Find your next furry companion at this rural animal shelter
Creativity is influenced by our environment. A limited space with minimal leg room encases creativity and borders one’s imagination. In the case of the Dimarucots, their move to a larger abode right smack at the city’s center was a decision they never regretted. AJ and Audrey Dimarucot of the renowned Googoo & Gaga children clothing line also left their corporate jobs to focus on their growing family. So dedicated they were to their children that their offspring set the tone of inspiration for their label. “Part of the reason [ the business] was done was for the kids. We’re designing for them primarily. As they grow, the brand grows,” says Audrey as she points towards the makeshift showroom in her own home.
The Dimarucots’ three- bedroom flat is spacious enough to afford an auxiliary nook for their extra stock. Residents in The Grove by Rockwell, AJ and Audrey are more relaxed at their new home. AJ tells us, “We lived in a very compact space. The idea of more breathing room helped with the well- being of everyone, not just with our creative process.” While Audrey tackles the brand’s logistics and marketing, AJ is responsible for its creative leg, where he mostly works from home. He admits that their abode in The Grove has improved his work 100 percent because of the breathing room. He finds inspiration and translates them into designs without any hindrances. “I believe the environment changes you,” AJ adds.
In their Rockwell home, the children have designated spaces. Entertaining guests have become a welcome addition in their home. The amenities at The Grove allow their children to expel energy outdoors despite being in the city. Their teenage son plays basketball in the court every day while their younger daughters play in The Great Lawn. On weekends, the family spends some downtime swimming together at the pool.
For the Dimarucots, the priority is always the family. “Life happens for us, and then we work around it,” says AJ. At The Grove, the couple is able to spend as much time with their children. “Balance is formed when you try to forgive yourself. It’s knowing what you are first and being that. And tomorrow is another day,” Audrey concludes. Discover how you can have more time with your family and live life as it happens by calling 571-8151 or visiting www.thegrovebyrockwell.com
home. But the cat, which they named Daniel, became more than resident rat hunter. In fact, Daniel—now 15 years old and very much a part of the family—still lives in Japan with the Yasudas.
After she got Daniel, Baquiran-Yasuda began holding Trap, Neuter, and Release ( TNR) operations in Japan. In December 2007, she came home to the Philippines and continued her efforts here. This was when she chanced upon Beauty, an injured stray dog that found its way inside Baquiran-Yasuda’s Antipolo home on Christmas Eve.
Beauty was Baquiran-Yasuda’s first canine rescue. At 10 years old, the aspin is now one of MBY’s many senior residents, which is also currently home to “almost 300 dogs and more than 300 cats”—the final count still undetermined because of new recruits. The compound is divided into areas that are easy to make out: the cat house, the dog pens, and an enclosed space designated for nursing animals and their young. Lining the driveway are nipa huts where stay-in caretakers reside. “From 12 caretakers, we’re down to seven. You need people whom you trust— people whom you know will be compassionate towards the animals even when you aren’t looking. We need patient people with big hearts,” BaquiranYasuda stresses.
Much of the property is still undeveloped, with the grass unkempt and wild ferns growing everywhere, but Baquiran-Yasuda prefers it this way. Dogs have ample space to run and play, and herbs that are good for the animals are easily accessible.
Although in various stages of recovery, it is evident that the animals are accustomed to neglect. Most are strays, others abandoned. Some bear physical marks of abuse, while a few remain wary of human contact. But there are also those who crave affection, occasionally jumping on visitors until they get a thorough petting. One thing is certain though: rehabilitating these animals is no walk in the park.
A typical day in MBY starts at 5:30 a.m. Mornings are spent cleaning the cages and feeding the animals. Dogs are let out and allowed to roam twice a day: once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Special attention is given to nursing moms, kittens, puppies, and the emaciated and sick. Afternoons are for bathing, cleaning food and drinking bowls, and doing the laundry, among other tasks. For the animals, however, noon marks the beginning of nap time.
The upkeep is as heavy on the hands as it is on the wallet. MBY spends at least P10,000 a day on food alone—that’s about 145 kilos of pet food on a daily basis. Veterinary fees, utility bills, and the caretakers’ salaries and food allowances are another story. Baquiran-Yasuda recalls spending as much as P70,000 in one go for canine vaccines. This is on top of ensuring that all animals are cleared by the vet before they can interact with other MBY residents. Although veterinary assistance is often provided by Paraan Animal Clinic in Antipolo, it’s easy to rack up medical bills especially since all roaming animals in MBY are spayed or neutered. This is the only effective way of controlling the population inside the sanctuary without sacrificing the animals’ quality of life.
“Rescuing isn’t pageantry. It’s not for show. You can’t just rescue animals and post it on Facebook, then leave them here after that.”
Because of the high upkeep, Baquiran-Yasuda admits to having used up her personal funds for MBY. It wasn’t until last year that she raised the white flag and realized that she needed more help in funding and running the sanctuary. “I am very fulfilled even if sometimes it gets so difficult. They tell me I’ve sacrificed so much for this but I refuse to use the word ‘sacrifice.’ I chose this. I didn’t plan on doing this. It just happened. I lost everything. That’s why I always say, ‘I may have nothing, but I have my dogs.’”
One thing Baquiran-Yasuda also learned the hard way was the difficult part of volunteerism: waiting for words to become action, and counting on people to commit to the undertaking. She recalls people promising assistance, monetary or otherwise, but the help never came. There were those who pledged to adopt, but refused to go through the adoption screening process. Some would rescue as many as 20 animals at a time, dump them at the sanctuary, and disappear as soon as they wrap up the photo op. “Rescuing isn’t pageantry. It’s not for show. You can’t just rescue animals and post it on Facebook, then leave them here after that. You have to take care of these animals. Give them food. Visit them. Rehabilitating these animals is a long-term affair.”
But for those who genuinely want to help and have it in them to follow through, Baquiran-Yasuda asks only one thing: “Please come over and visit so you see for yourselves. I’d rather you see where your help goes.” Want to show some love to our friends at MBY? Here’s how:
1. Adopt, don’t shop
MBY is home to a number of dogs and cats ready for adoption. Majority of the animals are just waiting for kind souls to open their homes to them. There’s no adoption fee, but MBY observes a stringent adoption process, which, understandably, involves screening and house visits.
2. Donate or sponsor
MBY accepts all donations, whether monetary or in kind. Aside from pet food, the sanctuary also needs a steady supply of towels, blankets, pet soap and shampoo, laundry soap, disinfectants, and surface cleaners. You can also opt to sponsor a spay or any medical treatment.
3. Volunteer and visit
Rehabilitated animals need extra care and attention. And when the animals feel loved, they reciprocate endlessly. Taking time off from your busy schedule to visit these furry friends at the sanctuary is good not only for the animals but for you, too. MBY Pet Rescue and Sanctuary. Teresa, Morong, Rizal. 0927-6136886. Facebook.com/pg/mbypras
“They tell me I’ve sacrificed so much for this but I refuse to use the word ‘sacrifice.’ I chose this.”
Baquiran-Yasuda can’t stress enough that rehabilitating animals is a longterm commitment. Cats and dogs in shelters need to learn that they can trust again.
Clockwise: The Dimarucots work in their living room; Googoo & Gaga’s art is done for the kids; AJ and Audrey talk about their business’s conception; The Grove’s amenity deck is for family bonding.