All photos courtesy of PAWS
MANILA, Philippines - Vodka the Bichon had been groomed to her finest. It was the evening of March 23, a special night for animal lovers like me.
“We’re going to dine with other doggies at Dine with PAWS,” I told her.
It was the first time I took a doggie companion with me to a Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) event. I’m normally asked at these events where my doggie companion was, and my standard reply: “No doggie at a coverage.”
But that night was different: I wanted to get Vodka more socialized while I get to go out myself.
Vodka and I were not disappointed. Many dog lovers and their "dates" were out that night at Venice Piazza, McKinley Hill.
PAWS shelter pet Bianca at the Dine with PAWS event
Dine with PAWS is a charity dinner held only once every two to 3 years. Aside from being a get-together of animal rights advocates and their pets, it is also an awards night for people who helped PAWS in their fight againt animal cruelty.
Dine with PAWS also helps raise funds for the PAWS Animal Shelter. The shelter needs at least P240,000 every month to keep the facility running, conducting adoption programs, spaying and neutering dogs and cats, giving legal help and advice, and keeping shelter operations on a daily basis.
Since PAWS is an NGO that is not funded by any international animal welfare organization for its sheltering expenses, it needs all the help it can get to keep doing the good work that it does.
Lights were dimmed also to commemorate all the animals that have passed
The recipients of special citations and the 2013 Golden Heart Awards were:
1. Megaworld Lifestyle Malls - For helping PAWS raise awareness about responsible pet ownership and for consistently supporting PAWS fundraising events for its animal shelter for the past 10 years
2. Heart Evangelista - For helping the PAWS shelter raise funds and for being an effective advocate for the PAWS Aspin (Asong Pinoy) Campaign which aims to uplift the image of Philippine native dogs and promote awareness that all dogs deserve to be treated with kindness and respect — regardless of breed
3. Members of the QC Criminal Investigation and Detection Team of the PNP - For arresting the people behind the Korean dog fighing syndicate in San Pablo, Laguna
4. Lance Askgaard Foundation - For funding the City Pound Reformation or CPR project of PAWS which aims to make a model pound in order to inspire other city pounds to improve their facilities and provide a good standard of animal care so that collected stray animals do not suffer
5. Sheryl Crystal - For helping PAWS’ fundraising events for the past 10 years and for her animal rescue efforts during times of disaster
6. SJ Vets - For helping PAWS with rescue and rehabilitation of animals and in its outreach spay-neuter programs for indigent pet owners
Heart Evangelista was inducted into the Order of the Platinum Paw by 2012 awardee Karylle
7. Patricia Hizon - For helping PAWS’ fundraising events for the past 10 years and for being an effective advocate of kindness towards animals
8. Bow & Wow - For helping PAWS raise awareness about spaying and neutering and the importance of training and socializing dogs through its in-store campaigns, and for helping PAWS raise funds for its spay-neuter projects for indigent pet owners
9. Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy of Bagong Henerasyon Party List - For authoring HB 5849 or the amendment to the Animal Welfare Act which aims to increase penalties for convicted animal offenders and for always ensuring that animal welfare issues are addressed and are put on the legislative agenda in Congress
10. Carla Abellana - For helping raise awareness about how animals also help people through Doctor Dog — the animal-assisted therapy program of PAWS — and for supporting PAWS’ fundraising efforts for all its programs
Sharon and Rosie
Sharon Cuneta with Rosie at the PAWS shelter
The biggest surprise at the charity dinner was the launch of PAWS' new campaign starring Sharon Cuneta. The dog-loving celebrity adopted a pet from PAWS and was only too happy to appear with PAWS shelter animals in campaign posters promoting pet adoption.
Sharon met Chow Chow Rosie when, during a visit to the PAWS shelter after office hours — when no other visitors or guests were around — to check on the shelter animals, she saw Rosie in the quarantine kennels, all mangy and very sad-looking. Sharon was visibly very affected. She has Chow-Chows at home and was shocked that people could treat animals in such a cruel way.
Even when Rosie looked horrible, Sharon asked for her to be brought into the PAWS office so she could hold her and kiss her. After spending a few moments with Rosie, Sharon immediately said she would adopt the dog and sponsor all of her needs along with some of the special-needs dogs at the PAWS shelter.
Sharon Cuneta and Rosie in one of the PAWS posters featuring the Megastar
For more information on shelter pet adoption, call PAWS at 475-1688 or visit PARC in Aurora Boulevard, Katipunan Valley, Loyola Heights, Quezon City. See updates and event information on the PAWS Facebook page.