming house, June’s Pethouse, to promote animal adoption and support animal shelters in Singapore. The name was inspired by a picture Desmond saw of a dog wearing blue socks, and the mascot has features of both his dogs.

The dog in the Blue Socks’ t-shirt worn by Desmond has the pointy ears of Udon, and the fur colour of Hoshi. Photo Credit: Koh

Desmond, who will next appear in Mediacorp’s When Duty Calls, said: “People always think animals in the shelters are very hard to train because they’re old and unwanted, or because they have an aggressive nature. But it’s not true. If you really go to an animal shelter, some of them are the sweetest things on earth.”

Desmond wants to correct many misconceptions about dog adoption. For starters, he believes that dogs from shelters can look very attractive, if they receive proper grooming. Photo Credit: Desmond Tan

He added passionately: “We (thought of holding a) before-and-after pageant, to let people know how the dogs look before being adopted, and how beautiful they are after they are re-homed.”

On Sept 11 last year, The Blue Socks organised a movie screening at Orchard Cineleisure, where part of the funds was donated to Voices For Animals (VFA), the animal shelter where Desmond adopted Udon.

Desmond hopes that The Blue Socks can bring all the animal shelters in Singapore together to do something big for the animals. Photo Credit: Hui

What are some of The Blue Socks’ future plans?

Inspired by the Taiwanese Twelve Nights (十二夜), Desmond hopes to create an animal film that tackles issues of animal adoption and abuse.

He said: “Being in the media industry, knowing the power of media, I hope that I can do something related to my work and help the animals. That’s the only way we can touch, educate and convince people to change their perspectives.”

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