November 7, 2014
A Year After Typhoon Haiyan, Survival and Progress
by Keren Nazareth
When Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines in November 2013, HSI was on the ground in the days immediately following the storm to help the animals left lost or injured by it.
Now, a year later, we celebrate the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to demonstrate our long-term commitment to the region, and the corresponding launch of our Catch Neuter Vaccinate Release program in partnership with the City Veterinarian’s Office of Tacloban, one of the hardest-hit areas. The goal is to spay/neuter 10,000 dogs over two years through the 138 barangays (districts) that were affected by the disaster.
Meanwhile, we offer updates on three special survivors whose stories we’ve been following:
Many will remember Bubba, whose owner left a note on her doghouse reading “INT HUMANE SOCIETY PLEASE HELP ME, BUBBA” in a desperate plea for aid after having read about our past work in the Philippines. Incredibly, a photographer saw it and notified us, and we tracked them down to offer assistance.
Recently, we visited the area to follow up and found her roaming alone. On asking around, we were sad to learn that found that her human had passed away in July due to health complications. He had no other family and Bubba was being fed by the community.
People told us, though, that she was constantly crossing the road and was in danger of being hit by a vehicle. HSI veterinarian Dr. Rey, who knew her from their initial meeting, was moved and felt he couldn’t leave her to an unknown fate. She had started to develop mange and was looking unhealthy. Our team asked a local supporter to keep her at his warehouse, where some of his workers and other rescued dogs live; meanwhile, our staff are working hard to find her another loving home as soon as possible. She's an unusually sweet, good-natured animal despite all that she's been through, and we don't expect we'll have too much trouble!
Haiyan, also known as Yolanda in the Philippines, left a young male dog so scared that it took days of coaxing by HSI disaster responders to get him out from under a car. They treated and fed him in place until he finally found the courage to trust them.
Happily, we learned that he had been adopted by a family and is now a permanent member of his community, called Lando. He welcomed our team during their visit this past September, looking happy and healthy.
Michael Odong, a volunteer for a relief agency in the area of Ginmayohan, found a little puppy he started taking care of and named Gindong (for where he was found plus Michael’s family name). Now, it’s time for Michael to go home to Uganda, and he wants to take the dog with him.
HSI met Michael at the City Vet’s Office and, together with Tacloban veterinarian Dr. Ty, has been helping to get all the necessary paperwork in order.
“My children keep hearing about Gindong and asking about him. I have always had dogs since I was growing up and this little guy has become my companion, my friend here. We go to the beach together and he swims better than I do. He makes me happy, I speak with him and he understands,” says Michael.
Gindong’s been stolen twice. Fortunately, people helped find him after Michael put the word out, but he feels strongly about hurrying to get his pet cleared to go home as soon as possible. We’ll do everything we can to help.
Thanks to the generosity of our compassionate supporters, these and many other dogs who survived a terrifying ordeal will have happier lives, and more suffering will be prevented through our planned sterilization effort. Please give to support our life-saving work.