Askal – A conjunction of the Tagalog asong kalye – ‘street dog.’ These tough little mutts are ubiquitous across the Philippines. Somewhat feral, askals survive on edible garbage, geckos, food scraps, semi-feral cats and whatever else they can get their muzzles around. Askals frequently serve as four-legged alarm systems and door bells in residential neighborhoods and are often treated rather indifferently by their owners.
Well, Michell and I are grandparents.
If you’ve been following the Dream Team, you’ll know that we acquired a female “askal” a month or so back. Angel – and she is a sweet little angel) was previously our Filipino landlord’s dog, but when he moved out of his house (so he could rent it out), he abandoned Angel and just let her run around the neighborhood. I spoke with him a bit later and asked if we could take her in. He said that was fine, so I later lured her into the yard with a trail of chicken bones and slammed the gate shut behind her. Haha – yet another successful dog-napping! Our landlord had stated that she was over seven years old (older than me in human years) and that she was past puppy-bearing age.
Ah, the irony.
Of course, after running around the neighborhood for nearly a month, Angel was pregnant. I thought she was just a little chubby (in a matronly way), but Michell soon noted the telltale signs – the waddling gait and her constant cravings for house geckos, garlic vinegar and ube ice cream. Guessing that she was pretty far along, we started fattening her up. Most askals survive on food scraps from semi-adopted families and scrounging for food along roads. I – of course – went down a bought a 50 kilo bag of decent dog food. Turns out, she wasn’t too crazy about that – being a purebred street hound, she still preferred bones and people food scraps, and it wasn’t until I learned to mix in a raw egg with the dry food that she came around.
Four of five days back, we noticed that she was acting oddly – restless and digging in the corners of the yard. Realizing that the time had almost come, I cleared out the little bodega (shed) behind our house and laid out some cardboard. She seemed to appreciate the effort and started to spend time in there, lying on her distended belly and panting away. I noted on our Facebook that Michell and I would probably be grandparents in the next 24 hours and sure enough, the next day, our endearing little four-legged puppy factory got to work.
At first there were only two puppies. Having read that older dogs have much larger litters, I was thinking that might be it. As the day progressed, however and I checked up on the process, there were more and more potato-sized pups appearing. Three. Then four. Five. Six. Could that be it? Nope – there’s number seven.
So we have seven pups – Four brownish ones, 2 black ones and a single white one. And since hounds can have a multiple puppies by different fathers, it looks like scraggly Black Dog and loveable Stinky were able to spend some good quality time with Angel.
So, if you are in the Dumaguete area and are interested in some truly loveable 100 percent purebred Philippine asong kalyes, just drop us a line. Only 13 centavos each – or two for 25. LBC shipping is also available.
See ya next time, folks.
NOTE: I actually love dogs and have volunteered at American dog shelters ever since I was in Junior High school. It’s hard to see how dogs are treated in the Philippines, especially when they are kept in little cages and pretty much neglected. Humankind entered into an agreement with dogs (and cats) thousands of years ago. Through domesticaiton, we agreed that we would feed and shelter them in return for protection and companionship. In many parts of the world, however, that agreement is no longer being honored and semi-feral dogs are left to forage for food, hopefully dodging trucks, cars and motorcycles along the way.