When local TV Ah Jie Zoe Tay's pet Schnauzer succumbed to a sudden illness on March 2, her three sons were having their school exams.
In an interview with AsiaOne on Tuesday (March 8) for her upcoming drama You Can Be An Angel 4, the 54-year-old shared that Tong Tong's death presented her the right opportunity to teach Brayden, 17, Ashton, 14, and Nathan, 11, about life.
"They were so upset, so I told them to think about how our dog will always be with us, and to use [her death] as positive energy to do well [in the exams]," Zoe said, adding that she spent a few days at home to help her sons cope with Tong Tong's death.
Experiences like this reinforced her belief to cherish every moment of her life.
"I believe that everything in life happens for a reason. And I share with my kids to always remember the best things that happened," Zoe said.
While Tong Tong was a family favourite in the house, Zoe initially had reservations bringing the dog home from a pet rescue centre last year.
Zoe is also mum to two dogs, Niu Niu and Ki Ki.
She said: "I told them (the dog rescue centre) that my house is quite full already. But I couldn't help falling in love with her (Tong Tong).
"When Tong Tong came to my house, she was so scared. And I wanted to protect and give her lots of love."
While Zoe is mourning her pet's death, she said that her family take comfort in knowing that Tong Tong is "no longer in pain".
"If we keep on holding her back, she'll never be free," Zoe added.
You Can Be An Angel 4 portrays the relationships between the healthcare workers and elderly residents at a nursing home and senior care centre. The Covid-19 pandemic will also be reflected in the series.
Zoe plays the assistant director of nursing at the facility, who's also caring for her elderly mother suffering from dementia. The drama also stars Xiang Yun, Guo Liang, Hong Ling, Desmond Ng, Zhang Zetong and Zhu Houren.
You Can Be An Angel 4 premieres on Channel 8 on March 18 at 9pm. It will also be available on meWATCH.