Animal Shelter in Southern Leyte, Philippines Struggles with Daily Operation for Rescues

Unexpectedly, Jonathan and Donnabel Guinto found themselves with a shelter. 

Last December of 2019, the municipal government in their area in Hinundayan, southern Leyte in the Philippines, announced their plan to start capturing strays by the beginning of 2020.

The couple, who had been stray feeders for years, felt a mix of apprehension and sadness upon hearing the news.  They knew that if the strays were captured, no owners would come forward to claim them.

Determined to provide a safe haven, they immediately started searching for a plot of land in their barrio. Fortunately, luck was on their side as they found one that suited their needs.

In just about a month of preparation, they managed to construct a shelter made of light materials, providing a temporary refuge for the dogs.

When the authorities began capturing strays, they wasted no time and visited the pound. It was heartbreaking for them to see that most of the captured dogs were the very ones they had been feeding. They know that if no one claims them, they’re bound to be euthanized.

Overcome with emotion, they decided to take all the impounded dogs and provide them a forever home at their shelter.

 In February 2020, their shelter officially started its operation.

Fast forward to today, they have been running the shelter for over 3 years. They care for over 200 dogs, including those in their own home, and continue to feed and support stray animals in their community.

Donnabel blindly messages people on Facebook messenger to ask for help. She did to the writer of this story too.

“Sa totoo lang, ‘di kaya sa income naming mag asawa ang lahat ng needs ng mga rescues. from their food, medicine and other needs.. kaya, kahit sino na lang ang mini-message ko trying to seek help. Nagbabakasakali na may papansin sa message ko at mag abot ng tulong.” [To be honest, our income as a couple is not enough to cover all the needs of the rescues – from their food, medicine, and other necessities. That’s why I reach out to anyone I can, trying to seek help. Hoping that someone would notice my message and extend assistance.]

“Hirap kami araw araw dito.. negosyo namin na stop na dahil di na kaya sa oras namin i-manage lahat. Ang tanging kabuhayan na lang namin ay online selling at reselling. Ang asawa ko nag bookeeper na para kahit papaano,may pang sweldo kami sa caretaker at taga luto, makabayad sa kuryente at tubig. Ang online selling sobrang hirap, may araw na madami kang benta pero mas maraming araw na wala kang kita, kaya naisipan ko na kahit sino na lang i-message ko para maka seek ng help. May iilang tumutulong ma’am na followers ng shelter, pero di naman po monthly. May biglang mag send sa Gcash ko, iipunin ko araw-araw para pambili ng food, tapos the rest, nakautang yun. Pray ko palagi na marami pang makapansin sa post ko at messages ko” [We’re struggling every day here. Our business had to stop because we couldn’t manage everything within our limited time. Our only means of livelihood now is through online selling and reselling. My spouse has taken up bookkeeping to ensure that we have some salary to pay the caretaker and the cook, as well as cover the electricity and water bills. Online selling is extremely challenging; there are days when we make good sales, but most days we don’t earn anything. That’s why I decided to message anyone I can to seek help. Some of our shelter followers do offer assistance, but it’s not on a monthly basis. Sometimes, someone suddenly sends money to my GCash account, which I save daily to buy food. The rest is accumulated debt. I always pray that more people will notice my posts and messages.]

“Mga donors po, iilan na lang ang naka alala sa amin dito 😔 Marami na ding bumitaw dahil may mga ibang priorities din sa family, which is very true naman. Uunahin naman talaga ang needs sa family, ni-re-respeto ko naman yun, kaya kahit sino na lang ang mine-message ko para lang maka seek ng help at makakain ang mga rescues sa araw araw. Almost 7K po ang expenses for the food alone, kaya sobrang stressful po. Malaki na po utang namin sa rice dealers and meatshops. Sana pag na publishkami ulit, may handang tutulong pa po.” [The donors, only a few still remember us here 😔 Many have also let go due to having other priorities in their families, which is completely understandable. Family needs should always come first, I respect that. That’s why I reach out to anyone I can, seeking help so that our rescues can have food to eat every day. The expenses for food alone amount to almost 7,000 pesos, causing immense stress. We already have significant debts with rice dealers and meat shops. Hopefully, when we get published again, there will be someone willing to lend a helping hand.]

For donations, visit the Furry Tails Hinundayan FB page.