Have a Heart for AsPins
There are certain moments of your childhood that stick with you forever; experiences - good and bad - that leave feelings which follow you well into to adulthood. For me, one of those turning-point moments was an afternoon in my childhood home when my sister and I heard the wails of terrified dogs from our next-door neighbors. When we heard those noises, we ran right over to their house. To our horror we found out what was happening - our neighbors were slaughtering dogs. We started yelling at them through their gate telling them to stop it; picture this: two little girls jumping and screaming at the top of their lungs at a bunch of older men - we probably looked like a joke to them. We even told our guard to report it to the baranggay office, only for him to be made fun of by the authorities.
This event was traumatizing for me and my sister, especially because we came from a family that treated street dogs and cats as our own kind. We grew up with my father bringing home dogs and cats he rescued from the streets. He basically converted our home into somewhat of a foster center where street animals would be rescued, taken cared for and brought into the homes of our friends and family. My heart for animals definitely came from my his influence.
Seeing how people treated these poor dogs and cats opened my eyes to the harsh reality for street animals. There’s a mindset that street dogs are just “bantays” which you tie on a short leash outside your home, and that their only purpose is to scare off others. That couldn’t be more wrong. When you give a street dog a little love, they’ll return that back to you ten times over. Furthermore, there’s also a mindset that associates street dogs with being dirty, but honestly, all you have to do is give them a bath - that’s it! Just give them a bath and they’ll smell as good and have hair as smooth as any other purebred dog. I soon realised that the solution for the maltreatment of street dogs wasn’t just to open more shelters or to rescue more animals. Instead, it was a bigger task of curbing an entire mindset - a faulty mindset that says that street dogs are unworthy of love.
As I grew older, I knew I had to do something bigger about this issue that was so close to my heart. Rescuing dogs and cats on my own started getting difficult because I moved to a condominium in Makati, which didn’t allow me to bring in as much animals as I wanted to. Luckily, I went to an event where a few people from the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) happened to attend, and we connected. I knew in an instant that I wanted to collaborate with them and make something happen for the lives of these innocent street dogs.
PAWS Philippines and I launched the “Have a Heart for AsPins” campaign, which advocates the #AdoptDontShop philosophy. Through this campaign, I hope to first and foremost, encourage people to adopt rescues from shelters. The PAWS Philippines shelter currently holds more than one hundred dogs, cats, and other rescues who are ready to be part of new families. As for the long-term goal of this campaign, it is to ultimately reshape the current mindset towards AsPins into one that leans towards compassion and kindness. I want to rid of the negative notion people have with street dogs, and make them see AsPins for what they truly are - dogs that are capable and ready for tender loving care.
This year, why not celebrate the season of giving by adopting an AsPin. Let it be a gift to yourself or to a loved one. By doing this, you’re not only giving a healthy and happy dog a home. You’re also gifting yourself or your loved one a lifetime of loyal companionship and unending joy. An AsPin’s love is unconditional like no other human being can give. All you have to do is open your mind, heart, and home to one.
Thank you, Sweet Escape, for the fun afternoon shoot with my dogs! If you’d like to set up your own shoot with Sweet Escape, head over to their website. You can also use my code, “ESCAPEWITHHEART” to get a $50 discount and 30 additional photos.
For more, watch my July to August vlog for a peek at my photoshoot for my PAWS campaign.
‘til next time, loves!