Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Philippines. Typhoon Ondoy. A State of Calamity. September 2009.

By now, the devastation left behind by Typhoon Ondoy in Philippines has become world news. It pains me so much to see thousands of people lose their homes, their personal belongings, their clothes and food, and their loved ones both human and animal. I have been through many typhoons myself, having grown up in that country, but nothing compares to destruction caused by Ondoy. A natural steamroller that knew no mercy, Ondoy, basically, trashed everything in its path. How can people rebuild their lives when all have been washed away in the flood? How can one survive the aftermath when there is no food to buy? Ondoy reduced thousands of people to a state of penury. There are many tragic stories, but I learned that a couple of directors for the Philippine Animal Welfare Society were stranded on their houses' roofs for two days without food or electricity. Those who can save their pets had them on the roof, some as many as ten or more. As of yesterday, the estimated dead was more than 200 people, but that figure is expected to grow when the flood subsides and bodies are found. An estimated 1.9 million people have lost their homes or have their homes made unlivable.

I feel for the people as I do for the animals. Where are the stray animals who didn't have a home to begin with? Strays were surely washed away to become flotsam, an ignoble end to a life of utter neglect and apathy. Even those animals who had families who loved them perished. One PAWS director lost a dog ( one of her many dogs ), birds, and chickens to a flash flood in her neighborhood. And her story shouldn't be the worse. How about those horses who pull kalesas? There is a photo of one of them below. How did they survive since they can't climb unto a roof? They must have perished themselves. The thought of lives lost, both human and animal, is all so painful.

The Philippine Animal Rehabilitation Center (PARC) survived the typhoon and the animals there are unharmed. PAWS Director Anna Cabrera braved the waters to spend the last days and nights there. The center is open to take in abandoned animals, and some have already arrived there. They will need a lot of help, and for those of us who are overseas and cannot help in person, I urge you to donate to PARC. There is a Paypal button on the main page of this blog. I am also going to add a link to the Philippine Red Cross ( http://www.redcross.org.ph/ ) for those who want to donate and help the human victims of Ondoy. Please join me in making a difference.

For people in the Philippines needing assistance, here are some numbers you can call, if you are able to : National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) Emergency Numbers: 912-5668, 911-1406, 912-2665, 911-5061. Help hotlines: 734-2118, 734-2120. More:






UPDATE: Oct. 1, 2009 The Humane Society International is sending a team of rescuers to help rescue animals in distress in the aftermath of Ondoy. They are on their way already. The team will be working with local animal rights orgs like the Philippine Animal Welfare Society and the Animal Welfare Coalition.

Lastly, below are photographs that I could find on the web. I would give credit to the photographers if I only knew who they truly are. If there is someone out there who objects to my use of their photograph, please send me a comment and I will oblige you. I have intentionally chosen photos that depict animals in distress, leaving out photos of humans struggling to stay alive, or humans already dead.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Philippines. Dogs for Adoption. PARC. PAWS. September 2009.

Here are several dogs who are under the wing of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society, and they are up for adoption. Because I don't have personal interaction with these dogs, I can't offer any substantive background information on them. You will have to contact PAWS for that. However, I read that John Dog was run over by a vehicle and survived in pain for many days before being rescued while Flipper was abandoned on a riverbank to drown as the tide rose. If you are interested in any of these dogs, your contact info is philpaws@yahoo.com. Keep in mind that these are not the only dogs up for adoption. There are more at the Philippine Animal Rehabilitation Center (PARC).

John Dog




Northern New Jersey. Dog for Adoption. Nellie. Pitbull.

Nellie is young, but long overdue for adoption. She's been at the shelter approximately five months. Nellie knows the sit command and she will sit on your lap if you let her. She will also extend her paw to you. We don't recommend small children with Nellie because she is energetic and strong. She's also kinda picky with other dogs. Nellie is very friendly to humans. She has been very patient at the shelter, given no one a problem. I wish someone would give her a happy home soon.

Bloomingdale Animal Shelter Society

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hawaii. Molokai. Seal Prefers Human Company.

Is this a classic case of making too much of a human imprint on a wild animal or what? This seal doesn't want to go, to live a life away from humans. Once again, the big question dogs all those who want the best for an animal. Is he better with us or out there among his fellow wildlife?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

New England Trip. Boston and the North Shore. September 2009.

I have been away for several days, kinda neglected to post on recent developments in animal welfare. My wife and I spent a great three-day weekend up in Boston and the coastal towns north of the city. We had a great time exploring the area along Route 1 and Route 1a. It has been thirty years since I was at Newburyport, and the only thing that I can recall from that visit was the maritime museum on Water Street. Well, it's still there and mostly just the way I remembered it. But this time, I walked around it and found this yard where my Fidelma could play and sit in the sun. Newburyport is very dog-friendly. The wharf is full of dogwalkers, and the stores don't object to bringing your dog in. It was just wonderful to sit on the pier and watch the sailboats go by on a bright and sunny day with no clouds in the sky. Fidelma quickly became the star of the wharf where many people complimented her for being " so cute. " She, typically, responded by showing her teeth and snapping at their fingers.

Further down the road is Rowley where a weekend flea market begins at 8am and closes around 2pm. It's called Todd's Farm Flea Market, and they tout themselves as a New England tradition. There must have been 200 vendors there, and they sold mostly antiques unlike some flea markets where stationary and hardware junk make up most of the merchandize. Best of all, dogs are welcome! This is a pleasant change from the flea markets we frequent, namely Stormville in New York, Elephant Trunk in Connecticut and Golden Nugget in Lambertville NJ, where dogs are not allowed. Yep, a lot of dogs were present at Todd's Farm but no poop on the grounds. It tells us that some organizers are just being mean to people and their pets.

Salem was a nice stop as well. Again, it has been three decades since my last visit. The famed custom house is still there and undergoing some restoration work. This is where Nathaniel Hawthorne worked for a while, and where he conceived his idea for what was to become the much celebrated novel, The Scarlet Letter. Out on the wharf, we came upon a lady with two greyhounds. While talking to her, a man came strolling by with two Italian greyhounds in tow. What are the chances of that happening? Anyway, Fidelma tried to intimidate all four and succeeded.

These coastal, sea-going, historic towns and others like them are all within an hour's drive north of Boston. We checked into a hotel in Boston's theatre district for two nights, and managed to sneak in the little girl unnoticed.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Pilots and Paws. Animal Rescue. Animals Fly to Live.

This video makes me want to fly again. Back in 2000-2004, I was a very active pilot, flying single-engine airplanes in the area covering New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Some of my flying friends built flying time by offering free transportation for people with disabilities or urgent medical issues. They were called Angel Flights, and rightly so. But, now, a group of pilots are flying a different sort of passenger for as urgent a cause. What about rescuing dogs in one place and flying them out to their new homes? A great idea that is long overdue, I'd say. I flew solely for pleasure with friends, but transported dogs on land. My overland leg usually lasted an hour, often from New Jersey to Connecticut, with the whole chain stretching from some point down south all the way up to Maine. So, the idea of dog-transport isn't new but airborne transport is just beginning. The itch is back, and in October I will be having my physical examination with an FAA doctor. After the required ground school and a review of basic flight maneuvers, I should be flying again. I learned that many times the difference between life and death of an animal could be as simple as a ride home. This video link will tell you more:


Friday, September 11, 2009

Philippines. Pet Adoption. Asong Pinoy. First Ever Billboard.

Look up the next time you are along E. De los Santos Highway and Guadalupe on the northbound side. You'd see the first ever PAWS billboard on pet adoption. Feast your eyes on it, for it isn't a dream but a reality. And look at the size of that! ( click on the photo ). The billboard features a local celebrity named Karylle and on her lap is a rescued street dog named Shoeshine. Once a starving dog in the streets of Marikina, Shoeshine is now well and good and ready for adoption. It was not by happenstance that an Asong Pinoy ( Aspin for non-Tagalog speakers ) made it to the billboard. Aspins have always been considered to be at the shorter end of the stick when it comes to preference in adoption and status symbol. But, hey, they are sentient beings too and they can provide love, loyalty, and companionship as much as any breed out there. It is the basic tenet of PAWS that Aspins deserve better.

Eastwood Mall sponsored this project, and many many thanks to them. It is support like this that constitute quantum leaps towards better animal welfare. Brick by brick, a more humane Filipino society is rising and thanks to all animal welfare NGOs out there.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Philippines. Marikina. Dog Rescue. Illegal Dog Transport. Elizabeth.

Progress does not always manifest itself in one most obvious and cataclysmic event. Sometimes, progress comes in small and incremental steps, hardly noticeable, not the stuff for the evening news. But, it is progress however infinitesimal it might be.

PAWS volunteer Bradford Feliciano did his part when he took photos of a sack laying on the floor of a vehicle that was ahead of the vehicle he was in. He made sure the photos included the license plates. Bradford knew what was in the sack, and he reported the situation to the Marikina police. God bless their hearts. The Marikina police took action and tracked the license plates to a house that was, coincidentally, a stone's throw from the Philippine Animal Rehabilitation Center (PARC). PARC is the shelter run by PAWS.

Lorenzo Sayson protested his arrest, claiming the dog was only being transported to his brother to become his guard dog. Yeah, right. How come the dog was in a sack and her snout wired shut? Sayson said he feared the dog might bite. Unfortunately for Mr. Sayson, the police were not born yesterday. PAWS volunteer Feliciano and the Marikina police knew what this was all about. PAWS stressed that the manner in which the dog was held and transported constituted more than sufficient grounds to file charges for violation of the Philippine Animal Welfare Act, particularly for the illegal transport of a dog. They've got all the bases covered, and Mr. Sayson was out.

Lorenzo Sayson spent four days in jail---couldn't post bail--- and paid a fine of P20,000 (pesos) which is roughly $50 American. That might be puny in our terms but stiff for the common folk in the Philippines. Mr. Sayson now has a criminal record, but there is an added bonus to his arrest. Evidently, according to PAWS, his arrest was very public with most of the neighborhood gawking at the spectacle. Every Pedro and Maria knew that Sayson's arrest was for an attempted dog slaughter and illegal dog transport.

A warm and appreciative embrace for the Marikina police officers for their professionalism and quick action. This kind of response was unheard of when I was a young man in the old country. And God bless Bradford Feliciano. His compassion and civic virtue made this world a better place.

Elizabeth is up for adoption at PAWS. You can still see the scar around her snout, but she's a much happier dog now.

Philippine Animal Welfare Society

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Northern New Jersey. Dog for Adoption. Simba. Pomeranian.

Here's a dog I want you to meet, Simba. He's an energetic little fellow who literally leaps in joy when it's time for a walk. I mean, Simba leaps vertically like he's on a pogo stick. He's very amusing. Simba was rescued from a pound down in West Virginia, and he's now with us in northern New Jersey. I love small dogs, and he's become my most recent favorite. Simba certainly qualifies as a lap dog. Last Sunday, after walking him, we sat in our patio area at the shelter and I gave him tummy rubs and back massages while he laid like a pillow on my lap. I've been told that Simba doesn't like having a collar put around his neck, and so he wears a harness instead. Interestingly, Simba is microchipped. So, he belonged to someone who cared for him. He's a good boy and only two years old. All predict that Simba will get adopted quickly, like most toy dogs do.

Bloomingdale Animal Shelter Society

UPDATE: Adopted by the Small Animal Rescue of Princeton, NJ

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

New York. Chanel. World's Oldest Dog Passes Away.

It wasn't long after I first read about Chanel, the official Guinness record holder as the world's oldest dog at 21 years, when news came that she died last Friday, August 28, 2009. As I recall from the previous news item, her owners Denice and Karl Shaughnessy from Port Jefferson Station, New York provided reliable veterinary records to prove Chanel's true age. Well, it is not for me to question the verification process, but I do believe that Chanel is not the only 21 year old out there. It's just a matter of seeking them out just like the world' oldest or tallest person. Once one is found and declared so, someone else from a remote area of the world claims to be the one.

About two years ago, I chatted with a woman walking her chihuahua along First Avenue and 42nd street and she claimed that her dog was 17 years old. I didn't have any difficulty believing her because my last dog, also a chihuahua, died at 15 years and one month. He suffered from a heart murmur on his last year but otherwise problem-free for all those years. If human longevity is increasing through better health habits and medical treatment, why not the dog's?

Anyway, it could be a never-ending one-upmanship when looking for the world's oldest dog. So, official recognition settles the matter to some extent. Well, good-bye to you, Chanel. Congratulations to you and your humans for this lengthy life.

Photo credit to
Denice and Karl Shaughnessy.