SAINT ROCHE’S Haven of Love
Athousand Led-lit orange lumi-balloons were lit up and paraded at sunset at the recent Saint Roche’s Haven of Love event for pet lovers and their animal companions. The display was aimed at showing the world that its participants― led by animal welfare groups―were one with the world in the advocacy against animal cruelty, as April was declared the Anti-animal Cruelty Month by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or ASPCA. It is the hope of the organizers that people learn to treat the wellbeing of their pets as being as important as raising a human child, and to learn about proper nutrition, the provision of decent shelter and adequate medical care, and an awareness of their safety.
Guests and participants showed their solidarity with the event’s advocacy by wearing orange, the advocacy’s color motif. Activities and talks were held to amplify awareness of animal welfare and the importance of preventing cruelty to animals, and to encourage pet owners in the entire nation to express their support for the endeavor. There was also a donation drive to help participating animal welfare agencies continue their work against animal cruelty. Compassion and Responsibility for Animals’ (CARA) Eric Suguitan discussed what it meant to be a responsible pet owner, and how even non-pet owners could become proactive animal welfare crusaders. Dog Coach Francis Cleofas showed participants the benefits of force-free dog training, sans the punishments associated with regular training. A demonstration with his dog Selena delighted the sizable crowd, which included over 500 pet owners and dozens more who passed by and stayed to listen to the “Askal Ko, Mahal Ko” stories by proud owners. A pet bazaar with goodies for pets and owners alike welcomed guests and passersby who found themselves happily joining in. An open pet adoption drive worked to educate potential adopters about their responsibilities as owners, as did a discounted spay & neuter booth by the Animal Kingdom Foundation. 150 lucky dogs received free anti-rabies vaccinations; other pets enjoyed free health checkups and on-site bath and dry pet grooming. A Dog Maze race enlivened the event, as did an Obedience Contest anchored by Dog Coach Francis Cleofas. Owners and pets enjoyed the Pet My Pet dog petting and selfie station, along with parlor games offered at various booths and an hourly raffle.
(1) Yes, you can pet them! (2) This handsome Basset Hound attracted a lot of attention. (3) This Alaskan Malamute was almost big enough for kids to ride, though he was just a year old. (4) Pets and pet owners socialized as they waited for the talks to begin; they were an avid, attentive audience.
The top right photo shows a pet-owner team negotiating the Dog Maze, a contest that had the audience on its feet, cheering. Above, Shih Tzu owners show off their fur babies. The photo on the left shows two of Dog Coach Francis Cleofas’ dogs; Selena, who has her leash in her mouth, helped the Dog Coach demonstrate to the audience a new and more cooperative method of dog training which did not involve punishment or reprimands--something which the audience responded to.