Micca de Vera, 22 years old, is with her toy poodle Mallet, who is one of the participants in the summer Pet Fest. The amiable young mother of one is no stranger to Animal Scene. “I can’t remember what month (it was) last year where my other pet Chevy was one of the featured pets in ‘My Pet’s Life’,” she says as she fixes Mallet’s wing-like props. Understandably, the excitement of the show visibly shows in her poor date recall and temporary memory lapse. (Editor’s note: Chevy was featured in the February 2017 issue of Animal Scene, and placed in the My Pet’s Life contest in 2016.)

The Pet Fest opens at high noon and the perennial ‘fabulous treats and freebies’ provided by various sponsors abound: free basic grooming for cats and dogs; free anti-rabies vaccinations; free pet food buffet station, serving yummy kibbles all afternoon; an entertaining dog show; and the omnipresent fun games and raffle draws. Special awards are at stake too: Early Pet Fest Registrant Awardee; Largest Family Awardee; Most Number of Furkids Awardee (for the pet owner who brought the most number of pets, whether dogs or cats or both) Best Shopper Awardee; and Most Spectacular Cat Fashionista Awardee.

There is a cacophony of sounds around the activity center: loud music is playing, kids are running around, dogs are barking, and the event announcer is booming instructions to the participants. These are the sights and sounds of a fiesta carnival.

Micca’s husband Eric helpfully joins in the discussion, to answer the questions this writer poses. “We are both into dog breeding and that’s how we met. I’m into Siberian huskies and Micca is into toy poodles,” he shares as he proudly shows off his tattooed left arm, featuring a portrait of Micca and Eric’s Husky named King. Interestingly, Micca also sports a tattoo on her lower right leg, a portrait of Eric, also with a Siberian Husky. That’s canine devotion for you.

“Some of our pets have won in other dog shows, fashion and conformation shows,” he explains while comforting his fidgety two-year old daughter Erine. “It’s my wife’s concept to dress our poodle Mallet with these colorful wings, a dozen blooming flowers on each wing, with a matching tiny yellow hat and a white and green bee on top. Mallet is one and a half years old, considered as a young adult. For food we give her the usual premium dog food and pieces of raw chicken. We don’t give her vitamins, she seldom sees a vet. Hindi siya sakitin (She’s not sickly),” he brags, adding that he’s a member of a group of Siberian husky enthusiasts called CHP or Cavite Husky Park.

The event announcer calls for the attention of the fashion show participants. A visibly excited Micca neatly arranges Mallet’s number 17 tag, as they go up the stage: sashaying, proudly parading before the lively afternoon crowd of pet lovers. There is cheering, clapping, and cameras flashing, while this writer is hoping that tiny Mallet will nail it and be one of the winners among the equally colorful rival entries. Who will get the judges’ nod? The criteria are: creativity and adherence to the theme, Floral Summer; visual impact and overall appeal; stage projection and handler’s complementing outfit. Micca dons a colorful sarong, predominantly yellow with red and white trimmings. Wrapped around her petite figure, it is accented by her black shirt and black shorts.

Micca and Mallet complement each other, modeling in tandem. Save for the question and answer portion, the fashion show has all the glitz and glamour of a regular beauty pageant.

After a short intermission and raffle draws, the winners of the fashion show of the furry friends are announced. There is a vicarious feeling of delight to hear “First runner-up, number 17!” A beaming Micca with her prized pet Mallet go up the stage once more to get their prize and pose for a picture for posterity. Multi-colored confetti rains on the activity center, attracting a bigger audience and amusing shoppers.

Surely, it is a cool event inside the mall, one organized by Paws and Tails Events Concepts and Management in partnership with SM City Dasmariñas. Outside, the warm summer heat still lingers. Dog day afternoon? I say it is an afternoon worth remembering: Micca and Mallet, the delightful duo.

 

This appeared in Animal Scene magazine’s May 2017 issue.