Heart Evangelista recalls ‘traumatizing’ childhood event that inspired her to rescue dogs
Heart Evangelista is a known dog lover, with a soft spot particularly for AsPins, or “asong Pinoy (Filipino dog)”—dogs that are sometimes derogatorily referred to as AsKals or “asong kalye” (street dogs).
The actress has been calling on Filipinos to show love to dogs regardless of breed, and recalled in her blog that her dog advocacy stemmed from events in her childhood.
She wrote of an instance when she and her sister were home and heard dogs wailing in pain. When they checked on their next-door neighbors, they discovered dogs being slaughtered.
“We started yelling at them through their gate telling them to stop it,” she said. So affected were they that they instructed their security guard to report it to the barangay office, “only for him to be made fun of by the authorities.”
“This event was traumatizing for me and my sister, especially because we came from a family that treated street dogs and cats as our own kind,” she said. “We grew up with my father bringing home dogs and cats he rescued from the streets.”
She said she wanted to change the mindset of Filipinos on how they view street dogs as “bantays” or guard dogs “which you tie on a short leash outside your home, and that their only purpose is to scare off others.”
“When you give a street dog a little love, they’ll return that back to you ten times over,” she said.
“Rescuing dogs and cats on my own started getting difficult because I moved to a condominium in Makati, which didn’t allow me to bring in as much animals as I wanted to,” she said.
Evangelista found a way to keep promoting her cause by working with the non-profit animal shelter Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) for the past 13 years. She hopes to encourage more pet lovers to “adopt don’t shop” so that rescued dogs and cats left will be welcomed into homes.
For the past three years, she has been spoiling her photogenic black-and-white AsPin, Panda, who is sometimes seen on her Instagram feed with designer scarves. In the picture below, Panda is seen lying on a Louis Vuitton scarf while resting with Evangelista’s other pet Yogi.
She said last August, as per an ABS-CBN News report, that she was working on papers so that her beloved Panda could travel to Paris with her. /ra