The streets are filled with all types of creepy crawlers wafting through the sea of garbage and canal water and the rain seems to have no business in stopping. The squelching of your sneakers stop as your eyes are drawn to a small, curled up fur ball on the sidewalk right beside a sari-sari store. You want to go home, have yourself greeted by a hot meal and a dry towel.
But that train of thought is interrupted by a mewling sound so high-pitched you couldn’t ignore. And despite your mother’s voice in your head telling you to rush straight home, you bend down and scoop it in your arms, sheltering its frailty from the biting cold of the cruel rain. Without thinking twice, your feet race home and you tell yourself that you aren’t the only one deserving of a hot meal and the warmth of that dry towel anymore.
Rescue, keep, repeat
Mia Cudia (III, ECE), an 18-year-old Lasallian, shares how she started rescuing animals ever since she was young. “The first time I ever rescued a stray animal was when I was eight. So I thought I was just doing typical things eight-year-olds would do,” she recalls with amusement. Mia remembers a time when she accompanied her dad to an automobile shop, and heard weak and faint meows. As Mia already had a liking to catseven back then, she followed the sound. “I found a plastic bag with three, probably, month old kittens inside a dumpster,” She says how she immediately took them home and fed the kittens with milk and love – a little secret that only she and her yaya (maid) shared. “And when they were a little bigger, I remember naming them after my favorite wrestlers.”
But without her knowing, that small act of kindness eventually grew to be an altruistic calling for Mia and a blessing in disguise for these abandoned animals. “I rescue stray pets mainly because I hate the thought of animals starving or struggling unsheltered.” She shares how animals like these have no one to give them the love and safety they deserve – a heartbreaking reality that is often left unacknowledged.
The quest to willingly empty a garbage dump of trash in search for the muffled purrs and whimpers that appeal for help continues forth with 19 year-old Miguel Saulog (III, AB-PSM). Coming from a family of avid cat lovers himself, Miguel has always been passionate about caring for stray pets, specifically cats. He sees to it that he makes time to regularly feed the stray cats both in school and back where he lives.
Already having an innate commitment to such service, this call for courage never really came off apparent and clear to him just yet – not until one heroic incident. “It was around some time last year before midterms. Ms. Velasco and I regularly fed the cats around DLSU when I suddenly heard loud sounds from the Razon parking lot,” Turns out there definitely was a stray cat, only this time it wasn’t hidden in a pile of garbage, but curled up in the narrow humid part of a parked car. “So far, I’ve rescued about 6 stray pets.” He says when asked how many stray pets he was able to rescue since then.
The furry truth
About two-thirds of people in a certain country are living with an animal and more than 90 percent treat their cats and dogs as members of the family. Animal rescuing has already found its way to the common conscience of everyone and anyone.
But although these furry friends have purred and puppy-eyed their way to our heartstrings, risking health and personal welfare is still an inescapable turn. Miguel, although already a passionate rescuer himself, acknowledges such trial when it comes to involving with cases like these. “Stray animal rescuing has about the same dangers as approaching a feral animal, with the added element of the environment and surroundings.” He stresses that being careful and tedious is important when it comes to rescuing.
Mia also shares the same sentiments. “After my old cat Moca bit my dad, we weren’t allowed to have pets at home anymore so my pets are in my grandfather’s house right now.” Experiencing the joy of keeping the stray kittens to herself, she eventually had to resort to giving up caring for them along with her other dear pets. She also shares her worries about her health – rabies being one of the most common. “Of course being stray and all, there is also great risk of having rabies.”
Yet despite the debilitating health risks and the long distance relationship she had to undergo, Mia and her pets still maintain a close relationship. She would often visit her grandfather’s house, carrying expensive cat food in her arms when her allowance permits her to – even going as far as playing classical music for them.
From stranger to best friend
It must have been the look in the poor lost pup’s eyes or the pitiful shivers of the abandoned feline that made that real good tug in the chest. And it was enough to make you scoop it up and cradle it in your arms – a hopeless waif whose hope has now been renewed.
But no matter how small it may have seemed, it goes beyond than just being a simple act of charity. “Personally, it builds a lot of character and courage, but also this helps in giving animals in need a chance to live a better life.” Miguel claims. We are taught to assert that drive for compassion and boldly standing for unselfish regard.
“I think of it as one of the reasons why God made you and me. God made us to take care of His creations.” Mia expresses. And indeed, it is one of the very reasons why we, animal and human, coexist – existing at the same time and place, existing for each other.