Taal Volcano

By Kaytie Grant

The photos emerging from the Taal Volcano eruption on the 13th are heartbreaking. People have been forced to flee their homes and air quality in now incredibly poor. The human impact of this eruption is clearly devastating but there are also many problems for the animals and wildlife of the affected areas.

As people were forced to flee their homes in a rush, many animals have been left behind including pet dogs and cats. Luckily, our treatment centre is not in the affected area and so our dogs are all unharmed. This means that we are in a position to help those animals who are still within the evacuated zone.

On the 20th of January a veterinary team of 10 travelled to Laurel in Batangas which is currently evacuated to carry out a medical mission on the animals left behind. When they arrived Laurel was like a ghost town and there was a strong smell of sulphur and dust. The team were wearing masks but even had sore throats after entering the site.

We took enough food for around 250 dogs and cats and we gave it away wherever it was needed. We also took medical supplies such as vitamins and penicillin along with ointments for ash infected eyes, ears and noses.

Our team went house to house, entering the homes where dogs could be heard barking. The dogs they met were incredibly hungry and dehydrated so they were very happy to see the team. One of these dogs was a small puppy who was so thin and hungry that our team is planning to take him back to our centre for rehabilitation.

Another dog, a white mongrel, had been left in a cage with food and water but the food was all gone when we arrived. He couldn’t stop wagging his tail and was jumping for joy to have some food and company.

We decided to bring both the white dog and the puppy back to our centre with us for further treatment. We have named the puppy Francesca and she looks so happy to be on her way to safety! The devastation already caused by the volcano is heartbreaking and there are so many more animals still in need of our help.

We plan to revisit the impacted areas however, this is of course dependent on what happens in the coming week with the Volcano. There is still a high risk of further eruptions and we want to be able to guarantee our teams safety too. We will keep you updated when we know more.

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