The locals are calling them “ASKAL” the abbreviation for asong kalye meaning street dog and now “ASPIN” the abbreviation for asong Pinoy meaning Filipino dog. They are our native dogs who can be seen anywhere in the Philippines, mostly in the street playing with other dogs, in the dumpsites searching for something to eat and in the houses patrolling as a guard. Most of our people are taken them for granted, not recognizing their value and sadly, they are being hit by car intentionally and for worse, they are being slaughtered by the drunkard and cooked to be served as wine appetizer.
But for me, they are special and I love them. Since childhood we have them in our home and treated them as a member of our family. My first pet named Bantay, he is always by my side, walked and ran with me, played with me, swam with me, danced with me, ate with me and slept with me but unfortunately, one time we left him in the house then he was lost. Later on my parents found out that he was killed and cooked by our neighbour. I was so devastated so mother brought me a new puppy and I called him Puti. She is also great; she grew very smart and a fast learner. I taught her to sit down, stand up, to dance, and to open and close the door, to give or deliver a thing to me or other person she know, but one morning we woke up and found out that she is missing. Then a new pet came to us and we called him Tisoy because he looks handsome in his pointed nose. He just came to our house on New Year’s Eve then my mother gave him foods. From that time he stayed with us, so we gave him a name and welcomed him to our family. He is really meant to us, not just for fun he brought but a very good provider too. He is bringing us packet of vegetables, fruits, fishes and even meats. My parents asked the neighbourhood if they missed these from their kitchen and they said not from them, so my mother cooked it and served to us. Tisoy died by car accident. Then, a neighbour gave us a puppy and we called her Putim. She is very lovely but naughty. She loves children. She run after them and whoever she catches up with, she will take off the short or the pant. Later, she got sick and died. She has a son and we named him Hunter (photo below). Like our previous pets, he knows some tricks. But what I like him most… he is a good listener and my best companion. Every day he waits for me at the waiting shed after my class and when he saw me, he ran excitedly and wagged his bushy tail. Then we walked together going home and told him my story for the day.
This is old Hunter, he looks so sad when I said goodbye. I felt the same, I don’t want to go away but I need to face the next phase of my life… to work, to live and to grow away from home. At the age of twelve years old he became deaf and died later. Until now I cherished all the memories we had and I will always remember and love my pets.
Many years have gone and I have no pet right now… I cannot bring a dog in my dormitory or even here in the hotel with me but at home, I am updated about our pets. My nephew who is a three years old boy just introduced me a while ago over the phone the two new members of our family. He gives his puppies with the names Chocho and Valentina respectively. I am happy to hear that and I am looking forward to see them too.
Like other dog breeds around the world, our Philippines native dogs are brilliant, loyal, reliable, caring, entertaining, lovely and friendly. They have a lot of stories in showing their affections and even taking risk of their life just to save their master’s life but still many of them are being neglected and sometimes maltreated. They don’t need special treatments, special dog foods and expensive dog dresses. Apparently they need love, attention and respect. We must protect them, not to kill them. Let us give them the right to live and the recognition they deserve. As we all know, the dog will always be our best friend.