Bea Ledesma is a certified dog lover. She grew up with a family that could not get enough of them, saying, “My family loves all kinds of dogs, so adopting aspins [short for asong Pinoy or Philippine native dog] was never an issue. Aspins are incredible dogs—they make for clever, loving, and adorable pets.” The group publisher and executive vice president for Hinge Inquirer reveals how she came to adopt George and Potchie, and how these two lovable pets have brought immense joy to her life.
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Waldo’s Friends (WF): Tell us about your dogs.
Bea Ledesma (BL): George is an aspin who’s about five and a half years old. My sister adopted George and gave him to me. George is such a sweet and loving creature, so the adoption has resulted in a wonderful addition to the family.
Shinjo is a Chow-Lab who was very selective about who he allowed to get close to him. When he let you hug him, it felt like you’d earned an Olympic medal. As he got older, he mellowed and became a devoted pet who loved peanut butter dog treats and sleeping on the living room carpet. When he passed away, it felt like a huge chunk of my life had disappeared.
After Shinjo’s unexpected passing, I thought another dog would help with the grieving process. A friend mentioned that there was a Chow Chow up for adoption at the shelter of Carina Suarez (Mama’s Cradle Animal Sanctuary), so I went to visit and fell in love with Potchie immediately. Potchie stayed with me for six months, until he passed away due to heart complications.
WF: Did you encounter any problems with adopting Potchie or George?
BL: I’ve never had much of an issue. Just like any pet that must adapt to their home, learn its rules, and make space for themselves, adopted pets follow the same path. Potchie’s adoption itself was a breeze, thanks to Carina.
WF: What would you say are the unique traits of your adopted pets?
BL: George is a natural showboater. Whenever strangers meet him, he’s preening and showing off. George is a professional model and has been featured in numerous magazines. Granted many of those sites and magazines have been under me, but animal nepotism hasn’t been banned yet.
Normally, Chows are ferocious, but Potchie was universally sweet. He never tried to bite anyone. Potchie also had a limp, so upon meeting Potchie for the first time, people would be instantly enamored. The limp only increased their adoration.
WF: What are the things George enjoys doing with you?
BL: George goes with me to work almost every day. He joins meetings, drops by shoots, and greets visitors at the reception area.
On the helper’s day off, I would wake up to find George staring at me, waiting for me to get up and take him out for a walk. Sometimes, I’d wake up with a jolt to find him nose to nose with me.
WF: What’s it like having multiple pets at home?
BL: At the moment, it’s just one. But when there are two, oh it’s joyous chaos. There’s nothing better.
Whenever I’d come from work on a late weeknight, I’d hear them by the front door, just waiting to greet me hello, tails wagging joyfully as if to say, “You’re here! You’re here! The world is bright and sunny and happy!” And even if it was 1 am after a long day, it would feel the same way to me.
WF: As someone who has owned pets for a long time, what’s the best tip you can give for first-time pet owners?
BL: Patience. Lead with a firm and loving hand when training your pet. With George, it took almost six months to potty train him. To be fair, he was just a puppy with a tiny bladder. Now that he’s a responsible adult, he never slips and pees indoors.
George was a great trainer for Potchie, who was never potty trained. After less than a month with George, Potchie already knew how to pee in the garden.
WF: Why would you personally encourage adopting animals?
BL: I’m a firm believer in the phrase “adopt don’t shop.” There are so many pets looking for a home, pets who are caring, endearing, smart, and warm. A lot of people are beginning to recognize how cute aspins are. You don’t need a breed to be cute.
WF: What’s your advice for people thinking of adopting a rescue animal?
BL: Meet them. Engage with them. Discern if their personality is a match for you, your home, and your lifestyle. Do you want energetic and bouncy? There are plenty of dogs who require room to jump and run around. Or are you more of a laid-back person who would enjoy a more blasé, nonchalant pet? A cat or an older dog might be more your jam.
WF: How has your life changed after adopting these dogs? Do you have any plans of adopting another one in the future?
BL: They say people with pets live longer. But, for me at least, it’s not about the length but the quality of life. George makes me so grateful to be alive. His sweetness and loving nature makes for a wonderful contrast to my otherwise dour personality. And yes, I’m definitely open to adopting another pet. I’m just consulting with George on the ideal timeline.
Follow the adventures of George on Instagram.
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