Pets have more love and compassion in them than most humans.
-- Robert Wagner
Pets have more love and compassion in them than most humans.
-- Robert Wagner
THE president of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society, Nita Hontiveros-Lichauco, is turning 90 in August and she decided to share her wisdom and secret to long life to those who attended PAWS' benefit luncheon, Bon ApPETit!
Speaking in front of animal lovers and their pets, Nita mildly coaxed her audience to go vegetarian or try to eat more vegetables. “Go easy on meat,” she said, but quickly acknowledged that it might not suit everyone.
What all people in the event could relate to, however, is her second secret to longevity which is to “love much”.
“Try to love everyone no matter what background, race or species. Love as much as a DOG would,” said Nita, drawing cheers from the crowd.
Nita was among the small group of people that started PAWS in 1954. She said she was overwhelmed by the huge turnout of animal lovers at PAWS' event, adding that “it is a testament to what PAWS has grown into.”
“Thank you for loving animals and for helping PAWS,” she said.
THE house has two huge dog statues on both sides of its gate. Above these imposing figures is a metal arc with a sign: “Villa Paraiso”.
It was outside this gate guarded by two concrete dogs, where an emaciated black dog that looked hours away from expiring made a last ditch effort to find help. Luckily for this dog, the house belongs to a family of kind-hearted animal lovers.
Avery Paraiso, a showbiz personality popularized by the GMA television show Starstruck, lives in that house and he rushed out with her mother Holly to help the despairing dog. Without second thoughts, they let the dog in.
It took six months before Avery shared in his Facebook page the story of how he and his family did a life-saving intervention to give the dog a new leash on life. Now called Raven, the once scraggy dog not only found her wings, so to speak, she also lives permanently at Villa Paraiso which for her is as close as it gets to paradise.
A visit at Villa Paraiso gives a better picture of how Avery and his family love their dogs. New arrivals are greeted by a cacophony of barks and wagging tails from dogs that have a free run of the house.
“I have always been a dog lover. So is my family,” said Filipino-Irish Avery while letting Raven sit on his lap.
Raven's malnutrition is all in the past now. From 9 kilos when rescued, Raven ballooned to 17.4 kilos in no time.
“She is now quite chubby,” said Avery with a smile. “But she is our sweetest dog.”
***FULL STORY OF AVERY AND HIS DOGS IS AVAILABLE IN THE LATEST ISSUE OF METROPETS MAGAZINE. SEND US AN EMAIL OR A MESSAGE ON HOW TO ORDER.
Pet lovers share their Christmas wishes for pets
THERE'S just one thing pets want for Christmas more than anything else, and that is to (always) have a proper, loving home. All pets deserve one and if animal lovers can have their way, it's exactly their wish for pets this season, especially for strays.
“I have a simple wish: for all pets to be healthy and have the basic necessities (food and shelter). And for those who are less fortunate, to at least be safe during the festivities,” said Charlene Dy from HappiDoggy Philippines which distributes quality dental chews for dogs.
Her wish is echoed by other animal lovers who want to see an end to pet abandonment and cruelty.
MetroPets asked personalities in the pet industry what Christmas wish they have on behalf of animals and here's what they said:
Meanwhile, MetroPets also reached out to a hero dog and its very own "model" cat to know what they want for Christmas. With the help of their "spokespersons" , here's what they said:
THE People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has named Pope Francis as its 2015 Person of the Year for good reasons.
First, he is the first pope to take the name of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of all animals, wrote Michelle Kretzer who works with the PETA Foundation. The current Pope is also the first religious leader to be picked as PETA’s Person of the Year. The group highly appreciates the way the pontiff asked the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics and all citizens of the world to reject human domination over God’s creation, treat animals with kindness, and respect the environment which is “something PETA views as a call to turn toward a simple, plant-based diet, given the now well-established role of animal agriculture in climate change,” said Kretzer.
In his 2015 encyclical, Laudato Si’, His Holiness talked of the importance of treating animals with kindness, writing, “Every act of cruelty towards any creature is ‘contrary to human dignity'” and “We are not God. … [W]e must forcefully reject the notion that our being created in God’s image and given dominion over the earth justifies absolute domination over other creatures.”
Pope Francis' environmental stewardship is also lauded by PETA as it could help sway people toward vegan eating and help more animal species' survival in the long run.
By ALMA J. BUELVA
JONALYN VIRAY, the petite songstress with a powerful voice, has a big heart for animals. She has opened her home to dozens of unwanted animals and has done some pretty daring rescues that deserve an applause.
At 25, Jonalyn is already “mother” to over 20 cats and four dogs, most of them she rescued from the streets. It was 2009 when she first rescued a kitten and there's no stopping her since then.
On one occasion, Jonalyn was on her way to a provincial gig when she saw a kitten in the middle of a busy highway. She stopped and carried the kitten to the grassy side of the road, away from the vehicles. But when the kitten ambled back to the road, Jonalyn thought it best to bring it with her rather than leave it and be another roadkill.
But her most daring attempt to save an animal's life happened last July in Capones Island in Zambales.
She told MetroPets that they were doing an ocular of the beach for her music video production when she saw a dog in the middle of the sea.
“I first thought the dog was swimming until I realized it was drowning,” Jonalyn said.
She narrated how the dog was trying to get near a man, supposedly its owner who was ignoring it. They later learned that the owner apparently poisoned his dog and intended for it to drown.
Jonalyn's manager said she was shocked to see the singer walking towards the shore with the dying dog in her arms.
“I saw her coming out of the water and she was carrying the convulsing dog like she's Jesus Christ!,” the manager exclaimed.
Jonalyn and her team took the unfortunate dog to the nearest veterinary clinic, but the dog sadly died. Jonalyn named the dog Capones.
Another mark of a true pet lover is the number of pet scratches they endure and try to conceal. Jonalyn narrated how she got scratched in the arms by one of her cats which she patted down after it fought with another cat outside. The cat was still edgy and took Jonalyn's gesture the wrong way. That same day, she performed in a noontime show with a partly swollen arm, but acted like nothing was wrong.
Today, her pets' photos are a big part of what Jonalyn shares on social media. Her photos often show her playing, cuddling or carrying one or more pets. She said she also sleeps with some of them and, most likely than not, also sings to them.
IN November 2014, Ashley Fruno wrote a letter to animal lovers about a scraggly young dog she rescued from a public cemetery in Pasay City. She was looking for someone to adopt Ellen the puppy, a goal that she successfully accomplished soon enough.
Then she found another dog, Cleo, and Ashley set out again to find her a loving home. This she continues to do while helping countless other animals and children living in the depressed communities in Pasay City through her animal welfare volunteer group called Pasay Pups.
Ashley is the heart and soul of Pasay Pups. She is a foreigner working here as senior campaigner for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). At night and on weekends, her other duty calls: helping Pasay's animals in distress.
What started out four years ago as caring for half a dozen animal at a bus station and depressed community in Pasay has expanded into a full volunteer group that looks after hundreds of dogs and cats from several barangays which are home to a high number of informal settlers and indigent families. Ashley formed Pasay Pups to help provide essential veterinary care, spaying/neutering and vaccinations to animals in the area. It aims to improve animal welfare within the community through leading by example, teaching local children about animal care, and providing people in the community with the resources to be good animal guardians.
Every Saturday morning, Ashley can be seen in the area with her backpack full of cat and dog food and essential medications as she look for new animals to care for, or visit those that she and her team of volunteers have been keeping an eye on.
“We provide basic care to the animals who call this area home, including meeting their basic veterinary needs, such as kapon/ligation, vaccination, parasite control, preventing infections in minor wounds, treating illnesses, giving flea and tick prevention, and curing skin conditions like sarcoptic mange or fungal infections. We also provide food, toys, baths, appropriate shelter (dog houses) and walks for chained dogs,” said Ashley.
Above all, the team extends love to the dogs, especially those who need it the most. The Pasay Pups founder is particularly keen on helping dogs that are caged or chained outside a house.
“This type of isolation is the cruelest treatment you can inflict on a dog. Chained or caged dogs often have their social and emotional needs completely ignored. Dogs are social pack animals who want—and deserve—companionship, scratches behind the ears, belly rubs, and to live indoors with their families,” Ashley said.
Ashley is aware the area she chose to work in can be dangerous territory, but she told MetroPets that she have never felt unsafe in the places she visited even though she often respond to emergencies late at night on her own.
“I am amazed at how the people in the area we work in treat me. Other women defend me if I'm being harassed by drunk men in the early mornings, or when I've carelessly left my backpack somewhere as I chase after an ailing dog or cat, I’ve returned to find someone I don't even know guarding it for me,” said Ashley.
Although the group occasionally puts up animals for adoption, Ashley explained that they are not running an animal shelter because their focus is on giving people the resources to better care for their animals, and to set a compassionate example for others to follow.
“When we see dog bowls filled with fresh water, and people walking or bathing their dogs, it reminds us that leading by example works,” she added.
Last Christmas, Pasay Pups distributed 500 gift packs to children in the areas they cover. Every pack included basic hygiene products, educational/outdoor toys, and crayons and a coloring book that teaches kids how to treat animals with kindness and care for pets responsibly.
Pasay Pups' worthy projects and adventures are documented in its Facebook account where the group occasionally calls for PayPal donations to support its free spaying and vaccination drives. In the years that it has been active, Pasay Pups has spayed or neutered over 200 animals, vaccinated hundreds more, and provided countless animals with basic veterinary care.
“Although this work is sometimes exhausting (PETA interns and I often volunteer for more than 20 hours on a weekend) and I'm on call all the time for emergencies, it's worth it. I can see firsthand the changes that we're making in the lives of both companion animals and people,” Ashley said.
This year, Pasay Pups wants to continue to be a positive influence on the community, and to continue to lead change.
“You don't have to start a project like this one in order to improve animal welfare. You could educate your friends and neighbors about the importance of spaying and neutering animals, walk chained dogs in your neighborhood and offer them water, or adopt a cat or dog from the streets. Always speak up if you see an animal being abused,” said Ashley.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
It all started with, Manny, a dog that Ashley met at a bus station in Pasay. "I first met Manny while taking interns from my day job at PETA Asia-Pacific on an out-of-city excursion. I met Manny at the bus station, and fell in love instantly. I started out caring for Manny and a few others at the station in front of the main housing area...and it all grew from there! For the first year, until he was tragically killed by a bus, Manny was my faithful assistant, following me everywhere and licking the faces of dogs who were scared of me. He helped me win the trust of other dogs, and he literally jumped for joy every time he saw me," said Ashley.
Text by Alma J. Buelva
Photos by Pasay Pups
* Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray is a pet lover