Love is a four legged word.
Love is a four legged word.
By A. JULI PEDRO
EVERY breakfast and dinner, a black and white cat patiently waits for his meal outside the gate of my house. It's been that way probably for the last three years when it decided I should run a special soup kitchen for him.
I've grown fond of this cat despite the fact that we started off on the wrong foot or paw. I used to frequently chase him away as he would trespass to hassle my cats. But I've always found this stray cat handsome with his big round head, green eyes and sweet face. He was always full of battle scars and skin lesions so I called him “Gnarly”.
Being an incorrigible cat lover, I felt bad for this homeless cat, so one night I found myself throwing him a piece of salmon. Watching him smacking his lips in pleasure felt good; I knew it was his first time to eat salmon. I also knew it as an occasion that forever changed him from being a completely feral cat to one that finds human companionship not too objectionable.
We became like mutually beneficial friends – he got food if he left my cats alone. But he did knock up one of my cats. I needed no further proof of his paternity when my last kittens all came out black and white. Interestingly enough, he also made an unscheduled vigil outside the gate the night my cat went into labor.
I am amazed that Gnarly follows a circadian rhythm to avail of his benefits. He simply knows the time to park himself outside and wait for food. And wait long he does if I wake up or stay out late. Sometimes he gives up and leaves, and sometimes I worry when he skips a meal or doesn't show up for days.
Unless it's a stormy day, Gnarly doesn't mind waiting in the rain. When it's hot, he uses the plants for shade. He likes meat and doesn't really care for kibbles.
Gnarly now trusts me enough to let me carry him to the spot where I prefer him to eat. For a cat who spends his days under parked cars, he sure is smart to pick up which one is mine. Sometimes, I would pass by him on some street and he would immediately follow my car home.
Despite our unique friendship, Gnarly refuses to be domesticated. He prefers to be the cat who walks by himself, just like the one in Rudyard Kipling's story. He is also never without gnarly battle scars and wounds, proof that he is continuously defending his turf and his status as an alpha cat in the village.
Since we became friends, Gnarly has kept his end of the deal and never bothered or hurt my cats. He also knows a bit about reciprocity. One time at dawn, I saw him carrying a huge rat in his mouth. I didn't know it was for me until I saw it later outside my gate.
Here is a cat who is not afraid of dogs, people, cars and bad weather. Winning his trust was quite a feat and I'm glad to help him keep up his stamina with daily rations. Like everyone else, Gnarly is getting old and wrinkly. I know one day he will stop coming and I would miss him. But for now, he is very welcome—for breakfast and dinner.
THE diminutive yet iconic Philippine Tarsier is now among the world's most endangered primate according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The agency's latest edition of ‘Primates in Peril: The world’s 25 most endangered primates’ released in late November 2015 added the Philippine tarsier (Tarsius syrichta) as a species in the verge of extinction because they are losing their habitat due to tropical forests destruction and because they are being hunted to be traded illegally as pets.
Compiled by the Primate Specialist Group of IUCN’s Species Survival Commission (SSC), Bristol Zoological Society, the International Primatological Society (IPS), and Conservation International (CI), the Top 25 list seeks to highlight those primates most at risk, to attract the attention of the public, to stimulate national governments to do more, and especially to find the resources to implement desperately needed conservation measures,” says Dr Russell Mittermeier, Chair of the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group and Executive Vice Chair of Conservation International. “In particular, we want to encourage governments to commit to desperately needed biodiversity conservation measures.
In the case of the Philippine Tarsier which can be found in the islands of Samar, Leyte, Bohol, Dinagat and Basilan and other parts of Mindanao, the primatologists noted that “there is a burgeoning illegal trade in tarsiers as pets, which unfortunately, is probably promoted to some degree by the tarsiers' status as tourism mascots.”
Owing to weak oversight particularly on the part of the tourism department, experts said the Philippine government must correct its current practices which are probably exacerbating the risk of the Philippine Tarsiers' extinction.
By ALMA J. BUELVA
AS early as 5 a.m. every Saturday, a team of animal welfare volunteers visits the Sarhento Mariano public cemetery in Pasay City. Their mission: bring hope and better life to unfortunate dogs and cats who made the graveyard their home.
Ashley Fruno who formed Pasay Pups about 10 months ago to improve the health of dogs and cats who live among informal settlers in the cemetery and nearby areas is heartened to see big improvements in the animals they've helped so far. Assisted by veterinary professionals who offer their services and time and donors who provide help in kind, Pasay Pups is able to conduct regular free spay/neuter operations and other kinds of treatments for pets from poor families.
At any one time, the group could be treating more than a dozen dogs and cats for sarcoptic mange. It is a painful and extremely itchy skin disease that causes the dogs to scratch until their skin breaks and bleeds. As their “patients” are always moving from one place to another, Pasay Pups people always bring with them anti-mange topical medication and oral anti-parasitic and antibiotics. Ashley said in their group's Facebook page that a two-month treatment especially for severe cases could cost about $20 per dog.
Treating animals in the area suffering from worms infestation and mange is also one of Pasay Pups' objectives.
“Many of the animals there were underweight as a result of severe parasite infections. We've been visiting the cemetery weekly to treat animals for mange, tick and worm infestations,” says Ashley.
Pasay Pups provide free vaccinations against rabies and other diseases like distemper provided that the pet owners consent to having their animals desexed in the future.
“These immunizations save lives, and allow people to interact with their animals without the fear of rabies,” said Ashley.
When they are not providing medical care for animals, the Pasay Pups team are building sturdy houses for chained dogs that are usually left exposed to the elements night and day.
Ashley and her team also offer their time to walk dogs who are always kept tied in front of their owners' houses.
To continue with their mission, Pasay Pups asks for donations that can be sent via Paypal.
A YEAR ago, an online petition was started on behalf of cats that were mysteriously turning up on Skyway ramps in Parañaque City only to become roadkill minutes later.
The petitioner, Ime Buela, theorized that motorists left their unwanted cats or kittens to die on the elevated ramps, which she dubbed as the “killing fields of cats”.
A target of 5,000 digital signatures were set to formalize the petition for Skyway O&M Corp. (SOMCO) to take action. But after a good start, the whole undertaking somewhat lost steam and only scraped 2,592 signatures to date.
Ime made the online appeal after she had seen one too many flattened cats on the Skyway every morning on her way to work.
“What on earth were these cats doing on an elevated expressway? They just dropped from the sky?,” she asked.
Ime observed that the SOMCO people are quick to remove the carcass of dead cats. However, without taking any action to prevent the brutal killing of cats and to punish the culprits, the management of the multi-billion pesos infrastructure is practically sweeping the issue, in this case the cats, under the rug.
“These criminals should not think they can forever do this with impunity. They should be held liable for the crime they committed...It's time the Skyway management stop turning a blind eye on this disgusting practice,” Ime said in her message over at Change.org.
She suggested to the Skyway management to penalize motorists caught on CCTV cameras intentionally abandoning cats to be killed by fast vehicles. SOMCO should also report the violations to the Animal Welfare Act to legitimate animal welfare groups so appropriate cased could be filed, Ime added.
“For some people maybe these are just cats. But for all responsible pet owners and pet lovers, these cats are family,” Ime said.
Although 12 months have passed, it's some consolation that the petition is still open for those who want to sign up and throw in their support for the cause. To sign, please visit change.org. -- MetroPets
AN online petition over at Change.org rapidly triggered an outpouring of public support here and abroad for the dogs woefully impounded in Boracay, Philippines' internationally acclaimed tourist paradise.
Started a week ago by Ted Teodoro, the petition calls on Boracay Mayor Johnny Yap to stop the cruel treatment of the island's homeless animals, particularly dogs, starting with a recall of his recent policy that disregards animal welfare and rights.
“Using rabies as an excuse, the Mayor and (his) council have unleashed cruel and poorly trained dog catchers upon the stray dogs. Once caught, dogs are confined to the notorious dog pound where they receive no care, water nor food. The dogs experience no form of human kindness,” said Teodoro in his message to online petitioners.
“We obtained firsthand reports corroborating these unacceptable conditions. As the practice goes, the dog catchers intimidate the locals, coercing them to pay higher reclaim fees and thus increasing the dog catchers' income. Some fortunate dogs are nevertheless claimed by their human companions. But, most dogs remain unclaimed because they are homeless or their humans cannot afford the inflated fees,” Teodoro added.
Nearly 7,000 signatures have been gathered as of February 25 that show support for Teodoro's petition. Teodoro warned of the bad effects to Boracay tourism when visitors, especially foreigners learn about the ongoing malpractices at the island's dog pound.
“Abusing animals will lead to a loss of income and respectability for Boracay. The town will acquire a reputation for hideous animal cruelty and tourism will decline,” he said.
Teodoro also said the animal welfare group Aklan Animal Rescue & Rehabilitation Center in Kalibo has already contacted local travel agencies that serve Boracay to inform them about the situation and explain its probable effect to their business. The group hopes travel tours will support the petition to avoid further damage to Boracay's image.
The outpouring of support as evidenced by the number of those that have electronically signed the petition has so far helped the group to arrange a meeting with Yap. Teodoro said they will not terminate the online petition even after its target number of signatures are met as the dogs are counting on more people to sign up and improve their conditions.
Teodoro, in his petition, also pointed out that the cruel and inhumane conditions in Boracay dog pound violate Republic Act (RA) 8485 or “The Animal Welfare Act” and its amendment RA 10631.
“Municipal dog pounds fall under these laws. Republic Act 9482 mandates the role of a Local Government Unit on population control and recognizes the provisions of RA 8485. Therefore, the Mayor is legally required to uphold animal welfare,” he added.
In Filipino, "alaga" is someone or something that a person takes care of. It could be a child, a grandparent, an animal or, better yet, a pet. MetroPets is adopting this word to advance awareness and care for animals that could be good pets if only they are not being neglected or abused.
A.L.A.G.A. is short for About Little Animals Getting Abused, a MetroPets media-driven campaign to give voice to the voiceless, the scared and forgotten, hungry and destitute animals around the country. Please help us help the unlucky ones by posting their photos and details in our social medium.
It's been said that it takes a village to raise a child, perhaps we should do the same for the little animals crying out for help and hoping to become somebody's alaga.