A dog sanctuary in La Union
All are unwanted, most are victims of cruelty.
Some were rescued before they can be cooked as appetizer or main dish.
Some were pulled out from illness-ridden pounds where they were to die slowly because medical attention is not given and there is little or no food at all.
Some were to be put to sleep.
Some were rescued from the streets after being hit by a vehicle, leaving them disabled, unable to walk, or limping.
Some were dying on the streets, others had a severe skin disease or were severely emaciated.
They now live in Dogs Mountain in La Union, a sanctuary for 200-plus dogs and 20 cats.
Eleven years ago, John Hughes, a British animal welfare advocate and animal rights fighter, built this sanctuary for dogs who were rescued from dog meat traders. Since then, Dogs Mountain has welcomed a thousand or more dogs rescued from dog meat traders, the pounds, and streets.
When John died three years ago, co-founder and wife Shirly and her twin sister Ashley continued taking care of the dogs and cats.
It is not easy, of course, considering the limited resources.
Cooking food for 200-plus animals and feeding them twice a day take so much energy and time. The cost of food alone requires a lot of funds. Shirly and Ashley are thus grateful to donors and volunteers who help them.
Last Sunday was one special day for the dogs and cats of Dogs Mountain: officers and members of the Cordillera Animal Protection Advocates (CAPA) visited the dogs, donated dog food, rice and vegetables, and helped prepare the food and feed the dogs and cats.
“CAPA is a non-profit organization composed of professionals and animal enthusiasts who are Baguio-based. Members come from different age group. Some are students, family members, and working professionals,” said Cherrubeth Batuna, president.
“The group is guided by the Philippine Animal Welfare Act and is actively promoting responsible pet ownership through educational programs and conducting free animal vaccinations in barangays,” said vice president Jonathan Gapuz.
CAPA members described their experience in Dogs Mountain as unique and an eye-opener.
Giobanny Matias said it was “fun and enlightening.” He said his interaction with the dogs, who were sweet and approachable, motivated him to be a good veterinarian someday.
Kevin Charles Velasco said: “My Dogs Mountain experience is an eye opener. Help (for the dogs) is a must, and passion is by heart.”
Georgelyn Salupen said this is his first time to visit a shelter for animals and saw how difficult it is to feed many dogs at one go. He enjoyed it though because he loves dogs.
Arthur Licyayo, Jr. was awed by the passion of co-founder Shirly, Ashley, and the three-male staff of Dogs Mountain Sanctuary. “It’s immeasurable. Feeding, cleaning, and caring for 200-plus dogs everyday is a challenge—physically, emotionally and most of all, financially. It takes courage. It is no joke to be in their situation. “
It is my hope that these young men and women will continue to assist sanctuaries and shelters in giving a better life to poor beings who were once homeless and victims of cruelty. I am glad young men and women like them are now actively helping the helpless and voiceless, and have the passion to improve the lot of animals in need. May there be more like them.