Dad taught
for animals

When I was about 10 years old, my dad brought home two baby pigeons (with no feathers yet) that had fallen out a tree near the bus stop. The people walking by didn't care about the birds, so my dad got a box from a trashcan nearby and picked up the birds and brought them home.

You had to admit that, without feathers, they were funky looking, but we fed them with eyedroppers and slowly, they grew up. They lived in a cage that we made a roof for, in the back yard, but the door was always open for them to go in and out freely.There was always food and water in the cage, so they got a little fat.

For a while, they had feathers, but they couldn't fly, so we helped to teach them to fly, and eventually, they caught on and flew away. We didn't think they'd come back, but they did. Everyday, they would fly out, have an adventure (or whatever they did), and every night, they would come back to sleep.

Around the same time we had the birds, our neighbors had a beagle named Pongo. When they first got him, they played with him nonstop, but when the kids grew into teenagers, they left him alone in the back yard. His living area was not cleaned, and sometimes, he would have no food. So we took care of him through a hole in the wooden fence that separated our houses.

We didn't have a dog, but we bought dog food, treats, and snacks. Sometimes, Pongo would run away, and the first place he would go to was our garage. We'd play with him for a while then bring him back to the neighbor's house. My dad and I taught him to sit and shake hands. Later, our neighbors moved and took Pongo with them, and we never saw him again.

Yan Yan Chan, 19, of Honolulu is among the winners of PETA's "World's Kindest Dad" essay contest. She will receive a $50 certificate to treat her dad to dinner. Here is her essay.

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