THE "ASPIN" OR THE NATIVE DOG OF THE PHILIPPINES is a very healthy type of dog. Due to its genes which is a combination (or what was accidentally derived from other breeds), this dog has no known hereditary issues. Either by evolution or adaptation, this dog is able to survive the harshest conditions in the Philippines. Usually, the Aspin is the dog of choice (or of those without it) who belong in the lower income bracket in Philippine society. Lately however, the Aspin is now slowly being taken seriously as a dog meant for anyone, rich or poor, due to its distinctive characteristics. It is loyal and is willing to offer its life for its owner. The story of the now internationally acclaimed Aspin dog named "Kabang" of Zamboanga City, Philippines is evidence of the loyalty of this breed. Of course, all dogs are loyal, affectionate, and someone you could count on when everyone else seemed to have fallen deep into the abyss of non-existence. In other words, friends who immediately disappeared when you needed them most. The Aspin (or whatever breed of dog you have) will not leave you and will always be there no matter what!
Give the Aspin a loving forever home and it will, on its very own unique way, love and take care of you when no one else would. I remember the very first dog I have was an Aspin named "Rex". I will never forget how excited I was to get home from school because of him. The moment I am near our house, Rex would run while wagging its tail to meet me. At a very young age, I felt that feeling of "importance" to someone who do not expect anything in return except a simple pat on the head and a hug.Well, life moved fast. But the memory of my first dog - an Aspin named Rex will never be forgotten. Dogs can be our very first best friend in the truest sense of the word. They have no pretensions and do not expect anything in return except being there with you.
Taking Care of the Aspin
Just like any other dog, the Aspin deserves the same amount of care and love. It is not to be discriminated or compared to other dog breeds. While the Aspin is a naturally healthy dog and has adapted in the notorious and harsh weather conditions in the Philippines, it is not to be taken for granted. It should be cared for just like any other purebred or imported dog in the house. In fact, since the Aspin is usually the dog that is obligated to perform the more important guarding duties, it is just fit and proper that we give this dog the best kind of care.
Provide the Aspin a safe and clean living quarters. - It is sad that Aspins are often kept in cages where they are not fully protected from the environment. There are even times that I see this dog sometimes chained with only the concrete flooring as its bed. An Aspin is lucky enough to get a piece of carton as its companion to ward off the heat of the day or survive the cold of the night.
If our other purebred or imported dogs are given pricey beds, the Aspin should, at the very least, be provided with a shelter or place in the house where it is fully protected against the elements. He should be considered as part of the family just like the Pomeranian or the Chihuahua. The Aspin is no different from other dogs in terms of its need of having a place where it can live safely and comfortably.
Give the Aspin food and water regulary. - Aspins are known to survive with whatever leftovers its owner can provide. Unlike other dog breeds, the Aspin is not picky with its food. It will appreciate and be grateful with the leftover rice, fish and meat. (Please do not give the Aspin chicken bones. More often than not, these bones get stuck in their throat.) Though the Aspin is not choosy with food, it is still important that it is fed on a regular basis. They too feel hunger just like any other animal. Aspins contrary to traditional yet erroneous belief can be fed with commercial dog food. They can be given what the Belgian Malinois or Shih Tzu prefers. Just like any other dog, it is necessary that Aspins are not over fed to avoid making them obese.
A bowl of clean water everyday is good for the Aspin. This dog should be kept hydrated at all times. It should have access to clean water specially during summer months or the dry season. Keep in mind that since the Philippines is a tropical country, the heat can be unbearable and often causes dehydration among pets.
Proudly walk and exercise your Aspin. - Whenever I see Aspins being walked by their owners, I really feel happy for the dog. I can see how lucky the Aspin is for finding a loving and caring owner. Usually, it is only the imported breeds that are walked in malls in the Philippines. Lately however, I have been seeing a good number of Aspins being walked by their owners alongside other breeds. Clearly, this is a very great indication that Aspins are now considered as a unique breed which is definitely not inferior to purebred dogs.
An Aspin is a very energetic dog and needs exercise. It derives a lot of benefits if given the chance to run or play in the yard. When it is exercised or walked regularly, the Aspin is able to build more of its self confidence. The bond between the dog and the owner is also strengthened. Exercise also keeps the Aspin healthier, agile and not overweight. Further, walking your Aspin helps to enhance its social skills when meeting other dogs in the park.
Visit the Veterinarian with your Aspin. - The Aspin is no different from other purebred or imported dogs when it comes to the need for regular check ups with the veterinarian. Every time I visit a dog clinic, I always see a lot of imported dogs. Sadly however from the glass window of the clinic, I can see Aspins trying to survive on the street without any form of medical care. Aspins just like any other breed of dogs needs to be medically checked. They have to be examined by a licensed veterinarian regularly to ensure that they stay healthy and strong. Aspins should be given complete vaccination from diseases including rabies.
Groom your Aspin. - An Aspin is that dog who is often not seen inside a grooming salon. In fact, it would be very surprising (if not incredible) to see an Aspin being groomed or trimmed in a dog spa inside a mall alongside the Shih Tzu or a Pomeranian. Whenever I see a purebred dog being expensively bathe in these dog salons, I cannot help thinking about those Aspins at home or on the streets who had been dreaming to get the same experience.
While the Aspin is a dog that needs little maintenance, it is still not an excuse not to give it a bath at least twice a week. Aspins with long coats should be bathed more frequently compared to those with short hair. Check their body for any signs of ticks and fleas. Have them removed immediately to avoid an infestation. The ears of the Aspin should also be cleaned. I recommend using coconut oil to clean the ears of Aspins since this oil is gentle, natural and effective against ticks and fleas. Trim the nail of the Aspin regularly to avoid overgrowth. An Aspin with an overgrown nail will have a difficult time walking. Such nail is also prone to damage which can be very painful.
Regularly Bond with your Aspin. - Aspins are very loyal and protective dogs. Give them their forever loving home and they will love you unconditionally. They will not hesitate to give their life for you and your family. The story of the internationally famous Aspin named “Kabang” is proof of the loyalty and heroism of this breed. Just like any other dog breeds, Aspins are sociable and longs for companionship. They want to be with their owners and bond with them. They feel sad when left alone outside the house.
To bond with your Aspin, communication is the key. Always try to make your Aspin understand what you want to be done by practicing those dog commands and obedience training techniques.
Play with fetch with your Aspin. Once you give it a chance, you will discover that the Aspin is an intelligent and obedient dog. It can perform a lot of tricks and can entertain huge crowds such as Aspins named “Saver the Wonder Dog” and “Joker" whose videos have gone viral on the Internet.
Spay or Neuter the Aspin (or any dog breed)
In almost every corner in the Philippines, an Aspin trying to survive on the streets can be seen. It often survive by eating scraps thrown in the garbage. They eat these scraps sometimes thrown by strangers and the very few who took pity on the plight of the Aspin.
I had a very sad experience seeing a very thirsty Aspin drinking dirty water from a canal used as a sewage system. The sight of sickly Aspins with tick and flea infestation or mange is also common that most people would not care at all. What this shows is that there is an alarming number of homeless and neglected Aspins. Their increasing number has to be curbed to avoid more unfortunate Aspins that will suffer the same fate of being neglected or abandoned on the streets. Animal welfare groups in the Philippines cannot adopt or shelter all these neglected dogs.
There had been several campaigns to get these Aspins off the street and to find their forever loving homes. Vigorous and well publicized "adopt don't shop" campaigns were launched to encourage pet lovers to adopt these often unwanted dogs instead of buying the more expensive imported breeds. However, similar campaigns will be futile if Aspins continue to increase in number. Spaying or neutering is the most humane procedure to prevent the increase of Aspins. Studies have also shown that this procedure is actually good for dogs of any breed including the Aspin.
Why Spaying or Neutering is Not Often Done
The main reason why spaying or neutering is often not done is the fact that the procedure is "pricey". Since these Aspins are usually owned by those who belong to the lower sector of society, the cost of spaying or neutering is difficult to afford. Given the prevailing economic conditions in the Philippines, the needed vaccinations and medical care (including spaying and neutering) are often denied to the Aspin. The great news however is that there are various animal groups that offer these kind of services for free.
Another reason why Aspins are not spayed or neutered is the mistaken notion that it is very painful for the dog. Most owners fail to realize that spaying or neutering is actually beneficial for the Aspin since it prevents the spread of infectious diseases.
Aspins, just like any other dog breed, deserves the necessary medical attention which includes vaccinations. Regular visits to the veterinarian is essential for their well being. Part of this is spaying or neutering to prevent their numbers of Aspins from increasing into an alarming number.