To medical writer and pet parent Camille Asuncion, the adoption and care of dogs have always been a passion and a lifestyle. But Keeper’s entry into her life was a gamechanger. While all her previous furries like her three Labrador Retrievers and a small terrier were given to her as gifts by friends, Keeper was the first dog she had ever rescued. It was not just a matter of visiting an animal shelter and selecting one with the aid of a fellow pet lover and animal care professional. Camille literally found Keeper under a tree and lying on a bush in their neighborhood, where he had painfully crawled to after he had been hit, run over, and then abandoned by a fleeing truck.
The incident happened in 2016. Camille’s kasambahay, affectionately called Yaya Carmen, did tell her about the hit-and-run incident. After the accident which a lot of people saw and heard about, the injured dog had run away and not been seen again. Camille immediately felt concerned but there seemed to be no trace of the animal or any way to find him. However, she did have her chance two days later when Yaya Carmen told her that the scarred and bruised dog had apparently returned to the street of his accident—and had found some kind of haven lying on a bush.
Camille quickly went to the spot where the dog had been seen—and saw that the situation was worse than what had been reported. “There was the smell of death,”
Camille quickly went to the spot where the dog had been seen—and saw that the situation was worse than what had been reported. “There was the smell of death,” Camille recalls sadly. “Some of Keeper’s bones were broken and his front leg had been mangled. He was in pain.” Yaya Carmen remarked that, though he looked like he was near death’s door, the dog looked like he wanted to be found and rescued.
During that time, all that Camille could do was get a bottle of wound-cleansing betadine, and pour a few drops from a few feet away. Given his injuries and trauma, there was no telling what the dying dog would do; the slightest sting of the antiseptic solution could cause him to still muster enough effort to lash back and bite or scratch Camille.
On the advice of a friend, Camille with the help of Yaya Carmen brought the dog to a veterinarian, covering him first with bandages and then putting him in a box. The veterinarian took the bleeding animal and assessed that he was only three months old—a child by human standards—at the time of the hit-and-run incident. The clinic took care of the injured dog for a month.
It would take another two months for him to recover in Camille’s home. “I told my mom about it and said I would assume responsibility. My parents also like animals and took pity on the dog.”
Camille said that during those two months, she saw Keeper’s emotional scars while his physical ones were recovering. “He was traumatized and slow to warm up,” she explains. “You can’t just give him a quick, warm welcome. You have to give him space. Let him smell you and get to know you. I let him approach me first and waited until he allowed me to touch him.”
Slowly, Keeper did warm up to Camille. His emotional walls went down, which was evident during their first return visit to the veterinarian. “In the car on the ride to the vet, I felt that we bonded,” she shares.
But their relationship cemented when Camille realized that she did not want to let him go. After bringing him home from the vet, she did plan to have him adopted by her friends or other responsible pet parents. But Keeper changed her mind.
…Keeper “put his injured leg on my hand—and that was the moment when I realized I did NOT want to have him adopted.”
“It was unforgettable,” Camille says of the memory. “I had announced at home that I would have him adopted. He was just recovering at that time.” But as soon as she said those words, Keeper “put his injured leg on my hand—and that was the moment when I realized I did NOT want to have him adopted.”
And during those few seconds, Keeper lived up to his name.
His demeanor has also changed since then. The dourness and steely reserve have disappeared, replaced by a playfulness that makes Camille smile. “He can run, unlike before—and when he does run, he gallops!”
Free of the wounds of the past, to be himself, to be a keeper and a loving member of Camille’s family and their home.
Gallery by The Pet Visuals: Keeper
Philippines’ Next Top Pawdel
If you think you also have a heartwarming story that can be told through the lens of the camera – a story of unspoken love by your dog or cat — please join the Philippines’ Next Top Pawdel. Our pictures will not just bring out the beauty of your pet, or reveal what’s inside their unspeaking heart. It will also talk about your connection with them, your relationship, your love affair.
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