Nineteen dogs from the Emotional Support Animals (ESA) Program of the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) received a Holiday treat from the UP Fighting Maroons Basketball Team and its newest sponsor TopBreed, the leading Philippine-made dog food brand in the country.TopBreed provided the dogs with 900 kilograms of high-quality dog food and essentials like TopB+ vitamins and ShamPooch dog shampoo. The canines underwent general check-up and deworming, and were given anti-rabies vaccines administered by the TopBreed veterinarians. TopBreed provided pet supplies to ESA handlers from the different UPD colleges and units for dogs under their supervision. Efforts were coordinated with the Friends of Campus Animals (FOCA UP), the first campus-based animal welfare volunteer group that helps with the ESA program. UPD’s Balay Kaibigan houses the emotional support animals that also includes cats.
The project became a reality when TopBreed and the UPMBT reached out to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs in early December and volunteered to help out UP Diliman’s Emotional Support Animals (ESA) Program. The program,which was launched in 2019 by then UPD Chancellor Michael Tan, provides psychosocial support for students and university staff that may experience stress, depression or anxiety. The program manages, trains and utilizes campus animals to render emotional and therapeutic support to those who need them.
“The University recognizes the ability of animals to help people destress. Therapy dogs are already being tapped in universities abroad to help students deal with academic stress. But even the ESA’s were not spared from the hardships of the pandemic,” said UP Diliman Vice-Chancellor for Community Affairs Dr. Aleli Bawagan. “We appreciate the efforts of Top Breed to vaccinate and deworm UPD's emotional support dogs and donate dog food. We look forward to more collaborations with them in the future.”
Universal Robina Corporation’s Agro-Industrial Group (URC-AIG) managing director Vincent Henry Go meanwhile said “TopBreed is thrilled to take part in the UP Doggo Day. We are very happy to be given a chance to express our brand’s mission of providing top care to pets specially to these dogs who have provided comfort and emotional support to those in need. We would like to commend UP for coming up with this brilliant program that benefits both animals and humans alike. We salute the University for this endeavor and for taking good care of our fur friends, the emotional support dogs.”