“I hope that one day, there will be no need to rescue because minds have been changed and hearts and homes are opened.”
– May, animal welfare spokesperson for decades
As you probably already figured, animal rights and conservation are very close to my heart. Al and I have rescued already several kittens and puppies on the side of the road and finding homes to these poor little furballs who’ve been abandoned by their owners. We volunteer on Dogs of Alona organisation and help taking care of abandoned pets and puppies being born in bad conditions. And besides many new furry friends, I’ve also had privilege to get to know May, amazing woman who’s been working in animal welfare in Bohol for years.
May welcomed me, my friends and colleagues to visit Island Rescue Organization’s dog shelter in Tagbilaran. We drove our motorbikes to the shelter, about 40 minutes from Panglao, and when we arrived, this happy group of dogs were waiting for us behind the gate. There was loads of tail-wagging, barking and jumping, dogs were so excited for having visitors and didn’t wanna wait for us to get through the gate to the shelter’s big beautiful garden.
There are 25 dogs in the shelter at the moment, all waiting for adoption. Seven of them are female dogs from Alona beach which are recovering from surgeries and all the others are more or less permanent residents in the shelter. All of them very friendly and super excited of the visitors and all came for scratches and cuddles. They had so much love to give, the amount of kisses and cuddles overwhelmed us. Dogs have big, clean garden to run around and play, they can shelter from the sun under the house, on house porch or in one of many dog houses around the garden. Inside the house there were females recovering from spaying and one poor little puppy, which was little scared still in big group. Clean water bowls were everywhere and care takers feed the dogs twice a day and they keep the place immaculate. All dogs were healthy and clean.
All the dogs in the shelter have their own story to tell, but because we don’t really understand each other, May was working as a translator and told the most amazing stories of their lives. Most of the dogs have been rescued from the City Pound where they were about to be killed. Some dogs have been found on the streets. One dog called Kim have both of his back legs paralysed, but he is jumping around like the others.
All of us were really surprised how great place the dogs have to live. This is what my friends have say about the place:
“I visited the dog shelter in November. The shelter was cozy, clean and very well organised. The dogs were friendly towards us even if we were first time visitors. Some dogs were more shy but most of them were eager to cuddle and get attention. I was surprised how well all the dogs got along with each other. People at the shelter are doing amazing work. I was happy to see no cages, but the dogs were able to run free and play with one another. These dogs are well behaved and healthy, totally able to be adopted in new homes lately.” Maura, 33 years, Finland.
Also Maria, my divemaster trainee, was very happy about the shelter:
“I visited the dog shelter in November and I was pleased to see how friendly dogs were there. It can be a frightening sight to see a dozen of dogs to approach you but they all were very happy and wanted me to pet them. They were so sweet and kind. It was amazing how well-behaving they were. They didn’t growl, only barked with joy! The shelter itself had great facilities for the dogs with it’s big yard, dog houses and fresh water available all the time. There were few female dogs from Alona Beach who were spayed and were now recovering from the surgery. It’s good to see that there’s something done for limiting the beach dog population – especially in the most touristic areas. When dogs are happy and well fed the tourists feel the area safe and enjoyable.” Maria, 36 years, Finland.
Even though there is so many dogs still neglected, May stays positive. 11 dogs from the shelter found new home this year.
“My hopes and dreams for our shelter residents is that all of these beautiful babies will find their forever and loving homes where they can live without their lives without being threatened by hunger, neglect, sickness and abandonment. I hope that one day, there will be no need to rescue because minds have been changed and hearts and homes are opened.”
Thank you May and IRO for taking so good care of abandoned and homeless dogs in Tagbilaran. If you want to support the organisation: http://iroislandrescue.org/
Visit IRO FB page: https://www.facebook.com/IROBoholChapter/
If you want to pay a visit to shelter, contact:
May – 0917 9982887 / Bee – 0917 3201118
Merry Chrismas to all our readers!