A dog stranded on the rock ledge of a granite hill in Selangor captured the hearts and attention of many last Sunday. Read the news story here.
The drama unfolded when a resident nearby heard the cries of the dog but she could not find the dog. Then when she spotted the mongrel all alone at the edge of a cliff, she alerted her husband who posted a distress message on Facebook which soon attracted animal lovers and rescuers to the site. Firemen had been to the Forest Hill Residences but they lacked the equipment to climb the hill which was also separated from the land by a lake.
So, a group of rescuers sprang into action as they had boats and trekking gear. Among the unsung heroes who led the rescue team were Francis Poh, Kevan De Silva and Juanita Izudin Mohd Farouk, among others.
While Poh and Kevan abseiled down the cliff, Juanita stayed in touch with them from the ground via a walkie talkie to guide the duo to the canine. She heaved a sigh of relief when the mongrel was brought to safety and later released after it was found to be unhurt.
Juanita, 44, had been an animal lover all her life and had been involved in rescuing cats and dogs for the past 25 years.
She is a volunteer at Puppy’s Loving Home, a non-governmental organisation. She used to have a shelter of her own when she was in her 20s as she had a stable job then. Even though she wasn’t earning a five or six figure income, Juanita always set aside 30 per cent of her income to feed the strays that she rescued.
Juanita, better known as Juan, had operated a small food kiosk which also provided catering services.
“When I was catering for weddings, I would charge a fee of RM5,000 so after paying all my bills and other expenses, the remainder will go to the animals that I have rescued. At one point of time I had 250 cats and 20 dogs.
“In March 2020, I was dealt a massive blow. It was the year that I lost everything. When the first Movement Control Order (MCO) was implemented. I had orders for three weddings. I had bought all the food but because of the MCO, I lost RM25,000. And that wasn’t the only thing that I have lost. The day before the announcement of the MCO which was on March 18, I lost my mother to cancer on March 17,” she said.
Juanita, who lost her father in 2013, has an elder sister and a younger sister, but neither of them could understand her love for animals.
“When I was a child, I would talk to cats and dogs, even ants. So, there is nothing that I love more than animals. Since I don’t have a shelter anymore, I now devote my time to helping an elderly couple who runs a shelter with 600 dogs in Hulu Selangor,” she said.
“How did this kind couple end up with 600 dogs? It is because of people who reach out to us when they see a dog which had been hit by a car, or an abused cat. After we had picked up the animal and brought them to the vet, the people who have called us suddenly didn’t want to have anything to do with us anymore. They’ve washed their hands of the matter. They don’t care about the medical bills. They don’t care what happens to the animal anymore.
“An amount of RM10,000 can buy only 100 bags of 20kg kibbles which can lasts about a week for 600 dogs. Most shelter owners die with heavy debts.
“I am currently driving a 2006 MyVi, which is a second-hand car that I bought in 2018. I use it to transport children to school and also to provide pet services for clients. This is how I earn my living now. The Return on Investment (ROI) for me is the smile on a dog’s face when its injuries have healed, or when it is no longer living on the streets.
“There are dogs of mixed breeds and special breeds in the shelter. How do you think these animals end up in shelters? Because people buy them and when they no longer want them, they just discard on the streets and create social problems for others. Is it the animal’s fault?” she said.
When flash floods hit Kajang in Selangor at the tail end of last year, Juan was among those who helped rescue 20 dogs and 120 cats. She was also among those who responded to the plight of the abandoned dogs in Pulau Rimau in Penang last year.
Puppy’s Loving Home hopes to become a social enterprise someday, and for more private companies to pledge the contribution of kibbles or repair broken shelters under their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes.
For those who would like to chip in, Puppy’s Loving Home is organising a “Dog Paws Charity Gala” at the Wazzup Music Bar in Kuala Lumpur on April 26 at 7pm, to raise funds for medical expenses, utilities, dog food and salaries for shelter workers. The ticket prices are from RM100 to RM5,000.
Go to https://forms.gle/gdyEuAG6M6UjRv3K8 and book a ticket, if you want to lend a helping hand.