Bark in the name of love: a celebration of coupledom and dog parenting

Bark in the name of love: a celebration of coupledom and dog parenting

What’s it like to take care of a dog together?

Being a dog parent is as good as being an actual parent, more so if you decide to take care of a dog with your significant other. There are loads of responsibilities that you have to pick up, including taking them to the vet, buying their food, having them groomed, and so on. But at the end of the day, all that effort reaps rewards: there’s really nothing like coming home to a little pupper who’s mega excited to see and play with you.

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day and the Year of the Dog, Young STAR brought together three couples who love their dogs to the ends of the Earth to capture a ‘lil cuddling session on camera. The result: a barkin’ good time.

Fay Pua, 24, business development at Klook and Michaelvin Chiong, 24, law student
Dogs: Nala, 4 and Ciara, 7, Poodles

On choosing to co-own a dog

Fay and Michaelvin have been together for over 10 years, having met in high school through mutual friends. They decided to get Ciara, mother of their other dog Nala, three years into the relationship. “We were supposed to get a Schnauzer behind our parents backs, but it was too expensive,” says Fay. “So we saw this other dog it was Ciara a super small, fragile-looking brown poodle and we got her. Our parents [just] had to deal.” At first, they would take turns with Ciara, with one person keeping her for one month, and the other keeping her for the next. As a doting dog dad, Michaelvin also did a lot of research in college, he’d read books about delivering puppies and administering vaccines.

Do you think getting a dog helped your relationship?

Michaelvin: “I think it bonded us din somehow. It helps with responsibility. Because you really have to take care of dogs. And sometimes they get sick for example, when they get tick infestation. You have to take care of that, and you also have to sacrifice because you’re sleeping beside a dog that has ticks. You have to prepare for those moments when a tick infestation comes. Like during the summer.”

Dani Avanzado, 24, research analyst and Tanya Albito, 28, senior associate
Dog: Arya, 3, Shetland sheepdog

On being a dog “stepmom”

Arya was primarily Dani’s dog before Tanya came into the picture (the two met at work). Having never owned a dog before, Tanya admits that in the beginning, it was a challenge to woo both Dani and Arya. “The minute I got to know Dani and wanted to be in a relationship with her, it felt very much like I knew how close they are,” she says. And I know how important Arya is to her as in, parang daughter niya. It [was] like she’s a single mom and she has a child, and I needed to get with them.

Since both Dani and Tanya work a 9 to 7 job, Arya mostly lives with Dani’s mom on weekdays, and with the couple on weekends.

What tips can you give people who want to co-own dogs?

Dani: One of the things that people need to prepare for later on in the money that goes into taking care of a dog. It doesn’t have to be na sobrang lavish yung kinakain nila, but they should be ready for veterinary fees, shots, grooming, etc.

Tanya: And kailangang may certain paperwork talaga. Like registration, we’ll have to submit her vaccine information to the admin office of the condo. There’s so much paperwork that comes into owning a dog, and that’s something that people don’t really remember.

Dani Barretto, 24, digital influencer and Xavi Panlilio, 25, DJ
Dog: Finn, 2 1/2, Labrador 


Xavi got Finn two and a half years ago, and they’ve been best buddies ever since. “When I got him, he almost didn’t make it,” says Xavi. “He was sick. He had mild distemper. He also had this disease called Addison’s disease. Basically, he lacks growth hormones in his body, so his teeth grew out a bit and then they never grew anymore.”  

Dani on the other hand, used to be allergic to dogs. She met Xavi in La Union last May, and at first she’d have to be cautious when hanging out in house, which was also home to 10 other furry friends. “When we started dating, I had to take one Claritin a day because my eyes would swell,” she says. “One day, we realized, ‘Wait I didn’t drink Claritin today and I’m okay.’” Dani adds that Finn didn’t give her a hard time at the start. “I think he saw that I was making an effort. Now it’s okay na talaga. You can leave him with me. “If you told me eight months ago that I would be this close to a dog, I would laugh at you. I’m so obsessed with this dog.”

What are the best and worst parts of being a dog parent?

Xavi: For me, I’m never alone. I come from a big family, so when everyone’s gone, I feel like there’s no one in the house. So he keeps me company. When you get a pet, it’s a hit or miss whether it’ll look good or not. It just so happened that pogi siya. So I got lucky. We have a lot of dogs, but he really has a personality. And I know every other dog owner would say it, but he has his moods. There are moods where he wants to be touched, where he’s playful. In terms of the worst part: because he’s sickly, I get paranoid about every little thing.

Photos by JL Javier
Styling by Fed Pua with clothes from It’s Vintage
Produced by Gaby Gloria
Art direction by Ina Jacobe
Sittings by Maine Manalansan and Jam Pascual
#animals #friendship #love

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