Loren V., a 24-year-old accounting graduate, cuddles Doc Haley. “He is a West Highland white terrier. He’s two years old. We are here not to run in the Doggie Run 2015 but to raise awareness about our advocacies like spaying and neutering, dog adoption, and even stopping dolphin travelling shows,” Loren says.

She is one of the volunteers of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), which was founded in 1954. She is manning the PAWS booth at the Mall of Asia grounds, the venue for the Doggie Run 2015, a canine carnival of sorts. It is a doglandia where dogs of all breeds, colors, shapes, and sizes are making their way to the finish line, lining up for freebies given by various sponsors, and strutting their fashionable getups.

Shizuka, 21, a pretty Japinoy, is one of the proud pet owners queuing up for the giveaways. “Meet Nemo, my six-year-old Pomeranian,” she says, showing off the medal Nemo won earlier in the fun run. “Doc Haley is just one of our dog doctors. They provide animal-assisted therapy to cancer patients.

They also go to shelters for abused women and to hospitals to give comfort and happiness,” Loren explains. She rattles off the names of the other dog doctors: Doctor Poypoy, Tim, Chase, Looney, and Maita. Loren hands me a yellow flier, the Adoption Option. She enthuses that it is “an informative explanation which might be helpful to your readers.”

If you have room in your home and in your heart for a new dog or cat, adopting from an animal shelter makes sense for lots of reasons.

Here are just four of them:

1. You will be giving an orphan animal a second chance in life. You will also be helping to rescue another animal by making space available at the shelter.

2. You will be saving money because adoption costs less than buying an animal from a pet shop or breeder.

3. By adopting rather than buying a new pet, you will reduce the demand that drives the commercial breeding of puppies and kittens. Dozens of healthy and well-behaved animals are left in the shelters simply because there are not enough homes for all of them.

4. If you adopt a young adult or older pet, you can avoid many of the domestic hassles related to housetraining and teething. Puppies and kittens are cute, but they require lots of attention, training, patience… and newspapers!

So there are plenty of good reasons to adopt your next pet, but probably the best reason to adopt a dog or cat is that you might just meet your best friend.It’s not only a Doggie Run but a Doggie Funday as the scorching sun kisses the snout of Doc Haley ― with the PAWS that refreshes to boot.

This first appeared as “Doc Haley and the Adoption Option” in Animal Scene’s May 2015 issue.