Animal Scene

rt from THE HEART

How one woman and her dog are changing the souvenir scene

- By MICHIKO G. MANALANG

Peanut’s got a cushy life; he’s one of the lucky ones. His human companion, Marita, recalls being unsure of whether taking care of a dog was even a good idea, then changing her mind almost immediatel­y when she got her first good look at the little Shih Tzu. Her heart, apparently, was sold on the idea.

“When we got him, he could fit inside his own bowl,” says the Fine Arts graduate, “[and he] just turned three this January.” If you say that image doesn’t make your heart do funny things, we’re pretty sure you’re lying!

Ma. Rita Alcazaren de Leon -- Marita for short -- is an artist who, in no uncertain terms, has directed her creativity into an arguably invaluable service. Keychains don’t sound like much; they’re rather ordinary objects that linger in the very vestiges of consciousn­ess, and normally only come to the forefront of our minds when we’re on vacation and need something to bring back to our friends and coworkers.

But this is how Marita gave meaning to the mundane (and how Peanut helped).

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