Pets are born with stardom glow.
Pets are born with stardom glow.
By ALMA J. BUELVA
Hachikō, Japan's most beloved faithful pet dog and, arguably, one of the most popular dogs in world history, has turned the table on humans.
It used to be that Hachikō, an Akita Inu dog, was the one that waited on end at the Shibuya train station for his master who, unbeknownst to him, had passed away. The loyal dog waited from May 21, 1925, the day his master died while at work, until his own death on March 8, 1935. In total, Hackikō waited for his master's return for nine years, nine months and fifteen days.
Today, Hachikō's statue right outside the Shibuya train station has hundreds of people, mostly tourists from around the world, waiting for him and forming a line for a very short time to have their photos with him.
There's always a happy kind of chaos that surround Hachikō's statue from sunup to sundown. The day we were there, people were happily waiting for a brief special moment with Hachikō's statue even when it's wintry cold. We wonder if everyone in the crowd truly knows Hachikō's story and regard him not as a mere tourist attraction.
That afternoon, Hachikō's statue was made more special by the surrounding cherry blossoms trees that were in full bloom. Finding him is easy. Not only does he have a mini-park on one side of the crazy Shibuya pedestrian crossing, he also got one of Shibuya station's five exits named after him ("Hachikō-guchi", meaning "The Hachikō Entrance/Exit").
In memory of Hachikō, small community buses were also made to ply the Shibuya ward since 2003. Designed with Hachikō's cartoon image, the buses are as close as anyone can get to having Hachikō as guide.
The legendary Akita has other statues erected in his memory around Japan. While in Tokyo, fans of Hachikō can also visit his like-life image on display at the National Science Museum of Japan inside the Ueno Park. The replica uses Hachikō's real fur which was preserved after his death. One can also pay respect by visiting Hachikō's grave at the Aoyama Cemetery in Minato, Tokyo. The quintessential "good boy" was laid to rest there with his masters.
#hachiko #gooddog #populardogs
If you like a good love story, superheroes and pets, here's one story that will give you all that.
Meet Koma and Ultraman.
Koma is a ginger tabby who lives in Japan with his best friend Ultraman, a figurine version of the Japanese superhero. Their "love story" has been very well documented in two separate Instagram accounts: @komagram2015 and @komakotakoyukote. From their first day together to the time Koma started to walk, got sick and learned to be a cat, Ultraman was always there for him.
Because they are super cute together, Koma and Ultraman have gained as of this posting 127,000 and 51,400 Instagram followers, respectively. Their photos show their special relationship, but unless you can read Japanese characters, the captions don't help.
Then one day, @pleasantcats shared an English "subtitle" that recounted how Koma and Ultraman's love story came about from the first time they met. Here's the excerpt, apparently as told by one Mai Narushima to LoveMeow.
"A Japanese family rescued a tiny three-day-old kitten who was found without his mom and siblings. They took him home and gave him an unusual friend to grow up with. They named him Koma.
"When they found the little orphaned kitten, his eyes hadn't (sic) even opened...They wanted to document Koma's growth and get him a friend to keep him company. When they saw the Ultraman figurine, who was at the same length as the tiny kitten, they thought it was perfect.
"The family placed Ultraman next to their precious furbaby. It looked as if the Japanese super hero was watching over him.”
Today, Koma has grown into a handsome tabby bigger than his one and only knight in shining armor. He and Ultraman have found new cat friends to hang out with, but they remain exclusively BFFs to one another. Theirs is an imagined love between friends, of course, but anyone who comes across their story is just happy to play along. -- MetroPets
THERE are celebrity dogs and there are dogs of celebrities. Molly, aka the Thing of Evil, is both as she has become quite the celebrity on Twitter thanks to her “superstar” dad Stephen King.
Now, most pet owners shower their pets with all the nice adjectives in the dictionary, but not Mr. King whose craft is anchored on subjects that are very scary. As soon as he got Molly, the first thing he did was to call his unsuspecting corgi the Thing of Evil. To reinforce Molly's sinister image, the world-renowned book author chronicles on Twitter his dog's daily life, calling them misadventures and demonic deeds, to the delight of his over 5 million followers, us included.
Here are some of King's humorous tweets about Molly who is on the receiving end of his famous dad's dark wit and imagination.
Sometimes, the 71-year-old King also uses Molly to tweet about Donald Trump who he dislikes very much. Trump makes a lot of scary pronouncements on Twitter anyway, so the Thing of Evil arguably can justify launching counter-Twitter attacks against POTUS45.
Molly came to King about four years ago, around Christmastime, and wasted no time creating a dark and mysterious persona for what surely must be a very sweet corgi. – MetroPets
By ALMA J. BUELVA
WHAT makes a dog a good dog? One that is happy, confident and goofy?
When dogs receive ample love and are given importance, they thrive. This Jeric Sadullo knows very well. An owner of over 20 dogs, he is “bot amo” (boss owner) who treats his dogs like his own kids with unique quirks that make them special.
But, first, a roll call of his dogs:
(Asong Pinoy or Aspins) Pipoy, Pipay and Bokbok
(Yorkies) Saldang, Banggi, Bulan and Bituon
(Pugs) Inang Harot, Magdalo and Makabayan
(Beagles) Bentot and Unica
Shih Tzus: Kikay, Kinchai and Melchora
Cavalier: Prince Oreo
Mini Schnauzer: Guapa
Toy Poodles: Mia, Tutong, Tustado and Uling, plus Kulot
English Bulldogs: Bechay ang Kula
That's a lot of dogs and they all live with their bot amo in Bacoor, Cavite, where he has a kennel. They also inhabit specially made Facebook pages where Jeric documents their outdoor adventures for other dog lovers to see.
Unlike many pet-related Facebook pages that focus mainly on what's cute, those of Jeric's dogs are folksy. Mostly written in Filipino, his often humorous posts on behalf of his dogs are short and sweet, but enough to make readers know his dogs. Some posts carry pointed views about dog ownership from a guy who believes that a dog is a dog regardless of bloodline.
“I have been posting for about three years now, mostly to spread fun rooted from the idea of having a dog. The idea is to make them speak somehow, not the cutesy kind but to stress a point in a fun way,” Jeric told MetroPets.
With a playful mind, Jeric began shaping his dogs' characters based on their strongest personality traits and physical attributes. For example, his pair of male pugs that are as black as soot became the anino (shadow) braders (brothers). He made people see how Mia, his blonde poodle, could look like a crunchy fried chicken. He dressed up his other dogs to celebrate seasonal activities and national events.
“No dogs are the same. If you pay attention enough, you will see their distinct characters. Like Banggi the Yorkie seems to see things we can’t. Pipoy knows when he is wrong and would bow down to say sorry. Bulan is the smallest yet she's the most mataray (bitchy),” said Jeric.
As his dogs' online characters evolved, Jeric created a Facebook page for the aninobraders to test if dog owners would follow their tales of mischief. He followed it with a page called “Mga Aso Ni Bot Amo” (Dogs of Bot Amo) so that all his dogs can have a fun platform.
Following these pages is like watching a dogs' reality TV show where Pipoy, the aspin, is the lead actor. Often photographed looking angry with his mouth wide open, Pipoy has been typecast as one who is “high blood,” a term Filipinos used to call those with short temper.
But Jeric had a different idea. For him, “high blood” is a pun aimed at those who are anal about breeds or bloodlines. It's not about hypertension.
“High blood is more of the character I invented for Pipoy who is an aspin. There are purists when it comes to bloodline and they look down on mix breed and aspins. Pipoy carries the character of a high blood as we know it in our Filipino psyche, the one who always shouts or is mad at anything,” Jeric said.
A gaping mouth has become Pipoy's signature look. But the dog is quite a charmer, too, especially when he dons a hat, takes on household tasks, and wears funny suits.
Pipoy wearing his formal and swimsuit "designer" pieces.
To pull in online followers, it's important to post engaging and captivating photos, which Jeric and his dogs work on together. Armed with an old DSLR, Jeric taught himself how to take action shots like that of Mia looking like a fried chicken running away from Magdalo and Makabayan, a.k.a. the aninobraders.
But art painting is his real passion and profession and doing commissioned doggy portraits helps pay the bills.
“I majored in painting at University of the Philippines in Diliman. I have a studio in Quezon City where I paint and teach painting to kids mostly. I do doggy portraits for a fee and just recently created a page solely for that, Doggy Portraits,” he said.
That and breeding dogs help Jeric to support his own pets, including paying two people to attend to his dogs daily.
Bot amo's chief artistic pursuit still involves dogs.
Bot amo recognizes the fact that dog lovers are still a minority in the Philippines and that many still regard dogs the wrong way. Talking about the positive side of dogs through his pets' pages would hopefully help change that.
“I post to spread fun, to be happy. Owning a dog is happiness and I want to share that kind of motivation, not anger, not flamebait, not paawa (entreat),” Jeric said. “When some followers message me how the post makes them smile, it's like munching on a bar of chocolates when you are down.” -- MetroPets
**All photos used in the story belong to Jeric Sadullo
By ALMA J. BUELVA
SHE'S a model, a comedienne and a social media star rolled into one.
Porky the Pug is on a roll all right, as her 10-kilo self delights a continuously growing base of Facebook, Instagram and YouTube followers by the thousands worldwide.
Owner Gabriel Lorenzo R. Pagcaliwagan tells MetroPets how Porky is a total attention seeker who loves to be the center of everything.
“Porky’s most favorite thing in the world is attention. She loves to be noticed and touched. She also loves treats!” says Gabriel who admits to not being a big fan of pugs before.
“I thought they looked weird and funny, but my fondness grew when Porky came into my life. Now I’m a complete pug addict,” he adds.
At 3, Porky is not a dog of many tricks. However, she has perfected the art of being adorable and her photos and videos prove it. It also helps that Gabriel is a professional videographer and can whip up humorous captions to go with Porky's posts.
Porky is fat and she knows it. In fact, she and Gabriel flaunt it! Being fat is a common theme of her social media content. And, guess what? People love it!
“Porky loves to be filmed. I started creating content for Porky when she was one year old where she would spoof Internet memes. This made her known in the Internet world, gaining more than 100,000 followers in Facebook from here and around the world,” boasts Gabriel.
Proof of Porky's popularity abroad is the regular DMs (direct messages) her Instagram account receives in languages that include Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin. This means Gabriel has to double as Porky's interpreter as well.
“I rely a lot on Google Translate, so I could say thank you back in their native languages,” says Gabriel.
LIFE OF PUG
An easy going dog is what Gabriel wanted, and that's exactly what he got in Porky.
As his only pet, Porky gets to enjoy “we time” with Gabriele and his loved ones, free from the stress of competing with other dogs. The two start their day with a walk and end it with play.
When Gabriel steps out, Porky also usually tags along. “She rides with me in my electric motorbike where she has her own little compartment,” says Gabriel.
“Porky is talented, calm and sociable...She loves going out to pet-friendly parks and malls where she can meet more people and their dogs,” he adds.
To expand Porky the Pug's online presence Gabriel recently started Porky's YouTube channel dedicated to all things pug. He plans to put up pug vlogs next.
But perhaps the more exciting news is the second TV commercial that Porky did for the telecom giant, PLDT, which will air sometime this year. As we wait for that, be sure to get your chunky share of Porky by following his cute adventures and funny misadventures online.
DO you know that a dog served like a co-inventor the Velcro?
The basis for today's strip of fabric hook and loop fasteners that are now being used in a lot of things was invented by Swiss engineer George de Mestral with the help of his dog Milka.
Historical accounts narrate how one time in the winter of 1948, de Mestral found Milka, who played in the bushes, all covered in burdock burrs, a weed with little brown heads that stick to clothes and fur. Under a magnifying glass, he saw that the burrs have tiny hooks and that gave him the idea to develop the Velcro with nature's design as his pattern.
Velcro is a play of two French words: velours (velvet), and crochet (hook).
In September 1955, de Mestral earned U.S. Patent number 2,717,437 for his invention, which was later used by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to keep objects in place when in space.
Currently, Velcro is a brand owned by Velcro Companies. Today's dogs have Milka to thank for the many pet products such as dog collars, dog vests and harnesses that become easier to use with the addition of Velcro strip fasteners.
Today, when people say “Velcro dog” or "Velcro puppy", they are referring to clingy dogs who possessively attach themselves to their owners. Hardly anyone use the term to refer to Milka, the world's original Velcro dog, whose outdoor adventures resulted in the very clever and useful invention of the powerful self-attaching fabric strip. -- MetroPets
#velcrodog #velcropuppy #velcroinventor #velcropets
By ALMA J. BUELVA
IN a house in Subic, Zambales live six dogs that are absolute pros when it comes to having group photos.
The pack is made up of Jack, a Dachshund who is also popularly called “Mayor” by his legion of fans in social media, and a family of Shih Tzus named Zeus, Hera, Angel, Iya and Mingming who are collectively called “Balbons” (hairy). Keeping them happy together under one roof is Karmi Castillo who loves to dress them up for the camera.
A photoshoot at home, be it a casual one or elaborately planned complete with costumes, has become a regular activity for Mayor Jack and the Balbons. Their growing followers in social media (about 5,000+ in Facebook and 2,000+ on Instagram) have seen them don formal wear, casual clothes, sports apparel, seasonal costumes, sleepwear and, of course, cute hair accessories for their photo sessions. But perhaps the most impressive detail that people notice about their photos is the way all dogs obediently pose and keep their proper places like good models.
All six dogs know their blocking and they also don't forget to smile for the camera, especially the Shih Tzus. To make things more interesting, Karmi captions the photos with funny anecdotal tidbits that offer a glimpse into the lives of her dogs.
“Nasanay na po sa 'kin kapag pipicturan. Sa una tinuruan ko sila mag stay sa lugar nila hanggang sa nadiscover ko na pwede pala sila ayusin at picturan, pero right after picture-taking dapat may treats para ma excite sila gawin ang mga ganun' bagay...And after picture-taking lagi ko sinasabi na very good sila, sabay himas sa kanila and hug para matandaan nila na tama yun gawa nila na happy ako,” Karmi told MetroPets. (They became used to me when they'd be photographed. First, I taught them to stay in their places until I discovered that I could also pose them for the photo, but right after picture-taking they must get treats so they'll be excited to do this kind of things...After picture-taking I always tell them that they are very good, then I stroke and hug them so they'd remember that they did well and made me happy,” said Karmi.)
PACK OF GOODNESS
Jack, now six years old, was adopted from a family friend. He got his nickname soon after Karmi posted their first doggy group photo where she referred to Jack as the Mayor who was distributing biscuits to the Balbons waiting in line.
“Pila lang 'wag magtulakan, lahat ay mabibigyan ng pabiskwet ni Mayor,” (Line up, don't push, all will get a biscuit from the Mayor),” wrote Karmi who noted that since then the six dogs started to gain lots of Internet followers who called Jack Mayor.
Karmi also became a big dog lover because of Jack and the Shih Tzus.
“I wasn't a dog lover before, but since they came, my life turned upside down. I became a dog lover and they taught me how to have compassion towards animals. They made me a better person,” said Karmi who is technically not the real owner of Mayor and the Balbons, but takes such good care of them on behalf of her relatives.
The dogs also have their own endearing qualities. Hera and Zeus are the parents of the three younger Shih Tzus. Hera is the “princess of the house while Zeus is thoughtful and closest to me,” said Karmi. Angel is the most cheerful and playful of the brood, Iya is the most behaved and obedient, and Mingming as a special dog is the most spoiled, Karmi added.
When Hera gave birth to an all-girl litter, Karmi's family decided to neuter only the boys—Jack and Zeus. After that, the selfies and “groufies” became part of the dogs' recreation along with playing and swimming.
As time goes by, they are also accumulating wardrobe from gowns to basic tees, Christmas costumes, tracksuits, vest harnesses and hats. Karmi said it costs her less than P2,000 to buy everyone basic clothes sets. The formal wear, however, needs to be custom-made and costs more.
“But thanks to our sponsor Willow Pet Couture for the discounts and vest harnesses,” Karmi said.
Having free-roaming dogs at home is a lot of work, but Mayor and the Balbons are potty trained. Still, Karmi wouldn't give them up for the world.
“Having pets will never make you feel alone, unwanted or unloved. They see you as a perfect, lovable and valuable person, and they are the most loyal. The hardest part about it is you can't go on long vacations as you always think of them. But they are not here forever, so I make sure they feel loved as part of the family,” said Karmi.
To know more about the picture-perfect lives of Jack, Zeus, Hera, Angel, Iya and Mingming, follow them on Facebook and Instagram (@jack_and_the_tzus).
**All photos here courtesy of Karmi Castillo.
The white Schnauzer that rocks pastel
WHO says white is plain and boring?
Carey, the white Miniature Schnauzer of Renan Barco often basks in pastel colors and is definitely living a colorful life, at least in Instagram.
Carey, named after the famous American singer Mariah Carey, literally pops out against a backdrop of happy colors that Renan picks when editing her photos for social media. It results in clean, eye candy shots where Carey's white fur becomes iridescent.
“We consider her white fur a bit rare compared to the salt-and-pepper color that is common to this breed,” says Renan who pours a lot of effort and attention to maintaining Carey's fur to keep it lustrous and pearly white.
A user-interface designer, Renan uses the VSCO app when editing Carey's photos on his phone. He switches to Adobe Photoshop for editing Carey's more complicated photos. He started Carey's Instagram account, @ohheycarey, about a year ago with a simple promise, “I'm here to color your day.” And color he did with Carey's help.
So far, @ohheycarey has made only about 50 IG posts that were seen and “double-tapped” by almost 10,000 followers.
Of course, Renan is Carey's biggest fan; admitting that it was love at first sight that prompted him to get this white bundle of joy two years ago.
Aside from good looks, “Carey is smart! She knows how to do basic dog tricks and loves to participate in photo shoots. But what I really like about Carey is her ability to recognize when I’m feeling down. She’s always putting on a show just to cheer me up,” says Renan.
Carey has several travel photos that indicate she and Renan have been around.
“A trip to the beach would be really nice. Carey is active and loves tagging along,” says the dutiful dad.
He also thinks Carey is ready to have her own puppies.
“Thing is, I'm not. Strict dad here!,” says Renan. -- MetroPets
LAST year, Ghen Gabriel, a cat lover, rescued a super grouchy kitten she aptly called "Sungit". The successive videos she made that documented how she tried to befriend and win the trust of Sungit, a grey tabby, was a hit among cat lovers in social media.
To date, Sungit's "How to Tame an Angry Cat" video has been viewed almost 68,000 times on MetroPets' channel.
We asked Ghen for some Sungit updates and she happily reported back that Sungit is now a big boy!
Ghen said Sungit, who has been neutered already, leads a charmed life with her sister who spoils the once very angry stray kitty. Although he is no longer quite the kitten from hell, Sungit has definitely made his mark as people continue to ask Ghen about Sungit today.
Sungit is now a much more calm and mellow cat. Here are some of Sungit's latest photos.
And here's the old video that made Sungit, the pawpular pet that he is today.
By Alma J. Buelva
THE appointment was for 2 p.m. but I was already at the door 30 minutes before. I was to interview the company CEO. I've done this kind of high-level interviews many times before, but this one was different. I had no idea how this CEO would like to be approached, how he would take to questions, how he would react to being photographed and, most of all, if I would be able to shake his paws.
The CEO, after all, was a cat.
Oreo, a black-and-white Persian and Siamese mix, is the Cat Executive Officer (CEO) of Papemelroti, the country's well-loved gifts, decor and trinkets shop.
Mr. Oreo holds office at the third floor of Papemelroti's main branch along Roces Avenue in Quezon City. He goes to work with his dutiful owner Peggy Pilapil-Lasa, one of the siblings behind the creative Papemelroti enterprise. On the day of the interview, Oreo put on a crisp white collar and plaid necktie to match the air of authority about him.
“Oh he's so cute,” was the first thing I said, which probably didn't sit well with the whiskered CEO who threw me a cold gaze with his amber eyes.
Weighing almost 7 kilos, Oreo is quite a big cat. To prove that he lords it over everyone in the office, he jumped from a low chair to the top of a cabinet to shoot a disapproving glance at mostly everyone that he'd soon ignore.
Although Papemelroti's catty head honcho was only halfheartedly cooperating during the interview, the mood in the office was cheerful as Peggy along with her daughter Elyse and siblings Patsy and Meldy eagerly talked about him. They said they felt more excited for Oreo's first “interview” than when they would do strictly business interviews.
The family has three other beautiful cats, but Oreo is the boss.
“He used to come to office with us everyday as CEO, but ever since we got a new cat he doesn't seem to want to come along much,” said Peggy.
Becoming more independent as he grows older, Oreo (who is turning three in August), probably learned to delegate. Or maybe he just didn't want to be overexposed as more Oreo-themed merchandise find their way into Papemelroti stores.
Tote bags, postcards, stationeries, pencils, coin banks, paper mâché items, doodads and what have you bearing the face or likeness of Oreo have become shop staples. Elyse said Oreo merchandise are very saleable.
Elyse added that Oreo's popularity extend online among followers of Papemelroti's Facebook page where they once had a highly successful “Draw Oreo” contest.
Destined for greatness, Oreo then moved to having his own floor-to-ceiling mural done by Peggy's brother, Robert Alejandro, somewhere on the second floor of the UP Town Center in Diliman, Quezon City.
“Oreo is very photogenic. His black-and-white marks are so distinctive,” said Peggy who also recalled how her bossy cat changed her view of pets.
“I was not an animal person. I didn't really want pets inside the house, but Oreo converted me,” she said.
A gift from Elyse, Oreo got his name not only for his color but also because he fitted in an Oreo box the day they took him home. He became the family's dearest cat since then, sending everyone into panic the day he got lost.
“We announced in Facebook that he went missing and my sister Patsy prayed to the Blessed Sacrament and I cried like someone died,” said Peggy.
Their anguish ended when Oreo was eventually spotted hiding at someone else's garage nearby—shaken but not quite stirred by the experience unlike his humans. How long was he gone? Overnight.
“But he was hurt. The veterinarian said he probably got into a fight (with another cat),” said Peggy sheepishly.
Oreo's been neutered, so forget about Mini Oreos. The Cat Executive Officer wants to keep his business strictly professional so he still goes to office from time to time to oversee things and be proactive by participating in activities like an earthquake drill with Papemelroti's officers and staff.
As the company celebrates its 50th anniversary, it is only fitting that Oreo is the subject of a collector's item—a complimentary postcard given to loyal customers.
Peggy said Oreo is a very good ambassador for their brand. Oreo agreed by squinting his eyes at me. It was a purrfect interview.