Most animal rescuers have probably lost count of the number of animals they have saved or rescued. But one thing is for sure: they will never forget the one rescue that made an impact on them. It’s the one rescue that made them stay in the animal welfare advocacy despite the heartaches and challenges.
For rescuer Kat Gallano, a safety officer, her most memorable rescue was Buddy.
“I met Buddy in 2017. It was right after celebrating New Year’s Eve. A lost dog running back and forth within our area. When we met, we connected instantly. He was so thin and had wounds all over his body,” Kat says. She took him to a vet for treatment and then eventually found a home for him. But in 2021, Buddy got sick.
Kat recounts, “They [adopters] told me that Buddy needed urgent medical assistance and they couldn’t afford to handle his case. They asked me to help Buddy and take him with me again. I immediately sought assistance from Doc Joseph de Guzman of ANGKOP team. Buddy was given all the necessary medical treatment and medication. However, it was determined that he’ll be permanently blind. Finding a home and family for a blind dog would be more difficult, but I couldn’t give up. That’s when I decided to reach out to Ma’am Bobbie who then gave Buddy the home he deserves. He was embraced with so much love and care. Buddy is finally happy. Despite being apart for several years, whenever we meet, it was always just like the first time we met. He’ll approach me and treat me as if I am his owner. We’ve been through a lot together. I cried several times because he’s been denied several times of love and care. But he’s also a fighter so I didn’t stop fighting for his hope, too!” Kat says.
Kat has seen the suffering of stray dogs first hand, so her advice for anyone planning to adopt a pet is, “Put it in your heart and mind that caring for an animal for the rest of his life is a commitment. Prepare yourself and your family. Provide all the love and care your pet needs, especially if it gets sick or old. It is when your pet will need you the most. Do not give up on them! Remember that they have needs and rights too!”
Jen Yu, a full-time animal rescuer, has been rescuing cats for decades now. Her whole family is also involved and they currently have 30 rescued cats. Jen says that almost all of their cats are neutered or spayed. “We have a lot of rescues through the years, and I can honestly say we do have favorites. Mine is Simon, who I have nurtured from around three weeks old until he can eat on his own.”
Simon was rescued back in 2013. He is nine years old now. “People have always been telling me, ‘Wala ka naman napapala, bakit ka pa namumulot?’ I get free relaxation therapy, that’s why. The love of a pet, no matter how cranky (the pet is), is unconditional.”
Jen emphasizes the importance of neutering and spaying and wants to remind everyone that a pet is a commitment. “It irks me that a lot of people are still ignorant about animal birth control. I just hope that one day we will be given an opportunity to educate people about TNR and the benefits of neutering/spaying,” she says.
“And yeah, a gentle reminder for people who want to get a pet. Please keep in mind that pet means family. If you cannot commit to the ‘until death do us part’ attitude with a pet, do not get one. A pet is a commitment,” Jen adds.
Eva Marie Salcedo, a window blinds and glass aluminum contractor, rescues stray animals because it’s her way of paying forward. She says that she’s been given so many blessings so she wants to share those blessings with others. Her most recent, and most memorable, rescue was a senior stray cat. Eva says, “I initially named him Crispy. He was at death’s door when I found him. I took him to the vet and, thankfully, he is recovering. And now that he seems to have a new lease on life, I renamed him Crispin.” Crispin will spend the rest of his senior life with Eva, his forever mommy.
Chi Medalla is a passionate animal welfare advocate. She was awakened to the plight of the strays in 2016. Chi says, “My most memorable rescue was during a visit to my vet. I saw him treating a stray dog who was a cross-breed mix. He mentioned that it was left there on purpose because its irresponsible owners knew he was kind to strays. The dog was fully covered in mange, skinny but friendly. I told him that I will help him look for an adopter. Several weeks passed and I was able to find a loving family for the dog. But when I came back to pick him up, my vet said that the dog was taken by the pound. However, since he is the friend of the city vet, he made sure that the dog was secured so he can be redeemed. I immediately arranged for the dog’s pick up at the pound. My excitement to see the dog came to a halt as I witnessed the sorry and pitiful condition of the dogs there. In my eagerness to save them all, I bravely posted it on Facebook. I pleaded for their condition and asked if anyone could adopt the poor dogs. I prayed hard and to my surprise, many stepped up. Two shelters came in and got all 55 dogs, including three cats.”
Chi hopes that local government units (LGUs) will provide free spay/neuter, TNR, and anti-rabies shots so that the number of stray animals can be lessened.
“I also pray that compassion for animals be included in the school curriculum, and seminars about animal welfare be conducted in villages and barangays,” Chi says.
About the author: Rowena David is faculty member at College of Computer Science in the University of Makati, is a freelance writer (Tagalog short novels), admin of Philippine Pet Lovers Society Facebook page, an animal rescuer and animal welfare advocate.