Thursday, May 5, 2016

Thursday, May 05, 2016
Lancaster was 6 years, 9 months, 2 weeks and a day old when he passed away


B E S T   F R I E N D

"We escape to know what's worth coming home to." The tagline of my travel blog defines why I set out discovering new destinations in the Philippines. Even if it's less about the travel itself, my intention to leave my home is still about finding a similar comforting feeling outside of it. I've been fortunate to explore remote attractions and enjoy splendid vacations in my pursuit to promote them to fellow turistas. Most of the time, I didn't want to go home anymore and just linger in the charm of a town's idleness. What most readers don't know is that leaving such exciting places is made bearable by coming home to my pet dog, Lancaster.

For the past three years, I was able to bounce back every single time from the travel stigma of ending a tour or an enjoyable destination review duty because of my goofy but temperamental Japanese Spitz. Each time I went home from a hotel or resort, I was always excited to see Lancaster again. He would always welcome me with a warmth of a sniff and a gentle stare. As if I was gone for a year, he'd curl up next to my feet and made me feel that home was as interesting as the outdoors.

Lancaster wearing the hooded shirt I bought him sometime ago
Befriending this friendly guide dog at Palaui Island
Lancaster wearing his yellow Lacoste shirt

Dogs Everywhere

Even in the middle of my trips, I'd remember the love of my pet dog in the presence of other dogs. Some of them were guide dogs during hikes and stay-in pets at resorts. Seeing them while I was away from home would always make me crave going back to my residence in Pasig City where my loyal Lancaster was waiting.

Losing Lancaster

For this reason, it pains me to learn the sudden passing of my pet dog. I got so depressed knowing that he died while I was away on hotel review duty at the Golden Phoenix Hotel Manila in Pasay City. It was the second day of May this year and after a full month of a necessary editorial grind for a new magazine project I was working on. I might have been home the whole month of April but I was slaving away day and night on the computer, missing my usual personal time with him for tummy rubs and staring contests. I might have been home but I was not at all present and he seemed to have felt it. I was even more excited to finally be on hotel staycation to reward myself after a whole month of freelance work than staying at home.

Rambo the dog at Melba's Farm in Talisay City

Walks Undone

In hindsight, I was compelled to take him to a nearby park where we could finally have quality time. I figured that I'd do it after summertime to avoid being exposed to the painful heat. Unfortunately, I'll never get to do that because he was found by my brother in a collapsed state in his own vomit, pee, and blood poo one early morning. For whatever reason, I could not sleep back at the hotel. It was probably the same time when he was suffering and taking his last few breaths. I regret knowing that I wasn't there to even say goodbye.

Lancaster was an adopted dog because I don't believe in buying one to take care of one. For me, love has no price tag.

Checking My Heart

In the middle of my depression after it happened, God made me realise that I need to put my heart in the right place. I was not just sad. I was also devoid of life. For the first time in years, I was not motivated to experience another day. If there was anything I wanted to do, it was to simply go back to that time and place when I should have been home.

The typical mood of Lancaster when at home
Bathing Lancaster a few days before he died
Walking the young Lancaster in Eastwood, Quezon City

In the middle of my gripping loneliness, I was reminded of the Bible verse that goes, "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Interestingly, that verse is connected to the apostle Matthew's other statements about nature as being God's creation that exist on their own under His care. Reading a few verses back in the same Gospel, one will read this verse: "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?"

Adopting the 4-month old Labrador, Phoenix

Adopting Phoenix

After being enlightened by God's word, I picked myself up. I dusted myself and set out in my mom's native town of Infanta in Quezon Province to once again try to adopt a pet dog. The four-month old Labrador Retriever was being kept by my relatives there but I've previously expressed sentiments of adopting him to accompany Lancaster. Now that it won't happen anymore, I was determined to give this new pet dog a new home.

I now fondly call him Phoenix to remind me that I only had him because my time with Lancaster had ended. More than replacing something, I got the spark of hope to continue caring for dogs regardless of the breed and the memory.

Update On Phoenix and A New Dog

Phoenix had a hard time adjusting at home because he practically grew up chained at a lonely side of a house in the province where I got him. As a result, he became hard to handle. Unfortunately, I had to return him to his original owners.

Happy's second vet visit
For more than a month, I crawled back into depression just missing a pet dog that always rushed to greet me whenever I came home.

Just when I thought that I was never going to have another furry friend, a rescued puppy was brought to our house. Barely a month old, the puppy looked like it was in poor health condition. It looked quite scruffy with its swollen tummy. After numerous visits to the vet, it finally became its best version.

I'm glad that I named her Happy after consoling myself for more than a month with a Jackson 5 song of the same title. She turned out to be always giddy which is reflective of her name.

Look how she turned out six months after of vet visits:

Hello, Happy!

Check out my other travel experiences:

• Creepy Travel Tales
• Why I Sketch Views In My Travels
• Baguio City Has Two Faces
Finding Humor In Travel 
How Travel Changed My Life
The Measure of A Man


  1. I'm sure masaya po si Lancaster na kayo naging buddy nya. At the same time may pumalit na magiging new buddy nyo uli. Heartfelt ng nabasa ko itong blog nyo.. Ganyan ganyan din po kasi nung namatay si Magic 15 years old naman sya nung iniwan nya kami and Hatchi (6mos) Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day. By the way Hello to Phoenix! :) At more power to your blog po! :)

  2. Though they are large and strong dogs, they are not heavily built. Large dogs can be intimidating to small children, however yellow Labradors are not dangerous and they do make good family pets. Since they are large they require space to run around and play. They are very playful and really enjoy playing with their owners. labrador stuff


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