Dog Rescuer


Dr. Nannette Rey, current president of the Philippine Heart Association, not only rescues hearts which are in congestive heart failure, but also dogs in distress; and this Christmas, she wishes many would consider adopting a dog and lovingly welcoming them to their family

By Gelyka Ruth R. Dumaraos

Dr. Nannette Rey with Kobe (center), Lenard (right), and Willow (left) (Photo by Harvey Tapan)

Noted cardiologist, Dr. Nannette Rey, finds it rewarding to rescue dogs in distress and adopt some of them, virtually the same feeling she gets when saving people’s lives with various cardiovascular problems.

Amidst her hectic schedule as a cardiologist and the current president of the Philippine Heart Association (PHA), she is always looking forward to going home to her most beloved dogs.

A dog lover and an advocate of adopting dogs, Dr. Rey considers her furry friends, not just pets, but loyal friends and lifelong companions.

Her eight mixed-breed dogs, five of which were adopted and another three actually rescued from extremely dire circumstances, have all gone from being sick and malnourished before finding a home in her residence, to being healthy and well taken cared of.

“The rescues are particularly memorable because each rescue has its story to tell,” she says in an interview with H&L. “It is an adventure not knowing what you will encounter when you rescue them. “

‘Lucky’, her 12-year-old first rescue, was an abandoned dog in San Pedro Laguna. Severely malnourished and was coughing out blood, he was recommended to be euthanized by a veterinarian due to heartworm infestation and heart failure. He had liver and kidney problems, severe anemia, parasites in the body, and poor teeth.

Lucky was rescued in San Pedro, Laguna
He had multiple disease but is now
recuperating afted over three years

But there is something with Lucky Dr. Rey really loves—his trust. She says, “I have never seen such a totally trusting dog to a stranger.”

With their instant connection, Dr. Rey knew she should not give up on him. Guided by another vet, they slowly nursed him back to health and it’s been three years since the rescue.

Today, even when he still has residual heart failure, Dr. Rey describes Lucky as strong and handsome.

Dr. Rey saved ‘Cali’, her second rescue in Batangas. The abused dog has severely cachectic and had a bad case of sarcoptic mange, a highly contagious skin disease in digs caused by the Sarcoptes scabiei mite. “The second rescue looked like a specimen in an anatomy laboratory with all the bones jutting out and completely all skin and bones,” recalls Dr. Rey.

At first, this dog appeared reserved and suspicious, and Dr. Rey had to earn her trust. The five-year-old dog is now the sweetest and most trusting among Dr. Rey’s rescues.

Obin was rescued outside a mall He
turned out to be a Siberian Husky when
his fur started to return

Lastly, her third rescue, ‘Robin’, offered a bit of a challenge. Dr. Rey had to follow him for more than two hours just so she could earn his trust.

Her name was derived from Robinson’s Supermarket where she was rescued more than a year ago. “He was totally covered in scabs,” Dr. Rey remembers clearly how pathetic his condition was. “Looked like a rock. We are still rehabilitating but I see progress and he totally looks different now. Handsome actually,” she adds.

Robin turned out to be a Siberian husky when his fur started to return.

Canine love

Despite her extremely hectic schedule as PHA president, on top of her clinic appointments, and speaking and guesting commitments, Dr. Rey finds joy and a great stress-buster to come home to her canine family.

In fact, she says her dogs even help in her being a physician. She adds that it gives her a better perspective on life, especially on the way she appreciates things.

“Having a dog is a big responsibility,” she says. “You take care of a creature that has complete trust in you.”

Even when sometimes people get to neglect them, dogs still have their full trust in you and are always happy whenever their masters come home.

She adds, “Patients are the same. They go to you with complete trust, hoping that you would be able to help them somehow and you learn to appreciate these simple things.”

Cali, who was rescued in Batangas, had a bad case of sarcoptic mange

Definitely, way beyond the satisfaction one gets from the income from being a physician, the presences of canines gives a more lasting satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment.

For a true dog lover, one would know the joy and happiness the dogs can bring in one’s lives, especially in a family.

Dr. Rey sees having dogs as a way to have balance and stability.

“They are my ‘go-to people’ just like my family and friends,” she relates. “They keep me grounded. They renew my belief in the goodness of people. They make me less cynical about things because they are completely trusting and are generally very good-natured.”

And whether you intentionally or unintentionally hurt them, they still have full trust in their master. “That is innate goodness and I believe people are the same,” Dr. Rey says.

Adopt don’t shop

As an advocate, Dr. Rey calls on dog lovers not take on a dog just because they look cute when they are puppies. Stressing that there are so many dogs who have been neglected just because they were not as cute anymore as they were when they were still puppies, Dr. Rey admonishes that dog owners must consider dogs not just as cute pets one can display at home and in the neighborhood, or post on social media, but as living creatures one really loves and commits to take care of no matter what happens.

She encourages everyone to consider adopting dogs, rather than buying them. In fact, there are so many dogs looking for new homes, and they are all loving and trusting, assures Dr. Rey.

Dogs do not care whether you put them on a warm bed or you just put a cloth or even just leave them to lie on the floor. Even more, they do not care whether you feed them dog food or leftovers. They certainly don’t demand anything, except that their love and loyalty for their masters be also reciprocated.

“They appreciate everything you give them even just a pat on the head,” Dr. Rey says. “A little love is all they need to be totally ecstatic. The sight of you makes them ecstatic. Know your dog and never take on more than you can take care of. Do not just make them breeding dogs. Take responsibility for them just like you take responsibility for your kids.”

Dr. Rey’s residence is certainly a haven for dogs in distress, and what a more wonderful world it would be for the entire canine population if there are more people like her. This Christmas, she wishes that many would find it in their heart to adopt and welcome a dog in their family.

“They keep me grounded. They renew my belief in the goodness of people. They make me less cynical about things because they are completely trusting and are generally very good-natured”

Dec 2018 Health and Lifestyle

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