Before the family transferred to our new home in Antipolo, I’ve lived along Katipunan Avenue all my life (the C5 Katipunan Extension, to be more precise). Our street (or more appropriately, highway) was always busy with cars going to and from Ateneo, Miriam, or UP, or simply passing by since it’s rather a major highway. You rarely get to see birds there (with all the pollution, it’s not surprising), though a number of cats loiter by the trash bins and a “gang” of dogs congregate after midnight on a vacant lot right across our house. From what I know, almost every single one of our previous neighbors owned a dog, but I do know for sure that we were the only ones who owned thirteen of them
I guess that’s why it wasn’t so surprising that strays considered our house a sanctuary. We’ve adopted stray cats, stray dogs, and heck, we even fed the Maya birds who liked hanging out on our Atis tree (unlike our neighbors and passersby, we got to see birds everyday). I don’t know, I guess our family just loves animals, and we just couldn’t resist taking them in.
Our old property was L-shaped, so we had a really long driveway. We had two gates as well, one where guests knock and the other one near our house. We had so many dogs that we really didn’t need a doorbell They hung out in the garden after the second gate, so the driveway was pretty much were we parked our cars without any dog claiming them as their territory (ie. no pee!).
Since the dogs couldn’t get to the driveway, that’s where my dad’s feline adoptees ate and had siesta They didn’t really hung out there much, so we didn’t have to worry about their pee or poo since they usually turned up during feeding time anyway. We didn’t name the cats, because Dad said if we named them we might get attached and just have our hearts broken since the cats only came and went as they pleased. The cats visited the driveway until the day we moved away.
But before the cats, I can recall we provided shelter and food for one sickly dog, and adopted lost pooches.
The dog in the photo was Lala. Was because she passed away about two years ago due to old age. She was a bit old already when she sought shelter from our home, and it also seemed like she was abused too by her previous owner. She was always on the defensive during her first month with us, and it took us a while before she allowed us to pet her. My dad was her favorite; he was the only one who could give her baths.
Lala was the only adopted dog who permanently stayed with us, maybe because she had nowhere else to go and that she just grew to love our family. But before her, there were two others who went back to their owners.
The first one didn’t stay long with us. I always thought somebody owned him, and he just happened to stray from home. He cried outside our first gate one rainy evening. He had a few scabs, so Dad made him a make-shift dog house in the driveway—we were afraid our dogs might pick up whatever disease the dog had, but we didn’t want him to get wet from the rain either. We gave him food so he could be stronger (he looked really weak).
My mom wasn’t too hot about the idea of adopting the dog, but she let the dog stay since like me and my Dad, she also thought that the dog had a home. True enough, he left us after staying for only about a week. I was on my way out to take a walk and he went outside with me. He gave me a look that seemed to say “Thank you!” and went about his way. After that, we never saw him again. We only hope he found his way home to his family.
The second dog who strayed to our home was beautiful Japanese Spitz. She didn’t have a collar on her, so we figured she was another lost pooch away from home. We had no idea where she came from, so we just took her in. There was no dog pound in our area, and no way we would leave the dog with the police (we were afraid that bringing her there would make it even more impossible to find her family). Good thing she was really sweet, she just gave my mom goo-goo eyes and after that, Mom just couldn’t say no taking her in
This dog was really smart. We didn’t know her name, so we called her different names every day But one time I was in the living room watching television and chewing bubblegum my sister gave me. The dog suddenly started barking like mad, pawing on my unopened strips of gum. I kept asking what she wanted, but the dog was going crazy. When I asked, “Bubbles? You want bubbles?” the dog got excited. From there, I put two and two together and realized that “Bubbles” must be her name. True enough, she answered to “Bubbles” whenever we called her.
She stayed with us for a few months until finally her owner came. One of our carpenters told his neighbor about our story of finding the white dog and how we are looking for her owner. As it turned out, they were missing one. The dog’s owner was so surprised we were calling her dog Bubbles, and told us that Bubbles was the name of the dog’s mother
I highly doubt that we’ll experience having pooches begging to be taken in ever again in our new neighborhood. We’re now living in a gated executive village, where expensive dog breeds have microchip identifications, leather collars, and sure to belong to a family. Any stray here won’t get pass the only entrance and exit to our village without a neighbor or a security guard noticing. Besides, our new property is only half as big as our old one, so we really don’t have much space for more canine residents.
I don’t miss the hustle and bustle of the city (I love living in the suburbs), but I will certainly miss the satisfying feeling of helping lost animals by taking them in and caring for them.