Our first field report covered our team in the Philippines and their efforts to bring food and veterinary care to pets and their owners following the recent flash flooding in the Philippines. Since then our team has worked hard during the christmas break to do what they can to improve the situation in an area that has suffered utter devastation. Our vet on the ground, Dino, describes the latest scenes in the worst hit areas.
“I returned yesterday afternoon from 3-days of work in Iligan and Cagayan de Oro. As you have seen in photos, it seems a miracle how those people survived the flash flood. The scene is really a nightmare.
While there are now several welfare agencies that are helping the flood victims, we are the only ones who are working on the welfare of the animals. So far the reception to our work here has been positive, probably because we are making sure we give rice to pet owners as well as providing food and medical attention to their pets. In fact, if you see the faces of the dog owners, you can see that what we are doing is rewarding.
Sometimes the progress of the work here goes slowly because there are dog owners who are keen to share their stories, their experiences of the flood, the stories of how they survived and particularly the role their dogs played in their survival. Some have said that without the barking of their dogs that awakened them they could be dead by now. There are also lost dogs that were considered dead only to return days after as well as dog owners who worked as hard to save their dogs as they did their children. There are,of course, many orphan dogs.
You can see in the photos that there are many dogs in a state of shock. They just lie down, listlessly, and nobody in the neighborhood knows who their owner is. These are what I call the orphan dogs. And there are plenty of them. But even if the owner is still alive, they simply have nothing to feed themselves and their dogs. There is simply nothing left – no water, no house.
I suggested to the vets who are helping us in our activities here to make a report to their heads of units with the recommendation to create a shelter for these dogs. I recommended that they should make animal welfare a permanent component of the animal services of their office and we will do what we can to assist them in making this a reality.
I will be returning to Iligan and Cagayan de Oro in January to make a follow up and continue the work.”