It’s with sadness (but no regret) that we had to have Grace euthanized earlier this week because of a fatal heart condition. Many of you will have read her story, which was posted after she had first been rescued more than two years ago, but on the advice of our lawyers, we couldn’t reveal at that time the details of the charges that we had filed against her “owner.”
Grace was rescued in Trece Mártires, Cavite, after a compassionate citizen reported a starving dog at what was believed to be an abandoned house. After working with local police, my colleague Jana and I traveled for more than two hours to see how we could help this suffering dog. What we saw shocked us: an unbelievably thin, filthy dog without an ounce of fat anywhere on her body. She was almost hairless because of sarcoptic mange and was covered with ticks. What we thought would be an easy rescue of an abandoned dog quickly turned chaotic as Grace’s “owner” arrived and began verbally harassing us, demanding his dog back. Fortunately, Grace was already safely inside our vehicle.
We called local police, as we feared for our safety—and even more so, for Grace’s. We were brought to the police station, where we had to give statements before finally being allowed to leave and begin the long drive back to Manila so that we could take Grace to a veterinarian. Jana and I still remember everything about that day, but most of all, we remember Grace’s placid temperament. Most dogs in Grace’s condition and with Grace’s past (eight years of abuse) would have understandably been aggressive toward humans, but Grace—although frightened—was gentle, and so we decided to give her a name that demonstrates the grace and forgiveness that she’d granted to humans.
Now that Grace is no longer with us and that there is no risk of her being returned to her former “owner” (not that we would ever have let that happen), we can reveal more about the case, which has been going on for years. A generous donor has paid for the legal fees of “Grace’s case,” and even though she’s gone, we will continue to fight for some very small semblance of justice for her. After the city prosecutor in Trece Mártires dismissed our cruelty-to-animals charges, not once but twice, we have filed a case with the Department of Justice.
For everyone in our Manila office—past interns, volunteers, and people in other office buildings in the area—Grace’s passing has left a hole in our hearts. We all watched as she grew from a timid, emaciated skeleton of a dog to a happy and loving 10-year-old puppy. As with many rescued dogs, Grace truly seemed to treasure every day that she spent with us. Every walk or trip to the park made her endlessly excited. She derived pure joy from every veggie hot dog or piece of hopia monggo (her favorite foods). We laughed as she learned to play fetch, tug-of-war, and keep-away, and we relished her every hug and high five (what we called Grace’s excited jumps for joy that landed on us).
You, too, can bring joy to a dog’s life by adopting one from your local animal shelter and by never being silent about cruelty to animals.
We love you, Grace.
Posted by Ashley Fruno