DOG DAZE By Kathy Moran (The Philippine Star)

It pains pet lovers all over the planet when they hear animals being compared to bad people. Really, there are so many bad people in the world — and animals, whether socialized or in the wild — live only to do what they have been created or made to do.  Free will is not one of the qualities that an animal has. Pet owners know that once we have a pet, we take charge of their lives.

If our pet behaves badly, we are to blame. It’s as simple as that.

Fostering is the act of temporarily caring for an animal that has special needs. In the case of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and many shelters, it is usually very young puppies or kittens who are only a few weeks old that need fostering.

“Fostering is an important aspect of our life-saving work,” says Heidi Guzon, PAWS shelter director, who has fostered dozens of cats and kittens for the shelter. “We need more volunteers to do fostering. We get calls from people who have picked up un-weaned kittens and puppies on top of garbage heaps by the sidewalks.”

One of the most cruel acts is to dump a young animal in the garbage — because these animals can’t do anything for themselves. Un-weaned kittens can die a slow, painful death through dehydration and starvation.

Unlike adoption, fostering is only temporary. It may be difficult for foster parents to let go of their wards and bring them back to the shelter, this is why the foster network’s motto is, “Loving them enough to let go.”

And then there are pet adoptions.

Kristina Ferrer and her mom used to live in San Mateo, Rizal where a gentle stray cat would often wander in their house. It was white with orange spots on its head. Being an animal lover, Kristina would regularly feed and play with the friendly feline.

Eventually, the Ferrers moved houses and left the cat in San Mateo. When Kristina’s mom returned to their old home a few weeks after the move, she was horrified to find the gentle stray injured – his jaw was broken and his right eye was bulging out of its socket. 

Kristina hurriedly brought Matthew to PAWS in tears. She promised she would adopt him if he got better.

Given that the PAWS Animal Shelter has limited equipment and facilities, vets Wilford Almoro and Maripi Diaz had to modify the needed surgical technique to realign the fractured jaw. To ensure proper healing, Matthew was maintained on a feeding tube for nearly two weeks after the operation, and was later placed on assisted feeding for several more weeks. 

His ruptured eye also had to be removed.

Because of the severity of his injuries, it was, indeed, a long road to recovery. But all the hard work paid off because Matthew healed nicely, and now enjoys his brand-new lease on life. 

It was a happy reunion for Kristina and Matthew. On the day she came to take him home, Kristina lovingly carried Matthew in her arms and whispered, “No one will hurt you again.”

Matthew now lives happily with Kristina and her mother.

And there is the story of Fabie Ortiz and her adopted cat Angelina.

“I was literally moved to tears when I read the poem, ‘I Rescued a Human Today,’” said Fabie.  “It was so touching. I could really relate with almost everything written on it because I was recently rescued by an adorable shelter cat named Angelina.”

On one of Fabie’s volunteer days at PAWS she was sad when she could not find her fave  shelter cat, Angelina.

It was PAWS vet Dr. Wilford Almoro who requested Fabie to foster Angelina for two weeks.

“Before I knew it, I was bringing Angelina home,” says Fabie. “After a week, Angelina adjusted to my little home and got well.”

Fabies shares that Angelina is not perfect. She can be timid and lazy. All she wants to do the whole day is sleep on my sofa.

“If you are looking for a pet, consider adopting a rescued cat or dog from the PAWS Animal Shelter,” says Fabie. “Give these animals a second chance at a good life.” 

For more information, call the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) at 475-1688.