READY-SET-DASH, organized by The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) Aspin Club in cooperation with Venice Piazza and Alpo, was an event exclusively for non-purebred dogs as part of the organization's campaign to promote the beauty of Aspins or Asong Pinoys, formerly known as "askals" or "asong kalye"
The change in name was meant to uplift the image of the native dog. "Anything associated with the kalye or street was derogated. Take for example the negative images we think of when we mention 'batang kalye' or 'babaeng kalye'. We want to promote a whole new perspective of the aspins that majority of pet owners and even professed animal-lovers tend to take for granted," says Anna Cabrera, Executive Director of PAWS.
The PAWS Aspin Club was formed in 2010 which aims to provide owners an opportunity to socialize their native of mixed breed dogs through fun pet activities like a doggie day spa, dog walks for a cause, basic obedience training sessions and the like which were enough to make any purebred canine drool with envy.
The obstacle course made up of ramps, hoops, tunnels and fun canine games was transformed by Jojo Isorena of BetterDog into a virtual play land for the dogs.
In "I Made It Through The Rain", the dogs had to go thru an arch with drizzling water with the owners having the choice of going through the arch themselves if their canine partners were unwilling get wet.
The test which challenged a lot of dogs the most was "The Eggs Factor" where dogs had to use their sense of smell to find the hidden treat inside 1 of 15 plastic eggs scattered on the floor.
From 40 aspin and owner tandems, the following emerged as the Top 3 winners, having garnered the shortest times in completing the challenges:
3rd Place: Alya Honasan and native dog Kikay (5min 18sec)
2nd Place: Nice Rodriguez and native dog Manda (4min 33 sec)
1st Place: Victoria Francisco and schnauzer-pom mix, ChocNut (4min 30sec)
Kikay and Manda were dogs rescued by their respective owners, showing the typical plight of most aspins in the Philippines.
"Kikay was a stray slated to be made into pulutan by some security guards when I found her," says Honasan.
Manda, on the other hand, was adopted by Rodriguez from the Mandaluyong City Pound barely two months ago. "Manda is donating part of her prize (a sack of Alpo dog food) to her less fortunate pals who are still at the pound," said Nice Rodriguez, who has rescued numerous aspins from cruelty and regularly volunteers to help feed dogs at the Mandaluyong City Pound.
Heart posed with 3 shelter dogs to encouraged everyone to adopt aspins from local shelters or pounds, saying that her family herself has over 30 dogs, many of them aspins.
The actress confessed that she did not realize that there was a discrimination between aspins and purebred dogs until she was invited by PAWS to be the Aspin Club spokesperson because her German Shepherds, aspins and other dogs were treated equally and as beloved members of the family.
In her other poster, Heart, described as "half Spanish-Chinese, half Filipino", is seated beside Charles, a dog who is "half terrier, half aspin".
Heart proudly professes that she, like the majority of Filipinos, comes from a mixed lineage. "And just like the aspin, we are all 100% beautiful!" she said with a big smile.
Evangelista's split with boyfriend, commercial model Daniel Matsunaga, made headlines in recent showbiz news so the actress elicited cheers from the crowd when she said, "To all broken hearted women out there, those of you who are sad and feeling lonely, get a dog. Adopt an aspin from a shelter!"
Heart ended by making an appeal for people to speak out against animal cruelty.
The PAWS Aspin Club's READY-SET-DASH was made possible through the generous support of Venice Piazza, Alpo and BetterDog Canine Behavior Center. Special thanks to Frontline Plus, McDonald's, Swell Sweets and The Philippine Star Pet Life Section.
For more photos, click PAWS Aspin Club Ready Set Dash Event