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PIA Press Release

Celebrities grace Aklan's 1st dog show

by Venus G. Villanueva

Kalibo, Aklan (28 April) -- Celebrities gathered together last Thursday in a show in Kalibo - Piolo was there, and so were Sandara, Zanjoe, Sam, Marimar, Bamboo, Sunshine and Lucy; even the two Pinoy Big Brother housemates were there, Tina and Bruce. They all graced the early morning show - one of the new features in celebration of Aklan's 51st anniversary as a separate province from Capiz - a dog show, and yes, the celebrities mentioned above were the stars - they are dogs.

At least 60 of them were entered by their owners to the dog show which involved coming up the makeshift stage in front of the Provincial Capitol for the audience - and the judges to see who had the best coat, the friendliest, the cutest puppy, the most obedient, best dressed, best senior and best native.

The dog show was the first ever to be held in Aklan, and this was to generate awareness and encourage dog owners to be responsible pet owners as well as to give free anti-rabies vaccines to dogs who had never been vaccinated or those scheduled to have their regular vaccinations for this year.

Dogs of all sizes were brought to the show, and many of the audience were amazed to see and to know that in Aklan, many residents own dogs of different breeds. Pet owners came with their Rootwiellers, Pittbulls, Chow Chow, Labradors, Japanese Spitzes, mongrels, Rosset Hounds, Siberian Huskies, Shih Tzus, Dalmatian, Doberman, Mini Pinchers, Golden Retrievers, Dachshunds, Belgian Malinicus, American Bulldogs, Askals, Poodles, German Shepherds, English Bulldogs, etc.

The biggest hit was Bruno, an 8-month-old Chow Chow owned by Emelyn Salazar who was adjudged Grand Champion and with the Best Coat, while Dusty, a Siberian Husky owned by Butch Lachica, was first runner-up and also adjudged to be most friendly; and Kirby, a dachshund owned by Gabriel Briones, second runner up.

Adjudged the cutest puppy was Gwapa, a one-year old Shih Tzu owned by Mildred Peralta; Most Obedient, Lucy, a 1and a half year-old Siberian Husky owned by Butch Lachica, Jr.; Best Dressed, Sanjo, a 2 year-old Shi Tzu owned by Luningning Isberto and Best Native, Bark, a 4-and-a-half-year-old native mongrel owned by Merlyn Mabasa.

The dog show was a big hit and it was also an opportunity for interested parties to know that caring for a dog especially an extra-ordinary breed is very expensive. Most of the dogs only eat dog food which cost more or less P1,500 a sack; you have to bathe them with special dog soaps and shampoos; and you have to take them for monthly check ups at the animal clinic. Dog consultation, according to one owner, costs P500 per visit. Puppies are also very expensive. Bruno's owner said the Chow Chow was bought as a puppy for P35,000; while the Siberian Huskies were bought for P25,000 each. When these dogs have puppies in Aklan, a male puppy will be sold for P15,000 while a female will be sold for P18,000. Nemo, a Belgian Malinicus is now being trained to be a K 9. Nemo's father, according to the trainer, is already working at the Kalibo Airport as a K 9.

Records of the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian here, headed by Dr. Gervase Radislao, show that as of February of this year, three persons already died due to rabies. OPVET also reported that 1,172 Aklanons had been bitten by dogs in 2006.

With the dog show, OPVET wanted to emphasize that taking care of dogs is not just simply feeding them but caring for them, bathing them, leashing them and having them vaccinated against rabies. The office also stressed that a pet owner has to take care of his dogs notwithstanding the breed of the dogs, be it native askals or foreign breed.

Currently, Aklan has a total of 55,312 heads of dogs and OPVET, under its Rabies Prevention and Control Program targets to vaccinate 80% of these dogs to eliminate rabies and make Aklan a rabies-free province.

OPVET records show that only 7,671 dogs out of the total population were vaccinated, or 13.8% out of the 80% target as the supply of vaccines is limited and most municipalities have no budget for this program. To attain the 80% target, dogs vaccinated should number 44,249.

It is seen that with the awareness campaign brought about by the dog show and with many dog owners who had their dogs vaccinated on the spot, OPVET records will register a higher vaccination percentage, Aklan will soon be rabies-free and Aklan dog owners would be more responsible in caring for their pets. (PIA) [top]

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