By Jay Ereno
MANILA (Reuters) – Philippine government worker Mary Grace Burgos, 24, had several cute dates lined up for on Valentine’s Day with one thing in common: they were all dogs up for adoption.
Burgos was among a dozen of people who chose to spend their Valentine’s Day at an animal shelter in the Philippine capital. The shelter, run by the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), charged guests 500 to 1,000 pesos ($9.12 – $18.24) to spend half an hour with a furry date. The entry fee will go toward running the shelter, which cares for over 240 dogs and cats.”Some of these dogs were rescued from abusive households, or they came from the streets with traumatic experiences,” Burgos, who herself owns seven dogs at home, said in an interview.
“With these kinds of events they can be immersed with different people, and help them socialise and, hopefully, improve their social skills and get them adopted in the future,” she said while petting a dog.
PAWS campaign officer Sharon Yap hoped the experience would make the guests fall in love with the animals looking for a place to call home.
“The awareness for pet adoption is not that high, and there are still a lot of people buying pets. And it’s a sad fact that a lot of animals in the shelter can give all the love that they can give, but they aren’t given any chance,” Yap said.
Animal cruelty is a crime in the Philippines but many cases go unreported, PAWS said. (Philippine peso = $0.018)
(Writing by Karen Lema; Editing by Alistair Bell)