Josephine Victoria feeds stray cats and dogs near a gasoline station. She vows to continue feeding the animals while quarantines are imposed in the metropolis. (Photo grabbed from Jenica Victoria's Facebook)

MANILA – Amid the health crisis in the country, humans are not the only ones struggling to wade through the pandemic. Stray cats and dogs are starving, too.

For Josephine and her daughter Jenica Victoria, the sad plight of animals in these trying times include the uncertainty on where to find food and the displacement caused by restrictions and lockdowns amid the pandemic.

Each day, they prepare animal food and venture out to drop off meals for more or less 30 cats and dogs at various places in Poblacion Pulilan to Plaridel Highway in Bulacan.

They used to feed stray cats and dogs near the roads, gas stations, and in some closed establishments.

Despite the risks of the dreaded disease, they patiently come out and hike for hours daily to make sure that stray animals are provided with food.

Feeding stray animals

In an interview, Jenica told PNA that during months of doing helping stray cats and dogs, she said they cannot help but get attached to the animals.

They committed to feed the cats and dogs until the community quarantine is lifted.

Five months since the community quarantines in the National Capital Region and other parts of Luzon, Jenica thought that the closure of restaurants and other food establishments would leave out stray animals to expect for leftover meals.

During the lockdowns, she and her mother made sure the cats and dogs have enough food to eat.

"Nakita naman namin ang sitwasyon po nila nun panahon ng ECQ na struggle na nga sila makahanap ng pagkain lalo pang mas naging mahirap lalo wala talaga silang source dahil sarado lahat (We saw their situation during the enhanced community quarantine when they struggled to find food. It became even more difficult when establishments were closed and they lack any source of food)," she said.

Jenica and her mother did not complain about the bad weather just to help the animals in the middle of the crisis.

At first, they were called out by authorities for not staying at home amid the restrictions.

It pushed them to secure an agricultural certification, a permit allowing them to do stray feeding.

 They have started to make DIY (do-it-yourself) stray feeding and water dispenser to preserve foods for cats and dogs.

The challenge of walking three hours every day became meaningful to Jenica and Josephine.

"Masaya po kami pag nakikita po namin silang nabubusog at nakikita po namin yun saya sa mga mata nila pag dumadating kami kahit na di sila nakakapagsalita, naipaparamdam po nila sa bawat kawag po ng buntot nila na appreciate nila ang ginagawa po namin sa kanila (We are happy to see them full and seeing joy in their eyes when we arrive. Even if they can't talk, they made us feel appreciated by wiggling their tails)," Jenica shared.

Meanwhile, Jenica assured that while they are doing the stray feeding, they are still adhering to health and safety protocols.

To date, Jenica and her mother, Josephine Victoria, who are keeping up with their online selling business, have vowed to continue feeding the stray cats and dogs amid the crisis.

"Patuloy parin po kami kasi sa tagal narin po nasanay narin sila kaya nakakaawang talikuran nalang (We will continue doing it because, for a long time, we already got used to it, that's why it would be regretful to not help them)," Jenica said, as she promised to continue advocating the welfare and protection of stray animals. (PNA)