Archive for the ‘pets’ Category

The first time I have been to a zoo was when I was seven years old. It was Manila Zoo and there were still lots of animals there at that time – rhinos, giraffes, hippos, antelopes of all shapes and sizes, and tons more. I went back two years ago with James and it was a pitiful site. Half of the cages were covered in feces, the animals, or whatever’s left of the number of species exhibited, were thin and sickly. The smell was intolerable. We went home sad after the experience.

Now that I am on vacation leave, James and I took the opportunity to go to the Avilon Zoo in Montalban, Rizal, with my oldest nephew, Vien. From our place in Cainta, we went to Sta Lucia East Mall for there is an FX terminal bound for Montalban. For P40, we snaked through the streets of Marikina, San Mateo and then Rodrigiuez to what seemed like a day’s travel to such unknown lands. At last we reached the landmark gas station, rode a tricycle to the zoo along a very rocky path.

The fee was P300 for adults and P200 for kids and a tour guide for P400. We no longer took a guide so we had a lunch first (yes, we went there during high noon, under the glaring sun of Rizal!) and saw three arapaimas in the large pond. Armed with Off lotion slathered on our skin, bottles of cold water and lots of face towels, we went inside the zoo to look at the animals.

We first saw the numerous geese, swans and ducks and then the pet animals and then the farm animals. The Martha-wannabe in me dreams of having my own farm taking care of silver pheasants, golden pheasants, peafowls and swans! Then we went to the arid habitat section where we saw the small fennec foxes and snobbish caracal. It was a bad timing for us for certainly these animals are taking cover from the midday sun. Then we went to see the flightless birds section where I saw ostriches and learned that there are several types of cassowary!

Off we went to the bigger mammals section where a hippo was resting under a bridge, wallabies (cousins of the kangaroos) were resting in the shade, a tree kangaroo was on a branch, small deer were grouped together, probably gossiping among themselves the arrival of a cute guy like me!

Me, my nephew and the warty pigs!

Then we went to see the big cats but before that we saw an opportunity to feed the arapaimas with chicken heads for only P20! We took the challenge and I panicked when I saw how it was like to have more than ten arapaimas jumping out of the water to get to the food! I forgot that these fish jump out of the Amazon River to catch birds and small monkeys in the canopies when the river overflows. Then we saw, or rather awakened, a lion, saw Bengal Red and White Tigers, Puma or Cougar, Clouded Leopard and a Malaysian Sun Bear. I know he is a bit out of place but do you know that Sun Bears are victimized by the traditional Chinese medicine trade which considers their bile medicinal? The poachers attach plastic tubes to the bear’s insides to draw out the bile while the bear is still living! Efforts are being made to stop this heinous crime to animals!


Then we went to see the small and big primates : lorises, marmosets, macaques (there is a white one who was alone in the cage who masturbated in front of us – oh, what sadness can do to one’s sanity!) and orang-utans! The big primate spat at the noisy onlookers and they all laughed. I wanted to tell them that the reason he spat was because he was irritated of them! So move on!

The naughty white guy!

Then off we go to the reptiles: numerous crocodiles, alligators and gharials. Gharials are smaller crocodilians with elongated snout perfect for hunting fish and small invertebrates. They are not known to attack humans but they fall prey to habitat destruction.

Next stop were the birds! Well, you know how I love big birds with beautiful behinds (and you know what I mean *wink*) and the exhibit did not disappoint me, from the ultra colorful peacocks to the lesser colored finches, to the noisy sun conures to the laughing thrushes, from the big-beaked hornbills to the scary falcons.

Can't wait to get my hands on that ass!

There was a never a pungent smell of feces in the air and we saw a lot of zoo staff cleaning cages, changing the food bowls, hosing down plants and showering the birds with water. There are also satellite snack bars inside the zoo perfect for sudden thirst. I particularly like the benches in front of the birds’ cages inviting the patrons to sit down and listen to songs of nature. The restrooms, available around the property, were also clean.

Soon the tour was over; we got home, took a quick shower (for Tessa and Sam would soon become too curious with all the animal smell we took home) and simply were very happy with our latest zoo trip!

Now, that monkey got me thinking of my family tree!


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Wanna fox?

I am not referring to the candy but to the small canid with thick fur and bushy tail that is a character in Dora the Explorer.

Foxes belong to the Canidae family, with wolves, coyotes and our domestic dogs belonging to the same family. These are omnivorous animals – preying on both meat and plant matter. Fox habitat ranges as extreme as deserts (Arctic Fox in the northern ice lands and South American Gray Fox in the dry Atacama desert and some, like the Red Fox have been seen looking for food within the outskirts of human settlements). Foxes are cunning creatures, relying on their acute sense of smell and sight to hunt down prey and escape bigger predators.

However, some foxes have not been cunning enough to maintain number population with the greatest threat to any species’ survival – humans. The fur trade of the early last century saw the decline in the number of foxes such as Arctic and Red Foxes valued for their thick fur. The pest control of the prairies in the 1800s which targeted coyotes and squirrels actually decimated large population of foxes. Hunting with dogs was also rampant in the old days. Hunting foxes with dogs in England is now prohibited but one can still hunt with other means.

Arctic Fox

But one of the greatest breakthroughs of modern times may actually save the fox from obliteration. Sometime in the 1950s, Dr. Dmitri Belyaev was approached by one fur farm in Estonia to help breed a tamer fox. Dr. Belyaev started choosing only the tamest of the then-wild foxes for breeding. After 35 generations, Dr Belyaev and his team were able to domesticate one wild animal in modern times – the domesticated Russian Silver Fox.

They, however, were surprised to see changes other than the behavior of tamed foxes – fur color, tail length and barking. Foxes are prized for their stunning solid coloration but tamed foxes resulted to other color patterns – dotted like that of a Dalmatian, mixed like that of a Shih-tzu and white striped just like that of a Papillon. The ears also started drooping like a common domesticated dog. The tail was also irregular – some were curled like that of a Siberian Husky, others were still straight like the wild fox. They also started barking like our dogs!


tamed fox behaving like a cat

The culprit in these changes was identified as the adrenalin – the hormone that gives the animal its fight or flight response. This is the same hormone that allows us supernatural strength during emergencies. Since the tamed foxes no longer see any threat in humans and other animals, its adrenalin level dropped giving way to other hormonal levels. The different hormonal chemistry led to the physical changes and scientists are now confident that this may be the reason on why we have different breeds of dogs so much different from its ancestor, the wolf.

Now, one can order domesticated silver foxes from Sibfox, a private company in Las Vegas, Nevada, a distributor of silver foxes from its farm in Novosibirsk, Russia under the Institute of Cytology and Genetics. Sibfox only serves one location – the United States and one can own a tamed fox for almost US$7,000.

So since these tamed foxes are used to the cold regions and would not fare well in tropical Manila, plus the very expensive cost of owning one, I think I should wish for something to take care of that I can easily afford, a Papillon. I can be contented being called foxy!


*special thanks to National Geographic and Pics-site.com for the pictures

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In Loving Memory of Mitos

Death is probably the most painful thing to accept.

February 2009 was when James and I decided to have a dog as our first child. We studied different breeds and ultimately settled for a mini-schnauzer after receiving a postcard from my boss at The Bank with a picture of a schnauzer.

Together with a dear friend, Ms Hope, we went to Quezon City to see the ‘breeder’ from whom I will buy our dog. The moment I saw the only mini-schnauzer puppy for sale, I knew something was wrong. His hair was very short and skin had flakes. I asked the breeder what was that and he said that it was just dandruff and that it would go away. I knew he was lying. Logic tells me to back out from the deal but my conscience was telling me otherwise. The puppy was sick and I have the resources to take care of him. The breeder will just put him to sleep and no one knows if it will be humanely done so.

I bought the puppy with me and James and I named him Mitos. Mitos was well received by our family. We bought him all his needs – playpen, bowls, food, water spout, toys, treats. He even only drank purified water!

When we brought him to the vet to have him checked, our suspicions were confirmed – he was suffering from demodex, a life-threatening skin disease that is hereditary and is due to very weak immune system. According to the vet, there is a treatment for demodex but it would be long and expensive. James and I were of single heart – do whatever it takes, no matter the cost, just so our child would be well.

For the next weeks, Mitos was well taken care of by our family. Mitos would not be able to get out of his playpen until the floor has been mopped clean with zonrox and water. His toys and bowls were regularly washed. But amidst these precautions, his weak immune system allowed him to suffer from parvovirus infection, a disease characterized by diarrhea and lethargy. The disease has an 80%-90% mortality rate and Mitos survived not just one but two infections.

Mitos was a regular patient at the vet’s clinic. He had been hospitalized for a total of more than a week. But my family, James and I were very positive that after Mitos received all his treatments, he would live the life of a regular happy dog.

On his sixth month, after James and I returned from our Boracay trip, and days before Mitos’ last vaccine, he died.

He collapsed and we rushed him to the vet and left him to be confined. Moments later, the vet told us that Mitos would no longer survive and I quickly decided to put him to sleep. We rushed to the clinic but it was too late. Mitos died before euthanasia can be done.

I saw his dead body, his dead stare. I could not control myself but cried as hard and loud as I can. James was with me, trying to be strong for me and for himself.

I hated myself for some reasons – I should not have bought him and spared me and my family the heartbreak. I should have allowed him to play, get dirty, instead of giving him a hospital-clean home.

But I know there is a reason for everything – Mitos came into our lives to remind us that life is short and that it should be enjoyed and well-spent. That love often protects people up to the point of imprisoning the other.

That even gay couples can have children, in this case, dog-children, and lose them just like heterosexual couples.

That love transcends life and death and I know Mitos is happy wherever he is right now.

In loving memory of Mitos (December 26, 2008 – May 24, 2009).

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The Last Meow

The reason humans are classified taxonomically separate from apes is our capacity of logical thinking – to choose what is right from wrong, to act with compassion.

As I visited PAWS’ website, I learned of this incident that has happened years ago, of a student in UP Diliman who allegedly killed a month-old kitten in the school campus by throwing it by its tail and them jumping and landing on its torso!

This is an 18-year-old boy (at that time in 2009), even if he was frail or skinny, jumping and landing on a cat’s torso, more so a kitten, would deliver a deadly blow. Sa tao nga delikado yun eh, sa pusa pa!

According to eye witnesses, the cat ran away but it wasn’t long until it coughed up blood and died.

The alleged killer admitted his actions in his multiply account which is now deactivated. There is no need for acute research skills for anyone could easily Google up the incident and be taken to links or screenshots of his blog entry.

From http://anima9.multiply.com (thank you for the information), the horrible blog entry is:

“4th Epic Fail: An Accidental Crime. First day sa supercon. Lunch time came. On our way out of old NIP I saw the cat I almost killed last Tuesday. Now everyone knows I hate cats. It’s an unexplainable feeling towards them. Like some internal hatred. Hindi ko talaga alam kung bakit pero anumang pagpipigil sa sarili ay hindi sapat upang mapangibabawan ang panggigil ko sa mga pusa. I pulled it on its tail and threw it. Then like some pro wrestler I jumped on it and my feet landed on it’s torso. Slam! Felt good! But the cat didn’t die, well not yet. It ran for it’s life and just as I was about to catch up on it somebody yelled: “Pwede bang pabayaan mo yung pusa?!”. It was instant and involuntary. I stopped on my tracks. Nobody ever stopped me when assaulting cats. Well I guess there’s always a first time for everything. The cat got away. Or at least that’s what i thought. So we went to lunch Mel, Jayson, Tracy and me. After lunch, balik na sa kung anumang naiwang gawain. Then Tracy and Mel told me ” Hui Jc napatay mo yung pusa”. Hours later, habang abala sa XRD, a guy came in. Tanong niya: “Sinong pumatay dun sa pusa?” Bang! Dat was me boi. Guilty as charged. I didn’t see it die pero sabi ni Myles it coughed up blood or at least something like that daw. Didn’t realize I gave it a fatal hit. This isn’t the first time I’ve killed a cat but this time it’s different. It didn’t occur to me back then that the cat had a leash. So I think somebody owns it. Well it’s very well loved in NIP from what I heard and I just ended it’s life.

So there you go I’m sorry. And I wont be striking another one for maybe about a month. It feels good when your beating it(a cat) up but you suddenly feel something strange when it turns off permanently. That’s how I feel right now. And maybe for the next days. Dang, am I a cat serial killer?”

The man is known in the internet as Joseph Carlo Candare, a Physics student at UP.

According to the Manila Standard Today (http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/insideNews.htm?f=2010/december/4/news4.isx&d=2010/december/4), Mr. Candare is already facing official charges in the court for violating the Animal Welfare Law.

This is definitely old news. But the abuse being given to animals is still very prevalent. Cats are kicked, dogs are tied under the baking sun, fish is kept in glass bowls without filter, birds are used in cockfighting.

We can never bring back a lost life, regardless if it’s human or not.

The cat, even if sheltered in the streets, lacking in pedigree, still has a right to live, inasmuch, and only inasmuch as we do.

I regret that Mr Candare’s future would certainly be affected by what he has done but I am happy that he will learn his lessons well.

No law in physics is ever greater than the law of karma – I can’t wait for you to be reborn as a cockroach Mr Candare!

Pag nagkaganun, asan na tsinelas ko?!

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It was a breezy Sunday midday, around 11AM. I was at the garage getting all the slippers I put on the gate to dry after being washed. Beside the bowl of potato also drying under the midday sun (at may kinalaman talaga ang patatas sa story ko diba) sat Fabio, the black-and-white neighborhood Puspin (pusang pinoy) who had the habit of resting in our garage and sharing food with the rest of the puspin gang.

My mom, an animal lover herself, would save kitchen scraps to feed the puspins and aspins in the street. She would put these scraps in an old ice cream tub placed in the same spot beside our home.

Going back to that breezy midday when Fabio, upon seeing me, immediately got up, purred, and went in between my legs, asking to be scratched. I obliged. I went down and scratched his neck, which made him purr even more. He is so adorable, I quickly got inside after remembering that we will have rellenong bangus for lunch – for there’ll surely be some fishbones for him.

I got out with the bowl of scraps and went to the spot beside our house. But before I could pour the contents of the bowl I was holding, an aspin was running towards me, learning of the free lunch. So for fairness, I took out the two sets of fishbones (for dogs don’t like them) and poured the rest of the scraps in the tub.

I saw Fabio waiting by our gate and I slowly put the fishbones I was holding on the garage steps so he could easily take it away with him but he suddenly went forward and bit me! I was surprised! I was still holding the fishbones and thought I could not jerk lest I traumatize the animal even more. I looked at Fabio, who was also shocked by what he has done, and placed the fishbones on the stairs.

I went inside our home, washed my hand with water (for the puncture wound was already bleeding) and told James that I would be taking a bath before lunch so we can go to the hospital to be vaccinated.

Before stepping into the bathroom, I looked down at the garage from my bedroom terrace to see if Fabio took the bones and seems he did. I am glad he was not too shocked to forget about food!

After our lunch with so much hilarious conversation on my mom’s accusation that I am developing a fetish for anti-rabies injections, James and I went to the Medical City in Ortigas. It was a year ago when Mitos, pour deceased first-born dog-child playfully bit me. It did not bleed but I did not take any risk. I went to Makati Medical Center the following day (but less than 24 hours, of course).

After waiting for an hour in the Emergency Room (sensed the irony?), I was finally given my dose of anti-tetanus booster and anti-rabies on both my arms. I still one to go on Wednesday (October 27).

Most peoples’ reaction when bitten by a cat or a dog is anger towards the animal. Let us remember that primarily, they are animals. They are guided by their instinct to survive and to protect themselves. Humans should always think of this and should not do anything to provoke an animal, even if it is domesticated, more so if it is our pet.

When bitten by any animal suspected of rabies, please wash the wound and the surrounding area with clean water and soap and have yourself injected with anti-tetanus and anti-rabies within 24 hours, sooner if the one bitten was a child and on the upper part of the body.

This is because a child’s immune system is generally weaker compared to that of an adult and a bite on the upper part of the body is more dangerous due to close proximity to the central nervous system.

If bitten for the first time, you would be given a shot of anti-tetanus and a shot of anti-rabies on the first day. This would go on for several days with the prescribed interval period (like D3, D7, so on). If bitten for the second time, please tell the attending physician of the dates of your previous immunization for it will play a factor in knowing the dosage you need and frequency of administration.

These post-bite shots would set you off a few thousand pesos in big hospitals but if you are kind of short in cash, San Lazaro Hospital has one of the cheapest anti-rabies shots available in the country. It is in Manila and the people there are specialized in dog and cat bites. You just have to go around asking people to share a vial with you (and its costs) for one shot uses only a portion of the vial and it is you who will buy it from nearby drugstores.

If in case you have a pet cat or a dog, please have them immunized with anti-rabies as soon as their sixth month of age, with yearly booster shots. If you obtained your pet with much an age more than six months and you are not sure if it has been immunized, I suggest we err on the lesser evil and have our dear pets be given anti-rabies shots. This would only cost less than P500 a shot.
But of course, rabies can be transmitted from one animal to another through the saliva of an infected species. So please have your pets stay inside your homes and never allow them to wander by themselves. They can get rabies from other dogs and cats that way.

I hope this post helps you and I will keep you posted on my health. So far, I am still drinking water and not afraid of it!

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For those of who have read my earlier posts would have known that I am an animal lover. I used to take care of cats when I was a kid. I also had a chance to take care of a goldfish in a fishbowl (but sooner learned that having a fish in a fishbowl without filtration is not very responsible).

In 2009, James and I decided to have a dog-child and we got Mitos, a two-month mini-schnauzer from a breeder in Quezon City. It was February 28. On May 22, he passed away due to complications. I would tell you all about it in a separate post. I was so devastated. Then my brother brought home Samantha, a four-year old Pomeranian who took our hearts away. A month later, my brother’s friend gave us Contessa, a cross between a Maltese and a Japanese Spitz.

Both of our dog-children, Sam and Tessa, are doing very well. But I am thinking of ‘giving birth’ to new children. But of course, we need to do some family planning. But given that money and other resources won’t be of any concern, my dream children are:



Sun Conure

Giant Gourami

San pa kaya ako matutulog pag ‘ipinanganak’ na silang lahat?

PS Special thanks to www.pluspets.netwww.minifauna.com, www.thelensflare.com, www.petfish.net for the photos

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I had experienced opposite feelings towards my family this week. This entry would be made up of two short servings of my complicated family tree.

Last Thursday, I received a rare text message from my not-so-dear brother asking me if I could give in to his request to have me as a co-maker of a loan he was applying for. Without intentionally bragging, my credit standing is far better than his considering that the only enforceable financial liabilities I have are my credit charges, which are kept within limits and settled promptly; as compared to him who was almost brought to court due to his inability to settle his credit card bills on time. Social climber to the max kasi. In fact, I took out my very first bank loan to help pay a portion of his debt and it took me a year to pay it! He never paid me back or said thank you. Ganda diba? Going back to his text, my quick answer in my head was ‘no’. James told me to sugarcoat it a little by lying that I would be getting a loan myself soon, etc. I do not owe my brother any explanation. I did not reply and completely ignored his message. My silence means no.

Saturday morning, I asked my mom if brotherhood of evil mutants was suffering from financial incapacity, again. She answered no and I told her about the loan. She said it was because brotherly was getting a car! At may condo pa sya na binabayaran sa Pag-ibig (I’ll post another story about this soon) so I said that I would not be his loan’s co-maker.

The price I paid – nagdabog ang nanay ko buong araw and obviously she was hurt by my decision since she was cold to me the whole day.


The same Saturday, James and I went to Galleria to get new prescription glasses for him. Before we went home, we dropped by a newly-opened café in the middle of The Village. The place was very nice, with ambience better than Starbucks, with more items in the menu but sadly, lesser varieties of coffee. I shouted this out in my Facebook account and then Tita Zhang Ziyi (my father’s first wife) commented that she knows the place. I started to chat with her and learned that her youngest brother is part-owner of the café and that her family, my dad included, would be there on Sunday for the blessings ceremony. Wow! What a small world. I am happy that I still have communication with my dad’s family especially with Tita Zhang.

Tita Zhang has always been very kind to me especially during my teen-age years when I spent more time with them. She even apologized to me for hating me when she learned of my existence and asked for my understanding for she was hurt with my dad’s betrayal. Soon, she realized, it was never my fault. There was no reason for me to hate her, though. In fact, I think, I am more attached to her than with my dad. Probably because Tita Zhang was very motherly to me. I told her the next time they visit; it’s going to be my treat!

Just barely a week, I suffered from opposing poles of emotions. I wish my brother would start acting like an intelligent human being and huwag lang puro tambay sa sauna ng Fitness First! Sorry at badtrip lang talaga ako pag ako ang nagmumukhang kontrabida. And I wish The Café success for our experience was fantastic. We will bring Samantha and Contessa, our dogs, there next time.

On the record, this is my latest, or earliest, or latest, blog entry I ever posted. Signing off at exactly 12.35 Sunday morning.

Good night and good morning everyone!

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