Category Archives: Stewarding

World Wildlife Day: What Wildlife Means To Me

Yesterday, 3 March 2015, was the second annual celebration of World Wildlife Day. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for this year’s celebration – “It’s time to get serious about wildlife crime.”

I read an article in the Huffington Post blog entitled “World Wildlife Day: Why We Need Wildlife Animals,” posted on March 1 and written by Paul Rosolie. It had me thinking about what wildlife means to me.

Wildlife is fascinating. 

Looking at Sharks in Adventure Cove SGI remember becoming fascinated with killer whales as a young child after seeing the movie Orca. Then, after seeing several dolphin movies, I fell in love with dolphins too. I love animals in general, but I’ve always been partial to marine animals (aside from my passionate love of dogs). It seems that my almost-10-year-old son has somehow inherited my love of marine animals. From his first trip to Underwater World in Singapore when he was just 5 years old to his 9th birthday celebration in Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, my son has become fascinated with marine animals, especially sharks and giant squids. I remember how an encyclopedia of sharks was our bedtime reading material for about two weeks. And how he loves everything about megalodon, and likes to imagine that megalodon still exists today. (He likes to remind me that less than 5% of the ocean has been explored, so….)

Wildlife is beautiful and calming. 

I asked my son if he would be fine with sharks becoming extinct. As expected, he said no.  When I asked him why, he Kelp Forest Monterey Bay Aquariumreplied, “I don’t know, but I just really like observing sharks.  They are so interesting….And they’re predators. I like predators in the ocean.” I agree that observing these creatures, like sharks, dolphins and killer whales, are so fascinating because they are so different and so beautiful. We’ve also many times enjoyed watching fishes, turtles, jellyfish and even kelp in huge aquariums. Watching them is so calming, almost hypnotic.

Wildlife is precious and vulnerable.

At the same time that my son and I have been learning about shark types and shark behavior, we’ve also learned a bit about the dangers they face, including shark finning. It’s sad to imagine how these powerful and majestic creatures, these apex predators, are falling victim to man’s taste for the exotic and superstitious. We may think that much of wildlife is abundant and strong, but even these creatures can be abused and exploited by man.

Why should we care about wildlife and about the serious crimes being committed against it? If we don’t, we may soon find that we have lost not only the awesome sharks in our oceans but many of the living things in our planet that give us beauty and peace. We would lose the natural beauty of our world as we know it.

 

 

When Gestures of Gratitude Go a Long Way

Thank You CardYesterday afternoon, I was surprised to see this lovely card and a box of Mary Grace (one of my all-time favorite restaurants!) pastries on our dining table. When I found out that it was dropped off by Trisha, a young lady I had just met that morning, I was so touched. Nothing like a personal, thoughtful gesture of thanks to make you glad you do what do you.

The day before, I came home from fetching my daughter to see this Chow Chow in our garage, his leash tied to the fence. Our helper said that she saw this dog slowly walking on our street in the mid-afternoon heat. The dog was alone, wearing a collar and dragging along his leash.  She gently led him into our garage and gave him some water that he eagerly drank. As soon as I closed our garage gate, I slowly approached the Chow Chow to gauge his disposition. He didn’t bark, growl or show any aggression. We let him loose from his leash so he could be free to lie down and walk around the garage and garden.

Cafe Mary Grace pastriesHe started exploring, sniffing and peeing. We were surprised to notice that he was walking weakly, his legs very unstable. He struggled to walk up or down a step. Broke my heart to see this dog looking so frail. I hoped that he was just old or tired, not sick. I came near him, crouched down to be level with him and to look him in the eyes. I spoke gently to let him know that I didn’t mean him any harm. When I slowly brought my hand close to the front of his head, he let out a low growl and was starting to show his teeth. I pulled back, kept talking gently, then brought up my hand to the side of his head. He relaxed and finally let me pet him on the head. Yes, perhaps we could be friends.

I called our village administration office to let them know that a lost Chow Chow was in my house, and asked them to tell whoever would look for him to come to our address.

The Chow Chow drank plenty of water but we still worried about him. He refused to eat. We offered kibbles, then kibbles with wet dog food, then rice with wet dog food. But he just wanted to sniff around, drink water and sleep. And he was still moving very weakly. That night, I went to bed hoping that I would see him moving and walking better the next morning.  And in my mind, I was planning how to have a vet see him if his owner didn’t claim him the next day.

Zeus the Chow ChowThe next morning was all good news. The Chow Chow eagerly ate the dog food our helper gave. He was moving about with more energy, even trying to interact with our dog Matty. Then his owner, a young lady named Trisha, came to pick him up. We learned that his name is Zeus, that he is 5 years old and is the baby of the family. Trisha told me how Zeus got out when their garage gate was accidentally left open.  They looked for him around their nearby streets and vacant lots, but it turned out that Zeus had wandered many blocks away from his house and to our street, then probably couldn’t figure out how to go home (and he seemed exhausted from the heat). Trisha’s family was up till 3AM, worrying about Zeus. They inquired with the village office the next morning and learned that Zeus was in our house.

It was a happy reunion, and Trisha was so thankful that we gave Zeus a safe place for the night.  I explained that it wasn’t the first time we took in a lost or wandering dog as it’s dangerous to just let them go about on their own. Luckily, Zeus was no trouble as a guest and was even sprightly when he had eaten and had his owner nearby.

To Trisha and family, thank you. The appreciation you showed my family when you came to get Zeus, followed by the sweet box of pastries and the sweeter personal note of thanks really made my day. Zeus, thank you for letting me pet you and briefly care for you. Your gratitude goes a long way with this humble dog lover.

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Gifts that Give Back

. . . 'tis the seasond to be giving . . .It’s that time, my favorite time, of the year again.  And it’s time to make our gift lists and plan our presents.

If you’re looking for ideas for gifts that give back, please consider putting these on your Christmas shopping list:

For Christmas Cards and Calendars

EzyDog 2015 Calendar – For your dog-loving friends and relatives, this is an adorable desk accessory that will help them keep track of the days and let them help save the Laguna Pit Bulls. It’s sponsored by EzyDog Philippines and is filled with photos of some of the Laguna pit bulls. Calendars are being sold at Pup Culture in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig and in Pet Express branches.

Hallmark for L.I.F.E. – For relatives and friends far away, these greetings cards with beautiful Philippine-themed artwork are precious little gifts. Hallmark is supporting the Leukemic Indigents FundEndowment (L.I.F.E.) Foundation to raise funds for the continued medical treatment of poor leukemic children. Hallmark for L.I.F.E. also sells calendars, tumblers and tote bags. Their products are available in National Bookstore.

For Affordable, Eco-Friendly Body Care and Home Products

Kids' portraitsHuman Heart Nature – For friends and family who want to use toiletries, beauty and home products that are not only good for them but are also good for the earth and for the poor, gifts from Human Heart Nature are a perfect treat. I personally use some of their products, and they are effective and have good value for money. And it feels great to use products that are good for my health, kind to the environment, and help Gawad Kalinga communities.

For Fashion with Heart

Rags2Riches – For family members and friends who love bags and wallets, Rags2Riches’ creations are stylish accessories. These gifts may not be as low-priced as the others in this list, but they have the vision of renowned Filipino fashion designers and the heart of many community artisans from across Metro Manila.

Whale sharkWWF Panda Gift Center – For your tree-hugging, earth-loving loved ones, World Wildlife Fund Philippines has some cool and affordable items in its Panda Gift Center. They sell nice, colorful and practical gift items like t-shirts, bags, water bottles, mug, umbrellas and travel accessories with the iconic WWF Panda. When you buy items from the Panda Gift Center, you are making a donation to WWF Philippines’ programs. And when your friends or relatives wear or use them, they are proudly wearing a symbol of support for these programs.

It’s that time of year again, time to share our blessings with our loved ones, time to spread joy and peace. And what better way to give than to give gifts that give back?

photos by: & ,

When Beloved Pet Dogs Become Killers

The attack and feintI woke up this morning to a heartbreaking incident. Our family dog Matty and our prodigal dog Shiro had just killed a stray kitten in our yard. They had heard the kitten meowing loudly and started barking loudly in return. As soon as someone opened the front door, they quickly ran outside. Shiro attacked first. Although our helper was on the other side of our perimeter wall, she saw what was happening and shouted Shiro’s name. As soon as he let go, Matty grabbed the kitten.  It took less than a minute for our helper to get to them, but by then it was too late for the kitten.

I was shocked. Here are these two dogs that our family love and adore. I cuddle with them, call them cutesy names and play games with them. They are like children to me. And today I am faced with their violent, predatory side.

When they first came to me this morning, just minutes after having killed that kitten, I couldn’t bear to cuddle or pet them in my usually affectionate way. In my mind, I was seeing them as vicious animals who had just attacked and killed a tiny, helpless, innocent creature. And here they were, looking at me with their tails wagging, strutting about like nothing happened. I was so bothered and conflicted.

I read up on why dogs attack cats. I learned about dogs’ prey drive – a natural instinct to hunt. It dawned on me that Shiro and Matty were just following their instincts. I remembered Shiro’s owner having told me the story of how he had witnessed his mother being attacked by a cat. Since then, he has been angry and vicious with cats. Matty never liked cats but she has also never been violent towards them. I don’t know why she did what she did today. Maybe seeing Shiro attack that kitten brought out her own prey drive.

Dogs, while very close to the hearts of humans, are not human.  They are not subject to our morality or our norms. They are intelligent, trainable, loyal and affectionate creatures. But we must not forget that they are animals born with natural instincts that we should respect and understand. How to harmoniously and happily live with them in our homes and in our streets is our responsibility.

(As of this writing, I’ve already taken Matty and Shiro for a walk and given them their daily doses of cuddles and kisses.  It didn’t take long for me to realize that they didn’t do anything wrong. It was a tragic accident for the kitten and a wake-up call for me.)

 

 

photo by:

Shiro, The Prodigal Dog, Returns

ShiroSoloTwo weeks ago, Shiro (even though his owner did tell me that his name is Tagpi; we just prefer calling him Shiro and he responds anyway) went home for good after several days of temporarily staying with us. He stayed with us because he wanted to be with our Matty.

Since then, he has been back to our house a few times, sometimes just for the day, other times for unplanned sleepovers.

The last time I returned him to his owner was five days ago. I took the opportunity to talk to his owner, Mrs. Y, to find out how she feels about Shiro and if she really wanted to keep him.

As soon as Shiro saw her (after being away from home for about three or four days), his tail started wagging excitedly. When she called his name Tagpi, he happily went to her. And he seemed happy and content to be back home.

Mrs. Y was very thankful that I had taken care of him for a while, and that I had returned him to her. She reminded me that Tagpi (Shiro) was her late husband’s beloved pet, and now her only companion and security measure since she lives alone.

I decided not to ask anymore if she wanted to keep Shiro. Instead, I offered to pick him up once in a while and take him along on my afternoon walks with Matty. I’ve tried putting a harness and leash on him, and he was fine with it. Took him for a walk and he was very calm and easy, usually hanging back while Matty would be her usual frisky, tugging-me-here-and-there self.

MattyandShiroIn the past two weeks, I’ve gone through these stages: 1) This must be a lost dog, we should find its owner; 2) If the owner isn’t looking for him, maybe she doesn’t want him and we should just keep him; 3) He has gone back to his owner, he isn’t our dog, that’s how it should be.

This morning, Shiro was at our gate again. Looks like he found another way to get out of their house, or he made a run for it when Mrs. Y opened her gate. He is here again today, playing with Matty, asking us to pet him and sometimes napping. Maybe later today, tomorrow or the day after that, either Mrs. Y will have him fetched or I will bring him back. Again.

So I am making peace with stage 4) Our family has grown to love Shiro and he has chosen us as his second family and home. He doesn’t come only to play with Matty; he also comes to have us pet him and talk to him. He comes and goes, our regular visitor, our prodigal dog.

Shiro, Borrowed and Beloved Dog

Meet ShiroWe call this dog Shiro.

He first came to our house two weeks ago.  He peeped through the little openings on our gate, getting our dog Matty’s attention. My family saw the wagging tails and heard the pleading whimpers. So we let this dog into our yard to let him and Matty play. We left the gate open as this dog would run away whenever we tried to close it. While our Matty was on leash to keep her from running out, this dog would play, leave, come back to play again, and leave again. He left, presumably for home, when night came.

Although he didn’t have an ID tag or a collar, we thought that this dog must have an owner.  He was clean and looked healthy.  Not scrawny. No obvious injuries. We figured that he was just out wandering and saw a playmate in our Matty.

Doggie Play Dates

On the next day, I asked the village security guards if they knew our visitor. They immediately recognized him from a photo I showed (but they didn’t know the dog’s name) and gave me an address not far from mine. They said that this dog does belong to a woman who lived there, and that this dog usually just roams the village streets. I explained that this dog came to our house to play with Matty. I informed the guards that if the dog’s owner looks for him, she can check with us if the dog is at our house playing since he is a welcome guest.

Matty and Shiro playingAfter the first few days of these play dates (this dog came pretty much on schedule, at 6AM everyday), we started finding ways to close the gate while he was in our yard. I pitied our dog Matty for having to be tied up while they were playing. I also didn’t like that this dog would still wander our neighborhood streets during the day. Though he didn’t seem to be aggressive or threatening to anyone, it is still dangerous to let him, or any dog, wander the streets unleashed and unsupervised.

We had started getting comfortable with him, and soon he allowed us to pet him (wow!). We wanted to call him something other than Boy. Since he looked like a Japanese Spitz, I suggested giving him a Japanese name. We came up with Shiro, which means white. To us, he became Shiro.

Running Away

After Shiro had been coming over for about three or four days straight, his owner’s helper came one afternoon to fetch him. He said that the dog’s name was Tagpi (Tagalog word for “patch”) and that he always goes out of the house and roams around. As soon as we opened the gate, Shiro bolted out and ran away. The man chased him and we didn’t see them anymore that day.

That left me with a heavy heart. Was Shiro running away from that man because he didn’t know him? Or did that man hurt him? Was Shiro being treated well at home? And why was he left to roam the streets all day?

Walks, Dinners and Sleepovers

Matty and Shiro on a walkThe very next morning, bright and early at 6AM, Shiro was outside our gate again, barking and asking to come in. We were so happy to hear him back. He was a kind and quiet presence and a joy to have around.  In the next days, he gladly went with Matty and me on our afternoon walks (while Matty was on-leash, Shiro just walked beside us). He drank from his own water bowl and ate from his own little food bowl in our yard. He took naps on the porch.

Four days ago, ten days after he first came visiting, I decided to keep Shiro through the night.  He was still in our yard after dinner time, and it really didn’t feel right anymore to let him outside so late at night. What if the gates in his house were closed and he would be locked out for the night? I wouldn’t be able to sleep from worry.  I told myself that the owner would know where to look for Shiro since they had already found him here with us. And Shiro did come to us on his own, even after they had come to fetch him the first time.

For those four days, we had two wonderful dogs at home.  It was unplanned and unintended, but he became a welcome part of our family.

Goodbye for Now

Yesterday afternoon, two weeks since he first visited and three days after he started staying in our home, Shiro’s owner called him back for good. Another helper came to our house yesterday afternoon asking for Tagpi. I had been waiting for this chance to clarify Shiro’s story so I spoke with the man. He works for the elderly woman who owns Shiro/Tagpi and his son who also lives in our village. He said that during the day, while he is at the son’s house,  Shiro/Tagpi is left alone with the elderly woman in her house. Shiro is able to get in and out of the house on his own through the grills of their fence that are just wide enough for him to go through.

ShiroI explained that I’ve been letting Shiro stay with us during the day and eventually at night too because I worry for the dog’s safety.  I reminded him that it’s illegal for pet owners to let their dogs roam the streets unleashed and unsupervised. I asked him if they still wanted Shiro and reminded him that Shiro deserves to be well cared for.

He said that they do want to keep the dog and will continue to care for him. They have also reinforced their fence so Shiro won’t be able to get out on his own.

I wanted to see how Shiro would react to this man. I opened our gate and let the man in.  Shiro was huddled under the sofa on the porch, his preferred napping spot. As soon as the man called him Tagpi, he did turn his head and wag his tail. He didn’t bolt away or look panicked. But he didn’t get out from under the sofa. We all figured that he had gotten quite used to us, and especially to Matty.

Shiro didn’t resist when the man carried him out and away. It was time for him to go home to his owner, back to his life as Tagpi.

P.S. I’ll Keep Looking

I drive by Shiro’s house everyday on my way in and out of our village.  Since yesterday afternoon, after he was taken back, I’ve been stealing glances at his house, hoping to see him. I saw him once, leaning by the fence, maybe bored, maybe wishing he was with Matty. And when I got home, I saw Matty by the door, waiting for Shiro to come back. It’s only been a day since Shiro left, and we are all somehow waiting for him to come back. Even for just a visit.

Till then, I will keep looking out for Shiro.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waking Up To the Howling Winds of Typhoon Rammasun

Typhoon Rammasun / Glenda aftermathI woke up early this morning to the frightening howling winds of Typhoon Rammasun (known in the Philippines as Typhoon Glenda). Power had also gone out, so there were no other sounds to distract me. I stayed in bed, listening to the strong winds (about 150-185 kph) buffeting our roof, our windows, the trees around our house. I was imagining our roof being torn away, letting the winds and rain into our house. I remembered Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) which had devastated many parts of the Visayan region of the Philippines in November 2013. If this Category 3 Typhoon Rammasun was scaring me this much, I couldn’t even begin to imagine how frightened those people were then Category 5 Typhoon Haiyan was wreaking havoc on their homes.

Typhoon Haiyan was a big wake-up call. Thanks to climate change, strong typhoons like these will likely pass through the Philippines every year. Even in the once thought to be unlikely places. Now, in wherever part of the Philippines we may live, we have to be prepared, and be prepared for the worst. Prepared for strong winds and heavy rainfall, flash floods and landslides, prolonged power outages.

And always keeping in mind, what can we do to help make our homes, our lives, our country more climate resilient? What can we do to save ourselves, our community, our environment?

One Woman’s Animal Rescue Mission

I met animal rescuer Rebecca Tieng in April 2013. She was the Caring and Responsibility for Animals (CARA) Welfare Philippines member who was fostering Matylda (aka Matty), our beloved family dog for over a year now.

Reb's Rescued Dogs 4My family and I were surprised to see so many dogs in her home.  Even though she had a handful of her own dogs, she still had many rescued dogs were in home, waiting to be adopted.

Rescuing Dogs in Different Parts of the World

“I first started rescuing when I was based in Dubai as a cabin crew back in 1995. There was a shelter founded by a British person. A lot of mongrels and purebred dogs were driven to the desert and abandoned. Some were left to die in the rented apartments or villas when their expat owners left the country. Some were tortured and neglected in their own homes. Even though I would be away for several days many times a month, I still adopted, rehabilitated and found good homes for some dogs I took from the shelter. I would always look forward to going back to Dubai to be with my furbabies as they were my stress relievers.”

“After I had migrated to Canada, I decided to open my own mobile dog grooming business. I took a correspondence Canadian online course from which I got a diploma as a certified dog groomer. I was pretty successful driving a 40-foot mobile trailer and had regular clients in no time. Driving around town, I chanced upon lost dogs and I continued rescuing. It was very easy to rescue in Canada as almost all of the stray dogs were friendly  and disease-free. Tracking their owners were easy too because I just had to bring the dogs to the vet to scan for microchip or call the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) for help.”

Reb's Rescued Dogs 2“My ex-husband never liked dogs and I had 5 yorkies. He even gave me a choice of either him or the dogs and I answered that I cannot live without my dogs. He constantly nagged about my dogs and so apart from other issues,  my love of dogs was one of the reasons why our marriage fell apart. I don’t regret that decision; I never will.”

Rescuing Dogs and Cats in Manila

“My mother convinced me to move back to Manila in 2009 after my husband and I separated. On my first month in Manila, all I could think of was why did I ever come back to Manila. I couldn’t believe how every street , every corner of Quezon city had wandering dogs. Some were mangy, some were emaciated, some were normal. When I saw Mang Rudy who lived in a kariton (cart) and had more than ten sick dogs, I brought him food and accessories as the dogs were in pathetic conditions. I contacted a prominent animal welfare group but they said they could not help as their shelter was full. I then contacted CARA Welfare and they came within 24 hours to help.”

“From that day in 2009 till now, I’m not sure how many dogs and cats I’ve rescued. I estimate more than 90 dogs including puppies and more than a hundred cats and kittens. I now have around 35 dogs and 45 cats. This is apart from the ones I feed in the streets. If a stray dog or cat is very difficult to rescue, I ask CARA’s catchers to do it. If the dog is friendly enough, I do it myself. I put a leash around its neck and coax it to get into a kennel. I always have water and food in my vehicle so that I can feed stray animals and also put medicine for mangy dogs whom I cannot take in anymore or those that have owners.”

How to Care for Almost a Hundred Rescues

Reb's Rescued Dogs 3“Ninety-nine percent of my rescues are sickly, nearly dead or badly injured. It usually takes weeks or months of medical attention, given by my good veterinarian friend Dr. Mace Licuanan . Because her heart is in the right place, I am confident that my rescues are well cared for and have a high chance of surviving. Since I can’t afford to be kicked out of my rented house for noise pollution (my fubabies bark the village down even before I arrive at my gate), I have to divide the dogs between my house, warehouse and office. I have houseboys to care for them. My cats are all in my house. They aren’t noisy and are not bothered by the dogs.”

“It’s really not difficult to care for that many animals. I consider myself blessed to have rescued them. The unconditional love they give back is worth every penny or peso, every minute that I’ve spent for them. Occasionally, I get a little financial donation which helps but is never enough to cover expenses. But God is good. Even if I live pay check to pay check, somehow, I don’t need to rob a bank to make ends meet ;). Because caring for my furbabies are financially overwhelming, I’ve stopped calculating expenses. As long as I am able to provide for their needs, I don’t see why I have to stop rescuing or helping other animals in distress.”

Reb's Rescued Dogs1“I used to ask myself why I always see these poor animals whether I’m overseas or in Manila. Then I realized that I choose to see them. That is why I see them even if they’re put in a sack and thrown in the garbage, under a vehicle or in a niche that most people don’t notice. I rescue because it’s my choice; just feeling sorry puts a weight on my conscience that’s too heavy to carry.”

Looking for New Homes for Rescues

“I look for kind and loving families. And with the financial capability to provide good food, medical attention and a secured home. The dog must be treated as a family member, not a guard dog and not to be allowed to just roam free.”

If you are interested to adopt a dog from Rebecca, please email me or comment below.

Going to a Pet Adoption Event

DogsIf you are thinking about getting a new pet dog or cat, or if you want to volunteer with a Manila-based animal welfare group, do consider going to the pet adoption event this Saturday, June 7, 3-8pm in Greenbelt 5, Makati City organized by Caring and Responsibility for Animals (CARA) Welfare Philippines.

My family has been to pet adoption events organized by CARA Welfare Philippines. The first time we went was in 2013 when we brought our dog Vina along. She was a CARA rescue whom we found on their website, met in her foster’s house, and eventually adopted into our family. She was also (literally) CARA’s poster dog back then, so we figured it would be nice if she was at the adoption event. I guess I wanted Vina’s presence at the adoption event to symbolize a success story that people can see right there, a testament to the rewarding experience of adopting a rescue.

Vina was happy to socialize with her human friends from CARA, other rescued dogs that were up for adoption, and the mall goers who were curious about the adoptable pets.

Some of the adoptable pets were readily sociable. I remember a dog who loved being walked by almost anyone who offered, perhaps hoping to be finally adopted into that person’s home. Others who weren’t comfortable being in a strange place and being surrounded by strangers were shy and stayed close to their handlers.

Because of logistics, CARA normally has more cats than dogs during these adoption events. (I’ve asked them about this before.) Cats can be put in crates, even more than one per crate, so they don’t take up too much space. It’s harder to transport dogs because you can’t have more than one dog per crate/carrier. And at the event, the dogs are not in crates. Each dog has a handler. The dogs are on leashes, sitting or walking around, sniffing about or socializing. The adoptable dogs need more space, so there can’t be too many dogs in these mall-based events.

During these adoption events, CARA has a desk for those who want to inquire about volunteering. Sometimes, there would be t-shirts, bookmarks or other merchandise for sale as part of their fund raising efforts.

At a pet adoption event, you may be happy just to see some really cute dogs and cats. You could learn more about the work that animal welfare groups do. You might make a donation and bring home a cool shirt. Or you could end up meeting the next love of your life and the next addition to your family. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.

When Your Pet is Seriously Ill

After our beloved family dog Vina passed away last year, I started asking myself if I had done enough to try and save her. Did I miss any signs? Should I have visited her at the vet hospital more often when she was confined? Could I have tried harder to find a compatible blood donor?

Then I started asking myself if I could have been better prepared for her passing.  When she was still sick, should I have been more open to the possibility of losing her? Could I have coped better?

I asked the veterinarians in Beterinaryo Sa Fort, a vet hospital in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, for some tips on what to do when your pet gets sick.

1.    When your pet becomes ill

“Have them seen by a veterinarian as soon as any symptom develops. Allow your veterinarian to conduct tests to be able to provide a proper diagnosis and prognosis. Together, the pet parent and your veterinarian should be able to discuss the best course of treatment and options for your fur baby.  It is essential that during this time, vet and pet parent work together, discuss and understand each other’s concerns, capabilities and limitations.”

2.      When your pet is confined indefinitely in the hospital

“Daily visits to your fur baby while in confinement are ideal. Keep daily tabs of your pet’s progress via phone call if you are unable to come in personally.  The personal interaction is essential to a patient’s recovery and gives a feeling of security.  Personally ask about the progress of your pet’s health. Your veterinarian will be more than willing to keep you posted on how the condition is developing.”

3.      When your pet dies in the hospital

“As veterinarians, we don’t think there is an easy way of coping.  Pet parents would have to undergo the process and pain of loss, as fur babies could never be replaced. I believe that if each parent is fully informed and prepared in each step of their fur baby’s condition, death will be more acceptable. Communication would be key in this trying moment.”

VeterinarianProfessional veterinarians witness the sickness and death of many beloved pets. They’ve learned to cope with it as part of their job.

“Personally, a part of us dies with them. We actually feel the parent’s pain and loss as if we’ve lost our own, but we have to be at our strongest so that we can provide support and comfort.”