A dog’s best friend

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Saturday, August 23, 2014


MANY dog lovers will tell you that the greatest contribution of the animal to their lives is companionship.

One young lady has known this since she was eight years old. And the way this dog fancier cares for her canine pets, you’ll wonder if the famous line “A dog is man’s best friend” should have been the other way around: “Man is a dog’s best friend.”

She’s a rare breed of her own, a 16-year-old young woman who owns 10 dogs on top of her turtles, birds and monkeys. Rianne Faye Senining loves animals so much she wants to become a licensed veterinarian someday so she can properly take care of dogs and animals, and help them live longer.

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“When I was only about eight years old, I saw a TV show wherein animals which are already extinct were shown,” Rianne recalls. “They couldn’t defend themselves that’s why they were being wiped out from the face of the earth forever. And it made me so sad that I cried. Since then, I wanted to help animals survive, to take good care of them.”

That’s when she began her interest for dogs. So her father bought her a Dachshund, which she named Tiny. But the dog later died. So on her graduation from elementary school, her father gifted her with a Pug which she was longing for.

“I had a sudden interest for Pugs because of their funny features and personality. Since I have no sisters, Juliet is now my ‘sister.’ She sleeps with me and we’re inseparable,” Rianne said.

She added, “The first thing I do is to wake her up since I wake up earlier than she does. When she’s awake, she leads me to the sliding glass door for me to open so she can go out to the garden and do her ‘business’.”

They also have a family pet dog, a St. Bernard named Bernard. The story of Bernard is a very touching one and will affirm that truly man is a dog’s best friend.

“We had Bernard when I was only three years old, so we practically grew up together. When he was only six, he got sick, so badly that the vet recommended surgery, which was very expensive and so with the medication later. Then when we moved to our new house up on the hills of Talamban, Bernard’s condition improved tremendously probably because it was cold up there. Bernard is a Swiss Alps working dog.

“We also fed him with malunngay soup and, of course, lots of love. Then he was back to normal and needed only simple medication,” Rianne confided. For her other dogs—Romeo, an English Bulldog; Diego, mixed German Shepherd and Pitbull; Dora, mixed German Shepherd and Rottweiler; Thor, the black Pug; Duchess, the Great Dane; Lola, the Chinese Shar Pei; Princess, a Doberman; and Toy-toy, an askal—Rianne feeds them twice a day, except for Bernard which needs extra care. Then they’re bathed twice a week as scheduled, and brought to the vet twice a year for check up.

“And for their birthdays, I buy them lots of dog food and treats and make them into a cake,” Rianne said with a laugh. “And all the dogs are walked around the subdivision every day.”

For such a young woman, Rianne—who is at present taking up Medical Technology at Cebu Velez College as her preparatory for veterinary medicine, which she hopes to finish either at the University of Findley in Ohio or at the Cornell University in New York—she has a very mature outlook for animals.

“Animals are really fascinating. If humans tend to kill each other, animals do not because they have strong family ties and they take care of each other. We’re supposed to be the smartest animals but why can’t we be like them?”

Her hands are full with all these pets, taking care of them every day. How does she manages to do this?

“It’s true, it’s hard, but I have a family who loves animals and this is one hobby that I can share with my parents and my four brothers. We help one another,” Rianne answered with a twinkle in her eyes.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 24, 2014.

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