Tag Archives: rescued pets

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.

Stop the Evil of Animal Abuse

This is how the evil of animal abuse looks like. It breaks my heart and makes me angry.  It is a vicious cycle of violence that must stop now.

Summer-rescueddogAs my friend Rebecca was driving this morning along ITC Compound Road in Valenzuela City, Metro Manila, she found this dog.  The dog was inside a sack, with her neck chain tied to her hind legs. Her hind legs were cold and seemed to be paralyzed. She had a huge gash on her vagina. While Rebecca was preparing to rescue her, the dog was crying (obviously in pain) yet also wagging her tail (probably happy to have a kind and comforting presence around her). The dog offered no resistance when Rebecca took her and put her in a dog carrier.  She decided to call the dog Summer.

Rebecca brought Summer to Mandaluyong Animal Care (MACE) Dog and Cat Hospital for assessment. Sadly, her injuries were found to be too severe and she was in so much pain and suffering. Just a few hours after she was rescued, Summer was given her peace and put down.

I asked myself how could anyone be so cruel to this dog. After a bit of online research, I learned that the people who inflict animal abuse are most likely victims of abuse. They are exposed to violence and abuse in their homes and other environments. They don’t develop empathy and respect for others. And tragically, early behavior of animal abuse or cruelty can lead to future violent behavior against people.

Here are some articles I found to help me understand this hideous behavior:

“Understanding Animal Neglect and Cruelty” (www.nhes.org)

“The Animal Abuse-Human Violence Connection” (www.paws.org)

We are stewards of the earth, and that responsibility includes caring for other humans, animals and all life. Violence is violence, whether it is against humans or animals. We need to stop this vicious cycle of violence. While not all of us maybe able to rescue abused and neglected animals, we can all help to educate ourselves and those around us about being humane.  We need to learn to become a humane society.

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Adopting a New Dog and a New Love

Today is the first anniversary of the day we welcomed dear Matty (aka Matylda) into our home and into our family.  She is the second rescued dog that we had adopted from Compassion and Responsibility for Animals (CARA) Welfare Philippines.

Matty on the bedRight after we lost Vina, our first adopted rescue and first family pet, our family started feeling the huge void in our home. I kept telling myself that I still had to grieve and that I wasn’t ready to take in another dog. However, after having experienced the love and joy that comes with having a dog in my life, I just couldn’t bear to be without it.  The rest of our family felt the same way, and soon we decided that it was time to search for a new pet.

We saw Matty in CARA Welfare’s website. I contacted Rebecca, a CARA Welfare Philippines volunteer and the kind lady who had rescued Matylda and had been fostering her for more than a year. We went to Rebecca’s house to meet Matylda for the first time.  Amidst several dogs there, rescues up for adoption and Rebecca’s own pets, Matylda took to us pretty well. I think what hooked us was how she would hug our legs (she still does that now), as if asking to come with us or asking us to stay.  She was sweet and playful without being hyperactive. We had found our new dog.

In April 28, 2013, Rebecca and veterinarian Dr. Mace Licuanan brought Matylda to our house. She didn’t have any objections to our house; she happily sniffed around and explored. Rebecca, Dr. Mace and I talked about Matylda’s history and tips on how to care for her.  Soon, it was time for them to leave.

Matty by the doorFor the first hour or so, Matty (our family had decided to nickname her Matty) just stayed by the door, waiting for Rebecca to come back for her.  As we were advised, we didn’t approach her.  We just let her be and patiently waited for her to approach us.  After some time, she drank water from her bowl and started walking around the living room.  Eventually, she approached us and allowed us to pet her and to become her family.

It’s been a year and we are so blessed to have Matty in our family.  We are also grateful to CARA Welfare Philippines and to Rebecca because through them, we are able to give a rescued pet a home. To celebrate this first anniversary, Matty is donating to CARA Welfare Philippines, to give back and to help in giving other rescued pets a second chance.

If you’re thinking of getting a new pet, consider adopting a rescue. You give him a loving home; he gives you joy and unconditional love like no other.  Win-win situation 🙂




Vina, Still in Our Hearts

Today, March 3, 2014, is the first death anniversary of our first family dog, Vina. A year ago today was the first time in so long that I was heartbroken and devastated.

Vina was a young dog; veterinarians estimated that she was less than a year old when we adopted her from CARA Welfare Philippines in October 2012. This beautiful rescued dog was in our family for only 5 months, but she easily made her way into our hearts forever.

She passed away due to complications from Ehrlichia, a blood disease that she had picked up when she was still a young stray. It’s similar to dengue fever in the sense that it can cause the patient’s platelet count to drop severely.

Vina was confined in Beterinaryo sa Fort (BSF), a veterinary hospital in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig for a week. Every time our family would visit, we would sit beside her crate and talk to her.  When she felt strong enough to stand, she would be let out of the crate and we would pet and cuddle her.  During one visit, despite her IV line, she tried to slowly walk out of the confinement area, as if showing us that she wanted to get out and come home with us already.

Each time I visited her, I spoke to her with tears streaming down my face.  It hurt to see her so weak.  It hurt to leave her behind, to not bring her home where she belonged. Still, I kept hopeful that she would get well.  She made it from the streets and into our home. She was a survivor.

Exactly seven days after she was brought to the vet hospital, on a bright and early Sunday morning, I received that fateful text. I had just gotten through the words, “We’re sorry to say that Vina passed away this morning…” then I broke down and cried. In between sobs, I kept saying, “Why?  She was supposed to come home! She was going to come home!”

When we got to BSF, we saw her laid on the examination table. I started sobbing all over again. I still kept asking why. I couldn’t accept that she was gone.  I was holding her chest, trying to feel her breathing.  I was stroking her hair and calling her name, trying to wake her up. She stayed still and lifeless.  She was really gone.

Together with Karla, Vina’s foster mom from CARA Welfare Philippines, we decided that we would bring Vina home and have Pet Valley Park and Crematory pick her up from our house for cremation.  Wrapped in a blanket generously lent by Pup Culture (where Vina used to play and learn), we were finally able to bring her home.

Maybe I was all cried out.  Maybe I was finally, slowly accepting that Vina was gone. I just quietly sat in the lanai with her until the staff of Pet Valley came and took her.

A week later, we received her shadow urn.  It now sits in our home, with a lovely photo of Vina smiling at us. I miss her, but I am thankful for the joy she brought to our family. As my son had said, and what we had chosen to put on her urn, Vina will always be in our hearts.