In the Sarhento Mariano cemetery in the Philipines, Ashley Fruno found both humans and animals in crisis.
Underprivileged families often move into the mausoleums when they have nowhere else to live, and other residents of the cemetery include over 150 dogs, many with sarcoptic mange.
Through her organization Pasay Pups, Fruno helps feed, spay, neuter, and exercise these dogs in need.
Many of the families living in Sarhento Mariano consider the dogs pets, but there is very little education available to these people that they can use to become responsible pet owners.
The Dodo quotes Fruno explaining why her mission goes beyond just saving animals. “In the Philippines,” she said, “the concept of ownership applying to dogs is very loose. It can be your dog even if you feed them once a week. The dog just sort of generally lives around your area. Most of them are free-roaming and wander around to find food.”
That’s why she’s made it her mission to teach people about what it means to take responsibility for a dog.
This educational initiative starts with kids.
“I think the most important aspect of working with the community involves the children,” she said, “because they’re just so apt to learn. As kids learn something, I think it’s easier for them to influence their parents. I think much easier than it is for, let’s say us, to do it.”
Fortunately, it seems to be working!
“You’ll see people giving their dogs access to water when they didn’t before,” Fruno explains, “or people bathing their dogs with flea and tick shampoo that we provide, or kids walking their dogs on their own, or petting dogs — things you wouldn’t necessarily see before.”
The latest effort will bring Christmas gifts to the children of Manila, and each gift will include a coloring book that teaches basic pet care.
Keep up the great work, everyone! To support Pasay Pups and their Christmas fundraiser, click here.