Friday, May 07, 2010

the animal kingdom foundation

biyaheng pinoy meets asong pinoy by vena samson

for quite sometime, the word "askal" has been the term used for mongrels or strays. they are the ones with no exact origin or breed (mixed breed), usually seen roaming on the streets. derived from two filipino words "aso" and "kalye" meaning dog and street respectively, the said term seemed not too pleasing to the ears. but from askal, a new term with greater respect and proudness arises and it is "asong pinoy" or "aspin" for short. this term is the one being used by several animal welfare organizations in the country. one of them is the animal kingdom foundation (akf) who's devoted in caring and monitoring for the health and safety of these particular breed of dogs.

the animal kingdom foundation is the biggest dog shelter in the philippines with a land area of 2.5 hectares.  we received an email invitation from our friend, greg quimpo, corporate secretary of akf, and we never wasted time.  when we visited their shelter in tarlac, around 400 dogs howled and gave us a very loud welcome.  for those wo are not used to having dogs or pets just like my 6 year old son, it would be a really scary experience. i also got scared a little bit because honestly, that was the most number of dogs i've seen in my life! these dogs were rescued by akf from groups performing illegal dog meat trading.  knowing about this, i understood why these dogs were barking loud at us as if they are scrutinizing who their new visitors are. the dogs were staying inside large spacious lot houses (approximately 120m² each) enclosed with concrete hollow block walls and steel fences which included a covered area that protects the dogs from rain and extreme heat. they were carefully segregated by gender, age, and tame levels.
those who were sick and badly hurt due to the horrible experience from their cruel abductors were placed first in quarantine houses until they've fully recovered. sadly, many aspins also didn't make it through all the pain and torture.  that's why akf also allotted a place for a dog cemetery.   the dogs were very well taken care of. i can see with their physical appearances. no dog was too thin, their fur were in real good condition. they all seemed to be very lively. it's because akf has a very devoted shelter manager, a corporate secretary, an in-house veterinarian, and a pool of expert caregivers that looked after the dogs. they're fed with pre-mixed dog food that contained all the essential nutrients, complete with anti-rabies vaccines. it's also amazing how the staffs memorized all the names of each and every single dog. they'd give them exceptional kind of love. that's why when i touched and patted a dog named anthony, i felt warm. i would really adopt him if we only had a good home with enough space for keeping animals.  i've explained to my kid that there's nothing to be afraid of the dogs. when we got home, he's so excited to tell everyone in the house about his visit to akf. he kept on speaking about the dogs and everyday he would ask me to go back there. he's also asking me if we could keep one already. i've promised him we'd get one once we've transfered to a better home.

aside from capturing and rescuing the aspins from illegal traders, akf still has other aims for these innocent creatures. you can help by means of the following:

A dopt. there are many available dogs in the shelter.  they have been trained and tamed enough, ready for adoption.
S ponsor. if you cannot adopt yet, you can help by sponsoring their dogs by donating money to the foundation.  dogs need food, care, treatments and vaccinations.
P romote. tell your friends and family about the shelter.  tell them that they can visit their facility.  just give akf a call. the management will be more than willing to give free seminars on aspin awareness, and can even offer activities such as hosting educational field trips, and free vaccination to the aspins in your community.
I nitiate. make the first move. all are welcome to share quality time with the dogs inside the shelter. you can walk them around, feed them, or even bathe them. just let them feel that you care. this will help the dogs to be prepared when someone decides to adopt them.
N urture. once you adopted a dog, be sure to keep a promise that he/she will never be in any kind of danger ever again. raise them as if it is your child and it will be guaranteed that you will receive the same affection back to you.

so in conclusion, what is special about "asong pinoy"? there are numerous advantages of having an aspin as a pet, compared to having an imported pure bred dog. aspins are more resilient and has low maintenance.  just the regular dog shampoo and flea powder will do. aspins are also very smart that they are also now being considered for training as bomb-sniffing and rescue dogs as our pure-breed k9s are getting old and too expensive to maintain. and most importantly, aspins are not expensive at all.  with akf's help, you may simply adopt one at no cost.

we would like to thank greg quimpo (corporate secretary), dr. roland g. arciga (doctor of veterinary medicine), and liezl p. pendon (shelter manager) for their hospitality.  we would also like to thank the entire staffs of the animal kingdom foundation for accomodating us.  for more information on their advocacy, adoption program and also their free tour, you may visit their website by clicking here or simply email them at see more photos, click here.

1 comment:

ace said...

this is really great! i'm so happy people here are actually doing something like this! nice.