The University of the Philippines Diliman has initiated a K9 program to train stray dogs around the campus to help in search and rescue operations.
“This project was conceptualized to help UP campus prepare for the eventuality of an emergency like an earthquake or any natural hazard instead of waiting for help from the outside,” professor Khrysta Imperial Rara, project manager of Sagip K9 Training, told ANC.
As most dogs used to roam the streets, Rara said the animals were first subjected to behavior modification to change their undesirable behaviors.
“All of the dogs performed well. We only have 1 purebred. A Jack Russell. All the rest are asong Pinoy. They really performed well, especially the short-legged ones kasi (because) their noses are close to the ground,” she said.
For Rara, who is an animal lover, the program also aims “to change perspectives and attitudes towards campus animals.”
“Dati kasi (Before), they were rounded up and then brought to the pound. They were considered as pests. But now, people can see they have a role in the community. They can be therapy dogs… Now, we have a K9 unit to help during emergencies,” she said.
(This article was first published in the ABSCBN News Website on June 7, 2021)