June - August, 2011 PAWS promotes Responsible Pet Ownership and reaches out to more communities with the Spay-Neuter truck
The PAWS Spay-Neuter (SN) Program, one of the organization’s largest Responsible Pet Ownership (RPO) campaigns, has not only changed the lives of thousands of animals, but also improved the mindset of Filipino pet owners in taking care of their beloved companion animals.
We have been very blessed with our team of Educators who, time and time again, inform the people about the benefits and necessity of having pets fixed, our medical staff, composing of our veterinarians and clinic assistants, who endure long days, and at times, nights, to get the job done, and volunteers who tirelessly go back and forth between helping out inside and outside the PAWS Spay-Neuter clinic.
Together, we overcome the hurdles of limited resources and manpower to push forth our advocacy: to stop pet overpopulation, irresponsible breeding and pet abandonment.
Recent events have given us encouragement and motivation to work even harder. City and provincial veterinarian from Local Government Units (LGU’s) have started to collaborate with PAWS for their own Spay-Neuter campaigns, and pet care companies have started promotions for pet sterilizations and sponsorships for indigent pet owners. We have also acquired an extremely helpful tool—the new PAWS Spay-Neuter truck.
Batangas City Provincial vet observes while Dr. Wilford Almoro performs surgery
Before, the PAWS SN team would go to provincial or city outreach activities, and ask to use the Barangay Halls as operating theaters for the animals to be fixed.
The minimal needs of the medical team, such as sinks with running water and operating tables had to be sacrificed. Seeing that the current situation then needed much improvement, PAWS applied for a grant to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) in the United Kingdom.
Thankfully, the application was approved, and RSPCA subsidized thirty percent (30%) of the cost of buying and customizing a truck into a mobile surgery clinic.
The remaining seventy percent? Donations from generous individuals funded each window, table, seat, wheel and axle. The truck’s customization and renovation came in installments, continuing only when we save up enough money to buy the necessary parts and equipment.
Dr. Maripi Diaz does the pre-op evaluation, post-op check and discharge
And even before completion, without the air conditioner and generator, the PAWS SN team had to rev the truck and do three consecutive Outreach activities in Batangas: Sabang, Marawoy, and Balintawak on June 30, July 22 and August 26, 2011 respectively. Thanks to the office of the provincial veterinarians, and the LGU’s who subsidized the cost of medicines and surgery materials, we were able to sterilize a total of 43 dogs and 22 cats.
The PAWS Spay-Neuter Team in Barangay Balintawak, Batangas
But the real trip that broke the SN truck in was the outreach activity in La Union on August 30 - September 3, 2011.
The PAWS Spay-Neuter Team in Balaoan, La Union, 9-hour drive from Manila
It all started with a wish. Lola Mely, a retired nurse, kidney transplant survivor and a dog rescuer, wrote to GMA 7's Wish ko Lang (How I Wish)! Show, to ask for help for her dogs, who were all rescued from neglect.
During her younger years, as a responsible pet owner, she would bring her dogs to the vet to have them spayed and neutered.
But as the expenses grew bigger and the dogs increased in number, she had to forego the expensive surgeries and just tried her best to sustain her brood, through her meager retirement pension.
During the Wish ko Lang episode, PAWS promised to Spay and Neuter her dogs.
With the newly-acquired spay-neuter truck, the PAWS Spay-Neuter team, as promised, headed to La Union amidst the stormy weather and rough roads.
Lola Mely, happy and grateful that her 46 dogs have been spayed/neutered
Even with horrible weather conditions, the volunteers and veterinary staff braved the 9-hour trip, and for 3 days, completed the task of spaying and neutering all 46 of Lola Mely’s dogs. Training for proper handling and care was also given to her and her caretaker.
At 1:30 am, Veterinarians Dr. Wilford Almoro, Dr. Maripi Diaz, clinic assistants John Tangkeko and Kevin Anonuevo and coordinators Alex Solon and Heidi Guzon wrapped up the sterilization “marathon”.
After all the cramped days and nights inside barangay halls and tents, PAWS finally has a mobile surgery clinic that, with the help of generous individuals and the diligent coordination of Local Government Units, will reach more people, and save thousands, if not millions, of lives of cats and dogs.
With a lot of hard work, we will be able to solve the problem of pet overpopulation and imbibe Responsible Pet Ownership in every Filipino’s hearts.