by Mariana Burgos
I am a solo parent for fourteen years now. My husband, when he went missing in 2007, was not able to leave anything for my daughter and I to start with. So I started from scratch, as they say. I did everything I know I can to earn a decent living. At that time, my daughter was just a toddler. The situation was “manageable,” in other words.
At first, I tried to earn from my artworks. Soon enough, I realized it is not that stable and sufficient for our daily needs. So, I thought of getting into the reselling business. It was good for almost a year. Unfortunately, my supplier stopped supplying due to unknown reasons. I heard a rumor that their factory had an issue and was forced to close shop. But, at least, I was able to have my daughter enrolled in school with my earnings from it. After that, I began to offer tutorials in the basic education level and I applied as a part-time teacher in school. This sustained us for more than a decade. But, honestly, our life is like what they say in Filipino, “Isang kahig, isang tuka.” (One scratch, one feed.) This was also the time that we decided to adopt Milky, our dog. We adopted her from Save Animals of Love and Light- Save ALL, an animal welfare group. She was only five months old when we adopted her. She was turning six human years old when the pandemic started. We had a cat, too, for a pet. She was our first rescue. Her name was Whisky. But we lost her before the lockdown began. Since last year, I have been jobless.
Since we only had Milky for a pet when the lockdowns were imposed, it was not that hard to feed her since she is used to having rice and vegetables with meat broth. But then, one of my mother-in-law’s workers gave us a puppy. So, we ended up with two dogs then: Milky and the puppy we named Coco.
After a month, we saw two abandoned kittens along the road. Of course, we could not just pass by them. We rescued the kittens. After another month more, the 2 dogs of the worker who gave us the puppy began to stay at our house. They never left again to be with their former owner, the worker. And so, we had six pets by Augusts: four dogs and two cats.
When August came, the cats gave birth to five kittens each. Also, one of our dogs, Coco, got pregnant and gave birth to a litter of seven. Now, we have 11 dogs and 12 cats!
Can you imagine what we must do every day to keep these pets well fed and kept clean? Ah, but the biggest question is, how am I able to provide for all of them when I do not have a job, right?
My family is Catholic. We are Catholics and, as one, I do believe that God provides. How else can I see our situation? Actually, this is not the first time that I have no regular source of income. As you have read what I have said above, I really have no regular source of income. But we do get by day by day with family and friends that help in anyway they can. Save ALL often helps us by sharing dog food and vitamins donated to their rescues time and again. There were also times that we had our share of miracles. I say, miracles because that is the only way to describe them. Ok, you may also describe them as inexplicably delightful experiences (LOL)!
Most of the time, when we are by ourselves and I have very little to spare for the needs of our pets, I try to see what I can utilize within our surroundings. It is a good thing that we are now staying here at the farm of my in-laws. There are nutritious vegetables just outside the house that I can pick and cook for food. But when we were living in an apartment in town before, I used to go out and try to ask from our neighbors if they can spare me some sweet potato shoots (talbos ng kamote) or moringa (malunggay) leaves from their garden to cook for our pets’ food. I would ask fish vendors for their scraps or the meat vendors for theirs.
I cook the small amount of rice I have for our pets as lugaw (porridge) and put the vegetables and the scraps (if I get to have some). Then, I add lots of tender loving care or TLC. This is how we get by when we have very little to spare or almost nothing. Although, this is not all the time. Like I said, family and friends with good hearts do help us out time and again. That is because God does provide.
If you are to ask me, it is really good if you train your pets to eat natural food and not to be dependent on those being sold commercially. Why? Because it is more practical and if it happens that you cannot afford to buy those things anymore, or if you are the one who cannot really afford so, it is not that hard to whip up something in the kitchen for your pets even for as simple as lugaw with veggies and scraps. And never forget cooking with lots of TLC!
You must be wondering how is the health of our pets with just the kind of nutrition I am able to provide. You may have a look at them yourselves with the pictures provided here. There were only three instances that we had to bring a pet to the vet for treatment this year. And two of them were because of accidents and not diseases.
We are happy because our pets are happy and healthy even if we are not well off. But you know, I think, it’s the TLC that really did it.
About the Author: Mariana Burgos is a freelance artist. She is a solo parent for 14 years now because she is wife to a desaparacido. She and her daughter are animal lovers and are active in advocating not only human rights but the rights of animals as well.
This article also appears in the Manila Standard
If you liked what you just read and want more of Our Brew, subscribe to get notified. Just enter your email below.
A Tribute to Female Hero Dogs this International Women’s Month
Mar 19, 2023
Mar 17, 2023
How To Cope with Pet Loss and Find Closure
Mar 16, 2023