This one’s a photo of me and our 3 boys. Behind me is Rex, on my right is Theon, and the frontmost one is Pedro. Rex and Pedro are senior dogs. We do not bring them out for walks anymore because of their hip dysplasia. This doesn’t stop them from playfully roaming around in the yard. I hear the three of them (well mostly just Rex and Theon) running about. Pedro tags along for only a few seconds and then he will be dozing off shortly after.
When I didn’t know better, we bought Rex from a petstore ten years ago. I remember how I felt for the older dogs who were waiting to be bought, and I wanted to give them all a good home. We realized years later that we should adopt and not shop, as buying dogs from petstores supports puppy mills which often operate just for profit, mostly neglecting the wellbeing and health of the dogs. Adopting dogs from sanctuaries and shelters give these wonderful creatures another chance at life, and allows for room for other dogs to be saved by the sanctuaries. We have many neglected and unloved dogs in Metro Manila – both strays and in their homes. Sadly, the unfair treatments like keeping dogs chained or locked in cages 24/7 are still widely practiced by a lot of dog parents, starting with my own neighbors.
We consider Rex as ‘our eldest’. We spent hours training him as a pup, had our share of chewed (and destroyed) furniture, lunches and dinners with family friends who also have furbabies. Rex loves to swim and is a gentle soul who loves sleeping next to my feet whenever I watch TV. His favorite spot in the house is the kitchen. When his legs were stronger we would move all edible food higher up where he wouldn’t reach them. Rex is so clingy and scared of thunder. We ordered Thundershirts for our boys because Rex’s fear of thunders seemed to have rubbed off on Theon.
Speaking of Theon, we named him after Theon Greyjoy. He is our second – though he’s the youngest of the three. My dad gave him to us when their dog gave birth, and Theon was the only one in the litter that survived. Theon is the smartest of the three, and the most alert. He looks up to Rex and follows him around all the time. I like to think he’s Rex’s shadow.
Lastly is Pedro, an English Bulldog that we recently adopted. Pedro is a sweet cheeky little boy that loves barking when it’s about time for their breakfast and dinner. He barks to announce he is awake and when there is no one next to him when he opens his eyes from sleep. Not that he throws a tantrum. It’s more of like a ‘hey, what’s up, I’m awake. Where’s everybody?’. He gets cold easily so he opts to step out when he feels cold from the airconditioning. Pedro is the kindest of the three. Before Pedro, Rex and Theon would chase our hens. When Pedro started ‘owning’ the backyard where the hens are, the hens warmed up to him quickly. Eventually Rex and Theon stopped chasing them too. It’s funny when the three are lined up for their treats, the hens would line up next to them hoping for a treat of their own. Pedro is a survivor. Before we adopted him he was not given his yearly shots for some time, and he got sick with canine distemper. After a few weeks of vet home visits and medication, he was in the clear. He is a fighter, and I am proud of how brave and strong our little boy is. He’s celebrated his 10th birthday a couple of days ago.
We love our dogs. Whenever we reach home, nothing beats the warm, genuine welcome that the boys give us (except for Pedro who most of the time cannot be bothered if he is asleep). I love how they lovingly look up to me whatever mood I am in, how they curl up calmly next to me when I paint or read a book. They do not judge, they just long to be next to us. They’re mostly happy when we are at the yard for a barbecue with guests. I love the random kisses when I give them a bath. I love how happy they are when it’s time for breakfast or dinner – reminding me to live simply as they do, and be grateful for everyday blessings.