By ALMA J. BUELVA
A kawaii inspired cat shelter is raring to open soon to give people a happier way to experience cat adoption.
Animal shelters usually look dull and dreary but Tea Pawty, a brainchild of Razel Ann Pabalan and Justine Chantelle Abad, will be a happy place full of kawaii items and "cute" vibes.
Their original plan was to open a cat café with rescued cats for adoption, but that would be chasing their dream in reverse. Because their foremost goal is to help cats in need, the ladies tweaked their plan and are now looking forward to open a cat shelter with café on the side!
In addition, the two designers (Razel is an interior designer while Justine is a fashion designer) wish to bring the kawaii lifestyle to their cat shelter by inviting other local kawaii artists to sell their handmade cat products at Tea Pawty.
“Tea Pawty is going to be a shelter than a cat cafe. We will cater to rescue cats and visitors can adopt them and support our operation by buying kawaii items consigned to us,” said Razel.
“One of our goals is to help small local kawaii artists showcase their works especially those who have no means to do it alone. Partner artists will donate 30 percent of their sale to Tea Pawty,” added Razel.
To get the “pawty” started, the ladies have populated Tea Pawty's range of products with their own special creations, plus items from their initial partner artists as well as those they buy from third parties.
Justine runs Dorotee Sweetlips which makes Lolita-inspired dresses, hats and other fashion items. She also creates a special line of cat clothes for Tea Pawty.
Razel creates whimsical and kawaii cold porcelain clay accessories under her brand, Spring Marionette. She said she also plans to create items like cat bookends and cat condos.
“The shelter should be self-sustaining because it's hard to rely on donations only. That is why we have to sell items, preferably local kawaii-themed handmade goods. By doing that, we can also help artists like us to sell their creations,” said Justine.
At present, Tea Pawty uses its Facebook page to market its products which are sold at very friendly prices. They accept made-to-order items which would take at least additional two days processing. Items coming from Razel's end in Laguna require an additional shipping fee of P80 to Metro Manila and P90 to provincial areas. If the order will be fulfilled by Justin who is based in Manila, the shipping fee is only P50. Tea Pawty accepts payments via Bank of Philippine Islands and LBC.
Tea Pawty is active in Etsy, an e-commerce website mostly focused on handmade or vintage items. Razel said they have had local buyers as well as customers from the US who bought Tea Pawty items.
Meanwhile, the two ladies have been helping stray cats find forever homes while saving up to build their cat shelter since 2014. Razel said they have raised enough to rent a space and open Tea Pawty, most likely in Pasay City where it will be closer for both of them.
Later, TeaPawty also plans to hold cat-related workshops to raise funds for their future resident cats. They said they want to tap more artists from the local kawaii and cosplay communities and to participate in more conventions and expos to increase Tea Pawty's circle of friends and supporters.
By ALMA J. BUELVA
PASAY PUPS, a group of animal welfare volunteers operating in an impoverished area in Pasay City, has given over 500 poor kids Christmas presents from donations they collected from donors since October.
Ashley Fruno, the tireless woman that leads Pasay Pups, said they were able to distribute educational toys, school supplies, and calendar that shows kids how to properly care for cats and dogs. This is the second year that Pasay Pups staged a Christmas Kids' Program.
Fruno said easily half of the recipients of gifts are living in the Sarhento Mariano cemetery which has no running water or proper sanitation. The poor children also received hygiene items, umbrellas, water bottles and shoes.
“We are so grateful to you - our donors, volunteers, and supporters - for helping us help kids,” she said in a post in Pasay Pups' Facebook page.
Aside from helping kids in need, Fruno also wishes all animals a better future.
“I wish that all dogs would never be chained, caged or left outside. Dogs are pack animals, for whom separation from their pack (their human pack is you!) is the cruelest punishment. Dogs belong inside, with you.
Her other wish is that more people will adopt pets from the shelter and not buy one from a breeder or pet store.
“There are so many homeless pets waiting in shelters around the country – they deserve to be home for the holidays, too,” she added.
She reminds everyone that spaying or neutering animals is really important to control the population of abandoned and unwanted animals.
Fruno who is also with PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) also wishes that “people would recognize that farmed animals – like chickens, pigs, and cows – are no different from our cats and dogs at home. For example, pigs can dream, respond to their names, and be taught tricks like to “sit” for a treat or to rollover. They like listening to music and playing with soccer balls, too. I hope people will enjoy more meatless meals in 2016,” she said.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ashey 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.