NEWS & FEATURES
Have you heard the woofest mews?
Have you heard the woofest mews?
By ALMA J. BUELVA
NO self-respecting cat lover should pass a chance to visit a cat village even when a typhoon is about to hit it. Taiwan has one up north in Houtong reputed to have at least 200 free-roaming cats. The day I came for a visit, typhoon Maria had the same plan.
It was a gloomy afternoon when I reached Houtong by train along with other tourists, just as typhoon Maria started to hit the northern parts of Taiwan. But though the skies looked dark and pregnant with rain, Maria thankfully didn't rain on my parade until I finished a quick tour of the cat village.
Maybe it was the impending rain and blustering winds that caused most of Houtong's cats to hide away that afternoon. It was unfortunate that only a handful of them were around to amuse travel-weary guests.
The Houtong train station wastes no time and space in shepherding tourists to the tiny cat village. A stairway immediately connects the station to a bridge – almost like a short tunnel adorned with cat items that opens to the cat village. There we were greeted by our first two Houtong cat residents, a black-and-white kitty and a grey tabby that walked a short distance with us.
Despite the poor attendance of actual cats that day, the place will still excite cat lovers given the number of cat objects around the village. From street signs and memo boards to flower pots and stepping stones, just about anything that can follow the cat theme has been done so.
The Houtong Cat Village is a very tiny community, which is all that is left from what used to be a busy mining town. From the bridge, guests can walk up the Cat Corridor where cat-inspired shops and cafes are located. Here we found a few more feline wanderers who, like us, were peering into the glass doors and windows of shops that closed early due to typhoon Maria.
It must be delightful to shop and dine right at the Cat Corridor, if only the weather was less unforgiving the day we came.
Below the Cat Corridor is a narrow lane where people actually live, which means more cats to see. Although people there are used to tourists walking up and down their streets, it still felt like we were trespassing so I veered away from the area.
At the ground floor of the train station is another street with gift shops. Here I found a bakeshop selling pineapple cakes in cat forms. Pineapple-filled cakes are one of Taiwan's popular souvenirs. I wasn't convinced that I want some until I found them in the shape of cats!
Most of the cats, if not all, in Houtong Cat Village are strays but residents and volunteers attend to their basic needs. I've spotted cats with one of their ears clipped which means they have been spayed or neutered already, and I've also accidentally walked in on pairs while they are mating.
As in any big cat colonies, the Houtong Cat Village has cats that look sickly or with skin ulcers. As for behavior, the prevailing cat attitude the day I visited was indifference. Sure, there were sweet cats who followed tourists with cat food to give, but many were aloof and stubbornly refused eye contact. In fact, meowing at them or saying “Here, kitty, kitty...” would get you nowhere. But we can't blame the cats for not being accommodating. You would be a sour-puss, too, if you had to put up daily with cellphone-toting tourists who take your photos all the time. To get the cats' attention, one must be creative so I barked.
Seeing that the cats were not in the mood to play good hosts that day, we went back to the station to wait for our train to Taipei. It was then that typhoon Maria brought cat visibility down to zero, for the time being.
Overall, Taiwan's Houtong Cat Village is quaint and charming but is starting to look tired and lonely, too. But I'm sure you can overlook what qualifies as eyesores here and there if you are truly fond of cats. After all, with allegedly over 200 cats, Houtong is like no other purridise.
** Text and photos are all original properties of MetroPets Magazine and protected by copyright laws. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly not allowed.
THE Taipei Pets Show, billed as the biggest one in Asia, was the perfect venue to find new innovative pet products. After four days of combing the show floor, we narrowed our top product picks to 10 items that should make life better for pets and people.
Mind you out hot picks are not all made in Taiwan and most are not available in the Philippines yet. But there's always Amazon and brand-specific e-commerce sites where you can order the following mouth-watering and snazzy goods for your pets.
OPPO DOG MUZZLE QUACK
Nothing says danger than a dog wearing a leather muzzle. If you must put a muzzle on your dog when walking or grooming time, go for a softer look by using the Quack. The duck bill shaped muzzle is a big hit in Japan and in other countries where dog owners appreciate the combined utility and humor of this product.
It sells for US$38 and was showcased at the Taipei Pets Show alongside another quirky design meant for dogs and cats with short snout. The Quack muzzles are available in three different sizes and colors to match any kind of dog you have.
PET EMOTIONAL MACHINE
You read it right, this product is called the Pet Emotional Machine. But what is it exactly? From Taiwan-based firm Smypet, the Pet Emotional Machine is a device that releases a certain frequency detectable only by pets.
When cats and dogs sense the frequency, it supposedly would help them feel calmer and relaxed. Clingy pets, pets that experience panic or anxiety attacks or have troubles being left alone might benefit from this device. There are different settings to suit different pets' sizes. It retails for NT$12,800 and comes in blue or beige colors.
EVERCLEAN PAW CLEANER & COMB MASSAGER
From PetKit, the Everclean Paw Cleaner and Comb massager gives your dog an instant foot bath and spa right at your home. Inside the canister are round-headed silicone brushes that gently but meticulously cleans the dog's paws. Simply insert your dog's individual paws inside the container to clean them after walking or playing outside. The cover's slotted design conforms with the physiological structure of the paw so dog's won't get hurt using it.
The parts can be dismantled for easy cleaning, especially the Everclean Massage Comb inside which can also be ideal for brushing your cat's fur. The comb can be used on wet fur, too, during bath time. It not only massages and removes loose fur, it also promotes blood circulation on pets.
CHEW ME TURTLE MEAT
This cat treat takes exotic food to a whole new level as it is made of soft-shell turtle meat or eggs. In gel form and green in color, Chew Me is a product of Brimoon Pet Care, the leading Taiwan company that pioneers the use of turtle, from soft shell to meat and bones, for pet food.
The soft-shell turtle is said to be rich in amino acid, omega 3 and other minerals that are effective in promoting good skin and fur in cats. Aside from soft-shell turtle parts, Chew Me is also loaded with broccoli. Chew Me made its product debut at the Taipei Pets Show. A pack of six 12g pouches of Chew Me costs NT$100 as a special introductory price during the show.
PETALS PET COLLAR
A Taiwanese proprietress exhibited her own line of pet e-collar in the shape of petals. Stuffed with pure cotton, the petals are sewn together to form an opening in the middle where the pet's head goes.
It's a bit pricey though with the smallest collar sold for NT$950. The cloth is made from silky soft materials so it doesn't absorb water and get stained easily. Ideal for both cats and dogs of different sizes.
International Cats House Corp., the manufacturer of the No. 1 local brand of cat litter in Taiwan, has a clever packaging concept for its cat litter. Called BoxCat, the litter are contained in a beautifully designed carton box that turns into a cat house or cat sleeping quarter. The Boxcat also comes with free scratch pad that fits perfectly inside the box!
Instead of using the typical bag or sack for its litter, the use of specially designed cardboard box caught cat lovers' fancy who, company officials said, sometimes buy BoxCat first for the box, then the litter.
Would you like to have a drink with your cat and dog? Paw Wine is a non-alcoholic drink for pets based on extracts from peppermint, chamomile, beets and catnip. The peppermint and chamomile flavors are for dogs and are supposed to freshen their breath.
The beets and catnip with silvervine are the cat's “wine” to perk them up during dreary days, perhaps. The Paw Wine can be refrigerate and ideally consumed within three days after opening. A large bottle of Paw Wine costs NT$399 while the small bottles cost NT$299 (for dogs) and NT$199 (for cats).
A wide range of eco-friendly products made from paper were on display at the Taipei Pets Show and one of the companies that brought forward its cardboard-made products is Carton Meow.
From scratch pads to beds, Carton Meow designed them in fun shapes to make them great conversation pieces, too. The cat-shaped scratchpad, for example, looks elegant enough to be left standing in the corner of the living room. It costs only NT$360 while the bed costs NT$760.
YAK CHEESE TREAT
T.N.A., a Taiwan-based pet food company, creates cheesy dog treats using milk from Yaks. The cheese are handmade in Nepal and finished for commercial production in Taiwan.
The finished product is a super hard stick of cheese that can help clean dog's teeth as they gnaw on it. A large stick can cost up to NT$430 while the smallest stick could cost arount NT$280.
ECO PET DISH
Made by Petique, this eco pet dish is a 2-in-1 dog or cat bowl you can take anywhere! It snaps together for easy travel and it doesn't absorb odors. The best part of this Eco-Friendly Pet Dish is it's BPA free, non-toxic and made out of starch based material, which makes it completely biodegradable. It retails for US$28 online.
THE Philippines has successfully convicted a dog killer, a historic first.
The news was shared by the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) which helped attain justice for the dog killed by Roberto Olivar from Caloocan City. The decision came last June 14, 2018, with Olivar convicted for violating the Animal Welfare Act. He spent some time in prison and was fined P5,000.
According to PAWS, Olivar was filmed killing his own dog and then feeding it to his other dog. The person who filmed the crime and uploaded it on Facebook was not involved in filing criminal charges, but concerned citizen Emma Manalili did. She saw the video and, accompanied by local police, immediately located Olivar's place. She later testified for the Prosecution.
Part of the Facebook video below was played in court and elicited stifled gasps from the stenographer and other members of Caloocan MTC No. 52, PAWS said.
PAWS added that during the promulgation, Honorable Judge Dorothy Grace Daguna-Inciong warned Olivar sternly that should he be reported for dog-killing again, she would make sure that he will be given the maximum prison term for violation of the Animal Welfare Act.
“I have three dogs myself and I love them. This act that you did is despicable and I hope you know that this is wrong and should never happen again,” the judge was quoted saying.
Animal cruelty is a crime under the Animal Welfare Act of the Philippines (RA8485 as amended by RA 10631). Those witnessing animal cruelty should report it to the police first, before taking photos and videos that can be shared in social media later.
THE People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) announced that the Japanese government has decided to stop conducting year-long tests on dogs, particularly beagles, to study the potential effects of pesticides on people.
After hearing from PETA U.S. scientists for the past three years, the Japanese government made the decision to end the cruel tests wherein beagles are forced to eat pesticide-laced food or inhale pesticide fumes daily for a year and are then killed and dissected. PETA U.S. repeatedly provided evidence that data from these tests are not used to protect humans.
At the urging of PETA U.S., the U.S. ended this same test in 2007, the European Union ended it in 2013, and Canada followed suit in 2016, sparing thousands of dogs annually. Japan will now join the growing list of countries that have made the right decision for dogs and for science.
PETA U.S. and PETA Asia are urging other countries, including South Korea, to end their requirement for one-year pesticide testing on dogs, and are working to end all pesticide testing on dogs and all other animals. -- MetroPets
By ALMA J. BUELVA
THE Philippine market is sorely lacking its very own locally produced cat food, but that could change if the first set of trials spearheaded by a doctoral student succeeds.
Five cat food flavors, all using squash as major ingredient, are undergoing market tests and could be the start of a local brand that can help farmers and give cat owners an alternative to imported cat food products.
Hazel Alfon, who is taking up Doctor in Business Administration from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, developed her own kitty fare for her research project in functional strategy and business ethics.
A cat lover herself, she wanted to cook up something inexpensive but nutritious for cats and at the same time create an opportunity for squash growers to sell more of their crop.
“What prompted me to do the study is the surplus of squash during harvest time. Lugi yung farmers, halos ipamigay na yung kalabasa nila. (Farmers lose...almost giving their squash away).
With both the cats' and farmers' welfare in mind, Alfon set about baking her first handmade dry kibble. She soon, however, switched to wet cat food as she believes cats need it more to supplement their water intake.
A licensed chemist, Alfon told MetroPets that she did extensive research on the kinds of food that are good and bad for cats. She also took samples of her squash-based cat food to the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) for analysis. In addition, she consulted with veterinarians to make sure her cat food is safe. Later on, she used social media networks to invite cat owners to try her products for free.
“My cat food are all-natural, human grade and with no salt and chemical pre-treatment,” Alfon said.
Alfon added that she uses from 80 to 90 percent fish, beef, chicken breast, liver or gizzard. The rest are vegetables, particularly squash.
The results are the following variants:
* Salmon with carrots, green beans and kalabasa (squash)
* Ox tripe with chicken liver and kalabasa
* Tuna with kalabasa
* Chicken with kalabasa
* Beef with carrots, green peas and kalabasa
Sealed silver pouches, each containing 85 grams of any of the five flavors, were shipped to market testers who volunteered to feed it to their cats for seven days. Alfon said the most common feedback she received pertains to cats' poop becoming less stinky or even stink-free!
MetroPets' resident cat reviewers tested Alfon's homemade cat food and while they showed indifference at first, they soon acquired the taste and feel for it. The top hits were the squash with chicken and squash with beef. Used to the texture of paté, the cats set aside morsels of ox tripe. They ate the fish variants with no complain but also with less gusto.
Meanwhile, Alfon told MetroPets that she has started work on another cat food specifically for lactating cats.
If all goes well with her cat food, Alfon said she plans to turn it into a business and share her revenues with animals shelters.
SPOTIFY is getting a spot (pun intended) in the matchmaking business by using its music streaming service to find the right shelter dog for the right person. The program is aptly called Adoptify.
Since it has been established that dogs have their own individual music preferences, Spotify has partnered with an animal shelter in Germany to match people and adoptable dogs based on their song choices.
A brainchild of the agency called Serviceplan, Adoptify makes use of a website that features dogs ready for adoption at a shelter in Munich. Aside from giving out standard information on the dog's gender, age and breed, Adoptify adds the kind of music each dog prefers. A potential dog owner can watch the personalized videos about the dogs and from there choose to adopt the one that sings his or her tune, so to speak. -- MetroPets
#adoptify #shelterdogs #musicaldog #dogsandmusic @spotifyanddogs
THE National Audubon Society has announced that 2018 is the Year of the Bird!
This is not about keeping birds as pets, but about appreciating and protecting them.
The Audubon, a US-based non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation and protection of all kinds of birds in the world, together with National Geographic, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and BirdLife International are joining forces with more than 100 other organizations and millions of people around the world to celebrate 2018 as the “Year of the Bird.”
This effort aims to heighten public awareness of birds because of their wonder and beauty—and because they symbolize nature’s interconnectedness and the importance of caring for our shared planet.
To get started, visitors to BirdYourWorld.org will discover simple but meaningful steps that anyone can take to help birds each month and join a pledge to participate.
Through 12 months of storytelling, science research and conservation efforts, Year of the Bird will examine how our changing environment is driving dramatic losses among bird species around the globe and highlight what we can do to help bring birds back.
The campaign's hashtag, #BirdYourWorld throughout 2018, will also utilize National Geographic’s portfolio of media platforms reaching millions of people around the world with engaging bird content that will educate, inspire and raise awareness about the challenges that birds are facing and what people can do to help.
“Birds inspire us and have an almost magical way of bringing us together—and when we act together on behalf of birds, we can accomplish truly meaningful things,” says Mark Jannot, vice president of content for Audubon, and the Editor-in-Chief of Audubon magazine. – MetroPets
THE Bureau of Animal Industry in partnership with the Technological Institute of the Philippines recently launched their own free Android application aimed at improving public awareness about animal rabies.
The Rabies Free 2020 app is available for download in Google Play Store. The app is pretty straightforward and simple in style and function.
The app has five sections that provide an overview about rabies, list of animal bite centers, locations of animal rabies diagnostic laboratories nationwide, hotlines and contact information, and about the app development.
The Rabies Free 2020 app makes a barking sound when a new section is opened. The text are in Filipino and there are links to existing rabies-free campaign videos from the BAI like the one below.
The app gives general information about rabies from symptoms, phases and prevention, among others. It seeks to guide the public, too, on how to become responsible pet owners to help prevent the spread of rabies.
The Philippines aims to become completely rabies free by 2020. By 2030, the world is expected to have eradicated rabies completely. -- MetroPets
ARE you excited about the fact that 2018 turned out to be the Year of the Dog? Although the Chinese regard it as something that could have influence on peoples' lives for the next 12 months, dog lovers simply can't pass the chance to take it literally to let their pooches shine. But before we do that, here are just 10 basic things to remember about the Year of the Dog:
* The Year of the Dog kicks in at the Chinese New Year which will be on Friday, the 16th of February.
* According to those who believe in the significance and symbolisms behind the Chinese 12-year animal zodiac cycle, dog years could actually be unlucky for people born in previous years of the Dog.
* People born during the Year of Earth Dog (1958, 2018) are likely to be communicative, serious, and responsible in work – good qualities to have even in a dog.
* Three US Presidents were born in the Year of the Dog. They are George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump. Benjamin Franklin, one of America's Founding Fathers, was also born during the Year of the Dog.
* Other famous people born in the Year Of The Dog include: Justin Bieber, Michael Jackson, Mother Teresa, Madonna, Ethan Hawke, Mariah Carey, Prince William, Queen Latifah and Socrates.
* In America last year, Max and Bella were the most popular names for a male and female dog, respectively. Wonder what would it be in 2018?
* There are estimated 70 million dogs in the United States and 11.6 million in the Philippines.
* There are about 340 breeds of dogs recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), the world governing body of dog breeds, sometimes known as the World Canine Organization.
* A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself. (Josh Billings)
* Whatever the Year of the Dog brings, one thing is certain: Lucky are the dogs that have the love and care of a responsible owner. -- MetroPets
By 2030, the world is expected to have eradicated rabies for good.
The Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) said the new target provides an annual marker to showcase progress at all levels – from the international to the community – towards every country’s rabies elimination efforts.
The Philippines aims to make the country completely rabies-fress by 2020.
Rabies: Zero by 30, the theme for World Rabies Day, 2017, is being supported by local veterinarians, many of whom went door-to-door in depressed areas where high cases of rabies were recorded.
Reuters reported that Filipino veterinarians, in partnership with the animal protection group Humane Society International (HSI), led the free mass vaccination drive using not just their syringes but also their smartphones to track areas of concern.
HSI launched the rabies tracker smartphone app that records rabies inoculations and geotags dogs by location as a way to control the disease.
The Bureau of Animal Industry placed the canine population in the Philippines at 10 million at least. The World Health Organization (WHO) said dogs without anti-rabies shots are the primary conduits (99 percent of cases) of the disease that spreads to humans.
The HSI said cases of rabies in the Philippines are among the highest globally, with at least 200 Filipino deaths from the disease annually, mainly due to dog bites. Despite this alarming figure, the Philippines was ranked by WHO as among the countries making “great strides” in fighting the disease.
THIS was the question that French researcher Marc-Antoine Fardin asked in his science paper that won him the Ig Nobel for physics this year.
"Can a cat be both a solid and a liquid” at the same time? Fardin explained that a liquid can adapt its shape to the container it is in. It's a condition that seems applicable to cats to some extent. A good example is this cat inside a glass jar.
Aside from boxes of all shapes and sizes, cats are known to try to fit inside the most unconventional vessels such as bowls, glasses and tubes, among others. They also do it almost effortlessly as if they are truly in a liquid-like state.
Pretty much like this cat in the video.
The Ig Nobel Prize is a parody of the Nobel Prize, which is awarded every autumn to celebrate ten unusual or trivial achievements in scientific research. Since 1991, the Ig Nobel Prizes have been awarded to “honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think.”
Presented at Harvard University by bemused real Nobel Prize laureates, the Ig awards are not an attempt at ridiculing science, the Ig Nobel website states.
“Good achievements can also be odd, funny, and even absurd, so can bad achievements,” it explains.
"A lot of good science gets attacked because of its absurdity. A lot of bad science gets revered despite its absurdity."
Aside from Fardin, 9 other researchers who invested time and money in solving life's improbable yet important questions from different fields were also honored in early September with Ig Nobels.
The theme of this year's Ig Nobels was "Uncertainty". -- AFP with notes from MetroPets
INSTAGRAM has bred a new form of celebrity—the dog. Man’s best friend has become one of man’s biggest influencers with social petworking becoming an increasingly explored route for marketing and promotion. And currently, the hottest dog in Instagram is Jiffpom with 6.5 million followers as of September 9, 2017.
To know the shakers and movers among dogs in Instagram, Lovejoy, a pet food maker from Norfolk, England, analyzed all the profiles of Instagram’s most popular breeds of dogs. Over the past few years the Pomeranian called “Jiffpom” has emerged as easily Instagram’s most followed pet. But how many of Jiffpom’s Instagram posts are organic and how many promote brands or other social media stars?
Lovejoy discovered that for those who manage the most successful Instagram dog accounts out there, their random, spur of the moment posts of dog pictures and videos make up only about a third of their content. Many are now cashing in on their dog's popularity by creating promotional and collaborative posts that endorse brands.
Data based on 50 posts analyzed from April 12-July 3 2017 showed that content posted on Jiffpom's Instagram page were 33 percent organic and 67 percent advertising-related. Jiffpom is so popular that he has appeared in adverts for Banana Republic and a music video for Katy Perry.
Lovejoy's data analysis also showed that smaller breeds are followed by more people (78 percent of dog followers on Instagram) and therefore make for better influencers. The top seven most popular breeds all come in relatively miniature form.
When it comes to large breeds, the Husky seems to be the favorite, specifically Loki the Wolfdog with 1.5 million followers.
Dogs, with their googly eyes and funny peculiarities, have proven they can steal not just the hearts of people but also vie for endorsement projects that used to be reserved for humans. With endless possibilities for creating heartwarming content, it is easy to see why so many brands are jumping on this bandwagon where people don't just walk the dog but also follow the dog.
IF you are visiting Tagaytay, you may want to drop by the newly opened cat cafe located along the Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay Road for a quick get-together with their adorable cats.
Tabby Town is the first cat cafe this side of town. It is by the same owner of The Pet Cafe by Velvet Friends in Pasay City.
Tabby Town had its soft opening early this month and it is looking forward to welcoming regular guests from the Calabarzon region as well as day trippers from Manila.
Proprietor Chito Aclon designed Tabby Town to have a homey look and feel so that weary travelers can relax and enjoy the calming companionship of cats before they head out to their next destinations. Guests can also have a quick meal of pastas and drinks here.
A good mix of purebred and native cats will make up Tabby Town's regular “crew” which currently stands at 17. Chito said they can have up to 30 domestic cats at Tabby Town.
This cat cafe has three levels. The first level is the reception area, the second floor belongs to the cats while the third floor is being eyed as a place for Corgis and other dog breeds.
Tabby Town is open six days a week, except Tuesday, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Its exact address is 410 Purok 5 Brgy Lumil, Silang, Cavite. Nearby landmarks are the entrance to Suntrust Verona Executive Village and a Caltex gas station.
By Alma J. Buelva
A CANINE behavior expert plans to open a unique dog training facility where the trainers will be former drug users. Second Life Academy aims to equip rehabilitated drug users with the right set of skills for basic dog training that they can use to find work later.
The training will be offered for free to ex-drug offenders.
A brainchild of Ronald Lumbao, a professional canine behavior consultant and certified dog trainer with the International Positive Dog Training Association in Canada, Second Life looks at dog training as a way for some ex-drug dependents to re-enter society and succeed in getting a second chance as dog trainers.
The plan is to have three training schools located at Albay in Bicol and somewhere in Metro Manila and North Luzon. Although no facility is up yet, Lumbao said they are now ready to screen and accept applicants to start the first batch of 20 trainees this October.
“Everything is ready except for the facility. We hope to have one fully operational by January 2018,” Lumbao said.
To qualify for the program, Second Life wants applicants who finished high school at least and with recommendation from their barangay and support from their families. Aspiring dog trainers should also pass a written exam and interview to assess if they can work well with dogs.
Each trainee must bring any breed of dog that is not more than three months old for training. Together, the student and the dog will train for 24 weeks. Lumbao said the course involves basic dog obedience training, dog psychology, housebreaking and common behavior problems, among others. The students, on the other hand, will go through theoretical and practical exercises. A certification and endorsement will be awarded to those who will complete and pass the course.
The course will also include work ethics, moral values, basic financial and business management and customer service. While in the program, the ex-drug user will benefit from the therapeutic effects of bonding with dogs, said Lumbao.
“Second Life is about training dogs and transforming former drug users into better persons...At the end of the course, the graduate is equipped with scientific training principles and the foundations for advanced training,” he added.
To ensure the dogs' safety, Second Life promises to employ only positive training system and will not use nasty choke and prong collars on the dogs.
“One of the reasons we are limiting the class to 20 people is to have close supervision...The dogs will be safe from any misuse or abuse of training tools. Trainees caught harming a dog will be expelled immediately,” said Lumbao who will conduct the training along with two other trainers.
The real challenge at the moment is finding organizations to back up Second Life's charitable cause. Lumbao has submitted proposals to companies and a local government unit but has not received a definite support yet.
“For now, we have private individuals helping us,” Lumbao said, adding that there are four ways people and companies can support Second Life's mission of giving new lease of life to past drug offenders.
To help Second Life:
* Endorse the program as a corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative
* Host a public seminar on Dog Life Balance
* Buy Lumbao's books (Mag Aso Ay Di Biro, Nanaginip Ba Ang Aso, and Dog-Life Balance)
To know more about Lumbao and his dog-centric undertakings and advocacies, visit traildogs.ph
By ALMA J. BUELVA
This is Wawa who is holed up alone in a boarding house in Marawi City with her two kittens. Their owner is worried they have already run out of food and water.
CLASHES between the military and Maute Group of terrorists in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur have victimized not just thousands of people but also animals, particularly pet dogs and cats.
As residents flee following the declaration of martial law in their embattled city on May 23, many were unable to take their pets with them.
In an interview with MetroPets, Maria Ninotchka Herrera who lives in Marawi City, recalled how she and her family fled to Iligan City when the fighting started, taking her Siberian Husky Maya and her Japanese Spitz Misao with them. During the arduous nine-hour journey that normally takes only an hour, Herrera said she saw other people evacuating with their cats and dogs.
Herrera and her dogs enjoying nature at the golf course inside Mindanao State University in Marawi. The city is presently the scene of heavy fighting between the military and a terrorist group. The photo was taken in the morning of May 23, 2017. At night, they would evacuate for Iligan City. (Photo from Notch Herrera)
A teacher from Mindanao State University (MSU) in Marawi City, Herrera said some of her friends were forced to hastily leave their pets inside the campus with food and water good for three days. But as the fighting drags on, her friends now worry about their pets and are hoping to return to the university to secure them.
“I saw my friends' posts in social media and they are worried for their pets as we really don't know when we can go back to the campus,” she added.
Riz Sunio, a college professor from RC-Al Khwarizmi International College Foundation, Inc. located in downtown Marawi, was also forced to leave her two black kittens and their mother in a room inside a private boarding house at MSU. She left them last Tuesday (May 23) with about 400g of cat food and water, which she fears her cats have all consumed by now.
“I wanted to bring them with me in Lala, Lanao del Norte. I got an extra backpack to put them in, but because we would only hitch a ride I was advised not to, as having cats (during the trip) might be bothersome for other people,” Sunio said who added that she vehemently argued on behalf of her cats in vain.
Wawa, the mother cat, gave birth to Ling-ling and Tom-tom a little over a month ago. “The kittens have just learned to eat solid food. I hope they can make do with their mother's milk for now,” said Sunio.
In one of her recent Facebook posts, Sunio expressed her desperate desire to fetch her three cats “when the coast is clear.”
“They are family to me and family is not supposed to be abandoning one another,” Sunio said.
Sunio's cats are holed up at a boarding house in PBB Extension, Barrio Dimalna II, Mindanao State University, Marawi City.
Here's a short video of Tom-Tom and Ling-Ling playing together before the clashes started.
Like Sunio, many residents were also forced to leave their pets behind. Herrera said those who left their pets in their homes fear that their hungry animals might risk stepping outside to scavenge for food. Pets that were left tied or caged definitely face starvation and won't be able to hide from the dangers surrounding them.
Herrera and her dogs are fortunate to have reached Iligan safe and sound. She said it was “unthinkable” for them to leave their dogs behind, just like one of their neighbors who also evacuated Marawi with their four dogs, she added.
Herrera said her two five-year-old girls, Misao and Maya, get scared when they hear gunshots and explosions. She hopes that their photo taken just before they evacuated won't be their last picture in their house.
There are no established animal welfare groups in Marawi City, Herrera said. A few private citizens have tried to rally pet lovers in social media to help the stranded pets in Marawi but so far nothing concrete has happened.
Marawi City also has its share of stray dogs and cats that are currently exposed to all sorts of dangers brought about by the military operations against the Maute Group of terrorists.
ANIMAL lovers worldwide scored a huge victory after it was announced that dog and cat meat will be banned from this year's Yulin Festival in China.
The ban will come into effect on June 15, a week before the start of the gruesome festival that in recent years saw the slaughter of thousands of dogs and cats, many stolen from their owners, for their meat.
Eleven million people around the world have signed the petition to stop the organizers and supporters of Yulin Festival from killing and consuming dog and cat meat by first bludgeoning them to death or even cooking them alive.
According to Andrea Gung, executive director of Duo Duo Animal Welfare Project, the ban ends the sale of dog meat in restaurants, markets and by streets vendors. Those who violate the ban will be arrested and fined up to 100,000 yuan (nearly $15,000).
Although it is only a temporary ban, Gung said it will hopefully lead to the collapse of the dog meat trade. Yulin Festival is not an old tradition but a mere creation of enterprising dog meat traders that started in 2009. Gung said the ban is consistent with how Yulin and the rest of the country are changing for the better.
Animal rights activists, campaigners and international celebrities like Ricky Gervais, Sharon Osbourne and the late Carrie Fisher were in the forefront of the fight against the unthinkable cruelty that thousands of innocent animals were subjected to for the ghastly dog meat festival. At its height, the 10-day Yulin Festival saw the deaths of up to 15,000 canine and other animals.
The signature campaign, organized by the Humane Society International and other charities, was also instrumental in petitioning the local government to halt the practice of killing and eating dogs and cats in Yulin. -- MetroPets
By ALMA J. BUELVA
EASTER is about triumph, redemption and new beginnings. It is a holy occasion that men and women reflect on to find meaning or purpose in their lives.
Animals don't know Easter, although some of them have luckily experienced salvation and second chances, too. One of them is Sassy, a six-year-old female pit bull who had a dark past. Sassy used to viciously fight other pit bulls as victims of a brutal dog fighting syndicate that operated in the Laguna province.
On March 2012, Sassy and 265 other pit bulls were rescued. Some of them didn't last long in this world but others like Sassy managed to hold on while they are being rehabilitated at a private animal sanctuary. Sassy's fate even got better the day she was adopted into a loving home.
Sassy's life is an Easter story.
Today, Sassy is a picture of happiness. To prove it, here are four photos taken during Black Saturday 2017.
*Photos by MetroPets Magazine
By ALMA J. BUELVA
THERE are still over 90 rehabilitated pit bulls at a shelter facility in Quezon province waiting to be adopted into loving homes. The dogs are part of the 266 pit bulls that CARA Welfare Philippines helped rescue from an infamous and brutal dog fighting syndicate back in March 2012.
Those who are interested to give the remaining pit bulls their permanent homes should coordinate with CARA by first visiting the helpsavethepitbulls.com website to know about the requirements for adopting a dog. Those who can't adopt but still wish to help may sign up as a volunteer or donate much-needed cash and items such as food and medicine.
Meanwhile, CARA continues with its latest fund-raising drive called “Give me 5” that seeks a minimum donation of P500 per person to cover the needs of one shelter animal and one Laguna Pitbull for one day. The animal welfare group estimates that each of their ward at least needs P250 a day for food, medicine, staff care and shelter.
Support CARA's “Give me 5” fund drive for kitties and pitties
CELEBRITY dog whisperer Cesar Milan is doing another round of search for new recruits that he could train as dog behaviorists.
In a new season of Cesar's Recruit: Asia, Milan will go through the process of screening new dog trainers from eligible applicants who will be part of the show.
To be considered, aspiring dog trainers in the Philippines and other parts of Asia should send their personal details and why they want to be chosen to email@example.com.
Show organizers said anyone who lives in Asia and is of Asian descent can apply. Participants vying to be the next Pack Leader of Milan are required to be available for up to four days of filming during May/June 2017.
Last year, the reality TV named Ethan Loke, the sole Singaporean contestant, as Milan's first ever Asian Recruit.
Cesar's Recruit: Asia airs on National Geographic Channel. -- MetroPets
CAT LADIES celebrate! You've all met your #funstatic #squadgoals of being recognized in the Oxford English Dictionary as a real collective word or term.
The leading word authority recently added 300 words and terms that have lately become part of the youth's vocabulary. The millennials and others older or younger than them are no stranger to the term cat lady, thanks to the abundance of cat images on the Net.
Cat lady is defined by Oxford as a noun that pertains to an older woman who lives alone with a large number of cats, to which she is thought to be obsessively devoted.
For some, the term cat lady still has a bit of uncomplimentary sound to it, but there's been an improvement in perceptions as more people, including males, proudly proclaim their love for cats.
Also included in the Oxford word collection update are new words like funtastic and squadgoals with meanings that all cat ladies can surely relate to.
* One stormy afternoon at Taiwan's Houtong Cat Village