Nikko and his stint at the Fido Casting Call 2

The recently concluded Fido Casting Call 2 contest was an online dog contest sponsored by the Canadian phone company Fido to raise charity funds for Lions Foundation, a non-profit organization providing Guide Dogs to persons with disabilities.  Guide Dogs are assistance dogs trained to lead blind and visually impaired persons around obstacles.

The contest ran from August 13 to September 10.  For each of the votes received during the contest, Fido will donate $1.00 to Lions Foundation.  The total funds raised by the contest will be used to train and place Guide Dogs with handicapped persons.

Nikko’s participation in the contest started as no more than a katuwaan (amusement) on the part of my wife Elsie.  “It would be fun,” she bantered to convince me (except that public voting started 13 days earlier).  I had some misgivings about the idea of entering Nikko so late in the contest but ended up preparing a short write up about Nikko as required by the “casting sheet” of the contest.


Once Nikko’s casting sheet was accepted by Fido, I sought the advice of my friend Teddy Brul (Administrator of Alagad Party-list’s Internet sites <>) on how best to solicit online votes for Nikko.  Encouraged by Teddy’s technical advice and promised help, I devised a two-prong messaging strategy and plunged myself into 15 consecutive nights of “fast and furious” cyber messaging with 2 Facebook accounts, 1 Twitter account, 1 blog account, 2 email accounts, and 2 mobile phones.  Never had I ever multitasked before with such regularity and intensity since the advent of modern communication technologies.  And my trusted Oster made sure that I stayed awake and alert all night long with constant supply of brewed barako coffee, a strong local brew that can revive a dead horse.

It was a “mission impossible” for us before we could even post our first online solicitation, but I told Teddy that our little exercise will also present for us an opportunity to test (and learn) how social networks can help popularize and advance social advocacies.  He liked the idea and committed to “propagate” my nightly messages through his Facebook/Twitter accounts and Internet groups/billboards.

By the way, Nikko is a 5-year-old male Maltese companion dog with almost childlike behavior and idiosyncrasies.  He has his own bed but prefers to sleep the night in our bed.  He loves to run and roll all over our bed and play a game of hide-and-seek like a little child, hiding underneath the comforter.  He watches TV intently, especially when his favorite program, The Meerkats, is showing on Animal Planet.  Sleep time for him is when I turn off the bedroom TV set and lights.  He never complains(!) and would dutifully curl up close to my feet.

Back to the contest.  The first few nights were agonizing for me while monitoring Nikko’s ranking inch its way up ever so slowly from the bottom of the heap of some 10,000 entries.  I was getting restless and wondering if my messages were “hitting home.”  But when  the votes started pouring in, Nikko’s ranking steadily took off in increments of several hundred places on good nights.


When Nikko’s ranking breached the 1,000 mark on September 5, I started to entertain the mathematical possibility of him catching up with the leading entries with 5 more public voting days remaining in the contest.  I went into high gear and peppered the Web with Nikko’s ballot, hoping that the “shotgun approach” would bring in more votes.  Two nights later, however, it became evident from the slow progress of Nikko’s ranking that the 13-day partida (head start) of the front running entries would be very tough to overcome, even with the extra hours that I put in at my nightly toils.  But that did not deter me from scraping for more votes down to the last hour of the contest.

Nikko eventually placed 630th among 10,000 entries — not really a bad spot for a very late entry and a little exercise that started as no more than a katuwaan.  More importantly, his participation in the contest contributed some funds in aid of the mobility of blind and visually impaired persons.

To the wonderful people who supported and voted for Nikko, wherever they are, Elsie and I are grateful for the help you extended to us during the contest.  God bless you all!  

Author:  Rene “RC” Catacutan
Published 15 September 2012

Related photos

Nikko’s contest photo

Elsie and Nikko on a recent trek to Tagaytay City

Nikko and my granddaughter Acky taking time out from watching cartoon TV to make faces for the camera





Elsie and Nikko at Tiendesitas, Pasig City

Juvenile Nikko

“Mom” Elsie proudly displaying the 4-month-old Nikko

Guide dogs (photo credit:

A guide dog leading a blind person (photo credit: dreamstime.web)

The National Training School for Guide Dogs of the Lions Foundation in Oakville, Ontario, Canada (photo credit: