In campaigning against the illegal trade in dog meat in the Philippines we don’t often get the chance to tell stories with happy endings.

Our small but dedicated team of campaigners and informants, along with a handful of cooperative policemen, face off against an unscrupulous, profit hungry industry that brutalizes and slaughters thousands of dogs every week. Conditions during transport are so hellish that up to 90% of a load of dogs will suffocate en-route to slaughterhouses where the survivors have their throats cut. All for a so called “delicacy” consumed in the northern provinces of the Philippines.

The scale of this underground industry is extensive and we just don’t have the resources to save every dog caught up in this cruel trade, but we are doing our best against formidable odds. The dog in the image is called Vaya. That’s not her real name because dogs like Vaya don’t have names. They are snatched from the street or stolen pets. They become anonymous victims of a cruel trade and in most cases are remembered by no one.

Vaya was one of the lucky ones.  We confiscated her during a “buy-bust” operation in collaboration with the police designed to entrap dog meat traders. Her snout and front legs were bound and she had been placed in a small sack by her captors, so it was a miracle that she survived.  Despite this terrifying ordeal, Vaya was friendly and playful, but very timid.  She is however gradually coming out of her shell and will make a wonderful companion animal. For most dogs that we seize from the dog meat trade this is not the case. They remain deeply traumatised by their experiences at the hands of the dog meat traders and fear human contact.

Vaya is different. She will learn to trust again safe in the care of a loving foster family where she will be spayed and vaccinated while we find a permanent home for her. In a sea of misery, Vaya is a beacon of hope that there are some animal spirits that can’t be broken by the cruelty of humans.

We hope to tell you more stories like this one in the future as we escalate our efforts to shut the Philippines dog meat trade down for good.