In 2007, a dog was rescued from a truck bound for a dog slaughterhouse during a Humane Society International-led seizure in the Philippines. Originally nicknamed “Brown-Brown” he immediately captured the attention of his rescuers, as despite the horrific ordeal he had just experienced, he displayed a friendly and docile nature which made him an ideal candidate for adoption.
Not long after arrival at PAWS, Brown-Brown found a permanent home with Rhea Oropilla, a preschool teacher and PAWS volunteer. Renamed “Adonis” he then went through a rigorous assessment to test his suitability as a Dr. Dog therapist, and passed with flying colours! Adonis became a certified therapy dog and joined Animals Asia’s /PAWS' Dr. Dog program.
Healing Paws Only five months after he was rescued from the back of the truck, Adonis made his first visit to the pediatric cancer ward of the National Children's Hospital in Quezon City.
Anna Hashim-Cabrera, PAWS' Director, was present on the day Adonis made his first visit. "A woman was standing outside the Dr. Dog room, watching with her son, who was in the hospital for treatment," says Anna. "He had been crying for over an hour; but his mother said that he immediately started smiling when he saw Adonis and the other Dr. Dogs. This is a child who benefited from simply catching a glimpse of the dogs!"
Dr Julian Lecciones, medical director of the hospital agrees. "It's heartening to see children and dogs together, enjoying each other's company. "These programs obviously have a positive effect on the kids."
Adonis and Rhea have since made several trips to the hospital.
Patients and families at the hospital were surprised to learn that Adonis had survived the dog meat trade to become a certified therapy dog.
"Mongrels and street dogs are often so poorly treated that they have temperament problems, being scared or distrustful of humans” explains Anna, “but Adonis broke that mold.”
Many street dogs have the potential to become therapy dogs if given the chance. Adonis is one of the lucky ones - a gentle soul who just needed a second chance, is now giving kids in need a comforting furry shoulder to lean on.