Askals take center stage in Asong Pinoy Day

June 30,2016 - 12:07 PM
 City Veterinarian Dr. Alice Utlang (center) greets the ‘kangaroo’ dog during the Asong Pinoy Day celebration at the Plaza Sugbu. CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA


City Veterinarian Dr. Alice Utlang (center) greets the ‘kangaroo’ dog during the Asong Pinoy Day celebration at the Plaza Sugbu.
CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA

ISRAEL’S native dog, Canaan, was highly regarded as guards for the Bedouin tribes and as messengers and sentry dogs for the Hagana, the Jewish Defense Forces before Israel became a state.

In stark contrast, the Philippines’ askal (the colloquial term for “asong kalye”) or aspin (“asong pinoy”) is largely underappreciated and even looked down upon. More often than not, purebred dogs are treated with more care than native dogs – even if they live in the same house. While the purebred dog lived a privileged life in the house, aspins were usually relegated the task of being the “bantay.”

“They get overlooked all the time because they’re very resilient and immune to a lot of diseases. People don’t give them as much attention as they do to pedigree or foreign dogs,” City Veterinarian Dr. Alice Utlang said in Cebuano.

However, during the Department of Veterinary Medicine and Fisheries’ (DVMF) Asong Pinoy Day celebration, the aspin took center stage.

Volunteers, animal lovers and pet owners gathered in Plaza Sugbu, City Hall on June 27 to show their love for their mutts.

According to Dr. Utlang, the event was aimed to shine the spotlight on these underappreciated critters and to encourage and motivate the animal lovers on responsible pet ownership and care for pet animals, especially the aspin.

Free veterinary services such as anti-rabies vaccination, deworming, vitamin supplementation, spay (ligate) and neuter (castration) were given along with dog food.

They have also put several rescued aspins up for adoption. Stray cats around the vicinity were brought in and treated. There was also a “Best Looking Asong Pinoy” contest where adults and puppies were judged according to physical appearance, temperament, breed and audience impact.
The undeniable star of this contest was Kangaroo, a two-legged dog that frequented Larsian. The spunky dog took the top prize as Best Aspin and brought home lots of goodies courtesy of Caminade Pet Shop.

According to the Island Rescue Organization (IRO), they visited the dog after receiving numerous reports only to find out that it is, in fact, owned by one Glenn Tumapon. After discovering that he was born without two front legs, the IRO decided to forgo giving him any prosthetics or wheelchair as walking on two legs is the only way he knows. The organization brought her from the Larsian along with some puppies to be vaccinated and dewormed.

The second placer was Bingo and the third place was Totot.

In the puppy category, the winners were Boomer (1st place), Charlie (2nd Place) and Tiger (3rd).

Another scene stealer was Raja Roo, another two-legged dog rescued by the IRO. She was run over by a vehicle and needed both of her legs to be amputated.

Dr. Utlang also awarded Barangay Bacayan and Barangay Talamban for their exemplary implementation and support for the DVMF’S programs.

In a phone interview, Dr. Utlang talked about how she hoped their programs would improve how Filipinos view and treat native and mixed-breed dogs and encourage them to adopt more aspins from shelters or pounds, or rescue them off the streets. /Ateneo de Manila University Intern Maria Lelaina R. Cardeño

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TAGS: askal, asong kalye, asong pinoy, asong pinoy day, bedouin tribe, Department of Veterinary Medicine and Fisheries, dogs, DVMF, IRO, Island Rescue Organization

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