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Poypoy, the frisbee-catching Filipino dog!

Posted by siyerwin on Tuesday, June 10, 2008 at 8:46 PM

In the recently concluded Alpo Frisbee Challenge, there was one dog that, in my opinion, stood out among all the contestants. There were the huge pedigreed canines like the Belgian Malinois, Labradors, German Shepherds which are some of the dog breeds that you would expect to see in such dog contests.

And then there was Poypoy.

Poypoy was the lone Filipino dog, known also as the "aspin" or "asong pinoy" (a preferred name over "askal" or "asong kalye"), that made it to the finals of the frisbee-catching tilt. Poypoy lost in the contest (he caught 14 frisbees and ranked 8th out of 11) but I think he won some ground in the struggle to uplift the image of his own Pinoy lineage, which is commonly perceived as an inferior breed to his imported counterparts.

A really good article about Poypoy is featured in today's issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer (June 10, 2008). It was written by none other than Poypoy's human companion and guardian, Nice Rodriguez. It's one of those articles that you wished wouldn't end. Below are my favorite parts:

Poypoy came into my life unexpectedly. When I woke up to buy my breakfast one morning more than two years ago, he was there barely lifting his head, dying near my gate. When I asked whose puppy it was, the neighbors’ helpers said, the dog had been there for two days.

Then one early morning, when I let him pee, I found him all-bloodied with a big cut on his sprightly leg. There was also a lot of blood in the laundry area. He wanted to be with me and tried to open a sharp tin-edged back door and sliced himself good.

I panicked for I had never seen that much blood in my whole life. I knotted a plastic bag around his wound to catch the blood and carried him to a pedicab. I kept crying, “My dog’s hurt!”

When I lived in Toronto, I remember watching news on Canadian TV about a research showing that dogs had the IQ of a two-year-old toddler. So I raised Poypoy as a kid.

After he was housebroken, one of the first words he learned was “iwan” (Leave) because that was what I planned to do with him after I sorted out my own life. Of course, he knew what “sama” (come along) was. Besides “upo” (sit), we never did serious obedience training.

“Where’s your birdy?” I would ask him. He would raise one of his hind legs and showed what remained of his private parts. By then, I had also paid for his neutering (another P2,000) because I planned to leave him in a shelter where they asked that abandoned pets be fixed first. After his “where’s your birdy” trick, it was impossible to keep Poypoy to myself anymore. He was already amusing people. He could do Bless, and do “complex” commands like Kiss Grandma and Get Plato.

Then a friend from the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (Paws) said that they would like to take Poypoy to Baguio for a “parade,” and that there would be a frisbee competition.

They wanted visibility for native dogs like Poypoy, particularly in that summer capital where there was still rampant sale of dog meat. They lamented that aspins were most often absent in dog shows and that they wanted him to perform his tricks as Professor Poypoy in their pet therapy program Doctor Dog which they will hold in a Baguio hospital..

Although aspins had always been present in our streets and homes, it was so pretentious and snobbish not to see them in dog shows when they were just as intelligent, agile and beautiful. Like myself, they also demanded equal respect and awe.

I wish a lot more Filipinos would take up the challenge of training their aspins to improve their bonds and show them off. I used to be repulsed by the commercialism of dog events in the malls, but these were where Poypoy learned some of his most impressive stunts.

Want to train your very own companion aspin? Read the entire article and be inspired by how Nice did it. Filipinos just need to realize that Filipino dogs are as clever and as pretty as any other dog breeds out there. Adopt a Filipino shelter dog and see for yourself!

CLICK HERE to see some of PAWS' shelter dogs currently up for adoption.

CLICK HERE to see the online version of the article courtesy of

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  1. 4 comments: Responses to “ Poypoy, the frisbee-catching Filipino dog! ”

  2. By Lexy on Jul 14, 2008, 3:27:00 AM

    I hate people who give such a big deal bout breeds and stuff..My cousins and friends sometimes tease me that most of my dogs are "askal" and I always say to them "Lahat naman ng aso may breed! Kaya lang tinatawag na askal kasi nasa kalye sila dahil walang nagaalaga sa kanila, so don't dare call my dogs askal dahil hindi ko sila pinapalaboy sa kalye!"
    Until now, whenever I hear someone says askal or pusakal and make fun of abandoned dogs & cats in the street..I always try to defend them(dogs & cats) so people will realize that every dogs and cats are all the same no matter what breed they are..they're all lovable and sweet :) I prefer using aspin for native dogs..but how do you call the native cats?

  3. By KittyKat on Jul 16, 2008, 4:19:00 PM

    Puspin? he he...

  4. By siyerwin on Jul 17, 2008, 1:29:00 AM

    Lexy, that's something we all deal with a lot in this line of work. Sometimes I tell them if not for the fur, all cats and dogs would look the same (well, more or less). I guess we just have to keep at it and be steadfast and hope someday those people will likewise see through the fur and realize beauty is indeed beyond breed!

    KittyKat, puspin sounds good to me! :)

  5. By Lexy on Jul 17, 2008, 12:51:00 PM

    puspin? hmm how do you pronounce that? like pas-pin or pus-pin?
    Sounds good to me too ^^

    Amen :)

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