Dog, man’s best friend | Inquirer News

Dog, man’s best friend

/ 05:05 AM December 31, 2013

The widow of my classmate, James Harris, visited me on Monday and recounted how James died at the height of the fury of Supertyphoon “Yolanda.”

Irma said her husband, an American mestizo, drowned as the sea engulfed Barangay San Roque in Tanauan town, Leyte province.

The Harrises lived in a one-story house a few meters from the seashore.


James’ and Irma’s daughter, Jemmalyn, 36, who was living with them, also drowned.


So did 6-year-old Allison, whose single mother, Lynette, works in Singapore as a domestic help.

All told, there were eight persons in that house: the Harris couple, their daughter Jemmalyn, and six grandchildren.

James drowned saving some of the grandchildren, Irma said.

*   *   *

But what touched my heart was the story of one of the survivors in the Harris household, Danielle, 6 years old.

Danielle is the daughter of Jemmalyn who, I said earlier, drowned with her father and nephew.


The little girl told other survivors she was saved by Thomas, a neighbor’s dog.

Danielle was floating in a sea of chairs, tables, cabinet, wood, uprooted coconut trees when she saw Thomas, a Labrador also swimming for his life.

Danielle shouted, “Thomas buligi gad ako (Thomas, please help me)!” as she was drowning.

Thomas turned to Danielle and the girl climbed on his back as the dog swam to safety.

Although Danielle refused to talk to me on Monday about how she was saved—apparently because she was suffering from trauma—her grandmother said she had told her the story of Thomas coming to her rescue to her cousins.

“I am very thankful to that dog for saving my granddaughter’s life. I thought he was just an ordinary dog. James and I would shoo him away whenever he came to our house because he stunk,” said Irma.

Thomas is back in the care of his masters, Reinante and Chichi Avila, whose mother drowned.

The dog is really man’s best friend.

*   *   *

Dogs are not only good pets, they also save their master’s life—if not directly, then indirectly.

There’s a belief among Filipinos that household pets, especially a dog, saves its master by taking his place when his life is at stake.

I once had a dog I named “Fraulein” because she was a female German Shepherd.

Fraulein was given to me by a friend who bred dogs. I chose Fraulein from the other German Shepherds because she came from a line of a nonferocious breed; her mother was cuddly and so was her father.

I loved Fraulein because she would cuddle up to me as I watched TV before going to bed.

One day, I got home and found Fraulein dead. She wasn’t sick nor did she show any signs of illness.

As I was moping over Fraulein’s loss, the house phone rang (at that time cellular phones were a rarity).

It was my friend, a Constabulary officer on the other line, sounding frantic.

“Mon, make yourself scarce. Don’t go out without a companion. Avoid going to your usual hang-outs. Don’t take your usual route in going to your office and going home,” he said.

When I asked why, he said a Constabulary general had ordered some of his men to do me in.

He said he heard the general bark the order to men at “Special Ops” of which he was also a member.

I took his advice. I made myself scarce, took the long-winded route in going to the Inquirer and on the way home, and didn’t go to places I usually hung out after work.

At first I half-believed him because he probably was joking, but I followed his advice anyway. No harm if I did, I said to myself.

Months later, I met the soldiers who were ordered to ambush me.

They became my friends because they were introduced to me by a mutual friend.

By that time, the order had been lifted.

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They confirmed my friend’s warning.

TAGS: Animals, Dogs, Fraulein, Thomas

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