BANTAYAN ISLAND, Cebu — She was once told by her parents to shy away from stray dogs because of their tendency to bite.
But then she found a man who gave her a hundred reasons to love animals.
Twenty-nine-year-old Tina Tee recalled how her parents instilled in her the fear of dogs during her childhood years. She assumed that the animal’s goal is to attack anyone who comes in its way.
That is until she met Greg Wells, 48, an Australian she met in a coffee shop.
It was his passion for dogs that changed Tee’s attitude towards the animals. The sudden shift wasn’t easy for her, but she never regret crossing paths with him.
As their love for each other grew stronger, their advocacy for animal welfare started as well.
“I was really trying to get away from them. But he said, ;No! They do not bite. They need our care.’ Look at me now, I love dogs,” Tee said.
It all began when they saw a stray dog, in a pitiful condition, roaming around the streets of Cebu City. They adopted the dog and named her Tyra.
It was just the first of many stray dogs that they tried to rescue.
They went to the island of Bantayan where they found more dogs to take care of. Now they have 106 dogs — with the number still increasing.
The couple fenced a property which they just recently bought in Santa Fe town in northern Cebu.
They dubbed it an “island sanctuary” as it houses a quarantine area for sick dogs, a pet cemetery, and a composting corner for dog waste.
“They are like our children already,” Wells said referring to how the dogs turn into stress-relievers.
Like in any other relationship, the couple also has petty arguments, but Tee said that if ever they decide to part ways, the dogs must still be given the same attention.
She believes, however, that the dogs are helping their relationship survive since they always find a reason to stick together.
Wells admits that the challenge is sustaining the dogs’ daily needs. It is for this purpose that they appeal to individuals, animal advocates, and government agencies to assist them in nursing the dogs.
He also said that while he may not be natural-born citizen of the country, he feels for the urgent need to educate the public about the basic right of every dog to live.