For three days, you’ve been tied down, severely injured, and bleeding. People have been walking by, but not a single one decides to do anything. Under the heat and the rain, you’ve been stuck in a hopeless situation without anything to eat, waiting either for somebody to actually help you, or for death to come and get you. It sounds like some kind of horror story for a human being to put you in this situation. It has to be a bad dream to be left out where everyone can see you dying.
This was not just a nightmare for Blade, an abandoned dog. Nobody knew who owned him or put him there, but Blade was tied to a post with his hind legs sawed off. For three days, Blade was unable to free himself, lying in his own waste, with flies swarming over him. Someone left him to die.
This kind of abuse happens to many cats and dogs in the Philippines. While some dogs are possibly just lost and never found, sometimes it’s a case of people breeding animals without being able to sell them or others who simply can’t take care of their pets anymore. When these scenarios occur, animals end up on the streets where they either die from neglect or find other homeless animals, reproducing and leaving more strays to roam. Whatever the reason, these animals suffer.
People who care
Fortunately, there are people who fight this cruelty and negligence by giving these animals new homes. One organization that does this is The Philippine Animal Rescue Team (PART), a non-profit, animal welfare organization. Weng Suzara, PART’s Executive Director, explains that PART, now on its third year, was founded by a group of volunteers whose mission is to help stray, abandoned, and abused animals by providing for their needs, and socializing or rehabilitating them so they can be adopted by a new family.
PART allocates donations of people who want to help give these poor animals a better chance at life and make our streets free from stray animals without harming them. “We have a Facebook page, and we have a website. When we have a rescue, we post that on our page , and people donate for the animal’s needs. Like if the animal needs to go to a vet, people donate for the vet bills, and that’s basically how it runs. Their donors can give in-kind donations like dog food, cat food, dog and cat supplies. It all comes from donations,” Suzara says.
While the animals they rescue had nowhere to stay, the rescues are now kept in their newly constructed animal shelter in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan. The shelter is a 4-hectare land owned by PART’s partner vet, Pendragon Veterinary Clinic. The homeless animals’ needs are provided for here. Suzara describes the land as being farm-like with chickens, cows, and other animals in it. She mentions that the land was formerly used as a piggery. To make the place fit for its new inhabitants, various modifications were made like converting the pens into kennels for cats and dogs. Here, the animals have plenty of space to roam and, as Suzara says, “A dog can run and simply be a dog, not caged and not leashed,” until they have a new family that will treat them better than those who left them.
Names, not numbers
Blade was among the many animals that were rescued by PART. Suzara herself went to rescue Blade after he was reported to PART through their Facebook page. “The flesh and bones were exposed. He was soaked in urine kasi three days na daw siya nandoon eh. When I got there and saw him, I immediately brought him to our vet, Pendragon Veterinary Clinic,” she recalls. The infection had already spread through Blade’s hind legs, and it became necessary to amputate them. Today, Blade lives like a normal, healthy dog, apart from missing two limbs, and he is now able to move freely thanks to prosthetics that were provided through donations.
PART has many other stories about rescued animals under their care. Queen, a cat that was probably the victim of a hit-and-run, was found unable to use her hind legs, dragging them behind her when she moved. Since her legs were no longer functioning, they had to be amputated. Queen is now among the cats under Suzara’s personal care. Taking care of Queen needs her commitment because, as a result of her injuries, Queen is unable to expel her waste properly and needs Suzara’s daily care to live. “Now, she’s normal. She can walk, she can jump, she can run, just like any normal cat,” says Suzara.
Braveheart is another rescued animal, a cat that was found in a construction site where a worker poured boiling water on him. Today, she is among the other animals taken care of by PART, and the large wound left by the incident has mostly healed and some fur has grown back.
While there were many that were saved and successfully rehabilitated, not all animals make it through their ordeals. Another dog shares a similar story with Blade, but he wasn’t as fortunate. He was also tied and abandoned. When he was found, he was lying on the ground, wet and barely alive. He was brought to the clinic where they attempted to pump his heart and help him breathe, but he had already gone through too much. Suzara gave him a name, Gabriel, and he was buried at the sanctuary the day after.
A world without strays
PART is dedicated to rescuing any animals in need. “Our mission, though we have a shelter, is that no animal should be a stray. When that happens, then we can close down our shelter,” says Suzara.
To turn this into a reality, PART does a variety of activities, aside from putting rescued animals up for adoption, to help reduce the number of strays. For example, Suzara and others members go to barangays and teach children about responsible pet ownership, since many strays are on the streets because of careless pet owners.
The organization also advocates spay and neuter. Some owners don’t control their pets’ reproduction, and because they may end up with more pets than they could or want to take care of, there is a tendency to just look for ways to get rid of them. Spaying or neutering offers a way to control pet reproduction that keeps their numbers under control.
Even their adoption process promotes responsibility on an owner’s part. To apply for adoption, a person is required to fill out a form from their website. If that form is approved, the applicant is called for an interview. A successful applicant is then invited to the shelter to meet the pet. Afterwards, a home visit is done to see if the environment the applicant can provide is fit for the pet. When an applicant passes all of these requirements, the pet is officially adopted its new home.
Looking around Manila, it seems that there are still plenty of lost animals that need rescuing. The next time you see a homeless or injured animal, maybe you could try doing something to help it. If you can’t, remember that there are people who are always ready to save them and that they’re just a call or a message away.