Baguio Dog, Dagul, Won US Animal Award
This is Dagul with his master and friend, Wilmar Castillo.
The dog that saved his master's life at the height of typhoon Chedeng just won the Lewyt Award for Heroic
Compassionate Animals of the North Shore Animal League of America.
The winner for the month of September, is Dagul, the well-publicized dog who warned his master, Wilmar
Castillo, of a mudslide that was about to devour their home at Dominican Hill. If not for the timely
warning of Dagul, Wilmar could have been trapped inside their house (which was totally buried by the
It is recalled that on June, amidst the strong rains and winds of typhoon Chedeng, Wilmar was singing
in their karaoke, when Dagul kept on barking near their door. Wilmar ignored Dagul, and instead
proceeded to his room for a late nap. Dagul did not stop, instead, he followed Wilmar to his room,
barking incessantly. Thinking that somebody might be outside, Wilmar opened their main door and
proceeded outside to see what was going on. Just when he was a foot outside, an avalanche of mud
toppled their house, and Dagul was trapped inside. Luckily, Dagul was well and alive when he was
rescued the day after.
Dagul and his family's home after the landslide.
Dagul's price money will be used to help rebuild it.
Dagul's heroic story was read by animal lovers in America who in turn got in touch with Linis Gobyerno's
Executive Director, Freddie J. Farres, to work on a nomination for the much coveted monthly award in the US.
Thus, on the first week of June, the nomination was immediately forwarded to a first level judge, the
Editor of the Animal People Newspaper, Merritt Clifton, who in turn endorsed the same to the upper
level judges. On June 27, Friday, Clifton informed Linis Gobyerno, that Dagul was chosen as an awardee
for the month of September.
Dagul's owner, or shall we say, family will receive a monetary award in the amount of US$500.00.
The formal awarding, according to Clifton, will be held in Hong Kong, during the Asia for Animals
Convention, in which North Shore Animal League of America is one of the sponsors.
The Castillo family are so happy and thankful that Dagul was chosen. Willy, the head of the family,
said that the money will be used to rebuild their house (even if it would mean a small shack). To this
date, the family lives in a garage, courtesy of the family of former Mayor Andres Bugnosen. The
Castillo's related that the DSWD has only promised them the amount of Php2,500.00 as assistance.
It is seldom that the Northshore Animal Welfare League America gives the award to an animal outside of
America. However, Clifton said to Farres that Dagul was chosen because the judges believe that the hero
dog's exemplary deed can be utilized in the fight against the dog meat trade in the country, more
particularly Baguio and the Cordilleras. Linis Gobyerno took on the fight against dog meat trading
since last year. Farres said that it is an ambitious project, but with the help of every animal lover
worldwide, the illegal practice can be considerably reduced if not stopped.
There's one thing that makes Dagul's story unique. The 6-year old Dagul, as related by Wilmar and his
father Willy, was a former stray. He is an askal (asong kalye) or mongrel.
Dogs, even askals, according to Dr. Anatalia Castrence, Dean of BSU College of Veterinary Medicine,
are 50 times more sensitive than humans, which explains how Dagul was able to know the danger that
would befall his master. His story and heroic deed thus proves that askals
should not be regarded
as useless, dumb dogs, much more end up in the food chain. Besides, they just might save your life.
(published at The Junction Newspaper, July 12-18, 2003 issue)
A year after winning the Lewyt Award for Heroic Compassionate Animals, Dagul receives yet another award from the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and Masterfoods Philippines. - April 14, 2004