“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened,” the French poet Anatole France once said.
Filipinos have a strong bond with their animal best friends. They are part of the family and not just bantay for their homes.
At every typhoon evacuation—from Ondoy to Yolanda to Ulysses today—we see families carrying their precious belongings as they flee to safer grounds, and that includes their furry friends.
As thousands of people fled their homes submerged in floodwaters in Marikina, Rizal and Bulacan, they brought their pets with them in crates, baskets or cuddled them in the safety of their arms.
It’s a sight that somewhat restores one’s faith in humanity and the kindness of people.
But some animals—especially stray dogs and cats—were inevitably left behind in the evacuation. Some dogs have been spotted trapped in floodwaters or on top of roofs.
There is a heartbreaking photo of a dog clinging to steel fence as floodwaters rage around him in Marikina (who was eventually rescued), among other pictures of pets caught in the panic and confusion that the sudden surge of floodwaters brought in several parts of the country.
The Philippine Coast Guard today rescued animals too, along with their humans from areas submerged in floodwaters.
Members of animal groups such as PAWS Philippines are likewise helping to rescue animals and bring them to shelters.
PAWS Philippines distributed pet food and relief packs to pet owners evacuating Provident Village in Marikina. “With the brunt of the storm over, a lot of residents are choosing to stay for the night at their homes with their pets to wait it out until the flood water recedes. The team will be going back tomorrow to continue with relief operations.”
The group is asking for dog and cat food; ready-to-eat food for pet owners and hygiene packs. Donors can send donations to the PAWS Animal Rehabilitation Center at Aurora Blvd. Katipunan Valley, Loyola Heights, QC.
The group is also accepting cash donations. For details of their bank accounts, click here.
CARA Philippines, a non-profit group dedicated to the welfare of animals, appealed to people to take in stray animals during the typhoon. “Please be kind to animals seeking temporary shelter,” the group said in a Facebook post.
It’s a good time to remember Mahatma Gandhi’s observation: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
Banner photo courtesy of The Philippine Star/Reuters