STRAY NO MORE
A cat and dog shelter in Morong, Rizal gives the abandoned and abused a new lease on life
“The sanctuary is always awake,” MBY Pet Rescue and Sanctuary founder and owner Marita BaquiranYasuda says over the cacophony of almost 600 dogs and cats, and the random clucking of a few chickens roosting nearby.
Hidden behind an industrial red gate that doesn’t allow even a peek into the front yard, the sanctuary is easy to miss—if not for a small tarpaulin that reads: “Donate food. Sponsor spay. Volunteer.” You actually hear it before anything else. Stay by the gate long enough and the barking starts; once you’re inside, it never seems to stop.
There is something comforting in this chaos that is confined in a 1.8-hectare lot found along an unmarked road in Morong, Rizal. You feel it when a wagging tail brushes past your leg or a wet nose suddenly sniffs your arm, or when a tiny, lithe body rubs against your feet, purring. For a few of these four-legged friends, a lick is customary, but mostly you see hundreds of curious eyes watching your every step.
“When I’m in Japan, I have a host of prescriptions. I have maintenance for high blood pressure and anemia. But when I'm here and I spend time with the animals, I don't take any medicine. I’m perfectly healthy—stronger than a bull at 50,” BaquiranYasuda explains with a chuckle, her face tear-stained. She has just finished recalling the moment she realized she couldn’t stop taking in homeless dogs and cats. And as with anything that finds firm resolve, her decision to put up MBY sprung from conflict. In this case, it was triggered by animal cruelty.
“You’d be surprised by how there are a lot of people who are cruel to animals,” she notes, recounting seeing a group of girls attack a helpless cat struggling to protect five newborn kittens.
But the roots of MBY go farther than this. It started in Japan, where Baquiran-Yasuda still resides with her family. Her husband, who is Japanese, suddenly imposed upon her the responsibility of adopting a cat in the hopes of solving a growing rodent problem at