Rafa our American Pit Bull Terrier

rafa

Rafa is our four-year-old American Pit Bull Terrier. He is our guard at our other house just opposite to my present home.

Most people think that pit bulls are vicious and do not get along with people especially the kids, but Rafa loves people and kids. He is very protective of the kids. If he sees somebody grabbing or simply holding a kid member of the family, Rafa is not comfortable with the situation. He would bark aloud as if he does not want a stranger to get near to our kids.

We bought him when he was already a year old from his past owner. The mother of his past owner did not like having a big dog especially a pit bull in their home. Although Rafa has learned some basic training from his past owner, he usually gets ire upon seeing a pig, cat or chicken. Maybe his past owner did not associate him with other animals besides dogs when he was still a puppy.

Rafa loves dog walks and is not easily intimidated with stray dogs barking at him. I have a K9 trainer friend of mine who already died of cardiac arrest. He did not even try to hold the lease of Rafa because he could not read what’s in Rafa’s mind, being a silent type of a dog and would never trust any stranger. That was also my first impression when we bought him but it was overcome when I hold his lease and started a dog walk with him.

People in our place do not trust pit bulls for they know that most of them are fighting dogs. Rafa comes from a show-type family, not a fighting one. I usually have him on a lease because we have a senior cat at home which Rafa loves to be caught every time he saw his feline housemate walks by and nobody is tending the house because my siblings migrated to our hometown and I’m the one taking care of the house. During my days off from work, I bring him for a dog walk or play with him and had him unleash so he can run to and fro inside our fenced property. Rafa is well-loved and well-cared of by us and will never be abandoned or neglected together with our other six (6) dogs no matter what.

This is Rafa when we bought him 3 years ago.

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Rabies is here!

I wrote an article “Beware of rabid dogs” five days ago. Just this morning, I read from a local tabloid that a woman from north of Bacolod City died of rabies. She was reportedly bitten by a dog in her palm last January 2014 and died last March 4, 2014.

A rabid dog in the paralytic stage

Image via Wikipedia

The paper further stated that the woman was brought to an emergency clinic in their place and was injected with anti-tetanus. She was instructed to seek help with the city health coordinator for immediate treatment of the anti-rabies which the woman did not headed.

Last March 2, 2014, she complained of numbness. She was rushed to the emergency clinic again for a check up. On March 4, 2014, she was confined on the same clinic when she complained of chest pain and was having difficulty in breathing and swallowing. That same day, she lost her life. The report stated that her case is the first reported fatality for the year within the province.

This is one of a life-saving case that should not be taken for granted especially for the victims of dog bites. I heard some people simply ignore being injected with the anti-rabies because they don’t suspect the dog has rabies or they don’t have any money to spend for the medicine or they just simply ignore the biting incident. A single vial of anti-rabies costs something like Php1,800 and that can accommodate 4 persons. If you are a victim of a dog bite, visit immediately the rabies coordinator at your city or town health office. They will schedule you for an injection the soonest possible if you are willing to buy yourself the anti-rabies vial but if you don’t have enough money, gather some dog-bite victims you will know at the clinic and arrange to share individually to buy the vaccine.

Some rabies virus takes it longer to effect but normally the symptoms will be felt from one to three months after contacting it. The time depends on the distance the virus will travel to reach the central nervous system.

What are the symptoms?

Within 2 to 12 weeks, a victim will have fever and tingling and pain at the bitten area.  Symptoms may soon expand to the following:

  • slight or partial paralysis
  • anxiety
  • insomnia
  • confusion
  • agitation
  • abnormal behavior
  • paranoia
  • terror
  • hallucinations, progressing to delirium

The patient may suffer hydrophobia – the fear of water.

How to prevent rabies?

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Communicable Disease Surveillance 2007 Annual Report states the following can help reduce the risk of contracting rabies:

  • Vaccinating dogs, cats, rabbits, and ferrets against rabies
  • Keeping pets under supervision
  • Not handling wild animals or strays
  • Contacting an animal control officer upon observing a wild animal or a stray, especially if the animal is acting strangely
  • If bitten by an animal, washing the wound with soap and water for 10 to 15 minutes and contacting a health-care provider to determine if post-exposure prophylaxis is required

The World Rabies Day is celebrated every September 28, which promotes the information, prevention, and elimination of the disease.

Note: Some info were taken from Wikipedia.


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Why some people maltreated their dogs?

This is just my own way of expressing my profound disapproval the way other people maltreated their dogs whom they referred to as their “pets”. Oftentimes, I saw pictures posted over Facebook of dogs that were treated inhumanly or worst are languishing in pain and terror and some are brutally killed.

I asked myself why they can afford to do these horrible acts to the most loving and kind animal dubbed as “Man’s Best Friend”?

It is but a reality to the Philippine government that dog slaughtering still exists in the country. Some places regularly serve dog meats as appetizers for their drinking sessions and for others as part of their favorite meal. Is their any law that restricts or bans the slaughtering of dogs? Yes there is and in fact was enacted in 1998, the Animal Welfare Act (Republic Act No. 8485) and was amended on July 23, 2012 by Republic Act No. 10631 – an act amending certain sections of Republic Act No. 8485, otherwise known as “The Animal Welfare Act of 1998“.

Seldom did I hear news that people were imprisoned or sued for violating the law. Maybe the local government or enforcers are not properly equipped with the skills, the knowledge and motivation in enforcing existing laws.

Allow me to cite some examples of maltreatment, neglect, abandonement and dog abuse.

guardThis poor furry one has been reported via Facebook as being maltreated in a way that it is chained in a very uncomfortable place. That dog has been placed there by the owner to guard the fighting cocks because it was reported earlier that the cocks were stolen. If you are a responsible owner, the dog should be given a decent and clean place to stay as a guard dog.

1902911_540274289426317_364793026_nThis one is reported as being abandoned. The neighbors were feeding the dog in order for it to sustain because the owners transfered location leaving the dog behind. Lucky enough that it was reported to a local group of dog rescuers, the Island Rescue Organization Bacolod City Chapter. The latest update was that the owner has intended to leave the dog to watch for their belongings while they’re still in the process of transferring to other location. Thanks to the kindness of their neighbors who took turns in feeding the dog.

1504144_10153973848600475_772723930_nAnother case wherein the culprit is the owner himself who hit his dog’s head with a hard object and gave the dog as a “pulutan” or appetizer to a group of people hanging around in their place and have nothing to do. Despite efforts done by the reporter, the poor dog was slaughtered.

 

How many more unreported cases of dogs abuses nationwide and even worldwide? The national government, the Department of Interior and Local Government in particular, should strengthen its enforcement of the law and the local government down to the barangay level shall conduct awareness of the amended Republic Act No. 10631 and educate the community on how to properly take care of their dogs and to have it adopted or fostered if they cannot sustain their dogs needs.

“People with passion can change the world for the better.” – Steve Jobs

Beware of rabid dogs

Summer time in the Philippines. What’s up guys? Normally, we spend vacations anywhere because it’s the time of the year that the family gathers together and plans for a family vacation and students were so excited for class already ends and they expect a better place to spend for their summer time.

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Image via patriotupdate.com

But wait, summer time also is the season where most dogs in the Philippines go rabid. Though the statistic is not quite alarming because nowadays people know on what to do to keep their dogs free or safe from rabies, but still records show that humans are still victims of rabid dogs and cats, and even rats.

The local government is taking their turn in visiting areas within their jurisdiction to conduct free injection of anti-rabies. Sad to say that some of the community members neglect this very important obligation towards their furry pets.

How to detect if your dog is rabid?

If you notice a change in its behavior. Normally, rabid dogs or animals will stop eating and drinking and wants to be left alone. There are three (3) phases that the dog will undergo once it became rabid. These are Prodromal, Furious and Paralytic.  I will not elaborate more about these phases, what’s important is that you detect earlier that your dog is rabid.

Things to do if your dog has had contact with a rabid animal:

Inform your veterinarian and ask for an immediate appointment. Report the matter to your local health department and ask them on what to do. In any instance, refrain from touching your dog because the rabies virus remain alive at your pet’s skin for two hours. For your own safety when handling your pet, wear any protective clothing and gloves.

If you had been bitten by a rabid dog, visit immediately a doctor. Report the matter to your local health department and report the rabid dog to your local animal control officers immediately.

The safest way to keep you pet from infecting the rabies virus is to have them regularly vaccinated with anti-rabies and do not allow them to stray outside your property. Remember the adage “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure“.

Enjoy your summer vacation. Be safe always!


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Saving Agua and her pups

Just arrived home from a very tiresome but fruitful and memorable Educational Tour in Manila, Philippines. The tour has totally disengage myself from the world wide web temporarily due to the very tight schedules in visiting important people and places. I was deprived myself of an Internet access because the place where we were housed-in has no Internet or WiFi connection and it would be impossible for me to look for an Internet Cafe to go online after a day’s tour since most of time we ended the day very exhausted.

ImageI just would like to share a story of a friendly dog and her puppies. I will name the mother dog as Agua. The dogs’ owner wanted his dogs to be adopted by animal lovers because he can no longer sustain in feeding Agua and her puppies and because of a previous incident that happened when one of the puppies of Agua had bitten a human that costs the owner Php5,000 while the puppy also died.

The place where these dogs are located is in a relocation site. It was on a very hot and humid Saturday when a group of dog rescuers convinced the owner to adopt Agua and the puppies. Without any hesitation, the dog owner allowed the group to bring Agua and the puppies with them for adoption. I’m sure for now the dogs are in the hands of kind dog lovers.

Here are some reasons why a dog owner opted to have his pets be adopted:

  • inability to sustain the needs of the dogs especially foods and safe shelters
  • transfer to another place of residence and leaving behind the dogs unattended is somewhat a cruel decision
  • for fear that their free-roaming dogs might end up as appetizers to some heartless individuals
  • for fear of accidental biting of humans especially if the dogs are not injected with anti-rabies vaccine
  • no one is around to tender the dogs the whole day especially if the owner is working for a living

How to control dog population?

Spaying and neutering are the simplest ways to give your dogs long-term welfare. It also control and reduce the number of stray dogs and homeless pets besides improving their health and save you on the cost of pet care. There are lots of stray dogs in the country today and by not spaying or neutering your local pets, you are only adding the figure unless you are a responsible owner.

Try to promote “Adopt, don’t Shop” slogan in you family, to your friends and to the community. That way, you are helping finding new homes to these poor homeless dogs like in the case of Agua and her puppies.

A memorable meeting with IRO founder

Nena Hernandez and Barqs

Nena Hernandez and Barqs

My group or shall I call team because we are only few in number, were able to have a personal talk with the “Pit bull Mama of the Phiippines”, Atty. Nena Hernandez. Tita Nena as she is fondly called by her peers and friends visited Bacolod City last March 21, 2014 to attend the 1st RKCP Conformation Show held at SM City Bacolod on March 22, 2014. The Island Rescue Organization (IRO) is the beneficiary of the said dog-show event wherein Tita Nena is the Executive of the Board. RKCP is one of the supporters of IRO.

Our team decided to met up with Tita Nena on the eve of March 21 to discuss possibilities of creating a chapter of IRO here in Bacolod City. We were all so excited to met her that night knowing of her strong personality and dedicated works in rescuing abandoned and abused dogs, especially the pit bulls. She shared to us her experiences until the time she founded IRO in Cebu with the help of local animal lovers on February 2010.

She describes the works of the rescuers as a “self-destruction” one while saving the lives of the hapless and helpless dogs. Our foremost concern when our team was created is to rescue and help the local breed called “Aspin”. We initiated this advocacy to help the abandoned and stray dogs found new homes. In our desire and dedication to save the lives of these stray dogs, we encountered some ups and downs as well as hardships. We were compelled to shelved out our personal money for the expenses to sustain the needs of these dogs, especially their foods, medications and checkups to the veterinarian. The right time came to test our dedication when we saw the plight of the poor furry ones at the local dog pound when we tried to rescue and help one stray dog being impounded. We knew later that these unclaimed dogs will not stay long at the pound to minimize overcrowding. They are all subjected for euthanasia. The idea of rescuing the dogs by adoption came up because we are not allowed to claim them all unless you are the owner. For a starter team like ours that is infused with enthusiasm and dedication, it is really a tough job finding for a qualified adopter or foster owner. We can’t adopt all the dogs because we don’t have any fundings yet to support their needs and a local shelter to house them.

I happened to know Charmaine through Facebook. She’s one of the supporters of advocacies for the dogs’ rights and welfare. She invited me to meet and to talk matters with regards to the sustainability of our team. Since I could not make it meeting with her on the said scheduled date, I asked favor from a co-member to meet her on my behalf. The rest is history.

It was indeed the best moved we did in meeting Tita Nena. She inspired us so much but advised us that in joining advocacies like this, put family first among the top priority. The possibilities are broad and our team now look things ahead in a positive aspect. In due time, we can be a part of that big group if the Board of Trustees will approve our intention. We owe a lot to Charmaine for giving us the opportunity to met Tita Nena, and the later of course for giving us a warm acceptance during our short meeting with her.

More power to the IRO group!

A dog’s life inside the pound

Have you ever asked yourself what happened to stray dogs at the pound?

If you’re a dog lover of any breed, be sure not to allow them to stray outside your property. The local government has their own way of eliminating those stray animals from roaming around the streets to keep the community safe from dog bites, if not, rabies. It is an ordinance and the pound personnel are empowered and authorized to catch stray dogs. The people should be informed or aware of such ordinance to prevent over population of dogs at the pound.

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What to do when your dog never comes home?

The following are some of the possibilities why your dog never comes home:

  • Mating time – you will notice that during mating time, your dog seldom goes home for a meal or even to sleep.
  • Slaughtered – here in the Philippines, dog meat is the cheapest way for a “pulutan” – a finger food or appetizer eaten during a drinking session.
  • Goes with another dog or person – some dogs befriend another dog or another person and they go with them leaving behind their real owners. This happened when an owner neglects his/her responsibility of providing adequate foods and tender loving care with the animal.
  • Impounded – this is what the local government is doing to get rid of rabies within the community.

How to claim impounded dogs?

First, you need to check at the local pound if your dog is there. Ask for the assistance of the personnel when looking for your pet dog inside the pound. Inform any personnel of the pound that you want to claim your dog. You will be interviewed to check if you are the legitimate owner of the dog. You are required to pay a minimal pay for the process and you need to wait until your dog is released.

What happened to unclaimed dogs?

Unclaimed dogs or dogs not adopted will be euthanized by legal means in a span of 3 days after arriving at the pound. Advocacy groups are now active in rescuing the unclaimed dogs for adoption. This is the most crucial moment when there happen to be lots of dogs scheduled to be eutnanized that these advocacy groups can handle with. A team of dedicated dog rescuers are coordinating with the city pound personnel in providing dog foods and finding adopters to give the poor remaining dogs a decent home to live and extend their helpless lives. Other groups donate foods and water for the furry pets.

How to adopt a dog at the pound?

There are certain criteria that needs to meet when adopting a dog from the pound. You will pay an adoption fee, registration fee, poundage fee and rabies vaccination fee. You are required to visit the dog at the pound for a certain period of time before they release the dog. Pound personnel check the dog at your home on a scheduled visit. These process may vary from one area to another.

What to do to save your dog from being impounded?

As a responsible dog owner, you need to keep your dogs from roaming around outside your house. If your property has no enclosure or fence, have your dog chained or put in a cage. To keep your dogs safe from rabies, have them injected with anti-rabies. The local government monitors this activity annually in all barangays and conducts free injection of the vaccine.