Sunday, January 3, 2010

Animal Kingdom Foundation Inc.

Ask This is not a pleasant picture to start off with, but it brings to light the sad reality of dog abuse in some parts of the Philippines.
Some dogs are lucky, like Cookie, the mother of Ashley Pumpernickel, (my dog), and who is quite the madame at Animal Kingdom.

That's Suzanne Llanera, who runs AKF in the Philippinesl It was started by this British guy whose name escapes me. But I remember his dog Sweet, who is a dog ambassador for rescued dogs in the Philippines, and who lives in England.

Animal Kingdom is different from other dog orphanages precisely because they work against the illegal dog trade in the Philippines. In some parts of the country, illegal dog trade is more prosperous than gambling and the trade gets local goverment protection because of this.

In these areas, the dogs are either picked off the streets or purchased from farmers for 100 pesos, then sold at tremendous profit in Baguio where some restaurants serve it, I was told by Greg Quimpo, who is with AKC.

The dogs are tied and mouths are muzzled with cans, and they are crowded into hidden floors of jeeps and brought to Baguio. Sometimes over 100 dogs are smashed into that small hidden floor and some at the bottom die in transit.

At Animal Kingdom they watch the movements of these groups and catch them when in transit, rescue the dogs, and bring them to AKF. Jessica Soho filmed one such encounter. There are almost 400 dogs in AKF, some are adopted by loving homes.

Susan and Greg are in the black T-shirts, and the others are also staff members, vets and the like. AKF needs more local support. These days because of their rescue success, they have been threatened, and gunshots have been fired into the AKF compound, Greg says. Also, dog dealers now are resorting to killing the dogs before transiting them to Baguio. So AKF has new work cut out for itself.

Most of the rescued dogs are askals, but one of them was a shihtzu, shown here with our group. I am hiding in back so I can look slim like the rest of the group.

That's the AKF Rescue Vehicle. Greg says when they rescue dogs, oftentimes after unbinding them, they are too scared to get into the Rescue Vehicle and need to be gently prodded. It is a terrible trauma for a dog, a film showed some of them almost pups, obviously trembling in fear.

This is a rescued three legged poodle. The doctor was asked to put the dog to sleep, but instead he kept it. The poodle walks easily on three legs with a distinctive and cute hop.

Lucky poodle:)

And here is a rescued German Shepherd. The dog still seemed a bit forlorn at the time, being a relative newbie. He was abandoned in a home.

Newly rescued, traumatized dogs often look like this. They are kept in one separate area for rehabilitation. I felt sad at the fear in this dog's eyes.

And when they are fully rehabilitated they look like this, ready for adoption. This pup was shown in the Jessica Soho program trembling in a heartbreaking way. Now a healthy dog:)

Would anyone like to adopt a dog? Four hundred are hard to maintain. AKF needs volunteers to help out either financially or through time. (visit ) The dogs are bathed monthly with a very skeletal staff. They are given time to walk the grounds daily in shifts, fed on shifts, and cages are cleaned. I was told they went through quite an ordeal during typhoon Ondoy. But they are alive and for obvious reasons, resilient.

There is also a quarantined area. Some dogs are kept here because they manage to escape from their cages. But there are dog behaviorists who come to work with the dogs, and vets too.

This dog always likes to hang out on this tree. One can always financially support one dog of choice. Greg said they are also looking into putting some of the askals to work, maybe as sniffing dogs. Right now German Shepherds are used, and their food is equal to the cost of a soldier's salary. Some askals have been shown to be very effective in helping soldiers in sniffing tasks, but there seems to be resistance in that there is already a fixed agreement with the German Shepherds. AKF is now seeking to have some legal action done to require at least one askal used for every troop or something, provided the dog passes all the required tests and training.

Cookie is the dog on the right. She always sits there. Her "humans" visit her monthly, namely our neighbors who rescued her when she was pregnant. They could not accommodate five dogs in their home and only wanted loving families to take the other dogs in. We got Ashley:) Cookie has gained weight and her hair has grown beautiful and soft. When she was rescued she had mange and was scruffy like she had taken quite a beating off the streets. My neighbor noted that she always hid underneath an old abandoned car and it took awhile before Cookie was persuaded to go to my neighbor's home.

More dogs. My neighbor is a long time supporter of AKF, so Cookie was given a place there.

Askals are beautiful dogs. I have two of them, and what makes them stand out is that they have such interesting personalities. Ashley is my favorite. She is loving, friendly, never bites anyone, is a catcher and always makes me laugh. When I'm sad, Ashley makes me forget everything because she herself is so uncomplicated. My second askal, Winniechurchill (named after my favorite Political hero) is more like a person. When I'm sad she will force me to look her in the eye, like she knows something's up and I end up waterfalling. Winnie is always neat and clean and perfect, tiny but the alpha dog. My third dog is a Schnoxie (mini schnauzer mini doxin) and still a pup. Her personality is still forming but she is cute.

These dogs are all so beautiful. Thank goodness there is a place for them in AKF. The place is situated in Tarlac, deliberately so because it is midway from where the dog trade is and Baguio. They want to buy the land since they already made so many improvements, but the price is stiff for them.

Filipinos are beginning to give askals more acceptance. I think because of a lot of smart askals that have been shown on YouTube. One of them is doing a lot of commercials and can do so many tricks including use the human toilet. Seriously. Another dog is Mario Peso, often written about by Maricel Arrogante for Animal Scene magazine. If you don't love your askal, who will? I often feel sad when I take one of my askals out and people look snotty but when its my schnoxie they make such a fuss. It makes me feel the discrimmination and if they only knew these dogs wonderful personalities, they would see there is nothing like them.

My dogs are given shifts in the house, the Scnoxie from 1-6 pm, the Ashley from 6-11. Winnie sleeps with us at night. But when all three of them go out to the park together they are amazing. You see Ashley trying to show Mocha Barney (the Schnoxie) all over the place while Winnie likes to do her thing. Ashley is very protective over Mocha who as a pup can sometimes irritate Winnie. Ashley never hurts Winnie (though she is three times her size) but just stands sweetly in the middle of them.

So if you have an askal, please don't tie it up all day and night, let it stay indoors if you can, they make wonderful house dogs. When Ashley is inside my husband and I feel lighter just because she's there. That's her charm though physically she is our least attractive dog. Each dog has its own spirit.

If you want to visit AKF, there is even a place for any volunteer who will stay overnight. This is the bathroom.

Here is the bedroom.

My guy.

These are the lovely gardens where the dogs are given time to roam in shifts.

Bath area for the dogs.

Clinic facade.

ICU area. This dog has a Queen Elizabeth collar so she won't bite herself.

For surgery.


Summary: Please give your askal as much love as your pedigree. You will find yourself sometimes being even more enamoured with your askal's personality. And please, don't eat them. And don't tie them. If they love you, they will protect you anyway.


Greg Salido Quimpo-AKF said...

Thank you for being such a passionate activist, Mona! We need more like you. Bring 'em on! :-)

lestat said...

i hope someday i could be a volunteer!!!!!

i love animals especially dogs and cats

Slavenka said...

I am amazed with your work.