disaster preparedness

WATCH: UP Diliman’s stray dogs undergo emergency response training

From emotional support dogs that can comfort students struggling in classes, UP Diliman's dogs step up to be emergency responders

Stray dogs in the University of the Philippines Diliman campus have started training as first emergency responders.

Under the Sagip K9 training, a dozen dogs were given a second chance. They underwent basic obedience, agility, and socialization skills, as well as search and scent training.

Some dogs, like four-year-old Kotton, are also emotional support dogs for students, prior to being trained as first responders.

“Meron akong isang na-meet na student na gusto na magpakamatay kasi hindi niya alam paano sasabihin sa magulang niya na babagsak siya sa thesis niya,” said Khryta Rara, a professor of the UP College of Mass Communication, who is also Kotton’s handler.

(I met a student who wanted to take her life  because she didn’t know how to tell her parents that she’s failing her thesis.)

“Tapos nag-ikot kami ni Kotton, dumaan kami sa kanya, nakita niya, nakita niya si Kotton, tumigil siya. She leaned over tapos pinat niya si Kotton tapos nag-relax siya for 30 minutes tapos pina-pat niya lang si Kotton.”

(When Kotton and I approached her, she stopped crying. She leaned over and patted Kotton. She relaxed after patting Kotton for 30 minutes.)

The West Valley fault crosses the UP Diliman campus, prompting officials to create a disaster management plan which includes dogs.

“The dogs know the campus very well and the students love and trust them, so they really are the best first responders,” said Aleli Bagawan, UP Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs.

Former UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan said that dogs can also be trained to sniff out COVID-19. They are discussing with other veterinarians abroad in executing this. – Rappler.com