By Zea Capistrano

An Aspin (Pinoy dog) named Wednesday had little to no chance of survival after getting hit by a vehicle along McArthur highway here last November. But thanks to animal rescue volunteers from at least three cities in Mindanao who facilitated her transport and surgery, Wednesday was given another shot at life – and even at a new family.

Sheena Lumayaga, who hails from Sultan Kudarat but is currently based in Davao City, told Manila Bulletin that Wednesday was the fourth rescue of their 12 Strays of Christmas campaign.

Lumayaga said they found Wednesday inside an animal clinic in front of the highway where Wednesday was hit by a vehicle. She said Wednesday’s cry was so loud that it was heard inside the animal clinic.

Wednesday was hit by a car and her body was thrown in the air, landing in a roadside ditch. Her body hit a protruding metal. Her lumbar spine got fractured due to the accident.

She was supposed to be euthanized. “Sabi ng vets kahit maka-survive [siya], paralyzed [siya]. (The vets said that even if she survived, she will be paralyzed,” Lumayaga said. Wednesday’s case would have been very challenging if she was to recover.

Cross-border exchange

Lumayaga, who is a co-founder of Pets Avenue, said they collaborated with other animal volunteers to send her to GSC Pet Care Center: a modern veterinary hospital where facilities are available for her spine surgery in General Santos City.

But Lumayaga could not just take her to General Santos City, which was about 148 kilometers away or some three-hour drive from Davao City. “To get out of Davao is easy pero kung papasok ka ng Davao, napaka-istrikto kasi dito (but if you go to Davao, the policies are very strict),” she said. For Wednesday’s transport to General Santos, they coordinated with Digos Animal Stewards and Purpaws – GenSan for crossborder exchange.

Lumayaga’s team looked for a vehicle with an IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) sticker willing to take Wednesday to the border between the cities of Davao and Digos. Digos Animal Stewards then turned her over to Purpaws – GenSan.

Fighting

Wednesday was admitted to three animal clinics, underwent a border to border exchange, gathered 20 volunteers from three non-profit animal organizations, and underwent several hours of surgery.

Lumayaga said four veterinarians were taking care of Wednesday. “She is a VIP. Very important pup.” The doctors even made her a customized brace to support her spine.

Lumayaga shared that Wednesday would happily wag her tail whenever visitors took the time to see her at the center. She also said senior veterinarian Dr. Castor Leo Ejercito had to prohibit visitors from going to the pet center to prevent Wednesday from moving too much.

Cost of life

“Lumbar spine surgery is costly, kaya most ng mga asong nasagasaan na may ganitong case, namamatay nalang dahil una, mahirap maghanap ng vet na specialist ng spine at may lumbar plates. (Lumbar spine surgery is costly, which is why most dogs with these cases just die. First, it’s very difficult to find a vet who specialized in spine surgery and lumbar plates),” Lumayaga added.

However, Lumayaga said that while Wednesday was “well-loved by everyone,” they were facing a bill that could cost between P150 to P200 thousand. To save rescue animals like her, Pet Avenue depends on their online shop and donations from animal lovers.

Community effort

In her social media post on December 9, Lumayaga expressed her gratitude to all those who helped them with Wednesday’s case. “Ang pagbabago sa buhay ni Wednesday ay hindi po namin kailanman ma-affort kung ‘di dahil sa pakikipagbayanihan ninyo, kaya maraming maraming salamt po. Sana po ay masaya kayong makita ang P50 ninyong nagdugtong ng buhay ni Wednesday. (We will not be able to afford the improvement in Wednesday’s life if not for all your help. May you be happy seeing that your P50 have gone this far to help Wednesday’s life),” she said.

12 strays of Christmas

Wednesday was among the 12 Strays of Christmas, animals whom Lumayaga’s team hoped to give a new life to last Christmas. They have rescued 10 animals. Sadly, four of them already expired.

  1. Juan – The third street dog they rescued, Juan died of liver cirrhosis. Lumayaga said Juan was a product of inbreeding and was born with a congenital hernia.
  2. Kulas – Kulas was the team’s fifth rescue. He had liver and kidney complications. He was rescued in Davao City after Pet Avenue received a report that the dog was already emitting a foul smell due to his untreated wounds.
  3. Mateo – The sixth rescued dog, Mateo, was not a stray, but his humans cannot pay for his medication. He was transported from Digos City to Davao City for medication, however, he expired due to kidney failure.
  4. Lucky – Lucky, the seventh dog to be rescued by the team had wounds from cigaretter burns. He also expired due to kidney failure.

“All are equal”

The rest of the rescued animals have already been adopted, including a kitten named Masipag, the 10th “stray of Christmas.” Masipag hung from his feet overnight while playing with a rope in Bankerohan Public Market.

“Buong magdamag nakalambitin si Masipag, habang nakapulupot ang tali sa kamay niya. Dahil dun sa pagpupumiglas niya, nahiwalay ang joint na nagdudugtong ng paw sa pata niya (Masipag hung from his leg with the rope tied to his paw overnight. His joint was separated from his paw due to his constant struggling),” the Pet Avenue said in its Facebook post on December 14.

Masipag had to be amputated.

Pet Avenue’s 11th stray was Chinay, who was whacked on the head by dog eaters on New Year’s Eve.

“Alas diyes pa lang ay panapasok na si Chinay ng bahay kasama ng ibang aso. (Naging) busy ang mga humans niya sa paghahanda para sa bagong taon habang ang ate niyang senior high school ay pinagbantay ng tindahan (Chinay was kept at home by her humans with other dogs. Her human family was busy welcoming the New Year, while her family was busy welcoming the New Year, while her favorite human, who was in senior high school, was attending to their store),” Pet Avenue wrote on their Facebook post on New Year’s Day.

They said the girl saw Chinay with her face covered in blood. Chinay was taken by her humans from Barangay Darong in Sta. Cruz town Davao del Sur to Davao City. Pet Avenue said they are planning to file formal complaints aganst those who were responsible for China’s condition.

“Ang main goal natin is to come up with the money for Chinay, para makumpleto yung pang-surgery niya,” Lumayaga said over a Facebook video on January 2.

Meanwhile, the 12th stray was a Doberman named Cooper who was surrendered by a fosterer. His human left him to anther person and was kept in a small cage meant only for medium-sized dogs for an entire year, according to Pet Avenue.

“Di niya magawang tumayo ng tuwid o humiga ng kumportable. Sa haba ng panahon na nandon lang siya, natupi ang tenga niya at natusok ng nakausling bakal ang mata niya,” Pet Avenue posted.

Cooper was emaciated, infested with fleas, and blind in one eye. The good news is he is now with his new family.

Lumayaga hopes that with their advocacy, people will see “that all animals are equal no matter their breed.” Whether they are household animals or pets, animals need love, Lumayaga wants to remind the public.

Goodbye, Wednesday

Wednesday passed away the day after Christmas.

“During her 9AM feeding time, dinalaw ho siya ng staff para pakainin, pero ‘di na po siya humihinga kahit malambot ang katawan niya. Nag-cardiac arrest po siya. (During her 9AM feeding time, a staff went to feed her but she was not breathing anymore. She had a cardiac arrest),” reads a statement released on Facebook by Pet Avenue.

Wednesday’s death was sudden. She had been staying at the GSC Pet Care Center for her continuing treatment. Her surgery wounds were already healing.

This appeared in Animal Scene magazine’s March-April 2021 issue.