NEWS & FEATURES
Have you heard the woofest mews?
Have you heard the woofest mews?
By ALMA J. BUELVA
NEED a place that will take good care of your dog for a day or longer? The newly opened Playbow dog day care and boarding facility in Makati will do that and more.
Playbow at Alphaland Makati Place is a free-roaming facility where dogs can safely play, walk and run around with other sociable dogs inside a large, air-conditioned space. There are individual kennels for dogs that need to go solo, but Playbow's priority is to make a dog's stay as fun as possible so a big activity area that can accommodate 50 or more dogs is this place's main attraction.
Six female business partners—all dog lovers—own and manage Playbow. Their staff consists of experienced dog handlers and groomers plus their own personal dogs, which help guest dogs feel at home.
Playbow accepts dogs for daycare and boarding daily, starting at 8 a.m. Dog owners can also bring their dogs here for grooming any day except Monday.
DAYCARE & BOARDING
Playbow follows a strict check-in procedure starting with a thorough evaluation of a dog's health and behavior to ensure the safety of all dogs in its facility. Customers also need to provide a long checklist of information about their dogs before registration.
Playbow accepts healthy dogs from two months to 10 years old and with current vaccines against rabies, distemper, parvovirus and bordetella (kennel cough). However, female dogs in heat will not be admitted for daycare or will be separated from other dogs if they go into heat during boarding.
Among Playbow's target markets are expatriates and travelers who need a safe place to leave their dogs for a short or long period. While walk-ins are welcome, the management recommends that customers first call or visit them to learn about the range of services and applicable rates, to reserve dates and to discuss any special requirements of their dogs.
The best part starts when the dog is finally admitted for day care or boarding. Playbow keeps a daily schedule of activities that intersperse play time with meals and chew time, as well as cuddle time and potty time.
Dog owners can sign up their pets for only two hours or up to 10 hours of day care. Depending on the schedule, well-adjusted dogs can participate in group play and basic obedience training. There is also an option to walk the dog outside the building if the owner asks for it.
Playbow's dog handlers are expected to keep an eye on all dogs at all times so they could quickly respond to individual requirements and immediately clean up after them. At least one of the business partners is also usually present to give the dogs hands-on care and companionship and serve as surrogate mom during the dogs' stay. One of the partners is a dog trainer; another one is a veterinarian.
Playbow's dog boarders get a night nanny. They also get to eat their own food as Playbow encourages owners to pack enough for cold storage. If it's necessary to provide another type of dog food, Playbow would first seek the owner's consent, said Maiko Romley, one of the partners.
“Clients can bring in their own dog food, but if boarding gets extended and that food runs out, we will first get the dog owner's clearance and instructions before we give the dog something else to eat,” she added.
Playbow goes the extra mile to elevate its daycare and boarding services before, during and after a dog's stay.
Aside from the meticulous screening before admission and the sensible activities to keep dogs engaged and socialized, Playbow also prepares a report card for every dog at the end of the day. Jen Alonte, one of the partners, told MetroPets that the report card shows what activities a dog participated in, who did it play with the most or what new things it learned, for example.
“We note our observations in the report card for the owners to see. We treat dogs as family and we really emphasize socialization so we try to make the dogs friendly to each other even though they are of different breeds,” she said.
Playbow is designed to be a place where dogs are free to do what dogs love to do, which is to eat and be merry, to run and play with a pack and to plop down anywhere without care.
The entire facility is devoid of impractical items like ornate dog beds often seen in pet hotels. There is no caged dog in sight, either. Instead, one will see here lots of dogs running around chasing each other, stopping momentarily for a quick kiss, a belly rub or a photo snap. Clearly, Playbow digs dogs.
*To know more about Playbow, Inc. visit or call them at:
U-S01 2/F Alphaland Makati Place,
7232 Ayala Extension corner Malugay St.,
By ALMA J. BUELVA
“WE want you to learn carpentry.”
With these words, Robbie De Guia, president of Dunsk Kuhner, the company behind St. Roche dog shampoo, ushered groups of pet lovers to the 1,400sqm property in Silang, Cavite that will be the site of Haven of Love, a home for abused and neglected animals.
The recent gathering marked St. Roche's groundbreaking ceremony for the planned animal home. Company executives emphasized that an animal home is more than an animal shelter because it will also provide loving care on top of food and shelter for animals and education for people.
“Animals deserve a shelter not a home. In our culture, dogs are reincarnated as humans so we would like to treat them as humanely as possible. Let's keep this a beautiful place for dogs, said top company executive, Raja Menghrajani.
Volunteerism will be at the core of this endeavor which targets to have a soft start before the year ends. De Guia said they aim to spend only for the building materials and a construction foreman's salary. Labor will be a collective effort of volunteers.
HAVEN OF LOVE
During the ceremony, St. Roche officials took turn touring guests to the vast property where facilities and buildings will be built.
The Haven of Love is envisioned to have the following:
* A building with conference rooms for the use of veterinarians and pet groups, a clinic, and food storage.
* The Home (at least 7meter x 7meter), partly covered by football turf so it will be parasite free.
* Sleeping quarters made up of five houses, each able to room from six to eight people. Each house will be about 30sqm.
* A 400sqm Pet Cemetery with an incinerator machine. A memorial plot will be for sale.
* A Vegetable Farm to grow squash, okra, fruit-bearing trees, sweet potato, eggplant and other vegetables that can be used to feed cats and dogs.
* A Cat Area that is 150sqm big at least. It will be an enclosed area with good ventilation for the benefit of 200 cats.
* A Fish Farm that is 100sqm big, good enough for tilapia, catfish and other kinds of fish to thrive. Volunteers will be allowed to fish for their meals.
* A Dog Pool about 30 to 40 feet for dogs' enjoyment and exercise.
* A Dog Quarantine with about 50sqm floor space.
There will be five of the “Home” structures with ceiling fans and comfy dog beds and pillows from Daki. The interiors will be painted blue and green as these colors have a calming effect on dogs, especially those that have been traumatized in the past. De Guia said each Home can keep 30 to 40 dogs.
So far, 1,300 individuals have expressed their interest to donate their time and skills to help build the Haven of Love animal home. Even homeless people who can be proven to be of good character and are animal lovers could potentially be tapped to help out at the shelter.
De Guia said, volunteers can earn “love tokens” commensurate to the services they render. The love tokens can be used to avail of the free use of facilities like the conference room for team building.
The Haven of Love is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission as a foundation with a seven-man Board of Trustees.
Aside from enlisting more volunteers to help build the shelter, St. Roche is also getting creative with its fund raising campaigns. It is selling for P2,000 the St. Roche Love Pack, a basket full of St. Roche products, with 75 percent of the sales going to the shelter. They also created a “Wall of Love” at the site where people could write a dedication to their former pets for a small fee of P100.
In addition, the company will launch a personalized logo of St. Roche with a customer's pet's photo for P1,000.
Meanwhile, the dogs that will be homed in Silang will enjoy food and treats from a Canadian dog food manufacturer. De Guia said they target to open Haven of Love early next year or before the year ends.
Present during the groundbreaking ceremony are several dog groups (photos below) such as the Cavite Husky Pack, Tarlac Dog Walkers, Mandaluyong Pack Leaders, Philippine Dog Pawsitive, UPLB-Veterinary students, United ShihTzu Lovers Philippines, Bulacan Dog Walkers, Noah's Ark Petlovers Society, Canine Lovers Association of Pampanga, Boston Terriers Tribe, and the Valenzuela South Alpha Dogs, and others. Also present are several individuals who are not necessarily part of any dog group or association.
THE lead guitarist of The Vamps, James McVey, who recently visited Manila is the latest celebrity to join the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in its “Save a Life: Adopt—Don't Shop!” campaign.
McVey who loves both dogs and cats were featured with kittens in the PETA ad. The image of him with kittens was shot by top celebrity photographer Ruth Rose.
"There are millions of animals already in shelters—kittens, puppies, dogs, a variety of animals," says McVey. "So go to a shelter, adopt, and save a life!"
PETA said that every year, hundreds of thousands of dogs and cats end up in animal shelters, and many are euthanized when nobody adopts them. There are also many strays that just die on the streets. Shelter and stray animals' chances of finding a home grow smaller when people opt to buy a pet instead, the group added.
McVey and PETA aim to encourage those who want a pet to first visit a local shelter or rescue group.
McVey joins a long list of musicians like Little Mix, P!nk, Cody Simpson and Kesha who have teamed up with PETA and its affiliates to promote kindness to animals.
For more information, please visit PETAAsia.com
THE man from Cotabato City recently filmed repeatedly slamming a puppy against a concrete wall and smashing a bottle on its head has gone into hiding.
The video went viral after it was shared by a minor who owns the puppy. Scared to stop the dog's tormentor, the child secretly filmed the incident which became a strong evidence in filing this yet another case of animal cruelty.
The Philippine Animal Lovers Society (PALS) reported that the animal abuser, one Rodolfo “Opong” Serguino, went hiding after PAL's founder, Mirriam Bengil, spoke in GMA TV News last January 10 about the case and its possible penalties under Philippine law.
The good news is, PALS also visited Barangay Presbitero in the said province where the incident happened and confirmed that the dog, now called “Presby”, is still alive contrary to reports that it perished after being attacked by Serguino, a neighbor of Presby's owner.
PALS members and officers were skeptical at first, but witnesses who gave their testimonies confirmed that the dog survived the attack. Apparently, the dog was unconscious for three hours straight and when people decided to bury him, Presby woke up and coughed blood, PALS said.
According to a veterinarian from Animal Solution Vet Hospital in Davao, Presby survived his ordeal and didn't suffer from internal bleeding because he was able to expel his blood. Presby's body is still sore and his face swollen, but the puppy has a strong will to survive and is now eating.
The mother of the minor who owns Presby has filed an affidavit and PALS will file a case against Serguino.
Presby is now being fostered by a PALS rescuer and member named “Anya”. The group said they will seek justice for Presby even if it takes long now that his assailant is in hiding.
THE New Year celebrations bring the good and the bad. The good that comes with having a fresh start is marked by a lot of noise which is harmful to animals.
Dogs and cats with their acute sense of hearing suffer from “acoustical violence” from fireworks and other devices people use to create loud noise to usher the new year.
Once again, the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and the EcoWaste Coalition are appealing to the public to consider the safety of animals, especially the strays, and try to shield them from air and noise pollution and the high possibility of getting hurt when hit by firecrackers.
“Our four-legged friends, particularly cats and dogs, suffer in silence as firecrackers and fireworks of varying intensity are ignited in the belief that such practice can shoo away bad luck and pull in good energy and fortune,” said Anna Cabrera, executive director of PAWS, said.
Echoing Cabrera's appeal is Aileen Lucero, coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition, who cited that fireworks and firecrackers have negative impact on human and animal health, not to mention the environment.
Cabrera said pets get scared of the loud noise and, as a result, suffer from "appetite loss, upset stomach and confused sense of direction making animals to go astray or get injured.”
To have a peaceful and safe celebration, PAWS and EcoWaste suggested the following pointers:
* Persuade members of your household to make your home a “no firecracker” zone.
* Politely tell your neighbors not to light or throw firecrackers near your home.
* Exercise your pets during the days leading up to the New Year’s Eve and in the next morning when the festivities are over and the smoke has cleared.
* Give your pets a physical outlet for their pent up energy due to arousal and stress.
* Manage the environment so it is as relaxing as possible and as less stressful as you can make it.
* Provide your pet with a safe place to take temporary refuge. If possible, allow your pet to stay in a quiet room such as a bedroom.
* Close the windows, put the curtains down and play a relaxing music to neutralize the noise from the outside to help your pets feel secure.
* Ensure your pet’s access to drinking water. Make her/him pee or poo.
* Do not yell or laugh at your pet when she/he is cowering or shaking in fear. This is a natural response to a threat that they do not understand and cannot avoid.
The groups also reminded pet owners to keep shopping bags, cleaning solutions, tobacco products out of pets' reach. In addition, pets should not be fed holiday treats such as chocolate, fruit cake, nuts and alcoholic drinks.
IN Chengdu, the capital of southwestern China's Sichuan province, one dog survived a boiling water attack and a drop from a high-rise balcony onto concrete after he innocently chewed on his former owner's cell phone.
Tuffy, who survived months of treatment at Animal Asia's China sanctuary, now lives with his rescuer, 30-year-old designer Yan Yingying who found the dying puppy at the bottom of the apartment building.
“The sight must have been so horrific – and I’m sure many people would have walked past and pretended not to see. But she didn’t. She took Tuffy to a local vet in Chengdu and paid for all his veterinary care. That saved his life,” said Animals Asia vet Emily Drayton in an article about Tuffy featured in Animal Asia's website.
The violence and cruelty the puppy received would have killed most people. When the burns cover over 50 percent of the body, animals are not expected to survive. Sixty percent of Tuffy's body was scalded but his fighting spirit and the kindness of Yan and animal workers helped him cheat death.
Yan sought the help of Animals Asia after getting substandard care for Tuffy at the veterinary clinic. Aside from being under tremendous pain, Tuffy could not close his eyes to sleep as the burned skin around his eyes fused together. The same thing happened with his legs.
Animals Asia is best known for rescuing bears in the most unimaginable condition from the bear bile trade. But there's no way they could turn down “a tiny naked pup, with a red raw body that looked like a huge blister, looking out at the world with the misery of an animal who couldn’t understand why he had been punished with pain,” said Jill Robinson, founder of Animals Asia.
Drayton added: “As a vet you are exposed to cases of animal cruelty and neglect. It is never something you get ‘used to’ – but after a while you can become desensitized. You learn to put your emotions aside and focus on what you need to do to help. But when I saw Tuffy all of that was completely obliterated. I was shocked and sickened to my core. I could not stop the tears from rising, there was no point. Never had I seen an animal in so much pain.”
Seeing how Tuffy was bravely fighting for his life, animal experts decided the dog deserves a second chance and would not be put down. They also decided that he deserves a good name.
“A tough puppy needed a tough name, so then he became our beloved Tuffy.” said Mandala Hunter-Ishikawa, also a vet at Animals Asia.
Tuffy received free topnotch care from experts like Dr. Kieren Maddern, of Veterinary Anaesthesia and Pain Management Consultants who shared ideas on wound care and pain management for Tuffy. Dr Alane Cahalane, a specialist surgeon from the Veterinary Specialty Hospital in Hong Kong, flew in for one day to operate and release Tuffy's fused legs and eyes.
Little by little, Tuffy got stronger although he was under pain medication and on bandages for months. Volunteers cleaned his wounds routinely and though it hurts him, Tuffy's healing soon helped him deal with pain and discomfort with the help of distracting snacks.
With his recovery full, Tuffy was released to his new owner, Ms. Yan, who stayed with the dog through it all.
“In the beginning of Tuffy’s time with us, his head was the only place you could touch him without causing pain. Ms Yan would cradle his small face in her hand and coo ‘guai guai’ (an affectionate term for good), and he would wag his bald little tail and close his eyes,” said Hunter-Ishikawa.
GOOD TRUMPS EVIL
Animals Asia people believe Tuffy's story, though it started as one about cruelty, is more about kindness and love.
“Time and time again we find that those who are cruel to animals are a tiny minority. Animals have the ability to bring out the best in people, and it’s true for Tuffy. His strength and bravery was incredible – but Ms Yan was equally determined he would live,” said Drayton.
Tuffy also showed everyone what a heart of a dog is made of: brave and full of love. Despite his ordeal, Tuffy still sees the good in people and is happy to be loved.
Meanwhile, Yan has found a way to hide Tuffy's large bald patches and scars by making special coats for him.
Animals Asia Cat and Dog Welfare Team hopes Tuffy's story can inspire a better future for millions of dogs. The group accepts donations to help them end animal cruelty.
Watch Tuffy's story video here.
THE Pet Expo 2015 organized by Pet Express during the first weekend of August successfully gathered hundreds of pet owners, dog and cat lovers, animal groups plus makers and sellers of pet products under one roof. Held at one of the halls inside the SMX in Mall of Asia, the show is proof of the tremendous growth the pet industry in the Philippines is experiencing right now.
The show was a good venue for pet companies to interact closer with pet owners. Lots of products from pet foods to toys and accessories were sold up to 20 percent off.
Engaging activities for pets and their owners were also held in partnership with some of the leading pet food companies. There was also a dog yoga session, bomb sniffing demonstrations and even a presentation of a beach resort and hotel of their unique accommodations for pets.
Here are some of the first day photos from the show.
* Claws out! Cat lovers fight over this Starbucks mug