The sunglasses-wearing canine, JJ, won the "Life of the Party" award chosen by Megaworld Lifestyle Mall during the mini-program before the Holy Mass. Lee mentioned that they are going to apply JJ as therapy dog under PAWS' Doctor Dog program within the month.
"It's very timely that we are celebrating World Animal Day (WAD) just as President Noynoy Aquino has very recently signed the Amendment of the Animal Welfare Act - now, Republic Act or RA10631, " said WAD Ambassador for the Philippines and PAWS Executive Director, Anna Cabrera.
(The amended law increases penalties for animal offenders to up to P250,000 and provides a maximum prison term of three years.)
Cabrera presented three of PAWS' rescued animals and their amazing transformations at the program: Apollo - an aspin who was rescued from Marcos Highway, Lee an aspin with a neck injury and Meoweth, a puspin or native cat, whose jaw-repair has made it the only 'smiling cat' for adoption at the PAWS Animal Rehabilitation Center. At the event, PAWS also formally announced the launching of its Sharon Cuneta adopt-a-shelter-dog campaign posters and billboard, sponsored by Eastwood City.
As half of the attendees participated in the praying of the rosary and procession of the statue of St. Francis of Assisi around Eastwood City, those who stayed around at Eastwood Open Park had fun participating in the animal trivia contest hosted by Patricia Bermudez-Hizon and listening to The Voice Philippines' finalist, Morissette Amon, who rendered a song number.
At 5:30 in the afternoon, Father Jose "Joey" Antonio Paras, SDB started the celebration of the Holy Mass for the Animals and was assisted by Father Eugene Lucerna. In his sermon, Father Joey urged all attendees to "widen their circle of compassion to include animals" as they are also "part of God's creation". The priest is an animal lover and a long-time supporter of PAWS and has been doing the pet blessings for the organization for four years now.
Also during the Mass, former congresswoman Bernadette Herrera-Dy, author of the amendment of the AWA in Congress, read the First Reading while PAWS volunteers and shelter animals participated as Mass offerors.
Hamsters, turtles, a hedgehog and a rabbit were among the other animals spotted at the pet blessing aside from the usual dogs and cats. It took an hour for all animals to be individually blessed after the Mass.
The 2013 PAWS Pet Blessing at Eastwood Open Park was made possible by Eastwood Mall and Megaworld Lifestyle Malls, in cooperation with PET ONE and the Philippine Star Pet Life Section.