IN late November this year, concerned animal lover Epi Llamanzares posted on her Facebook page about a big, white Aspin dog that informally lived at a Caltex gas station at West Service Road, Km. 18 in Parañaque City, Metro Manila.
The dog was running out of what little luck he had. The station supervisor had ordered him removed either by surrendering him to the pound or giving him up to dog meat traders. It was Nov. 22 when Epi learned about Joshua's impending doom from the gasoline boys who raised Joshua since he was a puppy.
Epi estimated Joshua to be about three or four years old and noticed he liked being “one of the boys.” The gasoline boys played with Joshua, gave him an occasional bath and fed him whatever they could spare. Epi said she believed Joshua was contented with his simple and austere existence at the gas station.
Epi wrote: “Tinitignan ko sya every time magpapagas ako, mukha naman happy dog sya doon and pagnilalapitan ko napakalambing taliwas sa sinasabi ng supervisor na matapang at salbahe. (I'd watch him every time I gas up, he looked like a happy dog who's sweet when I approached, the opposite the supervisor's claim that he's ferocious and bad.)
One day, Epi was shocked to hear from one of the gasoline boys that Joshua would be removed from the station that night. She talked and pleaded to the supervisor to give her at least a week to find someone who could adopt Joshua. The station supervisor was adamant that Joshua must be removed because he would bark at gas refilling trucks and therefore posed a danger.
Epi then turned to Facebook to ask anyone with extra space and love for animals to give Joshua a second chance. She asked her friends to share her post and the video of Joshua that she took to help Joshua's chances. After that, her post took on a life of its own – it was shared 429 times and Joshua's video was viewed 12,300 times. Three days later, on Nov. 25, Epi and her brother picked up and rescued Joshua and sent him to a veterinary hospital for complete medical check-up and treatment sponsored by Epi's friend Myra Santos Brodett. By Dec. 1, Myra officially adopted Joshua.
Whoever named Joshua probably didn't realize that it was a biblical name that almost guaranteed his salvation from the hands of the dog eaters. The name Joshua is a rendering of the Hebrew language “Yehoshua,” meaning "Yahweh is salvation."
En route to the vet's clinic, Epi learned from one of the gasoline boys that Joshua was almost killed the night before by the dog meat traders. They tried to beat Joshua's head with a pipe but the dog managed to avoid the blow. The gasoline boy said the two dog eaters would have succeeded had they not been stopped by an older station crew.
At the clinic, Joshua was diagnosed with heartworm and an erlichia infection that attacks a dog's white blood cells. Joshua had to be confined for three days and was later neutered.
Myra, who foot Joshua's medical bills, also excitedly posted on Facebook that her new dog would get all the vaccinations he needs and be given total grooming. But most importantly, Joshua is finally getting what he deserves: a loving home where he'll find peace and protection.
Not all Aspins are us lucky as Joshua who had the gasoline boys, Epi, Myra and a battalion of Facebook users who stood by him. Together, they saved Joshua and changed his life from having a grim ending to one with a happy new beginning.