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CEBU CITY, Philippines— In the quiet Barangay of Can-asujan, a sanctuary emerges just a few kilometers away from the busy highway in Carcar City—a haven for the voiceless, where a symphony of barks extends a warm welcome to all.
Founder Alexa Yna, the force behind Spike and Friends shelter, leads CDN Digital on a tour through this refuge that houses over 100 rescued dogs.
As the dogs’ spirited barks guide visitors through secluded areas, Spike, one of the more popular denizens of the shelter is the first rescue you will see at the shelter’s entrance.
Spike is joined by Yna and her trusty companion, Camello, a big, white mixed breed dog with a sweet heart.
The shelter’s journey began in May 2021 when Yna, fueled by her passion to help strays, opened the shelter with the generous support of a friend who provided the land.
Many of the shelter’s rescues come from pounds across Cebu, while others were once strays wandering the city streets.
Embarking on a Mission:
As a dog lover, Yan shared her time and effort first in Mandaue City, where she initially started feeding strays.
Her efforts gained viral attention during the pandemic as she was seen roaming Mandaue City, offering food to the strays.
However, her growing number of rescues posed challenges in her rented home, prompting the need for a dedicated shelter.
Challenges and Triumphs:
Moving to the shelter was not a walk in the park for Yna. It required her to relocate dogs from various areas without a stable source of funding.
December 2021 brought the added burden of Typhoon Odette, leaving Yna and her pack to spend their first Christmas under the shelter, which had lost its roof.
“Our first Christmas, we were roofless because of the Typhoon Odette. We stayed under the house which served as our cover,” she said.
Through the help of donors and community support, they rebuilt their home and continued their mission.
Sustaining the Sanctuary:
Funds remain a constant challenge for any shelter, but Yna persisted, relying on cash donations to sustain the sanctuary.
Daily, the shelter consumes a sack of dog food and several kilos of rice.
“I get cash donations now and then and it helps me maintain the shelter, especially in feeding the dogs,” she added.
Despite occasional struggles, Yna and her pack managed to thrive.
“Sometimes there are so many donations, sometimes it is just enough, sometimes it is scarce, but we survived and we will survive,” she added.
Wishes for a Pawsitive Future:
This Christmas, Yna hopes to get more support from the online community, seeking donations of food, vitamins, and free veterinary check-ups for her rescues.
While she temporarily suspended shelter adoptions due to challenges faced by previously adopted dogs, Yna remains dedicated to ensuring her charges lead happy lives.
“Last year, I was very active in letting them adopt from the shelter, but when I go on surprise rounds to their new homes, I noticed that some of the dogs are not happy where they are,” she said.
With around 50 to 60 dogs still under her care in Mandaue City, Yna tirelessly divides her attention to meet their needs.
Her Christmas wish is simple yet profound: a continued outpouring of support to ensure her dogs will thrive in an atmosphere filled with love and care.
“Having several followers is not enough to sustain the shelter, there are times when I have to meticulously balance everything for us to survive, and thankfully we are thriving,” Yna said.
Yna also reminds everyone to recognize that a dog’s behavior mirrors the treatment it receives.
Her plea extends beyond the shelter, urging those who can’t adopt to at least provide sustenance for stray dogs, emphasizing that simple acts of kindness can make a world of difference.
“Sa mga iro gawas sa shelter kung naay uban tao nga kung di maka adopt at least maka pakaon man lang, naa po’y uban gani i-report nga ipa impound, ayaw lang sad kay as long as wala man mo gi paak wa man mo gi unsa dinha, ang ilahang gi pangayo ana pagkaon, tubig, simple ra gyud kaayo.”