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For the love of our furry friends

Theresa Vidal. For the love of our furry friends

Animal rights advocate Theresa Marie Vidal feeding a stray dog | Photo courtesy of Theresa Marie Vidal

CEBU CITY, Philippines — A distance spanning 23 kilometers did not deter Theresa Marie Vidal from saving several puppies from a terrible ending.

It was already evening when Vidal learned about a distressed mother dog whose pups fell into a ravine near a river in Minglanilla town, southern Cebu.

READ: Here’s why we should be thankful for our dogs

At that time, she was in her home in Mandaue City but nothing stopped her from driving approximately 23.3 down south to rescue the puppies.

“But it was really worth it,” Vidal recalled.

For the mom, entrepreneur, and animal lover, every animal who needs saving must be saved, and every furry friend deserves love and care.

Ever since she was a child, Vidal loved cats and dogs. Her love for her four-legged companions then grew into something bigger — and that is compassion for all kinds of animals.

“They deserve the respect and the right to live… After all, they are God’s creation. And animals don’t have a voice, that’s why we should be the voice for them,” she said.

READ: How sweet it is to be loved by cats

Presently, Vidal balances her time between her business ventures, work in a law office, and as a mother both to her children and her rescued strays.

She currently takes care of at least 40 cats and more than 20 dogs. On top of that, she also feeds strays every day.

Theresa Vidal. For the love of our furry friends

Vidal with one of her rescued strays, Ayla, who won twice in dog shows here in Cebu. Vidal had been taking care of Ayla since she was just a puppy. | Photo courtesy of Theresa Marie Vidal

“I have to wake up early for them. That I can feed them, clean them,” added Vidal.

She also provides support to other rescues. Vidal would share some cat and dog food to individual feeders as well as spaying and neutering services.

“There are times I would personally give them vaccines,” she said.

Rescuing at all costs

The viral story of Bonbon, the stray dog wandering in Brgy. Bonbon, Cebu City with a knife stuck on its head, served as proof of how a community’s efforts save an animal from utter death.

READ MORE: Cebuanos rally to help distressed dog Bonbon

Among the dozens of volunteers, concerned citizens, and residents who came to Bonbon’s aide was Vidal.

Accompanied by her partner and son, they joined in the search and rescue operations for Bonbon in the hinterlands of the city for two days.

Still in her office uniform and wearing high heels, Vidal did not hesitate to rush to the mountains to help locate and rescue Bonbon.

In 2022, when a large fire hit a densely populated area in Brgy. Looc, Mandaue City, Vidal, and her friends of animal advocates and volunteers visited the fire site not only to help the victims but also their furry companions.

It was a bittersweet moment, Vidal shared.

Theresa Vidal. For the love of our furry friends

Vidal rescuing a distressed kitten | Photo courtesy of Theresa Marie Vidal

“There were a lot of animal casualties. The day after the fire broke out, we heard the cry of a cat. So we traced it and found a severely injured cat,” she said.

The group of volunteers then decided to rush the feline to a nearby veterinary clinic. Throughout the ride, the cat kept on meowing in pain, Vidal said, but unfortunately, it did not make it alive.

They just barely reached the Cebu City side of the North Reclamation Area (NRA) when the cat, which was sitting at the back of their car, stopped crying. When they checked it out, the animal had died.

“It was really heartbreaking… We were so near to the vet but it did not make it,” Vidal said.

READ: Independent rescuer builds home for 35 stray animals and counting

On the other hand, they were able to treat a dog and two kittens that suffered burn wounds and gave them to a couple of children who lost their pets to the fire.

“We visited them a few months later and the kittens have grown up to be beautiful and healthy cats,” she added.

A year later, Vidal found herself in another rescue. This time, down south in the municipality of Minglanilla.

A dog just gave birth to several puppies near a construction site in a subdivision there. Unfortunately, some of the puppies fell into a ravine behind the property, which is also near a river.

Concerned citizens posted online photos and videos of the mother dog crying for help, and they eventually reached the network of animal rescuers in Cebu where Vidal was one of them.

“Of course, I’m a mother myself and I can relate to the mother dog had to go through seeing her pups in distress,” she explained.

Vidal then immediately drove from her house in Mandaue City to Minglanilla to help save the puppies.

Despite the darkness and rain, she managed to reach the site and found the mama dog, still helplessly looking down the ravine where her puppies stayed.

“It was raining and we’re afraid that the river would slightly overflow and they would be swept by the strong current,” described Vidal.

Fortunately, they managed to take the puppies away from harm.

Unconditional love

Theresa Vidal. For the love of our furry friends

Theresa Marie Vidal feeding stray dogs. According to the animal rights advocate, she balances her time between running several businesses, work in a law office, a mother to her children and helping animals, including strays. | Photo courtesy of Theresa Marie Vidal

It was unconditional love that drove Vidal to help and rescue these animals. Like human beings, they too can feel pain and affection, she said.

“And the love they express to you is pure. No malice and ill intentions mixed. Just pure, affectionate love,” said Vidal.

TAGS: dogs, puppies, Vidal
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