Gnocchi: Valerie’s furry firecracker who sparked her family with new life

Written by Cora Llamas

Content strategist, project manager, and reluctant cat whisperer. 🙂 Going back to my love of and care for pets. Used to have a lot of dogs years ago until life and work happened. Now I still got an azkal-jack-russell terrier and a cat who keeps on insinuating herself in my life. My 5-year-old grandnephew loves pets so who knows? our menagerie just might grow.


A dumpling of dough. That’s the first impression that PawParent Valerie Jalijali-Tugade had of the new puppy who came into her and her husband’s life in January 2021. That’s why they named her after their favorite pasta. But months into her adoption, Gnocchi was quick to reveal her fiery, passionate side that soon enlivened her human family. As Valerie muses, “She was—and is quite—a firecracker.”

The first wave of darkness that Gnocchi was quick to dispel with her bright liveliness was Valerie’s own reluctance to take in another pet. Her husband gave her Gnocchi for two reasons which had to deal with companionship. First, during the height of the pandemic, she would spend a lot of time alone at home while he went to the office and worked long hours. Second, the Tugades’ 15-year-old senior citizen pet, Porky, was frail and getting sick. Thus, the vet advised the couple that they “should consider getting an additional pet to help us cope and prepare ourselves for losing Porky, and we were finally contemplating it,”  Valerie shares.


…the vet advised the couple that they “should consider getting an additional pet to help us cope and prepare ourselves for losing Porky, and we were finally contemplating it,”  Valerie shares.



Generation gap

The first months of taking care of Porky while raising Gnocchi were not a walk in the park. Valerie compares it to managing an elderly relative and an energetic toddler. On one hand, she had to watch out for Porky who would bump into walls because of his declining vision, and who would move his bladder during the wrong moments because he could no longer hold it in. The elderly dog also had a hard time handling the more “chatty” Gnocchi who, as a typical pup, would egg him to play.

Fortunately, the two dogs—and their PawParents—experienced their breakthrough during the third month. As Valerie recounts it, “Porky became more tolerant, and Gnocchi was calming down more and was becoming sweeter than being just all play. Gnocchi would cuddle and lick Porky, which the old one didn’t mind anymore.”



And when the elderly dog passed away, the bond that they all shared, plus Gnocchi’s innate warm loving nature, helped the family cope with the loss. Valerie says gratefully,  “She not only allowed me to refocus, but she also uplifted our spirits and morale. Loving her and her love for us eased the pain we felt in losing Porky.”

Neither did the young dog forget her elder. Porky’s remains were cremated and then his ashes were placed in a pot under one of the family’s calacuchi tree in their lanai. Gnocchi would frequently visit that particular pot, and even jump on it to take a look inside. It was as if Gnocchi was sensing Porky’s presence in that particular place.

Still, despite that sensitivity, Gnocchi helped the Tugades move forward to their own healing. Aside from alleviating Valerie’s loneliness during the pandemic, Gnocchi also got her back into exercise mode, which also soon revitalized her disposition and health.

Back to healing

Valerie smiles, saying, “Gnocchi’s activeness and need for an energy outlet have definitely made me more fit. All our walks and potty breaks ensure I achieve my goal of 10,000 steps daily.”



Gnocchi’s loving nature would often result in a foot spa for Valerie whenever the dog starts licking her from head to toe.

Valerie wants to return the favor one day, after all the lockdowns have been lifted, by introducing Gnocchi to fun, watery spaces. “A place with a beach and pool wherein she can hopefully learn how to swim,” she says. “Although she dislikes bathing, she loves the water. She likes wading in it, biting it, and even chases flowing water.”

Another thing that Gnocchi likes is socializing. Far from being the shy type, she easily makes friends with both humans and fellow furries alike. Again when things in the NCR become less restricted, Valerie wants to create playdates for Gnocchi where she can get acquainted with all kinds of potential friends, canine or homo sapiens.



“All the playdates would be punctuated with breaks wherein she’s given her favorite treats to gnaw and chew. At the end of the day, we’d allow her on the bed and cuddle with her,”  Valerie imagines that fun-filled future. “We are lucky to have Gnocchi—she is smart and has a winning personality. We are grateful that she is in our lives, uplifting us and cheering us up. We love her so much.”


Gallery by The Pet Visuals: Gnocchi



Philippines’ Next Top Pawdel

This is our last featured winner of the #NextTopPawdel of the month. We tried to capture 12 heartwarming stories that can be told through the lens of the camera – a story of unspoken love by your dog or cat — please stay tuned this coming February as we announce the grand winner of the Philippines’ Next Top Pawdel.

Special Awards brought to you by Alfie’s Alpipu’s Supawmarket

Fan Voting

a.) Fans’ Choice of #NextTopPawdel
• The 12 winners will select a single portrait of their pawdel and as their entry for fan/audience voting
• Subjective voting of the fans/audiences will be the sole basis. No judging rubric.

b.) Best Duo Portrait
• The 12 winners will select a portrait of themselves together with their pawdel as their entry for fan/audience voting
• Subjective voting of the fans/audiences will be the sole basis. No judging rubric.

Peer Voting

Best #LoveYourPawdel Story
• The 12 winners will vote one (1) #NextTopPawdel featured article that they deem the best story. They cannot vote for their own featured story.
• Subjective voting of the contestants’ peers will be the sole basis. No judging rubric.


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Philippines’ Next Top Pawdel

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