Singapore filmmaker Eric Khoo had a tough time making The Brown Dog, a short live-action animated film about a three-legged puppy named Captain Hook.

Khoo, 55, couldn’t stop thinking of Woofy, his beloved Pomeranian which died in 2018 at the age of 16 (that’s 80 years ago in human years). Woofy wasn’t just Eric’s canine companion, he was also his muse.

 “Woofy my soul mate cameoed in all my features,” the director of Mee Pok Man and 12 Storeys tells via e-mail. “From Be with Me to Ramen Shop [or Ramen Teh], but he didn't arrive on time while we were shooting My Magic, so he didn’t appear in that one.”

eric khoo   woofy
Best pals: Eric Khoo with his inspirational Pomeranian Woofy; on the right, Woofy when he was 15. "People thought he was a puppy,' says Khoo "He was a bit like Benjamin Button — the  older he got the younger he looked." 

Today, Woofy is still by Khoo's side — on his phone’s lock screen wallpaper. And on the website of Zhao Wei Films, Khoo's production company, the first thing that greets visitors on the home page is Woofy’s adorable mug.

eric khoo   woofy tatsumi cameo
Special appearances: Woofy in a cameo in 'Tatsumi', Khoo's 2011 animated biopic of Yoshihiro Tatsumi, the godfather of alternative manga. 

The Brown Dog, which Khoo co-helmed with Andre Quek and Jerrold Chong, is part of the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre and content producer Blue 3 Asia’s ‘15 Shorts’, a short films series championing Singaporean storytelling. It’s also been added to the ‘Lights. Camera. Singapore’ collection on meWATCH.

Here, Khoo, who’s back at work (on an undisclosed commercial job) after a pandemic-forced production hiatus, tells us more about The Brown Dog, what he’d been busy with during Circuit Breaker, and his plans to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his debut feature, Mee Pok Man. (Yes, it's been that long.)