It’s Not Mine     

Since she was young, Nette Nano of Caloocan City has loved pets—whether birds, cats, or dogs—and considered them her children. Two years ago, she met a Shih Tzu named Sydney when she moved in with the friend who owned her. Nette hadn’t had a dog in years, though they’d had plenty of AsPins in the province, and she drew close to the sweet dog, on whom she poured her Iaffection for her family and other dogs, whom she missed a lot.

It was when they nearly lost Syd in an accident with a rat-pad killer in 2014 that Nette realized how much the dog meant to her, as she rushed Syd to the vet and made sure she would be okay. The three-year-old dog was serviced by a stud and recently gave birth to Hershey, Basya, Popoy, and Cheesecake. Nette cheerfully reveals she acted as midwife because her friend didn’t have money for the vet— plus Syd wouldn’t let anyone but Nette near her during the delivery!

Then her friend moved out, taking Syd and most of the puppies with her—but left Hershey as a parting gift. While Hershey can’t replace Syd, Nette is grateful for her new “daughter,” who has what Nette calls “lucky feet,” with five “fingers” per paw. Describing the large puppy as “makulit,” Nette nonetheless admits she constantly thinks about her beloved little girl.

Fire Dog

Le Ni, who is from Quezon City, is a rare female firefighter who says she’s been a dog lover since she was a child “…because I grew up in a family [with a huge] heart for fur babies.”

It wasn’t just dogs and cats. “[There were] even ducks, and all of them [had] names. Since [I was a] child, I always [loved] playing [with] and taking care of them. You [may not] believe [it but] I adopted even mice. And countless cats which I kept whenever I went home from school since it’s just walking distance from our house…so that is how I grew up.”

She’s still surrounded by fur babies! “Currently we have 21 dogs and a cat. All of them are rescued, especially the AsPins, and some were given by dear friends.” Closest to her heart are Buddee, the most confident (“pinakasiga,” she cheerfully describes him) of them and a parvo survivor, and a Shih Tzu who can run 10k.

Something I Need

He describes himself as a dog lover and fashion advocate for pets. Monching Manalo Austria of Caloocan City is proud of his three-year-old Mini Pinscher Chloe, a gift from his someone special. Monching had always wanted a toy dog, but had vowed never to buy a dog; he wanted to save his love for that once-in-a-lifetime love that can only come from a special animal.

Chloe changed his life; Monching admits he’s not sure why or how. But to him, she isn’t just a dog, but practically his child, partner in countless adventures, and a very good friend. He’s willing to do anything for her because she was the fulfillment of a dream he had.

And Chloe’s willingness to cosplay and go to events shows Monching that she enjoys herself. He admits he’s quite proud of her, and feels his efforts have paid off in her excellent attitude. The judges of many events she’s joined agree; she’s won many awards.

Now they are joined during their adventures by her son Charlie and Monching’s adopted dogs Chappiie, Cheewee, and Dagul.

Recuerdo

Tere shares, “[In my] family…dogs [were] always part of us. As I [grew] older and [had] a family of my own, nothing…changed. My [sons] grew up [playing] with dogs.”

Fifteen years ago, they had 13 dogs, which she cared for; Tere wasn’t a breeder but simply wanted to have dogs around her. They included a German Shepherd, two Dobermans, a Dalmatian, Rottweilers, a Pitbull, a Golden Retriever, a Great Dane, a Japanese Spitz, a Dachshund, a Shih Tzu, and an AsPin. But her marriage crumbled, and she was left alone to care for two sons and all her dogs. She got through it—and her dogs were a source of strength for her.

“My favorites are the small breeds… they were always at my side; licking my…tears…[embracing] and [hugging] me [in] the cold, lonely [nights], listening to my sentiments and sad stories with their eyes looking straight at me as if they…really [understood] how and what I [felt]. They [were] always waiting for me at the main door and cheerfully jumping [at me] when I’m home. They filled the emptiness in my heart; they [served] as…everything I really wanted in life.”

Good things never last, and as the years wore on, one by one, her beloved dogs crossed the rainbow bridge, leaving Tere devastated as they’d been through some of her worst years with her. Depressed, she gave her three remaining dogs to an aunt, blaming herself for the deaths of the others and thinking she was unworthy to care for the survivors. “I [couldn’t] afford to see them “leaving,” [so] I [had] to let them go alive,” she says mournfully. And she promised she would never have another dog so she wouldn’t have to face that heartbreak again.

Thankfully, some promises are made to be broken, and in 2007, love came back into Tere’s life. Six years later, in July, he gave her a gift: Lally. And instead of fear and heartbreak, she brought something in Tere back to life.

She and Tere’s loving, supportive sons were the reasons why Tere survived romantic heartbreak later on. While she was familiar with the tears and lonely nights, that didn’t make it easier—but the loving licks and looks from Lally told Tere everything would be all right. Tere says that it was like Lally whispered a promise: “…we will be together, no matter what.”

Together Furever

They were boyfriend and girlfriend for seven years, and her future husband gave Dianne Alvaro Dela Cruz-Jaque of Paranaque City a female Maltese, Jaira, whom they both loved—but two weeks before they wed in 2012 (in a ceremony where she was to be part of the entourage), Jaira died.

Another trial was in store; three years into the marriage, they were trying to have a baby, and Dianne was diagnosed with PCOS, which causes infertility. Her husband mentioned their trials to a friend who had a Siberian Husky who suddenly said he knew someone who had one last puppy from a litter whom they might want to have a look at.

While her husband was enthusiastic, Dianne wasn’t; she was still mourning Jaira. But they decided to take a chance on the puppy, whom they named Maine. Days later, her brother, who had longed for a Golden Retriever, asked them to accompany him to check out a puppy named Maggie in Cavite on his behalf. He fell in love with her, and when she was old enough, she was delivered to Dianne’s home to await her new owner.

Now, with two dogs, suddenly, their home seemed a lot happier. Soon they joined the couple on food trips and travels; Dianne shares they would skip going to places or events where dogs were not allowed, admitting their world had begun to revolve around the two. Maine and Maggie also helped Dianne’s Dad recover after a foot amputation, and brought the families together, cheering them up and keeping them strong when her husband’s father was himself diagnosed with colon cancer.

And it wasn’t just Dianne’s family they helped; Maggie and Maine appeared in a video for a pizza chain that allowed them to give help to CARA, an individual dog rescuer, and a feeding program for street kids in Las Pinas. Talk about dogs for others!

 

This appeared in Animal Scene’s March 2017 issue.