Dogs teach us to love; cats teach us to live.
Dogs teach us to love; cats teach us to live.
By ALMA J. BUELVA
PEOPLE who are big on pets naturally gravitate towards places where furball sightings are commonplace. For those who take great delight in the company of pets but can't keep one, or for those who want to see pets other than their own, there are places that can satisfy one's animal attraction by merely being a spectator.
PARKS & MALLS
Many public parks and malls now welcome pets. Go pet watching in community or tourist parks where pets are allowed as long as their owners keep them under control. Opt to go on weekends and when the sun is forgiving as more people take their pets out for a stroll around this time. If you ask nicely, many of them would allow a perfect stranger to pet their dogs or cats or have their photos taken. Pets are regular fixtures at the Quezon Memorial Circle, the Ayala Triangle Gardens and in many neighborhood recreational parks.
If the weather is not good, a pet-friendly air conditioned mall is the next best place for pet watching. Although pets' movements are more restricted when they're inside the mall, you can still feast your eyes in a steady stream of pets that may stroll in at any time. Most, if not all, retail meccas owned by SM, MegaWorld and Robinsons already allow four-legged mall crawlers in and around their sprawling properties.
A well-maintained pet cafe is every pet lover's paradise. It is an elating experience to find yourself surrounded by different breeds of cats or dogs (even bunnies) that are ready to play or snuggle with you for an hour's visit.
The recently revamped The Pet Cafe by Velvet Friends (formerly Velvet Friends Cat Cafe) offers pet lovers a homey place to cozy up with their resident dogs and cats. It's easy to forget about the time here as gorgeous dogs and cats come to you from all directions! There are Corgis, Irish Setters, French Bulldogs, Papillons and other breeds at the dog's area (a.k.a. the dog garden).
At the cats' side of the fence, there are Maine Coons, Siberian Forest Cats, Kurilian Bobtails, Exotic Shorthairs and British Shorthairs and more. Most of these dog and cat breeds are expensive and quite rare here so bringing them all in one place for more people to see and experience petting them has been the goal of The Pet Cafe by Velvet Friends' proprietor.
If you like home-grown beauties, Cat Cafe Manila features native cats that you can watch for hours and even “screen” to be your next pet. The cats here are available for adoption, so if you feel attached to a particular one, know that there's a way for you two to be permanently together.
For people who like big dogs, visit the Wolf & Bear Dog Cafe in Cubao to see Newfoundlands, Akitas, Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes. You can stare at these big dogs for hours and they will likely stare back at you with their arresting blue eyes. You can also pay the big dogs a supervised visit in their individual dens for a more awesome experience. Next door is Bengal Brew Cat Cafe, home to beautiful Bengal and African Servals.
To state the obvious, pet shows naturally attract a host of pets. If you want cuteness overload, attend any pet event or gathering and delight in the free encounters you will have with different breeds.
The biggest pet shows usually cover all kinds—canine, feline, avian and reptilian, bunnies and even pigs. But if you want to see a particular breed only, try to catch one of those exclusive gatherings of specific dog or cat groups when they hold their eyeball meetings or packwalks with their pets.
DAYCARES AND GROOMERS
Pet grooming salons intentionally use glass walls to easily advertise their services by allowing the public to watch how they bathe and groom dogs. The sight of furbabies being washed, trimmed and brushed get people glued on the spot as they stand outside. If you don't have a dog of your own, this type of “mini show” lets you peek into a slice of a pet's life for free.
Dog daycare centers also open possibilities for more pet sightings even if you're not a customer. If you happen to be near one, you can at least see the comings and goings of adorable pets during their short stay at the daycare or a pet hotel.
Veterinarians see different kinds of pets everyday and if you happen to be there at a busy time, chances are you will meet the variety of furry patients, too. Although most of the pets that come to veterinary clinics have health issues, it doesn't make them less endearing. Just make sure not to bother them and be helpful, if necessary.
ANIMAL SHELTERS, POUNDS
If you want to see pets that also love to see you, an animal shelter is the place to be. Shelter animals crave for human visitors. They are like diamonds in the rough undergoing awesome transformation after surviving abandonment and even abuse. All they need is a loving person to take them home.
If you want to be a really good Samaritan, come see the animals at the pound and try to save one or two (or more) from death row. There are good dogs and cats there that simply ran out of luck and they desperately need a savior.
The virtual world is bursting with pets albeit in digitized forms. In fact, some poke fun at the Internet as being 99 percent made up of cat photos. If you have no time to go to any of the pet destinations mentioned above, the cyberspace could be your last frontier to look up fantastic pets.
HOME SWEET HOME
Want to see the most adorable pet on earth? Look no further than your own home. For a die-hard pet owner, the dog that greets him with a wagging tail and the cat that affectionately rubs its body on his legs are the best pets in the world, bar none.
Pets are everywhere if you know where to look. If your present circumstances prevent you from owning one, these places will at least let you enjoy brief pet encounters to temporarily fill your heart with joy. Your one job is to be there.