It certainly does exist – a vet clinic that assists in caring, rescuing, and adopting unfortunate cats and dogs out of its owners’ genuine love and concern for our furry friends! Dra Marianne Ignacio DVM, her partner Jeff Tolentino, and Evelyn Desingano of Roche Pet Care in Tagaytay City are not in the veterinary business to simply earn a living. In my perception, the triumvirate are in it, more relevantly, to help unwanted cats and dogs. Borne out of their shared affection for these animals, I have been a fortunate witness to their utterly admirable actions.
They’ve got a big caboodle of rescued and adopted dogs and cats and it’s the latter which are permanent clinic residents. Queried why this is the case, Marianne reveals that cats, as compared to dogs are basically more independent and do not cry nor whimper when left alone overnight. Hence, the logic of keeping them there, plus the absence of guilt on their part when the working day’s over and they’ve got to hit home.
In her own words (except for our dear departed Chase), Marianne shares their heartwarming anecdotes. And just like us humans, each of these irresistible tail-waggers and kittens has a touching and interesting story to tell.
Let’s begin with the clinic residents – the felines!
Monina’s our eldest cat. She was already present when I was initially employed by the former owner of the clinic 10 years ago. The former vet told us she saw Monina outside the old clinic and she adopted her. We estimate her to be around 13 years. She’s old and requires more attention and care, whenever the other cats gang up on her, we’re immediately around to rescue her. It’s funny to witness her still playing with our younger cats! Second childhood! Monina’s the one and only original “clinic cat”.
Five year old Sam is my baby and we are quite close! He simply joined us one day back to the clinic after a house call. Before leaving our client’s place, Jeff heard a “meow” in the engine compartment of our service vehicle and lo and behold, upon opening the hood, Sam was there! Evelyn baptised him Sam because in Filipino, “SAM nang sama” connotes always ready to join! We always say Sam’s intelligent as he knows who to join. I’d like to share this funny story. Our original plan was for Evelyn to bring Sam home. That day had come and he was already placed inside her bag but Monina wouldn’t leave his side! We tried a second time, wrapped him in a towel but just as we were walking out the clinic, he became hysterical, peed himself wet, and scratched our arms! That was when we decided to make him a clinic resident too! Sam’s very affectionate! He welcomes me every morning and insists to sit on my lap! He gets cranky though in the late afternoons when it’s time for us to hit home. And he knows how to ask for food!
In my opinion, Taks is the luckiest of all our clinic cats. Her story began when Sam went missing to look for a mate. We were already panicking because he had been gone for days! So Jeff and I decided to look for him at the jeepney terminal. We called for Sam near the grassy patch and heard an extremely soft “meow” instead. We discovered an emaciated, weak kitten wrapped inside a tied-up bread plastic container! She was obviously thrown there by a heartless being! Even though she was limping when we got to the clinic, her appetite was very good! She’s food greedy which is “matakaw” in Filipino! Hence the name Taks! Taks is very shy. We hardly ever hear her meow. She likes her own space. Now that she’s five years old, Taks still lives up to her name – “matakaw”!
Onemig a.k.a. Justin
He’s the only child of Taks so we decided to keep him. He takes after his mom but he’s even more shy! So far, he’s our biggest kitty!
We were bringing back a puppy patient to her parents’ home one day and I was busy fussing over her when Jeff suddenly stepped on the brakes and I almost hit the windshield! A kitten had crossed the road. I went down to check on it and there it was begging to be brought home! We eventually named her Tawtaw because to cross the road is “tawid” in Filipino. One year old Tawtaw’s got the fighting spirit and can be snooty at times! But she always makes it up with her most affectionate side!
Watwat’s our youngest at three months old and is the only son of Tawtaw. A client had already adopted him but he was returned due to his meer lack of good appetite. The client promised to come back for him but never did. We sometimes call him RTS as in “return to sender”! Hahaha! He’s quite adorable!!
Charchar a.k.a. Charlotte
Last December, we were in search of another kitten for eventual adoption for a client who was begging for one. Timely enough, you (yours truly) called one day to inform us that Dickie (your American Bulldog) found one in your garage! So she is your rescue! Though blind in one eye, her eyes are the most brilliant hazel! Eight month old Charchar is now also our in-clinic resident as her adoptive mom never showed up. She’s likewise most affectionate and unassumingly charming!
It’s the tail-waggers’ turn!
Sara, the Shar Pei
Jeff and I were on a house call about four years ago when we received a call from Evelyn about our patient, the then one year old Sara. Sara’s owner had called in a very casual tone to ask if we were interested in adopting her as they were leaving town. You know what happened next? It was a good thing we decided to just check on Sara that same evening! Her owners had vacated their rented house and she was left in the dark all alone with no water nor food! Sara’s presently a happy, bouncing four year old baby girl member of my household! May I be quick to add that quite recently, her former owners got in touch asking for a pup in case Sara delivers! Is she out of her wits?
Pixie, the Pekingese
Charming Pixie’s Evelyn’s adopted fur baby! She was likewise a patient at barely a few weeks old due to skin problems. Bought on a whim from Tiendesitas by a mother and daughter tandem, she was given up also on a whim – the owners could not handle taking care of a sickly pup. With our tender loving care coupled with patience, Pixie’s now a one year old smashing beauty, betrothed to your Bertie the Pug!
Chase, the Shih Tzu (story shared by the author PJ C Exconde)
Super adorable and selflessly loving Chase was nine years young when I brought her to Roche. She was already saddled with countless health issues. Marianne reveals that when I was finally able to convince my relatives to give her up for adoption, they, together with Jeff’s Mom Chie, her adoptive parent, quickly observed that Chase was unfortunately neglected, with one eye surgically removed perhaps to quickly solve an issue, and had debilitating skin and heart problems. She’s crossed the rainbow bridge and though she barely spent a month with the Roche Pet Care family, she was able to share the love she had so much to give.
Never get or purchase a pet on a whim. Pets are not toys that can me discarded once the excitement of owning one wanes. A puppy or a kitten’s quite loveable, but a senior dog and cat deserves more attention. They give unconditional love and deserve to be treated as members of the family with utmost love, care, and respect!
Given the opportunity for funding and support, the Roche Pet Care team and I are more than willing to put up an animal shelter hereabouts in Tagaytay. The sight of stray dogs and cats being run over by reckless drivers is simply heartbreaking. The fact that pets that have so much love to give are neglected and unwanted is outright (in my own perception) lame, inexcusable, and heartless!