A home for the four legged

In Philippine Star Column on June 24, 2011 at 2:02 am

Love animals? Read on…having a pet is definitely good for the heart and soul 🙂 But please practice responsible ownership!

William suffered severe mange and lost his eye due to infection but is now healthy and ready to go home

Weekends are normally a time for me to kick back, relax and watch mindless episode upon episode of “stupid” TV shows. Last Sunday was very different as I was invited by good friend and fashion designer Louis Claparols to go to the Philippine Animal and Welfare Society (PAWS) Rehabilitation Center to spend the afternoon. He informed me that the shelter was in need of supplies so we collectively brought dog and cat food as well as medicine to be donated that day. It was an eye-opening trip to say the least. The PAWS facility is on a hill nestled by trees and, as of this article, houses approximately 256 cats and 53 dogs. There have been many articles already written by animal lovers about this place but there is always something new that can be done in order to help out PAWS and its abused and abandoned wards who are all in need of good homes and much love. I’m not really a cat person but my heart went out to the felinecommunity in the cattery area, where these purr-poseful beings strutted around or lazily came up for a belly rub when I entered. “You don’t really choose a cat,” remarked PAWS program director Anna Cabrera, “the cat chooses you.” True enough, a contented looking tri-color kitty took the time to pick itself up and head over to me for some ear-scratching. The others watched and milled around nonchalantly as cats are wont to do.

Nalan was bottlefed and hand reared by volunteers, she is also playful and loves ear scratches

Still, this is far from the state that most of these furry friends were found in. There are many heartbreaking stories which range from a dog that was beaten repeatedly whenever its drunken owner came home: its wails of pain were so loud they could be heard several houses down. There was also a puppy that was left chained to the steering wheel of an abandoned car and was found drinking its own urine, so emaciated that it looked like its bones were slowly going to tear free from its body. There are kittens that were found en masse in trash bags ready to be thrown off the side of a truck… The stories go on, and who knows how many animals are still left out there, victims of irresponsible ownership and plain old human cruelty. Those that have found their way to PAWS by rescue from volunteers undergo a lot of medical supervision and lots of TLC. It is the PAWS group that works their hardest in the hope that these animals can soon find their “forever” homes with new owners that will erase their past memories of abuse. “The misconception about PAWS is that we are an orphanage,” says Cabrera. “That is not so. We try to house animals that are victims of ‘criminal cases’ based on the Animal Welfare Act.” There have been too many times that they have found pets just left at their doorstep, a product perhaps of owners who thought having a pet was akin to a “toy.” Once it dawned on them that raising an animal was work, they would rather just “throw it away.” Humans.

Lucius-a jeepney ran over him as a pup, but even with just 3 working legs, he is still very active and playful

So what can one do? Firstly, have a long hard think with your family, with your partner, with yourself about buying and raising a pet. Remember (especially if it’s a dog), it will need to be fed, exercised, bathed and require veterinarycheck-ups regularly. If you’ve decided you are ready to take all this on then look into reputable breeders over pet shops, or better yet, look into adopting. There is a high success rate of rehabilitated dogs and rescued cats that are just waiting for a new home and a brand new start. If having a pet right now is not an option but you still wish to help animals in need there are several things you can do.

Leslie sports a scar on her belly due to burns from boiling oil, but she is just as loving and pretty as any other cat

First, donate: Cash is always helpful. A new spay and neuter mobile van has been acquired which helps PAWS go around more remote parts of the country helping in animal population control and P50,000 is what is needed now to make it fully operational inside and out. To run the entire center each month costs about P160,000 so any additional monetary donation is always welcome. They also now have a debit option, where you can fill up a form and have a specific amount (as low as P100) charged to your credit card every month.

Crumpy was rescued from the highway,very playful and loves belly rubs

You may also opt to give dog and cat food and medicine. More ideas? Most of the cages in the quarantine area use newspaper that is changed three times a day, so supplies can run low and there are also lots of litter boxes to fill, which is done with shaved wood since it is a cheaper and still effective alternative to kitty litter. What you may no longer need at your home, school or office may now be recycled and put to good use.

If you are a true animal lover then you may want to extend a loving “paw” out to PAWS.

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