The anniversary also coincided with Clifford’s third month as Alyanna’s adopted fur baby. Even if she initially thought the idea of having one of her fitness parties at PAWS was “crazy,” her friends at the shelter agreed to it.
“I only had five days to put this whole thing together, by myself, and my goals were to get awareness [for animal welfare], to get people to volunteer, to get people to donate, and to raise funds for PAWS.”
Alyanna recalled starting her fitness parties when she got seriously ill in 2012. “I almost died,” she narrated. “I was in the hospital for five weeks. They couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. After two years, they found out that it was due to chronic fatigue.” Alyanna then made a decision to live a healthier life, with less work and stress. That was when the idea for Alyanna’s Fitness Party came to mind. “I thought why not hit two birds with one stone?” she explained.
“I had all these brands and sponsors, and I like working out. I just don’t like working out alone, I [always want company].”
After the first-ever Alyanna’s Fitness Party in 2013, which consisted of a private workout to which Alyanna added food and freebies, it then snowballed into public events with various gyms, sponsors, and the public wanting to join. Since then, they’ve had around 60 individual workouts, with no repetitions of gym or type of workout. The most memorable and fun ones, according to Alyanna, were those held out of town with scuba diving, mermaid swimming, and yoga.
Alyanna is happy that even if for her, the PAWS-themed second anniversary of Alyanna’s Fitness Party was a simple one, she was able to get everything that the shelter needed and more, such as funds, food, and supplies. “For me, Clifford, and Chanel [my pet poodle], all we wanted was for their furry friends [at the shelter] to be happy, [so] I’m happy,” said Alyanna.
“It’s more something my Dad [Albert] and I share,” explained Alyanna on her love for animals. “My mom [Liezl] didn’t really want animals at home because she was sensitive to dirt, noise, smells, etc. but I kept nagging non-stop for a dog.” Alyanna recalled how she settled for fish, or other pets except dogs.
Alyanna started volunteering with PAWS last December of 2014, when she was looking for a meaningful way of spending her birthday. “The first dog that they gave me to play with, and socialize with, was Clifford,” narrated Alyanna. “He looks nothing like he looks now! He looked like a raggedy mop head. Since he was so cute, and I usually fall for those who are most needy, I just asked if I could take him to get groomed for the day. After I got him groomed, I thought I couldn’t take in another dog, but I’d like to foster. They allowed me to foster him during the holiday season, and a week after my birthday, I came back [to PAWS] and said ‘I’m not giving him back anymore.’”
After formally adopting Clifford by signing the papers, the rest they say, is history, and it’s been a happy three months for both pet parent and pooch.
How has having an adopted dog been for Alyanna? “On the first day, when he really got along with my pet poodle, that’s when I thought, ‘This is it, I’m sold!’” she said. Clifford, she said, is easy to take care of, because he hardly moves, and doesn’t bite because he only has one tooth left, and also hardly barks. He does have special needs, and this includes giving maintenance medication because Clifford is no longer young. He also hardly walks, which is why Alyanna puts him in stroller to get around. “He just walks around for a few minutes, and then he lies down because he’s really old,” she explained. No one really knows Clifford’s age, but they estimate that he may be around 10 years old.
Clifford’s story pre-PAWS was a dramatic one, since he was found at the airport of all places. Alyanna said that traffic controllers in Ninoy Aquino International Airport found him there two years ago on a rainy day, hiding under a Delta airplane. “Either he was abandoned, or ran away,” mused Alyanna. Clifford had also been found bloody and injured, so they brought him to PAWS.
How did Clifford change Alyanna’s life? “I used to be a breed-specific person—I wanted pure-breed [dogs],” she explained. “I wanted a specific color, a specific size, I wanted to get them at two months old. It made me realize that there are so many dogs out there that need a home, need a family, so why add more dogs into the world when there are so many in need?” Alyanna said she still loves pure-breeds, but if one has the capacity to adopt, she always pushes her friends to do so, or at least to foster. If not foster, one can always volunteer at PAWS, since they will always need an extra hand.
On her fitness parties, Alyanna added that she has learned that fitness is good for one’s health, as well as for one’s mind and soul. With all the challenges she has faced this year, she also said that helping animals has the same effect.
“Physically and emotionally, [fitness and helping animals] clear stress and instantly puts you in a better mood,” she explained. “So when I am feeling sad, stressed, or down, a workout like yoga and spending even a few hours helping out less fortunate animals instantly makes [me] feel better.”
Alyanna has also started to get involved in the campaigns of PAWS, and plans on being a full-time volunteer who drops by regularly, since she lives near the shelter. “My goal is to also get other people to adopt, to bring awareness about adopting, about spaying and neutering,” she said. “Based on my experience on dogs that are adopted, and those that come from breeders, for some weird reason, it’s like [the dogs that were adopted] know that you saved them. They just know.”
And Alyanna will make sure to make Clifford feel special for the rest of his life. “If I could make the [remaining] years of his life happier, that’s already worth the effort. [Imagine] if you were living in the streets for so long, and now to be pampered,” she said of the fulfillment in pet adoption.
Interested in volunteering, fostering, adopting or donating to PAWS? Contact them at 475-1688 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit them at the PAWS Animal Rehabilitation Center (PARC) at Aurora Blvd., Katipunan Valley, Loyola Heights. Visit their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pawsphilippines.
There will be an #AlyannasFitnessParty this April in Mt. Pulag, as well as pocket events with beauty brands. Check out Alyanna’s Instagram account at https://instagram.com/alyannamartinez for announcements and details.