NEWS & FEATURES
Have you heard the woofest mews?
Have you heard the woofest mews?
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
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
* Mookkie, the smart pet feeder with AI technology