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Sunny Tala Project

by Kaye Aboitiz

In 2018, I moved back to the Philippines and spent much of my year on the island of Siargao ‘finding myself’. In the process, I also luckily found my dog Tala or more accurately, she found me! In between trips to the island, I began to hear about Puppy Puddle Siargao, an inspiring grassroots dog health and adoption initiative founded my by yoga teacher, Alex Goldyn. Initially beginning through Alex’s own one-woman effort to rescue stray and abandoned dogs, PPS has now grown into the island’s main shelter and touchpoint for animals in need. 

As I wasn’t fully living on the island at the time, a friend graciously agreed to co-adopt Tala and split care for her, which I am incredibly thankful for. From that point on, Tala came into my life and came with me everywhere. And when I say everywhere I mean everywhere - restaurants, bars, surf spots and even yoga studios, you name it. Her favourite activities are sunset walks and swims down the main beach where she plays with her usual dog friends and sniffs at new human ones. She is an excellent guardian, never failing to walk me safely to surf spots and back home. She has never been a big fan of toys but her favourite treats are hotdogs, chicken and most recently, cheese. On weeks I am away (which are unfortunately many these days due to the lockdown), she enjoys reigning over my friend’s hostel in Siargao as its resident mascot and riding at the front of motorcycles. 

If I had to describe her I would say she incredibly tough, quite feisty but nonetheless the most loving and loyal dog I have come across in life. All in her first year as a puppy, she made it through the fatal canine distemper virus, 2 hit and runs and a rough bout of mange so above all, I would say she is a survivor. Watching her go through all these things, while they were terrible at the time, inspired me to become more compassionate towards the many stray and abandoned animals that crossed my path. Every time I see a stray animal in a bad way, I can’t help but think that could have easily been Tala in that position without the help of Puppy Puddle Siargao’s referring her for adoption.

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Recently, my experience with Tala inspired me to find homes for 3 stray puppies in my village who were mainly living between the street and the little forest behind it. Through some stroke of luck, families came forward, even during this tough lockdown period, and were willing to take each one into their homes and provide them with full medical treatment (plus lots of love and treats). I can’t express how grateful I am for each and every one of them for taking a little furry companion into their homes.

Seeing each dog go to a great family rather than be left on the street without medical care and shelter has been incredibly rewarding and encouraged me to push my personal efforts a tiny bit further. My hope is that through the Sunny Tala project, we can begin to share stories of pet adoptions and open people up to the concept of welcoming a rescue dog into their lives. Thank you so much for taking the time to read Tala’s story and wishing you sunny days ahead!