By Floyd W.E. Bascones and Shirley Ann Galvez-Dominguez
Photos by Gutz Media Creatives, Allan Lee Lopez of Camera Club of Davao, SV Merlas,Kristoffer Jan Tipon, Andotti Loo, Joy Cahiles and RC Vasquez
“Ya, naa mo diri ugma? Balik mo dayon ha (Kuya, will you be here tomorrow? Please be back soon.)”
“Te, mangayo ko ug itoy nimo ha. (Ate, can I have one of your puppies?)”
Those were just a few of the questions kids asked the speechless dog owners as they concluded the First Davao Dog Friendship Day which was held at SOS Children’s Village Davao last September 30.
It was the first time for the kids to see various dogs both mixed and pure bred and how each dog is unique yet equally loyal and loving. The look of a furry smile with a wagging tail proved irresistible even to the shyest or frightened child. Most of the village kids, who were abandoned, abused, orphaned or with special needs had their first-hand experience of petting and embracing each dog with a dog portrait of friendship, unconditional love and family as the village kids had their time of their life.
The event was the first dog-friendly activity at the SOS Children’s Village Davao not just in the Philippines but in the world. According to the village director, Leonilo “Bem” Rivero, SOS Children´s Village is working in 135 countries and territories all around the world and when the news about the event came out on their website and Facebook official page, SOS villages in other countries like Pakistan and Nepal expressed to follow suit.
Davao Dog Friendship Day was a joint project with the Davao Animal Coalition for a Humane Society (DACHS) and The Ark Veterinary Clinic in partnership with the Davao Dog Lovers Community Inc. (DDL), Davao German Shepherd Group Inc. (DGS), Belgian Malinois Davao (BMD), Davao Association of Siberian Huskies (DASH) and Davao Golden Retrievers (DGR) with the aim to educate and engage the SOS community to raise awareness of responsible pet ownership, animal care and welfare and rabies prevention in Davao City.
Other dog groups namely Great Dane Davao (GDD), Shihtzu Team Davao (STD) and Davao Schnauzer Squad (DSS) took part in the “Dog will Ambassadors” program, where volunteer dog owners and their pet dogs went to their assigned village houses to share about dog care and the benefits of having a pet dog.
It was then followed by BMD and DGSGi’s representatives together with dog training experts Boyet Banagua, Butch Casimiro and Davao 911 K9 unit. Arvin Serra led a back-to-back dog obedience, protection and agility show.
Kids were also served with tasty meals and participated in exciting educational games.
To wrap up the historical event the attendees signed up with their handprint at the covenant wall to express their commitment for a Dog-Friendly Davao.
The event was made possible by the generous donations and support from the Davao City Mayor’s Office, Davao Digital Influencers Inc., Camera Club of Davao, Gutz Media Creatives, Lil Heroes Enterprises, Magnus Premium Dog Food, Doggies Choice, Quick Plus Flea and Tick Killer, Dogfather Dog Shampoo, Pet One Dog Food, Fanfreliche Enterprises, Blessed Bully Camp, Pongee Party shop, Medload Trading, SoRadPolesome Adventure, Shoptitude Davao, Travel of Travel and Tours and Rotto Fresh.
The Mindanao Daily Mirror is the official media partner of the 1st Davao Dog Friendship Day.