Gerald Anderson’s foundation turns pet dogs to ‘superheroes’
Gerald Anderson celebrated his 27th birthday by organizing a benefit dinner to raise funds for his foundation that trains dogs for search and rescue operations.
The Gerald Anderson Foundation Inc. (GAF) encourages pet lovers to have their dogs undergo coaching to help fellow Filipinos in time of calamities. Also involved with the project is Gerald’s dad Randy and brother Ken.
“We’ve always loved dogs. Also, my brother and I, along with some friends, would always volunteer to help whenever an area in the Philippines gets struck by calamity. We hope to have a group that is professional and organized. We want to help as many people as we can,” Gerald told reporters shortly before the benefit party at the Le Rêve in Diliman, Quezon City.
The event was attended by his family, friends, colleagues and corporate partners, who all pledged to help make Gerald’s dream possible.
“The money goes to supplies that we need. The No. 1 thing that’s hurting us now is the cost of dog food and supplements,” Ken told the Inquirer. “A dog consumes P6,000 a month of food and vitamins. They’re not just normal pets, so we need them to be in top condition.”
The GAF is currently training four K9 units—Gerald’s dog Fredo and Ken’s Coda; and they were recently gifted with two more, a Labrador and a Belgian Malinois. “From being pets, they will soon be superheroes, because they will help save lives,” said Gerald.
Ken is in charge of training, which is conducted in Clark, Pampanga at least three times a week. “We usually start training at 6 a.m. Before that, we have someone go into the jungle two hours ahead. He just hides somewhere, but first leaves a piece of clothing. We have the dogs sniff the guy’s scent, then have them search for him.”
Ken added: “We still have a long way to go before we get deployed. While the dogs are on cue, they still get distracted by other dogs. If they pick up another scent, they sometimes shift their attention. We keep them focused only on one thing.”
Training is, of course, physically exhausting for both the trainer and the dog. “We take a break from time to time because dogs overheat fast. During night tracking, we brave the rains. We cross rivers and walk through mud. It’s inspirational to see the dogs do it. While we trainers get our pay checks, they do this for free.”
Gerald said part of the foundation’s mission was to eventually visit barangays to help residents train their dogs or teach them safety drills. “This is because we don’t know when the next earthquake or flooding will happen,” he explained. “Training is never-ending for us. Not only are the dogs being trained for calamities, but also to look for a lost child or hiker in the mountains. It’s reassuring to know that these dogs can help in a lot of ways.”
As early as now, Gerald said a lot of his celebrity friends have already expressed interest in joining the cause; among them are Piolo Pascual, Rayver Cruz and Enchong Dee.
“The benefit dinner was organized to orient them about the foundation,” he pointed out. “We’re starting from nothing. We need funds for food, clothing for the trainers, two-way radio units, among other things. We have a vision, which we wouldn’t be able to achieve without your help.”
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