The phrase “Man’s Best Friend’” has been in used for centuries, referring to the unselfish lifetime companion which is his dog. Through evolution from species of wolves, the dogs has been around for ages and are known to be the first domesticated animal.
Since their domestication, they have served mankind in many different ways: protecting the house, assisting the handicapped, jobs with the police and military and most common of all, companionship. Dogs have become one of the most widely accepted animal as a pet.
Let’s take a step back and let’s really pondered deeper into the term “Man’s Best Friend”? We easily accept that they are our most loyal companions, but is the feeling mutual?
Recently, I had the honour of shooting for PAWS (Piasau Animal Welfare Support) during their Dogathon and Doggie Show. We see a lot of dog shows all the time, but that’s mostly just dogs in their cages being displayed. This was different. It was my first ever dogathon and an actual dog show where the dogs display their skills in many categories including agility and obedience.
Many of the PAWS merchandize on sale
PAWS Volunteer T-shirt and Name Tag
Picture (left): Lady looking at all the curious passers-by. Picture (right): Pipi taking a sip keeping himself hydrated during the hot morning.
Picture (left): The committee working hard to the very last minute to make sure nothing is missed, Picture (right): The stop watch and marking sheet that the invited judges will use.
Picture (left): A PAWS Volunteer making sure the dogs does not go thirsty in their ‘waiting room’. Picture (right): Frosty patiently waiting for his bowl to be filled with yummy food.
Before long, many other people started arriving with their best friends, ready to join in for the dogathon. The response from the public was extremely good, where there was close to 30 participating dogs for the dogathon itself.
Many opportunities for picture taking
Some were even video interviewed…
The event was also a great opportunity for dogs to socialize and meet new friends.
Dogs could meet other dogs and learn how to socialize and interact with each other.
It was also an opportunity for people to meet … other people.
And while the kids (human and dogs alike) were busy interacting among themselves, the adults had more serious business to tend to…
Serious business such as… having their face painted with PAWS paws.
Some of PAWS volunteers going around collecting donations to help support the continuing efforts of PAWS.
PAWS official mascot was not left out and was there to do his part.
The PAWS mascot was a hit among the kids who wanted to have their picture taken with the mascot.
It was also a chance for people to meet some of the orphans of PAWS who are waiting to find their new home.
The PAWS volunteer passionately and carefully explaining the process of re-homing for the strays.
Responsible PAWS volunteers doing the job that most people would not like to do… cleaning up the pees and the poos.
It was almost time to start the dogathon. The heat from the rising sun can be felt as the day came closer to noon.
Both best friend gives each other a hi-5 (hi-paws) and good luck!
Giving him some water making sure he is well hydrated before going out into the sun.
Taking a moment for a group picture at the Civic Center before starting the dogathon.
And they’re off!
The PAWS Chairperson leads her pack through the dense jungle of concrete.
The PAWS Chairperson is highly respected in society. She has the power to stop vehicles dead on their tracks.
Curious passers-by stops to catch a glimpse of the action.
Walking by one of Miri’s most prominent buildings. Can you recognise it?
Mega Hotel in its white and blue marvel signals that the check and resting point is near.
Ming Cafe was gracious and kind enough to host as the halfway and resting point of the dogathon. When everyone had arrived, the four-legged friends were treated with water which they gulped on rather quickly, showing how thirsty they were.
The two best friends having a drink together.
Many thanks to Ming Cafe who sponsored the much needed drinks.
After having their drinks and nourishing themselves, it was time for them to rest for a moment before the last half of the dogathon. Picture (left): Frosty leaving herself into the arms of his best friend. Picture (right): Leaning on the flower pot is also a good way to rest.
Taking shelter under the shadow of her best friend, this works too!
They do not have sweat glands like we do, so they device the process called panting (sticking their tongue out while breathing heavily) to relieve heat in their bodies.
Best friends taking a moment to have their pictures taken.
A group picture at Ming Cafe before heading back to the Civic Centre.
Django had already used up all his juice. His best friend comes to the rescue and carries him, giving him a chance to regain his energy.
Almost there, passing by the iconic Miri City Fan.
By then, even the larger dogs are starting to show signs of struggling.
But they do not give up and continue to put their full trust in their best friends to lead them safely back to shelter.
Finally there! The sight of the Civic Centre was a big relieve, even to the four-legged friends who immediately recognized the structure and knew they have reached their destination.
It is amazing how far the little ones could go. For many, this would be the first time they have ever attempted such a distance.
It is always important to keep hydrated especially when having activities outdoors and going under the sun.
Jack was totally flat out and decided to take a power nap oblivious to all the onlookers around him.
Resting in the arms of her best friend, stroking and assuring her that everything is okay.
Being cuddled to sleep must be the best feeling in the whole world.
As best friends, they do everything together. The times spent together, the moments they went through together. It is not surprising that trust is built, so the point that our four-legged friends who put their full trust in you, no matter where, no matter the challenges ahead.
Walking the bridge might seem an easy task for us, but its quite a daunting task for our four-legged friends where one wrong footing might mean a nasty fall to the ground.
Pipi takes a leap of faith…
Pepe gathers up the courage and enters the dark and claustrophobic tunnel headed towards the end where his best friend awaits.
Picture (left): Frosty takes a moment to checks the surrounding before coming out from the tunnel. Picture (right): Lady (the one with the four leg) slowly but surely completes the obstacles.
Playing musical chairs. The hard part is to get the four-legged ones to sit down when they are suppose to!
Pepe thought the music has stopped and sat down half way.
Everyone rushes for the chair when the music stops.
A lesson in obedience… Elmo listens attentively to his best friend’s orders.
Tia Maria demonstrates to the others what ‘stay’ means.
Eating competition: the challenge here lies mainly on the two-legged ones. The four-legged ones could eat up their food in seconds, while the two-legged ones are struggling to quickly finish theirs.
Almost done… almost done…
It is amazing what they would go through for their best friends, even to the point of being dressed up. Into their hands, Elmo commits his body for the ‘make-up’ artists to do their work of art.
The zombie and his zombie dog… bwainssss!
No surprise here, they won the champion for Best Dressed.
The crowds were amazed and amused by all the skills that has been displayed.
Then came the big boys, the K9 Training Centre. They displayed many different skills that awed the spectators.
The Real K9 Training Centre demonstrates how a dog in trained in protecting its owner. Do not try this at home!
You wouldn’t want your hand in one of these mouths. This well trained German Shepherd is trained to only release his hold upon order by its master.
Total obedience. ‘Stay’.
Can your dog do this? Sitting on only its two hind legs is not an easy task for a dog, needless to say, a dog that size and weight.
Even Grandma is impressed with the show of skills and sportsmanship (and ‘sportsdogship’) displayed by both the two-legged and four-legged ones throughout the whole PAWS Doggie Show 2013.
It was clearly a memorable time not only for the spectators, but also for the participants. The activities and challenges presented in the competitions of the Doggie Show are not everyday routines that they would normally go through. This was once in a lifetime experience for most. Above all else, it was a chance for the two best friends to bond. It brings their friendship to new heights.
How many of us remembers our most loved best friend? We all do I bet. All the years together, all the companionship with each other. We have to remember, we are the ones that will outlive our best friends. In most cases, we are the only best friends they will ever have in their life. Not two, not one… just YOU. In your dog’s whole lifetime, you are THE best friend. From the moment of birth, to the moment of the first walk, the first bark … till the very last breath. Your dog knows no other companion.
Do you remember …
… the moments that you held him in your arms and felt the warmth from his body, the gentleness from his heart.
… the moments that you spent quality time with him, sitting down next to him just looking at other people go by their everyday routine.
the moments that you looked him in the eyes, wondering what is he thinking, how is he feeling, or whether he knows how you feel about him.
… the moments you fed him, making sure his water is always enough, nursing him back to health in sickness.
… the moments that he would sit and wait patiently as if time did not exist, waiting for your next words.
… the moments that you made funny faces to see which face he would find to be funniest.
… the moments that the both of you held each other’s hand, staring into each other eyes, silently telling each other “I love you”.
… the moments that nothing else mattered and the both of you just danced the night away.
… the moments that you shared your meal with him, feeding him bite by bite, straight from the plate, sharing the same spoon.
… the moments that you took him and gave him all the hugs he could ever want so that he knows that he is loved, he has a home and thanking him for giving you such happiness, such unwavering companionship and love.
… the moments he would give you a lick on your face, kissing you tenderly, telling you there is not another soul in the world he would rather be with.
They are man’s best friend because we are their only friend. We are their longest relationship and their constant companion. We are their only experience of true love. We are…
… their best friend.
PAWS is dedicated in decreasing the number of stray animals (not just dogs) by making sure each stray finds a home and experience what true love and friendship is … then he can finally have a best friend too.
Have a look at PAWS’ Homes Needed section and you might just find the companion that you have always longed for, your best friend.
PAWS’ also organizes many other activities for people with best friends, such as the PAWS Dog-A-Walk which is held regularly in which it also allows best friends to spend quality time bonding with each other.
Until then, here’s me looking forward to have the chance to be among these new found friends, both two legs and four legs again next year. But for now, the next up and coming PAWS’ Roadshow that will be held from October 4 – 6, 2013. See you there!!!