Animal shelter owners and their volunteers and employees often dedicate their time and tireless efforts to providing a safe haven for animals in need. From providing their daily food to their medical needs and their refuge, shelter owners find joy in making sure animals receive the care they deserve.
Woofy, one of the pet food brands of Aboitiz’s Pilmico and Gold Coin Group, salutes the unsung animal welfare heroes through “Project Hero.” This initiative aims to recognize the different animal shelters across the country and, at the same time, encourage more pet owners to adopt from them.
As part of the campaign, “Woofy” will support animal shelters and those who will adopt animals. Additionally, “Woofy” will be showcasing their partner shelters’ inspiring stories and experiences.
Two of Woofy’s partner animal shelter owners and personnel share how their love for animals turned into a life-long passion.
Animal lover turns passion into profession
Isay Halaba, Animal Kingdom Foundation’s campaign officer, spent most of her childhood surrounded by animals like cats, dogs, pigs and hens. Isay developed a deep sense of love and appreciation for animals from a young age and eventually carried this passion as she got older.
She actively participated in her city’s spay and neuter events, eventually meeting the lead volunteer for the Animal Kingdom Foundation (AKF).
In 2017, she became an active supporter of the organization and even hosted its events where she learned more about AKF’s campaigns and advocacies. Hearing the importance of animal welfare encouraged her to become a full-time volunteer while working at a private company. Juggling both her passion and day job was difficult for Isay, nevertheless, she made an easy decision — that is, choosing the work she’s passionate about.
Pet rescuer becomes a blessing to animals
Rina Ortiz, President and Chief Executive Officer of Biyaya Animal Care, was taught by her grandfather how to rescue animals at five years old. Years later, she has not stopped providing shelter and care for stray animals and eventually established an animal welfare facility of her own.
Biyaya Animal Care is an organization that offers complete animal welfare services – from veterinary clinics to shelters located across Mandaluyong, Makati, and Cavite. The name ‘Biyaya’, which means blessing, refers to the goal of the organization — to be a blessing to less fortunate animals. One of their campaigns is #StrayFreeRabiesFree2030, which aims to lessen the population of stray animals by educating pet owners and conducting “Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return (TNVR)” in partnership with various local government units.
For Ms. Rina Ortiz, being a hero means devoting your time to causes that fulfill your heart and give your life purpose — even if it means rescuing an animal in the middle of the night or the middle of a highway.
Ortiz also emphasized the importance of adopting animals, especially considering the issue of stray animals in the country. “Adoption is important because the shelters can’t take all of them in. You’re not going to solve the problems with the shelters or adoption alone. That’s why we have a one-stop shop: kapon (neuter), vaccination, TNVR outreach, and we added the adoption portion to it for our Stray Free Rabies Free 2030 campaign,” she said.
As Project Hero aims to encourage more pet owners to adopt, they will provide successful adoptees with a kit that includes pet food samples from “Woofy” for dogs and “Tommy” for cats, helping the pets achieve their first step to better nutrition.
At present, “Woofy” has partnered with 31 animal shelters, and more than 23 pets have successfully found new homes. Animal lovers who can’t adopt may opt to donate via KINDer by Aboitiz where all proceeds will be given to partner animal shelters.