What is World Animal Day exactly?
According to the official World Animal Day site, “World Animal Day was started in 1931 at a convention of ecologists in Florence as a way of highlighting the plight of endangered species. Since then it has grown to encompass all kinds of animal life and is widely celebrated in countries throughout the world. October 4 was chosen as World Animal Day as it is the Feast Day of St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.”
In the Philippines, our World Animal Day ambassador is PAWS’ Executive Director Anna Cabrera who is busy coordinating with other animal welfare groups for activities on this big day.
The Philippine WAD celebration kicks off at the SM Mall of Asia on October 1 with “The Great Dog Dash” – a fun ‘race’ for dogs 16inches and below in height (from top of head to the tip of paws). Dog owners need to bring proof of updated rabies vaccination and pay P250 – which goes to benefit the PAWS Animal Rehabilitation Center directly. Participating dogs must also be well-socialized, friendly to humans and other dogs. An important note from organizers: female dogs brought to the venue should not be in heat. (PAWS really prefers that all companion animals be neuterd and spayed to avoid all sorts of health and behavioral problems)
What is interesting to watch at The Great Dog Dash is the owners, not the dogs. Since the winner of set is determined by which dogs approaches its owner first at the finish line, it is always enjoyable to see the owners use squeaky toys, treats and do all the cajoling and sweet “baby talking” to their pets just to get them to come to the end of the short (10-meter) finish line.
After all the excitement of the Dash, the pet owners have a chance to unwind by listening to celebrity-loving performers at the concert for the animals.
Animal-lovers will have a grand time going around the Nestle Koko Krunch booth and getting to know their local animal welfare groups better since Animal Kingdom Foundation (AKF), CARA, Earth Island Institute and PETA will be there to showcase their campaigns and advocacies.
These groups and additional animal protection group working across the country also come together in the first ever Philippine Animal Advocates Conference for Transformation (PAACT) to be held at the Sta Maria Function Room of Discovery Suites on October 3. . The conference will serve as a networking forum where AW groups can assist each other in developing better animal welfare programs and discuss topics such as Animal Welfare Legislation, Running Spay-Neuter Clinics and Shelter, which are important to all animal welfare organizations. Inquiries and registration for this conference may be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, a pet blessing and mass for the animals on October 2 (Sunday) is a special treat for all pet lovers and their pets. As in previous years for animal blessings organized by PAWS, the pet owners get to renew their pledge of commitment to their companion animals, in line with their duties as responsible stewards of God’s creation.
At this Mass, the offerors are dogs holding baskets of flowers and the readers go up the altar carrying their beloved pets. The highlight, of course, is that pets get blessed one by one by celebrant and animal lover, Father Joey Paras, SDB.
We are excited about these October activities celebrating our animal friends and hope to see all of you there!
WAD Philippines is made possible through the generous support of SM Mall of Asia, Alpo & Friskies. Special thanks to Merial Philippines, Frontline Plus, Pet Express, Belo Essentials, Better Dog, McDonalds and its official media partner, The Philippine Star Pet Life Section.