(WARNING: This story has potentially upsetting content. Readers should exercise caution.)
Baldo and Batman, two aspins in El Nido, have endured a lot of challenges in their dog lives, but their struggles have not gone unnoticed.
Bee and Myriam are two individuals who deeply care for animals and have taken it upon themselves to help Baldo, Batman, and other strays in need, bringing hope and comfort to them.
They manage a welfare page named El Nido Animal Info. This page highlights their work with street animals, as well as their spaying and neutering efforts to prevent unwanted litters of puppies and kittens.
Batman, who was a stray in Lio, had endured a knife attack and scalding hot water to his face, while Baldo, who has an owner, had contracted transmissible venereal tumor (TVT), a type of canine cancer transmitted through licking, biting, or sniffing the tumor of an infected dog, resulting in wounds on his back.
Bee told Palawan News that despite their difficult circumstances, both Baldo and Batman remain gentle and affectionate dogs with bright eyes, wagging tails, and an overall relaxed demeanor in response to the love and care they receive from their rescuers
To perform the suturing procedure on Batman’s stabbed face, they had to shave him, as explained by her. Thankfully, a volunteering veterinarian stepped in to offer assistance in treating Batman’s difficult condition.
“We are stitching his face up now and will neuter him. He is such a sweet boy despite everything he has been through. We kept him in a cage overnight and he was so calm the entire time,” she said Monday.
“Batman is very sweet. He wags his tail and is a very nice dog,” said Bee, mentioning that he had been adopted. “We will keep him one more day to make sure his wounds are healing well.”
Baldo, on the other hand, has an owner who cannot afford chemotherapy treatment for his TVT. Bee explained that to aid in the treatment, some tourists are generously covering the expenses and assisting with weekly chemotherapy injections.
“The treatment is very effective and relatively easy. It just requires at least six weekly shots of chemo,” Bee said. “TVT is easy to cure, and we have done so many times. We are treating three dogs for TVT right now.”
Baldo has developed tumors that need to be treated because of TVT that he contracted most likely contracted from other strays in El Nido. If left untreated, the wounds on his back will continue to cause him discomfort.
Two tourists, said Bee, have generously agreed to share the financial burden of Baldo’s chemotherapy treatment, while a kind-hearted lady who provides food for the stray animals brings the him to their shelter for his weekly injection.
Stray dogs and cats problem
Bee highlighted that Batman exemplifies the issue of stray dogs in the world-famous town, which is struggling to manage their growing number due to the lack of regular spaying and neutering initiatives to prevent further breeding
Regular spaying and neutering initiatives can decrease the population of homeless dogs like Batman and prevent the spread of diseases like TVT, which Baldo contracted, and can help prevent the emergence of tragic stories involving stray dogs.
She and Myriam are collaborating with the Palawan Animal Welfare Foundation (PAWF), managed by Jacqueline Baut, as well as compassionate tourists visiting El Nido, and those abroad who cannot bear to see dogs and cats suffering in their mission to help.
Stray dogs and cats can be a hazard since they are frequently left without proper care or shelter, resulting in malnourishment, disease, and injury. Moreover, they can be a threat to humans and other animals by transmitting diseases such as rabies, TVT, and other zoonotic diseases.
“I’ve rescued many, many animals over the years and realized shelters cost so much money just to maintain a small population,” Bee said.
“I would make the biggest difference focusing on mass spay and neuters. They are the only proven ways to eliminate strays. Countries that have eradicated strays have done so through mass spaying and neutering,” she added.
She said seeing stray dogs and cats in a popular tourist town is distressing for visitors. They receive many messages from people wanting to help specific dogs or those in poor condition.
Sometimes, some will sponsor strays to go to the street dog sanctuary in San Vicente to keep them safe. But a shelter can only accommodate a limited number of dogs, she clarified.
What about the other strays that do not have a sad story to attract help?
The most crucial solution, she reiterated, is to expand spaying and neutering programs in El Nido to control the population.
“My friend from the US who traveled around the world with her kids for three years said that Palawan’s dog problem was too sad and she wouldn’t recommend it over other similar destinations,” Bee said.
Bee dreams of seeing El Nido implement effective spay and neuter programs, adoption campaigns, and responsible pet ownership education to manage the population and alleviate problems associated with stray animals, such as noise, aggressive behavior, and public health issues.
“My dream for rescues is that no animal is subjected to suffering or mistreatment, and that they all ultimately find a forever home,” Bee said.
If you want to help the El Nido Animal Info, you can reach them through this link.