It was raining all over Metro Manila that night.
A concerned citizen saw a dog in a filthy canal, unable to move. Not knowing how to help a dog in this kind of a situation, the concerned citizen took a photo of the dog, posted it in Facebook with the location of the dog, and asked that the dog be rescued.
I came across the post the following morning. I noticed the location was near me. When I read the post, I said to myself, “I can't rescue anymore. I have other dogs in my care already.”
But I could not stop thinking about the dog after reading the post. The image of the dog lying helpless out there haunted me so I thought of checking on him in case I find myself in the location posted by the concerned citizen.
I thought maybe the dog would not be there anymore as it had been more than 12 hours since the report on the dog was posted.
I passed by the dog's location while in a bus. Looking out the window, I saw the dog. He was still there.
I decided to rescue him right there and then as I could not bear to let him stay there any longer.
I walked towards the dog and squat in front of him. The dog looked at me, straight to my eyes, and then howled. I knew then that the dog knew that he was being rescued.
Tears fell from my eyes. I thought, “This dog is asking for help. If only this dog could speak.”
He could not stand. Maybe he got hit by a vehicle and was then left for dead under the heavy rains overnight before rescue came his way.
I brought the dog with no name to the vet right away.
Every test, including an x-ray, was done to assess his physical condition.
The dog is a mongrel or an asong Pinoy (aspin) though he had features of a Chow Chow and a Golden Retriever.
His temperature was low. He was shaking inside the clinic. He was given a hot compress so his temperature would go back to normal.
He had a laceration or wound from his anus up to his tail. It had to be sutured.
His x-ray showed that he had a dislocated bone. This was the reason he could not get up and stand.
He had issues with his kidneys too. The vet said he needs a catheter to help him urinate. He was put on a special diet to help his kidneys.
His dislocated bone in the hip joint was addressed through a close reduction procedure. He had a cast for a month. Thankfully, the bone was brought back to its right place.
However, the nerves were damaged already. The vet told me that he may be able to stand or walk but not as normal as how other dogs stand.
It was a slow process of treatment for the dog as he was already 10 years old, a senior dog.
However, slowly but surely, we knew then he would be able to get back on his paws and live a comfortable life again.
I took him home with me.
He needed to continue his medication and therapy. I was more than willing to serve and do this for him.
He needed to be drained through catheter. And since he could not stand, he needed help to poop and get cleaned after. I helped him get up, slowly, everyday, using a towel harness.
One day, he was able to stand on his three legs. Days passed and then he was able to use all four of his legs. I was in tears. Our efforts to help him did not go to waste as he was recuperating so well. He was thankful, he regained his strength, and he started to trust us.
I made sure that this second shot at life was meaningful for him. He lived for another three years.
But no living thing lives forever. This is the way life is.
He got ill. His kidney issues progressed, his bones got weak, he was going deaf.
His frail body was unable to fight all the illnesses.
Eventually, he succumbed to organ failure.
The house suddenly felt so empty.
There was no more barking from him. His bark was the loudest.
There was no more a shadow, or a dog following me everywhere with innocent eyes and who would greet me with a wagging tail.
There were no more combing sessions which he loved so much.
Yes, he had no name before he chose me to be his human, when our paths crossed in 2016.
But for three years, he was JOSE.
I named him Jose to return the love he gave me.
I will surely miss you everyday, Jose. You are dearly loved and cared for. You will always have me until the end of time. You are now renewed with our Creator. Leave all the pain behind, even mine, for you are free from yours.
There are others like Jose. Dogs without names, dogs without breed, no homes or shelter, no food, no love and care, dogs who have no humans. There are so many dogs with nothing at all.
Jose was a gift. May other humans have overflowing love in their hearts to help another dog with no name, and give one a home and a family so that they too can enjoy the special love that comes from a dog.
May Jose’s story help humans open their eyes and their hearts for homeless and voiceless animals.
Remembering Jose 2006 – August 12, 2019.
Credits to all the people who supported, cheered and sent well wishes for this beautiful furbaby.
About the Author: Regie Manio is the founder of Reach Out for Animal Rights – ROAR Inc., an animal welfare group registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission that rescues animals in need and provides free spaying and neutering for pets to help control animal population and lessen incidents of abandonment and cruelty against animals.