NEWS & FEATURES
Have you heard the woofest mews?
Have you heard the woofest mews?
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.
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.
ANOTHER cat cafe will open in Quezon City. The Cat House targets to open by mid-August in Katipunan Ave., in a building just across the Ateneo de Manila University. The Cat House will serve not just coffee and cat-themed pastries but also cat-inspired bento box meals for P290, inclusive of two-hour stay with their cats.
In an interview with MetroPets, Lacsamana said they hope to open on the 8th or 15th of August. The Cat House will be anime-inspired and will also feature a cat hotel.
To give customers an idea of what they will be offering, The Cat House's team put up a pop-up cat cafe for the one-day Kawaii Cats cosplay at SM North EDSA last July 25. (see related story)
Their cats will range from rescued Puspins and purebreds. Lacsamana volunteers with the Philippine Animal Rescue Team (PART) which has a four hectare NO KILL sanctuary for homeless animals in San Jose, Bulacan. She said they will also put up cats for adoption.
* Mookkie, the smart pet feeder with AI technology