By Caryl Vangeli A. Montera
ONE'S dog getting lost is probably up there on the list of worst nightmares. Owners shower their pets with a lot of love, and the thought of them out there and away from home—afraid and unsure of what to do—can be quite heartbreaking.
This is what happened to Kate Barnido and her family, starting off 2023 with their worst nightmare coming true. Rory, a nine-year-old Boston Terrier, had escaped from their home during a fire incident that struck their neighborhood on V. Rama Avenue, Cebu City on Jan. 1.
“We were at my auntie’s house in Cagayan celebrating the New Year. It was around 12:45 a.m. when my mom got a call from our helper that our neighbor’s house was on fire,” Kate, 31, said in a private message.
Back in Cebu City via the first flight the next day, the Barnido family was able to review some of the dashcam footage from the firemen and a Facebook Live news report showing the small dog anxiously trotting on the streets behind the fire trucks and then disappearing. The last clue they had was from the bystanders who claimed that Rory had been picked up by a black motorcycle during the fire incident.
“It has been one of the hardest days of our lives. We felt so defeated not knowing where he was, how he was, and if he may still be alive,” Kate wrote in a Facebook post. “What if was picked up by horrible people and they sold him or did stuff to him?”
Kate and her sisters used social media, printed flyers and tarps, called local radio stations for help, even went door-to-door in the areas of B. Rodriguez and Ermita, and walked the streets of Colon and Carbon Market in search of their lost furry pet.
With the help of friends, relatives, and the community, Kate’s Facebook post, which promised a reward with no questions asked, had gone viral and the search for Rory even reached farther and wider to the locality of Minglanilla some 15 kilometers away.
Sometimes, these ways work and most owners find their beloved pets. Other times, what some might call a miracle is all that stands between a pet coming home and being lost forever. But it’s always that glimmer of hope that keeps them going.
Kate expressed that finding Rory was mentally, physically, and emotionally draining. “There’s always that .00001% of hope and I really held on to that chance,” she said.
Fortunately, four days later, the black and white Boston Terrier was found, about 13 km from where he went missing.
“Rory was found by a family of dog lovers who cared for him the past four days,” Kate happily updated her Facebook post. “We got a call this morning saying they had Rory and they picked him up during the fire to keep him safe from people who might do him harm.”
She explained that the husband and wife who passed by V. Rama Ave. during the fire incident on a motorcycle noticed a scared Rory who was running on the sidewalk. They picked him up and brought him to their home in Talisay because they were afraid that he would get maltreated by other people.
“They did not post on Facebook that they found a dog because they were scared that anybody would just come up and claim Rory,” explained Kate. “They also did not call immediately because they wanted to make sure that the dog in the post was the dog that they had. It wasn’t until they read the identifiers we posted about Rory that they were sure the dog they had was Rory.”
She also expressed her gratitude to the family who had Rory for keeping him safe the past couple of days. For letting him stay inside their house, sleep inside their room, and even going out of their way to buy dog food when he would not eat.
“We offered to give them something and they would not accept it. They did it out of the kindness of their hearts. They love dogs and they were just worried for Rory,” shared Kate.
The Barnido family thanked everyone who helped search for Rory. “Thank you so much everyone for sharing, this is a miracle and you have been a part of our miracle,” Kate wrote on Facebook. “I am forever grateful.”
Cebuanos can be a caring bunch, and this story is an example of how social media can be utilized for good. It can be a surprise how many people are willing to lend a hand—even for a lost dog.
By Caryl Vangeli A. Montera