PAWS Program Director, Anna Cabrera, was one of the invited speakers to the Humane Society International Track of the HSUS Animal Care Expo on May 12-15, 2010.

Over 1400 attendees representing 44 countries from around the world gathered in Nashville, Tennessee to learn, rejuvenate, and network in the said expo organized by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). 

Cabrera was part of the “International” Track. She was asked to present PAWS’ very successful “aspin” campaign – a campaign aimed at uplifting the image of the native dog by showing people that these mongrels can be just as sweet, just as loving and just as intelligent as their purebreed counterparts. 

The groundbreaking campaign was widely applauded at the jampacked room where  “Marketing Mongrels: Enhancing the Image of Shelter Animals” was discussed.  

After the talk, attendees came up to the lone Filipino speaker to extend their congratulations to PAWS for coming up with the Aspin Club and for devising ‘marketing’ strategies that rivaled those of large commercialized cruel industries such pet shops. 

Coining of the term “aspin” (Filipino dog)  instead of “askal” (street dog) to; holding a Beauty Pageant for Native Dogs and creating an Aspin Club were hailed as unconventional but effective ways of  boosting adoption rates and promoting better treatment for the oft-discriminated mongrels. 

Many attendees remarked that they have been inspired and will strive to also ‘market’ their shelter animals aggressively instead of waiting for ‘pity-adoptions’ that most non-profits are used to. 

Speakers Michael Arm of the Helen Woodward Foundation also had praises for the Philippine presentation. He said it underscored the fact that non-profits should start working “smart”. 

“The animals already have our hearts,” he said to attendees, majority of whom were shelter staff members and animal rescuers. “They need our minds. Use your minds, form a marketing strategy!” 

“Despite their limited resources, they are able to present their shelter animals in a unique and creative way,” he gushed. 

Cabrera also got the chance to meet the  CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, Wayne Pacelle. Pacelle told Cabrera to keep up the good work.  

PAWS is one of HSUS’ very first advocacy partners. Former PAWS Shelter Director, Oscar Lei, was the first from the Philippines to receive a US Shelter internship from the HSUS. 

Note: The PAWS Animal Rehabilitation Center is not funded by any international organization although its officers get training and education grants from them.