Mitzi Ilagan | YoManila.com
When you see a K-9 dog at the mall, isn’t there always an urge for you to walk up to him and give him a hug for working too hard to protect mall-goers like you?
For about 8-15 years, these dogs dedicate their lives for the humans. They undergo special ad intense training for them to be disciplined and well-prepared for tough situations. They interact with their trainers as they face real-life situations, making dog treats their motivation to obey and follow the commands.
In the Philippines, Belgian Malinois, German Shepherd and Labrador Retriever are the common dog breeds which become Military Working Dogs (MWD) and Contract Working Dogs (CWD). They render service to the country, but there aren’t rules or laws that considers the retirement of these dogs. Before, when K-9 dogs retire, they just stay inside their cages until their time comes. But now, as more people see dogs not only as mere animals but as family, many advocates push through with their projects of protecting K-9s and other dog breeds as they age, or when the need calls for them to do so.
Now, here comes Hound Haven K-9 Retirement and Rehabilitation Center, a 1,200-sqm home for the four-legged heroes where they would undergo a rehabilitation program as they end their service. Founded by Maxin Arcebal, Chelsea Pecson, and Addi Dela Cruz in 2015, this non-profit organization sheds light for retired working dogs who need a home the most. Not only dogs who’s done with sniffing bags for bombs or roaming around the malls would be turned over to this home but also those which aren’t fit to render service. They also want to make the public know about this situation in the Philippines, where retired canines do not receive proper attention and care. Their ultimate goal is to influence public policy and replicate Robby’s Law (United States of America H.R. 5314), which promotes the transfer and adoption of working dogs at the end of their service.
With a kennel for 10 dogs, 2 cages as isolation areas, a clinic, a headquarters office, a swimming pool, and a spacious lot, it’ll surely be a lot of fun for the hounds to stay in. Also, a space called Shyna’s Yard was built in remembrance of Shyna, a brave Belgian Malinois who was supposed to be handed over to the center but who passed away before her scheduled turnover. It is a caged area divided into three parts which serves as the interaction and activity area.
Though a lot of organizations are now being established to take care of stray dogs (and other animals) and prepare them for adoption, not much people are aware of K-9 dogs’ needs. Now that the Hound Haven Center’s officially opened (last April 22), hounds which would be entrusted to them would be handled by a canine-training expert to help them adapt to human interaction, address any potential aggression from their experience in service, and prepare them for a new home as they would be adopted.
Chika, a Belgian Malinois, is Hound Haven’s first adopted K-9, who was introduced during the opening of the center. She is a senior veteran from the Philippine Army, and was turned over a few weeks before the opening.
As the center supports K-9 dogs in their retirement, Hound Haven needs support, too, from generous donors who share the same cause. Through their website, you could #MakeMoreTailsWag through donating, sponsoring a canine, doing volunteer work (as they’ve just started and needs some hands) or soon, adopting a furry creature from the center.
The Hound Haven K-9 Retirement and Rehabilitation Center is located at 353 Pinaglagarian Street, Brgy. Pulong Yantok, Angat, Bulacan.