Valentine’s Day dates for rescued dogs and cats in the Philippines

Valentine's Day dates for rescued dogs and cats in the Philippines
Mary Grace Burgos feeds the rescued dog Hawthorne during a Valentine's Day date at the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) Shelter in Quezon City, Manila, Philippines, February 14, 2023, credit: Reuters/Lisa Marie David

An animal shelter in the Philippines on Tuesday organised Valentine’s Day dates for its rescued dogs, cats and chickens. The date-a-rescue-animal initiative at the shelter in Manila, operated by the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), was a huge succes.

Visitors could book a date for 500 to 1000 Philippine pesos ($10-20) with a furry companion at the shelter. Those who fell in love with their chosen rescue animal could later apply for adoption.

PAWS campaign officer Sharon Yap hoped the experience would create love for rescue animals who desperately need a forever home: “(This is) to give a type of date for shelter animals because the awareness for pet adoption is not that high, and there are still a lot of people buying pets.”

“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.

PAWS has over 240 rescue animals at its Manila shelter; most of the animals are victims of abuse and neglect. The Philippines has an animal cruelty law, but many animal cruelty cases are not reported, PAWS said.

Mary Grace Burgos, a 24-year-old government employee, said she participated in the event to support the rehabilitation of rescued dogs in the Philippines: “Some of these dogs were rescued from abusive households, or they came from the streets with traumatic experiences.”

“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,” Burgos, who has seven dogs, added.

Until Saturday (February 18), people can date a rescue animal. Proceeds of the initiative will go toward the maintenance and running of the animal shelter.

Lucille Wagas, a 33-year-old business process manager, also dated a dog on Valentine’s Day. She said that people tend to forget that not just humans wait for the love of their life, but animals too.


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