“It was tall with long featherings in a beguiling color,” says Chito who later realized that it was an Irish Setter that he saw.
Chito had previously owned purebred dogs that are mostly lap or toy breeds such as Cavalier King Charles and Japanese Chin. He wasn't planning to get a big dog until the day he met an Irish Setter.
My fascination for Irish Setters grew as I researched more about the breed and watched many YouTube videos about them. I told myself I should have them,” says Chito.
He searched in local online sites that sell puppies, but none really offered Irish Setters. Around this time, he also acquired a lot in Batangas where he planned to build a kennel. He was growing frustrated for lack of leads until he found a feature on Irish Setter breeders over at dogzonline.com.au.
“I e-mailed most of the breeders, explaining my desire to acquire a puppy from their kennel. I had to convince them that the puppies will be taken care of even though I'm based in Singapore and my property is in Batangas,” Chito says.
Most of his e-mails were unanswered, so Chito kept sending out more until one day one breeder replied and told him to contact someone in Singapore who owns her Irish Setters' bloodline. This was in 2012 and the lady Singaporean breeder at that time had two pregnant bitches. Chito saw a chance to own his first pair after proving himself worthy of them.
“We did exchange e-mails and pictures and I assured her that the puppies would be well taken care of and that the breed integrity would not be proliferated. She agreed to send the puppies over to Manila and after months of further communications, I was excited to finally receive the puppies,” says Chito.
To personally receive the puppies from the broker at the customs, Chito had to apply for a work leave to be in the Philippines. But some delays moved the puppies' arrival on the day Chito needs to fly back to Singapore.
“I was frustrated. I had no choice but to let my family take care of it. It was stressful but also delightful when the puppies finally arrived,” recalls Chito.
Chito's first pair of Irish Setters were sent to his Crimson Tide Irish Setter kennel in Batangas where they enjoy daily runs, premium dog food plus supplements and grooming essentials that Chito source from Singapore.
“Since they don't have much undercoat unlike nordic dogs, they can cope better with the weather. We also provide them with air cooler with ice plus ventilation and lots of drinking water, Batangas can be windy at times and it's good for the setters,” notes Chito.
Chito named the male Hunter and the female Bella, which went into heating last February 2014 and gave birth to 10 healthy Irish Setter puppies (four male, six female).
“Their pedigree line is prolific, mostly champions, so I was excited for the litter. The first Irish Setter litter in the Philippines and we are very proud,” adds Chito.
Now that his passion and dedication have literally given birth to his own kennel of Irish Setters, Chito now wishes for the breed to become popular in the Philippines. When that time comes, Chito says he would set up a club that would protect them from proliferation.
“They are a lovely breed and deserve a loving owner,” he adds.
* Text by Alma J. Buelva
* Photos from Chito Aclon