While many Filipino pet lovers ran agog over pure breed puppies, our very own mongrel or “aspin” (short for Asong Pinoy) already made a name in London for winning a 2004 dog search with the most unusual and memorable experience.
Sweet’s extraordinary character bagged the much coveted United Kingdom’s Dog of the Year for 2004. He went home with a silver trophy, a gold medallion, and a grand prize of 1,000 pounds. There were 8,000 dogs who vied for the prestigious award.
Behind Sweet’s international fame was the story of a harrowing experience of animal cruelty.
Sometime in 2002, sweet was rescued by the operatives of the Animal Kingdom Foundation Inc. (AKFI), an animal welfare non-government organization led by Charles Wartenberg of London and Task Force Jericho under the Department of Interior and Local Government, from a slaughterhouse in the southern part of Luzon.
Wartenberg is the chief executive officer of the International Wildlife Coalition Trust (IWCT), a well-known animal welfare center in the country.
The ten three-month old puppy and five other dogs were found inside an eight-foot cage without food and water. The cage originally housed 30 to 40 dogs.
The dogs had to endure from 24 to 48 hours of travel from the south of Luzon to the outskirts of Baguio.
Wartenberg said that had it not been for their timely arrival, Sweet would have been eradicated like the other dogs.
Wartenberg adopted Sweet, nursed him back to health and brought to London to become part of his family.
He proudly placed a new collar around Sweet’s neck, with an identity tag to celebrate the newest addition to the family.
Photo credits: iwct-uk.org