WORLD ANIMAL DAY. Two cats of pet-loving best friends Lou and Ann, pose as their humans talk about how they care for the 80 cats and nine dogs that they had taken from the streets. October 4 is World Animal Day and feast of Francis of Assissi, the patron saint of animals. (Photo courtesy of animal rescuer “Lou”)

BAGUIO CITY -- It was raining cats and dogs that night, so to speak.

Another typhoon was howling through the cold air. "Kioli" was wet on the street, nowhere to go, until she saw this house, where best friends Lou and Ann (not their real names) stay.

Probably sniffing the love coming from the house, "Kioli" walked to the gate. Lou and Ann saw "Kioli," a stray dog in the City of Pines. Right there and then, they agreed to take the poor thing and give it the shelter it was seeking. 


Another stormy night, "Kaykay" did the same. Lou and Ann did the same. They took in all the "Aspins" (Asong Pinoy) that sought shelter, and gave them the love and care they needed. Actually, much more.

For the past 10 years, Lou and Ann have been adopting stray cats and dogs. The cats now number to 80, while the dogs are nine, the latest one just hopped in last June.

Bata pa ako marami na akong napupulot na pusa na inuuwi ko para alagaan (Since I was young, I’ve been bringing home and taking care of cats that I just pick on the road),” said Lou, now a professional in her late 30s.

Lou and Ann have set up a small “orphanage” for stray cats and dogs. The dogs have their own "house," where they each have a cubicle. The cats have another "house" standing on another 50-square-meter lot within the yard.

The specially-designed cat house has two floors. The first floor is divided into two--one for the males, one for the females--to keep them from mating. The second floor is for the neutered and castrated felines.

At times, they are allowed inside the main house to play with Lou and Ann but with their number, it was impossible to allow them all inside, the duo said.

While they do not have immediate neighbors who will complain, they decided to build a septic tank for the pets, to prevent unpleasant odor in the house.

Adoption process

Adopting is not a problem for the homeless cats and dogs that Lou and Ann just see on the street. They simply bring them home and care for them without the need to process a document or pay fees. The animals are bathed, fed, and brought to the veterinarian for anti-rabies shots or for deworming.

Two years ago, Lou was once driving along Rimando Road in this mountain resort city and saw a city pound truck get this dirty stray dog.

Naawa ako, kaya lang, wala na akong magawa, kaya hinayaan ko na (I pitied him, but I could not do anything, so I just let it go),” she said.

About two weeks later, Lou was joining an outreach activity that brought them to a slaughterhouse in Baguio. Sensing the dog he saw picked by the city pound on the road was there, Lou looked for the dog. To her amazement, she found him.

It was her chance to do something. She asked the city pound authorities how she could take the dog home.

Computing the fees based on the number of days the dog stayed at the city pound, she was assessed PHP800. But she asked for a discount and promised to take care of the dog.

Pinagbayad lang ako ng PHP200 at naiuwi ko si Jerome,” Lou related.

Jerome is now a big, healthy dog.


"Kaykay," the stray cat who sought shelter in Lou and Ann's house after "Kioli," has passed away.

“After six months na nasa amin siya, namatay din si Kaykay kasi na-afflict siya ng cancer sa paa. Pina vet namin at pina biopsy. Na-amputate pero kumalat na pala sa katawan niya kaya hindi rin niya nakayanan (After six months of being with us, Kaykay was diagnosed with cancer on the leg. We brought her to the vet, who amputated her. But the cancer cells had spread all over her body and she succumbed to it),” Lou related.

"Alejandro," a golden retriever, was given to them for adoption by the original owner, who could no longer care for him.

Lou said all their pets get the medical care they need, especially when they get sick. 

Mahal din magpa-vet. Ang check-up nagre-range between PHP200 and PHP300. Kapag na confine, PHP1,500 per day (Going to the vet is also expensive. A check-up alone ranges from PHP200 to PHP300),” Lou said.

Ann had even decided to take up veterinary medicine as a second course, which is what she really wanted to pursue since childhood, to lessen the cost of medical expenses for their animal companions.

“Unlike in Manila, where there are veterinary clinics for rescued animals which do not charge you, there is none like them in Baguio,” Lou lamented.

She noted that only a few people adopt a stray cat, especially if it grew on the street.

“While there are some who adopt kittens, they tend to neglect them as they grow older because they are no longer cute,” she added wistfully. "If they should rescue an animal, they have to adopt and not shop. They have to be responsible pet owners."

Kittens, Lou stressed, need milk even as they grow older. 

Lou and Ann have so far adopted 80 cats.

Lou said they have a housemaid, whose responsibility is only to feed the pets, bathe them, and clean the pets’ house.

The cats are fed with cat food, costing PHP2,000 to PHP2,300 a sack. This is mixed with scrap food that Lou and Ann buy from one of the restaurants nearby. The dogs are also fed with scrap food.

At an average, they spend about PHP20,000 a month for the pets.

Lou said kittens left on the street may not survive for a month. For the adults, they can probably stay astray for two years. But those who are cared for can live up to 20 years.

As people now celebrate World Animal Day (Oct. 4), Lou and Ann are hoping more people will care to adopt rescued animals, who, like humans, also deserve to be loved and cared for. (PNA)