When Typhoon Haiyan brought turmoil and devastation to the people of the Philippines, thousands of pets were also injured and displaced.
Since Haiyan made landfall on Nov. 8, organizations such as the Humane Society International (HSI) have been sending response teams into Tacloban and Palo, two of the hardest-hit areas, to care for injured, hungry and misplaced animals.
After the storm, many areas were inaccessible due to flood waters and debris. The environment threatened deadly conditions for animals, who were without food, shelter and high ground.
"There is no electricity out there, there is no companionship out there and they are basically left to fend for themselves," Rahul Sehgal, Asia director for the HSI, said.
The main threats for these animals are stress from being separated from owners, skin infections, diseases and diarrhea, according to Sehgal.
"The stress causes their immune systems to completely crash, and they become susceptible to any infection," Sehgal said.
Despite the difficulties in rescuing the animals, the HSI says there have been many heartwarming success stories in the Philippines.
One success story is that of Bubba, a six-month-old puppy that came close to starvation. His owner tried to keep him safe but eventually had to send out a picture of a sign pleading for help because he ran out of food.
The HSI tracked down the pair's location and started a relief effort. The owner of Bubba was able to find them and get enough food for his dog to survive.
"This was by far the most heartwarming story. It speaks of a bond and of hope against all odds amongst destruction that if you really have a strong belief, it can be answered," Sehgal said.
The HSI has also taken in pets for those who evacuated their homes.
When a family was boarding a plane to evacuate and was not allowed to take their pregnant Chihuahua with them, Dr. Rey del Napoles, lead veterinarian of the HSI, offered to keep her safe until they could be reunited.
This is just one of many animals that are now in temporary custody of the HSI, Sehgal said. "They are depending on us to now sustain their dogs over the next few weeks or over the next one month, and we are more than happy to do so."
Pet and owner reunions make the HSI's hard work worthwhile, Sehgal said.
"All our aching bones and aching muscles and sleepless nights we've had are forgotten." he said.
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