The situation for stray animals and abandoned pets in the Philippines has been bad for as long as I can remember. There is so much news of adoption shelters operating at maximum capacity and having to put down their rescues. It’s a common sight to see owner-less dogs trotting up and down the streets. These animals who were bred to be pets have had to learn to take care of themselves.
Usually, this looks like dogs scavenging through trash for a meal, or turning on the puppy eyes when begging for food. A viral post on Facebook tells the story of how a pack of strays has learned to stick together and look out for one another, too. It’s more typical to see stray dogs off on their own, as lone wolves. This is why seeing a group of strays working together is something of a special sight.
Gee Kay Pee Rodri’s post is about meeting Poochie, the leader of a pack of stray dogs by the Valley Golf area in Ortigas Extension. She and her daughter came across the dog waiting outside a Jollibee, presumably begging for food. They decided to give him a burger but instead of accepting it, Poochie led them over an overpass to the rest of his pack. After accepting the food from the pair, Poochie offered it to a fellow stray and didn’t even take a bite of his own!
Photo c/o Nini Perez
The full story reads:
And we thought it only happened in the movies.
Tonight, the daughter and I witnessed something extraordinary from a pack of scruffy stray dogs hanging out in the Valley Golf area along Ortigas Extension.
We just came from a Ministop convenience store and were passing by a Jollibee outlet when we saw this cream-colored dog sitting by the steps of the side entrance. He sat with a noble pride, enough for us to take notice. So we stopped in front of him, said hello…and he lit up like a bulb with a beautiful smile.
Detecting that he could be befriending us because he’s hungry, I told the daughter to buy him a burger while I stayed with him so he won’t run away. But as the daughter stepped out with the burger in hand, the dog stood up and trotted away. We thought he was running away from us but he stopped after reaching the other corner and looked at us – as if telling us to follow him.
And we did! He went up the overpass, every now and then looking behind his shoulder to see if we were still following him. When he got to the other side of Ortigas, we realized that he was part of a pack of stray dogs!
The dog we were following approached me again so I gave him the burger. What happened next was the most heartwarming thing ever. He took the burger from me, set it by the sidewalk, then huffed to call in a hazel-colored packmate.
It was the packmate who benefited from the free burger. He polished the thing off in just seven gulps.
Dogs. They’re probably the animals with the biggest heart. Bless these innocent strays.
We talked to Gee and Nini Perez, another Facebook user who has met these dogs so that we might get more information on the story. They learned the name of the dog from the guards at Jollibee since Poochie is apparently a permanent fixture there. Nini gives a little background on Poochie:
I was inside Jolibee when I noticed him following Kuya Guard with the biggest smile on his face. That’s when I went out and gave him some of my food and when he saw me, he actually hugged me! As per Kuya Guard, he usually hangs around Jolibee every night and since the crew has also grown to love him, they give him food whenever they can. Kuya Guard even told me na Poochie is so smart that he knows how to use the overpass when I raised concern dun sa cars na labas pasok ng village (about the cars leaving and entering the village).
Both say that they hope stories like this show people that all dogs are good dogs. There’s a lot of stigma against stray dogs and mixed breeds in the Philippines, but none of it is true. They deserve a good home and love just like any other dogs.
How do you think we solve the problem of stray dogs here in the Philippines?