Rev. 3.26.03 Copyright ANIMAL PEOPLE, INC.
FORMER FILIPINO STREET DOG WARNS
16 YEAR OLD MASTER OF IMPENDING AVALANCHE: Dagul's
Bravery Merits North Shore Animal League America's
Lewyt Award (September 2003)
In the Philippines, dogs stare into the face danger every
day. The dog meat trade within the island nation may
now be illegal but, nonetheless, is still extensive. A street dog is never
safe, not even a
frail little puppy. But, against all odds, one of these
little guys was saved by a caring family - and six years later, he returned
Journalist Freddie J. Farres is the founder of Linis
Gobyerno, an organization dedicated to ending corruption in The Philippines.
As a reporter for The Junction of Babuio City, Farres works tirelessly
to reveal all government corruption. Not surprisingly, the worst evils
are linked to the dog meat trade. Freddie believes the story of Dagul could
help rid the country of this indignity. Dagul "could symbolize the
entire struggle to free the community from both corruption and cruelty." That
is why Freddie Farres nominated the one-time street
dog for North Shore Animal League America's Elisabeth
Lewyt Award. Listen to
as Freddie tells it:
Dagul was a frail puppy, wandering
in the streets, when Wilmar Castillo and his older brother Jhylannie saw him.
Wagging his tail,
the little dog followed the brothers to their home.
Thinking that the puppy's owner might be looking for him, the boys fed the tiny
put him back
on the street. The puppy, however, continued to return
to their home. Jhylannie and Wilmar had no choice. They kept the dog and named
him Dagul. He soon
became an important part of the family.
Dagul is a mongrel, the type often described in Philippine
street talk as Askal, short for Asong Kalye, meaning "street dog".
In other Asian nations, dogs like Dagul are called "edible dogs".
In the Philippines, these dogs are illegally butchered
for food because they are readily available, overpopulated,
and cheap. Askal are also disregarded
as potential pets because they lack status and because
people think that these dogs are stupid and difficult
During Typhoon Chedang on May 27, 2003, Dagul disproved
That afternoon, Wilmar, who was 15 at the time, was
practicing karaoke at the Castillo home on Dominican Hill. Dagul was
but Wilmar paid no attention. Instead, he went to his
room for a nap. But the former street dog did not give up. Still barking,
he followed Wilmar
into his room and directed his young master to the
front door. As Wilmar opened the door, an avalanche of mud and debris
came rushing down from
the nearby hills. In seconds, the house was covered
by tons of loose soil, gravel, and rocks. Stepping outside saved Wilmar
from being buried alive,
but Dagul was trapped inside the house.