As the nation celebrates National Aspin Day, (August 18), The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) launched Alden Richards as their newest celebrity spokesperson joining Heart Evangelista in the organization’s “I Love My Aspin” campaign.
Aspin is a contraction of two words “Aso” (dog) and “Pinoy” (informal term for Filipino). PAWS coined this term in 2007 to replace the derogatory term “askal” which is short for “Asong Kalye” or street dogs. Native dogs, having no pedigree or are not purebred, are usually seen as having no value and are often left to fend on their own on in the streets – which led to them being called “askals”. Aside from changing the term, PAWS – the nation’s most respected animal welfare organization – has produced several campaigns through the years to uplift the image of the native dog.
The “I Love My Aspin” campaign aims to encourage Pinoy aspin owners to be proud of their native dogs and to be responsible pet parents to them. Joining Alden for this campaign is his lovable 7-year-old aspin, Chichi, who will appear with the actor in various ads to promote aspins and aspin adoption.
Asked why he agreed to do this campaign, the actor said that he could not imagine life without his dogs. “My family has always had dogs. May purebreeds, may aspins. We love them all equally and I can say na grabe din sila magmahal unconditionally. Pero napuna ko na merong talagang discrimination – pag may nagtatanong kung anong breed young aso nila, ang usual na sagot “Aspin lang” or makakarinig ako minsan ng “bakit ka pa gumastos sa vet eh aspin lang naman yan?” Pag naririnig ko yun, nasasaktan ako for Chichi.
“Napakalambing ng mga aspins. Pag may lumalapit sa aking mga tao or nag pe-pretend ako na umiiyak, lumalapit agad si Chichi to check on me – ganun syang ka-protective at kalambing, So I really feel bad pag nakakarinig ako ng mga comments na minamaliit ang aspin. Lahat ng aso, dapat tinuturing na part of the family. Common pa rin kasi yung maling pag-iisip na pag native dog, pwedeng hindi na masyado alagaan kase matibay naman sila. But that is so unfair.
Alden says he has heard a lot of stories about rescued aspins from PAWS, “Marami silang naikuwento sa akin – na pag nag-adopt ka ng rescued aspins, sila talaga yung mas loyal, mas loving and mas grateful kasi nabigyan sila ng second chance sa buhay. Nakakalungkot isipin na marami tayong mga aspins na homeless or di kaya, may owner pero laging nasa kalye ang aso nila.
This is why Alden had Chichi spayed (“kapon”) because he believes it is important for every pet owner to do their part in preventing pet homelessness by spaying and neutering their pets.
“With this campaign, I want to tell everyone na I am a proud aspin parent. I think the aspins need to be talked about more – how they make great pets and that they deserve na magkaron ng pamilya na mamahalin at magmamahal sa kanila.”
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A brief background on the history of the term “aspin” and the activities for the National Aspin Day celebration at the Ayala Malls Manila Bay is on the second page.
Notes on National Aspin Day:
- In 2007, PAWS introduced the term ASPIN or Asong Pinoy to replace the derogatory term Askal (“asong kalye”) when referring to native dogs. This was also the year when the organization launched its groundbreaking “See Beauty Beyond Breed” campaign with Heart Evangelista to show that native dogs are just as cute, just as affectionate and just as intelligent as their pure breed counterparts.
- In 2021, PAWS declared August 18 as NATIONAL ASPIN DAY.
- Some highlights of this year’s NAD 2022 celebration at the Ayala Malls Manila Bay:
As a fitting tribute to the Asong Pinoy, the event will have a Filipiniana theme with the entire area decked like modern day barrio fiesta. Guests and their pet aspins can browse through the native stalls where sponsors and pet supplies tenants will have items for sale with special freebies and discounts for aspins. There will also be a mini palaro booth as well as trick-shot photo area specially designed for Aspins.
Two special bonding activities prepared for aspins and their fur parents is the Aspin Dog Dash, a fun race in a specially designed race track, and the Ginoo and Binibining Aspin Pageant, a unique costume competition where the best male and best female Aspins in Filipiniana outfits will take home a grand prize package.
The program will also feature surprise celebrity aspin owners and performers.
More than just a fun event which celebrates aspins, NAD 2022 also aims to raise funds for the PAWS Animal Shelter which has been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The facility houses more than 300 rescued dogs and cats and is solely dependent on donations and fundraising activities such as this to keep it running.