Sunday, November 29, 2009
My homeless friends at the other end of the world
My Human just returned a few days ago from her long journey home to the Philippines to see her mom. While she was there she went to visit the animal shelter, Philippines Animal Welfare Society (PAWS). Like Pet Haven, the rescue my Human runs here in Minnesota, PAWS is run entirely by volunteers. I pulled the following off of the Humane Society website:
"By trade she is officer for a local bank, but Anna Hashim-Cabrera would tell you that her full-time job—and true passion—is helping animals. She is the dedicated director of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society, one of the first three groups to be recognized as an HSI Animal Advocate in 2000.
PAWS has a long history of developing awareness and compassion for animals in the Philippines. Established in 1954 by British educator Muriel Jay, PAWS was lifted from dormancy in 1986 by Nita Hontiveros-Lichauco, its current president, and has since grown into an organization that boasts many notable accomplishments.
Among these are the passage of the Philippine's first national animal welfare law, the Animal Welfare Act in 1998, and the establishment of the country's first animal shelter, the PAWS Animal Rehabilitation Center. This center provides for more than 180 dogs and cats and runs an effective adoption program.
PAWS staff is comprised of hard-working volunteers who dedicate their free time and vibrant personalities to the cause of assisting animals all over the country and beyond.
PAWS' Dr. Dog program brings loving therapy dogs to children's hospitals all over the Manila metro area. These dogs have brought so much joy to so many ailing children that the Dr. Dog program has become a sensation.
At first, it was difficult to convince hospital staff to allow the dogs because of the misconception that they were not clean and carried bacteria. When an autistic child who had not spoken to anyone began to speak freely to Dr. Freckles, an original Dr. Dog, staff were convinced that animals were just the remedy these children needed.
A win-win program, Dr. Dog provides comfort and emotional healing for disabled children, and educates the public about the value of animals in our society. In the Philippines, there are still people who still support the idea of killing and consuming dogs. PAWS hopes to change that by demonstrating how beneficial they are to humans.
Dr. Dog is a program run by Animals Asia; PAWS is Animals Asia's Philippines coordinator.
In April 2006, PAWS was primarily responsible for a huge legal victory in a Northern Philippine province of Benguet. This province sought to take advantage of a loophole in the 1998 Animal Welfare Act, which allows the consumption of dog meat as a cultural and ritual practice, but not for commercial purposes.
PAWS gathered evidence that Benguet's dog meat trade sprung not from "cultural practice" but from commercial interests. With the help of other local animal welfare groups, a worldwide letter-writing campaign and persistent negotiations, the government of Benguet relented.
In late May 2006, PAWS met with the National Meat Inspection Services, a division of the Philippine Department of Agriculture. Some of the main goals of this meeting, sponsored by HSI, were to close the loophole, prevent circumvention of the law and establish clear methods for enforcing the law.
Humane Society International commends PAWS for its hard work and commitment to animal welfare."
PAWS is also featured in a story on the Best Friends website in their recent efforts to help animals during the floods:
“PAWS accompanied the Armed Forces of the Philippines (they had rubber boats) to assist them in distributing relief goods to the residents - and also of course, to help animals who needed to be rescued.
“We soon came across our first rescue, a dog shivering and looking absolutely lost as she was perched on an unfinished part of a house already flooded up to the window sill level. We asked around and people said the dog had no owner, and nobody had gone back for her or fed her.
PAWS' Rescue Team Head - Dr. Nielsen Donato- went in to get her. It was a fairly easy rescue. She had nowhere to retreat to--everything was surrounded in water.
'When Nielsen handed her over to me, a Philippine Star photojournalist snapped a photo, and it made front page.'
'We named her Julia.'
My friends at the other end of the world need help. I'm so glad they have someone there fighting on their behalf. The woman who runs it sounds just like my rescuer Karen Good of Red Lake Rosie's Rescue.