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Free Spay/Neuter for Cats and Dogs in Cebu

Posted by siyerwin on Monday, March 23, 2009 at 2:07 PM

Cebu City Department of Veterinary Medicine and Fisheries (DVMF) Steps up its Efforts to Control Homeless Pet Population

Here's good start to our week, animal welfare advocates. We've received news that the city veterinarian of Cebu, Dr. Alice Utlang, has launched a free spay/neuter drive tp help control the stray and homeless cats and dogs in the city. This is amazing considering not many other cities have done this before. This goes to show that it can be done and if they can do it in Cebu, there shouldn't be any reason other city governments not to do it.

I'm honestly thrilled for the residents of Cebu City. And with the PAWS and Purina "Homeless, Not Worthless" TV campaign still running and, hopefully, inspiring people into action, I hope pet owners come in droves to check out their city veterinarian's Animal Birth Control Center project.

Kudos to Dr. Utlang and the Cebu City government!

What are the benefits of spaying or neutering your pet?

1. You help yourself and your pet - getting your pets fixed (spayed or neutered) will likely give it a happier and well-adjusted temperament because they will not need to go through heat cycles that change their behavior. They will not get the urge to go out of the house to mate which significantly reduces their chances of being exposed to harm. Their chances of getting breast cancer is also reduced. Chances of Uterine infections and testicular cancer is eliminated 100%. Spaying and neutering will likely increase your pets life!

2. You help your community - the consequences of stray and homeless animals overpopulation is well-known. We all know what happens when homeless animals visit our trash cans, defecate on our properties and bite humans. Spaying and neutering will help reduce the number of unwanted pets in your community which would help reduce the occurrences of such.

3. You help the animals - Spaying and neutering help animal welfare organizations and animal shelters because animal shelters are full and there are more homeless animals than there are adoptive homes to save them (this is also the reason we encourage people to adopt rather than buy puppies and kittens for sale in the Philippines). Millions of animals are euthanized in pounds and shelters everywhere because they are unable to find enough homes to take them.

Prevent all the death and suffering by doing your part. Spay and neuter your pets. If you're afraid it would cost you money, think about how much more it will cost you if you get a litter of six to feed and take care of. Giving away puppies and kittens to your family and friends does not solve anything because your pet will be capable of creating more soon after doing so.

Go and inquire about the spay/neuter programs of your city government. As an alternative, contact animal welfare NGOs like PAWS and CARA as they usually have low-cost or free spay/neuter programs, too!

Inquirer report: Animal birth control center launched

Recommended reading:
Why you should spay or neuter your pet
Why spay or neuter your pet?

Related post: Spay & Neuter Myths and Facts

Thank you for reading this post on spaying and neutering your cats and dogs

PAWS and Purina TV Campaign: Homeless, Not Worthless

Posted by siyerwin on Tuesday, March 10, 2009 at 7:08 PM

The following are two TV pet commercials that are quite different from what we are used to seeing. You will see no fluffy and well-groomed cat or dog in these clips. What you'll see are a couple scenes that play out countless of times per day out there in the streets. They're a very familiar sight but not many see them. I'm hoping that after watching the clips on TV, viewers will start seeing and feeling more for our homeless animals. There is heartache in the streets as you read this.



Please help us spread the word about this campaign and blog about these videos!

Embed code for dog version of PAWS-Purina Homeless, Not Worthless TV Campaign:
Click on the text box, Ctrl+A, Copy & Paste onto your blog editors

Embed code for cat version of PAWS-Purina Homeless, Not Worthless TV Campaign:
Click on the text box, Ctrl+A, Copy & Paste onto your blog editors

What you can do to help the homeless cats and dogs in the streets:

1. Adopt a rescue dog or cat. Experienced animal guardians could also choose to just pick a cat or dog from the street or the pound to rehabilitate. Give the shelter animals a visit!

2. Spay and neuter your pets. Adopting is actually not THE solution. The long term solution to the stray and homeless animals' increasing population is by stopping the ability of the cats and dogs in your community to multiply. Start with your house pets then urge community leaders to do the same for the stray cats and dogs. Contact animal welfare NGOs like PAWS if you want to learn more about this. These organizations usually offer low-cost spay-neuter services to help out with such efforts.

3. Stop buying from pet shops that sell cats and dogs. Adopt a rehabilitated rescue cat or dog instead. Read: 10 good reasons for adopting adult rescue dogs.

4. Teach your family and friends the value of respecting and caring for the animals. Treat your pets like they're family. Stop the vicious cycle by being responsible pet owners or guardians.

5. Volunteer! Join animal welfare organizations that give voice to the animals. Animal welfare organizations are powered by volunteers. And they need more! Read: Things to do as a PAWS volunteer

6. Donate. Animal welfare groups are not funded by the government and they raise the money they need to do their function through donations and through fund-raising activities. You can help animals by helping animal welfare organizations!

Many many thanks to:
Director: Henry Frejas
Producers: Steve Vesagas, Lei Hosseinzade
Production House: FILMEX (Film Experts)
Media Agency: Zenith Optimedia

Here's a nice Business Mirror article about this campaign: Ads of Endearment

"Don't breed or buy while homeless pets die"

Pigs are not just food

Posted by siyerwin on Wednesday, March 04, 2009 at 1:24 PM

Pigs are some of the most intelligent animals of this planet, maybe even more intelligent than dogs and even chimpanzees. In the wild, pigs have to forage to survive and so they have to be very creative at getting to their food sources. Experiments on hogs or pigs that were featured on National Geographic's Hog Genius showed that pigs are capable of lateral thinking. They can think on their own feet and come up with different solutions to achieve an objective.

One experiment involved a video game where the pig had to move a ball into a specified area on the screen using its snout to control the joystick. The pig did it very well even in different scenarios where the target areas became smaller and smaller. If I remember it right I think they compared the pig with a dog or a chimpanzee and the former showed better performance in achieving the objectives.

Another experiment was one where a pig was told to bring a small ball (a real one) into a target by pushing the ball on the floor with its snout. The pig had a lot of trouble directing the ball to the target's direction because it kept rolling to other directions. The surprise came when the pig actually decided to change strategy and instead of bringing the ball to the target, it brought the target to the ball using the same snout pushing strategy! The pig cheated! It chose an easier solution to a problem and executed it on its own volition. My jaw dropped to the ground!

There is a growing interest in measuring the intelligence and emotions of animals that we have never thought about before. This report about animal intelligence being explored is an example of such studies and mentions pigs as one of the main interests. Apparently, pigs, aside from the outstanding intelligence, also exhibits emotional responses that are quite similar to those of human beings.

The producer of NGC's Hog Genius, David Hamlin, shared on the NGC Blog:

The bottom line: As I hope Hog Genius shows, pigs are highly intelligent, have rich emotional lives, and are deeply affected by the same trauma that can cripple human beings. Witnessing pigs struggling to find a hidden platform in a pool, or searching for refuge in an elevated maze, confirmed my sense of how similar we humans and pigs are. We look nothing alike, but we are clearly kindred spirits: and that’s the lasting Genius of Hogs to me...

From then on I started seeing pigs in a different light. Pork chops started tasting a little different (As of today my menu is 6 months pig-free and 8 months cow-free!). I began to realize that we are actually eating intelligent beings that are capable of emotion and I couldn't imagine how much suffering these animals go through to provide us sustenance.

And they do suffer. Images like those in the Earthlings documentary are forever etched into my mind.

Do pigs suffer here in the Philippines? Definitely. They are condemned to death because of a disease outbreak that was not even their fault in the first place and they are starved while they await their execution.

I recently received an email from PAWS containing its account on the pig culling currently being carried out on the ebola reston infected farm pigs in Bulacan. Even as I write this post, there are thousands of pigs there waiting for their death.

Below is a one of the official photos released by authorities. The PAWS representative who was there to observe had this to say: "Notice the bloodstained truck. Some pigs were killed using captive bolts on the truck. The rest who are being led down are to be shot by PNP sharpshooters with 22 caliber guns. Not all could be killed at the same time and the sheer number made it impossible for the pigs to be killed away from the view of the other pigs who were still alive. It was heartwrenching to watch some pigs nuzzling their other companions who lay dead on the ground."

Notice one who was leading the rest... I think he already knew what he needed to do...

Is there anything that can be done to prevent more of these things from happening? I can think of one: stop eating too much meat. Note that I didn't say stop eating meat altogether. I know that for many, this can be an impossible feat. But if we just reduce our consumption, maybe, just maybe, animal farms will not be too populated such that an outbreak of diseases like this will not instantly mean death for thousands. Maybe there won't even be such diseases at all or such stuff that scare the heebie jeebies out of us that we are forced to resort to inhumane methods of defending our own lives.

Read report: 795 hogs culled in Bulacan farm

Below is the PAWS statement on the pig culling:

Dear advocates,

PAWS was there to check on the culling of the first batch of pigs in Pandi, Bulacan last Sunday.

It was difficult and traumatic for our lone observer but the alternative scenario (not having an animal welfare advocate in the "Hot Zone") could have been worse for the condemned pigs.

We gave our recommendations to the BAI and DOH on how to refine handling of the pigs. The distributor of some of the captive bolts have been in touch with us and we have referred them to BAI so that they can check on the 'jammed' equipment.

Last Sunday, PAWS found out that the pigs had not been fed since Tuesday - the reason why there was a 'humming' sound punctuated by frequent squealings coming from the pigs.
"Yang ugong na yan (That sound)", the Farm Manager said. "Gutom yan (That is the sound of hunger)".

Immediately we contacted Director Davinio Catbagan (BAI) who, in turn, assured the Farm Manager that funds will be released for the continuing upkeep of the pigs. As a result, the pigs were fed that Sunday- before the first batch of killings started.

It is important to note that many of the then-hungry pigs will still be alive, awaiting execution until the projected last day - Friday.

We are in touch with Director Catbagan every day to check on the feeding of the pigs.

Yesterday, he sent PAWS Program Director, Anna Cabrera, this text message:

"Yes, Anna, your concern is not only BAI's official concern but my personal concern as well. I have been in touch with the ground, monitoring the whole day up to late last night to ensure, among others, proper handling and continuous feeding."

The last batch of pigs to be killed would be the biggest ones (sows weighing 110kilos or more), and this is where humane handling becomes more difficult.

PAWS will be there to check if its recommendations have been implemented.

We would like to thank Dr. Catbagan, Dr.Minda Manantan of the NMIS, Dr. Eric Tayag and all the members of his staff from the Department of Health (DOH) and our friends from The Animal Kingdom Foundation (AKF), PETA Asia- Pacific and Earth Island Institute Philippines (EII-Phils) for their continuing support.

Please help us be vigilant and pray that the end would be quick and humane for these poor condemned animals.

Thank you.

-The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)

Cat Adoption Stories: Maxee, Champ and Curious George

Posted by siyerwin on Monday, March 02, 2009 at 10:44 PM

Luck, by definition, is that "force that seems to operate for good or ill in a person's life, as in shaping circumstances, events, or opportunities". It's a synchronicity of events that sometimes can lead to very curious and, hopefully, good results. Below are two stories of such circumstances in two people's lives. No they did not win the lottery. They got adopted by cats!

Maxee and Champ

Hi Sherwin,

I finally found the time to compose this mail about my cats and send you their pictures to add to your favorite gallery - adoption stories. My cats are Maxee and Champ.

Maxee was rescued by my housemate Andrea from a street near her family's place. She was very thin and weak then. She looks very pretty even if she is thin so her cousin wanted to keep her only because of the possibility she has breed. After two days, her cousin and husband can no longer keep Maxee so because of pity Drei just decided to bring her to me as a gift. Months before this i already told her my plan to buy a cat - [i didn't know about PAWS yet]. Like other adoption stories - it was love at first sight. I immediately felt her need of someone to take care of her and probably Maxee felt that i need her too. I am hesitant to have a pet then out of fear that i will not be the so-called 'Responsible Pet Owner'. But i guess, i should try to know. I just thought of using the net if i need guidance.

It was my desire to give Maxee a healthy life that i began to open 'animal welfare' links online until it brought me to PAWS. Maxee brought me to PAWS. I decided to become a volunteer and during the orientation, my housemate fell in love with a kitten abandoned by someone. At first we were hesitant again afraid that the landlady will oppose to two cats. But when we went inside the area for new cats - this same kitten whom we held for a few minutes was climbing the cage crying at the top of his little lungs - as if asking us to get him. Needless to say, we took him for foster care. We named him Champ because he had diarrhea when we took him and he is having a hard time pooping - he cries. We call him 'champion' every time he goes thru it.
A few months after, we've decided to adopt Champ as we already love him as much we love Maxee. Unfortunately, Drei has to leave and move out. But I'd like to give her the credit she deserves for her spending more time taking care of Champ during these days as i have work. She stays at home with them most of the time. She wanted to adopt Champ under her name but she is not ready yet as she does not have a stable job as of the moment. If in case she gets one and she gets Champ from me, even if it is painful for me, i'd give Champ to her because i have seen how much she loves him. Maybe, when it happens I'll be ready to foster another one. They are now both under my care for my months now.i thought i can't make it alone but i did and i can. They are now very happy and healthy cats with the help of a lot of readings, their vet - Dr. Javier of Lions Animal Clinic, and a little help from some friends and family.

Maxee and Champ have been two of the greatest gifts i got in my entire life. They make my day happy and light. Maxee wakes me up by kissing my nose or playing with my hair 10 minutes before my alarm rings everyday - i don't know how she knows the time set on alarm - maybe they are really smarter than us in ways we don't know. She is not very friendly to strangers because she is afraid of them but when she expresses her love and affection it'll melt your heart and it is always a story to tell. Champ loves to sleep beside me. He practically grew up with Maxee so he imitates everything she does. Champ is not good in heights, Maxee is, he learned to jump on the window sill probably after 100 failures[no kidding]. Maxee learned it after one failure. But Champ is very fast, he could escape when you open the door in a blink of an eye that's why i have a lock outside everytime i need to go out.

They are both very active and they play a lot. Sometimes i could see my things around the house but i still love them just the same. When i go home after work, i feel less tired. They have inspired me to do things for the animal welfare - things i never thought i can do. I am really into charity work ever since but i have always felt a bit empty as if i have not found the charity where i could permanently place my heart in to. Now - i have. I still participate in other charity events but at least at the end of the day - i could have something i could call my own. Something that is very close to my heart. Something that i could passionately talk about.

The vets confirmed that Maxee is a Siamese cat but it didn't really matter much coz whether she is a Siamese or a Puspin like Champ my love for them is just the same. They are 'my own'.


Curious George

This little guy showed up in my life at approximately 3-4 weeks old, scrawny, flea-ridden, and very sick. I did not have a camera at that time, and actually I am glad that I am unable to show how awful and sickly my little guy looked. To put it bluntly, when I rescued him I really did not expect him to last 3 days. I had rescued kittens in the past, that were more well off, that had died within a few days. I didn't know what to expect because I rescued him from a farm. The owner of the farm said that they had found a mother with 3 kittens a few days prior, so when I found him, I knew he had not eaten in awhile.

Actually, I am saying this all wrong. I did not find him, he found me. A co-worker and I were out in Davis walking in an old farmhouse, when both of us saw what we thought was a large rat run across the floor next to the wall behind some cabinets and a big blue barrel. I am not the squeemish type, and actually like rats, so I was intrigued and wanted to see this huge rat again. So as I was standing beside the barrell trying to peer behind it, my co-worker proceeded to walk around the corner away from the barrell. When, out of nowhere, what I thought was a big rat, was actually a tiny cat. He came running out and because his eyes were so clogged with crud and goop, he didn't even see that I was a human. He ran up right next to my foot and proceeded to try to hiss at my co-worker's tall shadow (as I am sure that that's what it looked like to him) as he was walking away. The soft spot in my heart instantly melted and reached down to grab him. When my long skinny fingers gripped around his tiny anemic body and he realized that the percieved shadow, he was standing next to, was alive he freaked. However, he was so sick that he had very little squirm or fight left in him and the gurgling in his chest cavity was so deep when he breathed that it was louder than the open mouth "wanna be a" hiss was. I knew in that moment, that his chances of making a recovery were slim, especially with the fact that I had no money to take him to the vet. But, I said to heck with it and I took him anyways.
He was so funny in the car while he was riding in his new cardboard oil stained box. He kept trying to escape and every time my huge shadow of a hand would reach to put him back in the box, he would try to hiss and retreat back to his box. When I got back to the office at 5p, I quickly got into my personal car and drove home. All the pet stores had closed by the time I got home, and all I could find at Raley's was infant formula for humans. My theory was that it would hold him over until I could get him some kitten formula. I grabbed the only premature baby bottle I could find and... well as you can see, he's still alive. The two pictures are of him a week and a half after I rescued him. I was bringing him to my office every day, along with every other place I went, until he was able to eat solid food. Another co-worker and I were trying to think of names for him as he was wildly crawling into every peice of mischeif he could get into on my desk, curiously looking through evrey object, when she came up with Curious George. The name stuck and he's a very curious boy. This time, curiosity SAVED the cat.
The most amazing thing is that the night prior to me finding him, my big black love-bug cat Skitzo had ran away from my new studio and I knew in my heart that I would never see him again as he too was ferile and knew how to hunt and survive in wild. I was so upset and stayed up half the night crying. I know that George was put in my life by God. He probably just didn't want me to be alone in my new studio. It is the first time I have ever lived alone, and I was already scared. He has used the litter box since the day I brought him home, and I have never had a problem with 'accidents' on the floor. He brings me constant joy. He is always there by the door to greet me when he hears me coming toward the house. He plays fetch, chirps at birds, does simple commands, and loves me even on my worst days. He is so much different than any other ferile cat I have owned. He is so social that it's scary. He walks up to anyone or anything that is new (including 75 pound pittbulls, but that's another story.) At this moment, he is curled up in a cute fuzzy ball on his makeshift bed. I don't know what I would do without his little attitude in my life. He teaches me so much about letting go of material objects as he was constantly breaking everything until a couple weeks ago. I have learned that his value in my life is worth an infinate amount more than any breakable (or even unbreakable) material item I have. Thank God for the kitten who saved my life that cold day in October.


Thanks, Fox and LeeAnna for sharing your wonderful fortune. The pictures are amazing!

Have a pet adoption story to tell? I'd love to hear it! Help us inspire others by sharing the joy of adoption! Throw in some pics while you're at it! Thank you very much!

self cleaning litter box

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