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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Missy Sunshine: From abandoned dog to ring bearer

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On a beautiful day in June, 2014, Virgilio Cabanag, a kind-hearted resident of Casimiro Townhomes in Deparo, Caloocan, came across a sick black aspin (Asong Pinoy) on the street near his home. Without hesitation, he reached out to Save Animals of Love and Light-Save ALL Inc, an animal welfare group, through their Facebook page to ask for assistance to rescue the poor puppy.

Virgilio vividly remembers the sorry state the puppy was in when he first laid eyes on her. She was painfully thin, riddled with ticks and fleas, and her fur was almost gone due to a skin disease. It was clear that she had been abandoned because of her condition.

Shine in the clinic to continue her treatment in July, 2014. (Photo from the owner.)

After being rescued from the streets, the pup was taken to a vet clinic that works closely with Save ALL. The diagnosis was startling: she had a serious case of sarcoptic mange which is highly contagious and demodectic mange. Some values in her blood test were also causes for concern. Despite the challenges ahead, Virgilio and his then-girlfriend, Krizhia, lovingly agreed to foster the pup, who they affectionately named Missy Sunshine, or ‘Shine’ for short.

This is Shine with a marked improvement in January, 2015, seven months after her rescue. (Photo from the owner.)

Shine’s road to recovery was expected to be long and arduous, filled with ups and downs. Thanks to the unwavering support of Save ALL, Virgilio and Krizhia, as well as generous donations from kind-hearted individuals, Shine received the medical care she desperately needed.

Shine grew into such a beautiful dog. She has such a charming smile. This photo was taken two years after her rescue, in August of 2016. (Photo from the owner.)

Unfortunately however, new tests showed she was positive for distemper. The challenges kept coming, but Virgilio and Krizhia never gave up on her.

Month after month, Shine faced one medical challenge after another, but with Virgilio and Krizhia’s unwavering love and support, she continued to fight and eventually grew stronger and healthier. Over time, Virgilio and Krizhia’s bond with Shine deepened, and they made the decision to officially adopt her as their own, becoming her forever furparents.

Three years after, in September of 2018, Shine is more charming and remains healthy. (Photo from the owner.)

When asked why Virgilio decided to adopt Shine, he said that the love he developed for her while caring for her as her foster furdaddy is truly undeniable “Inadopt ko si Shine dahil syempre, napamahal na sya sakin habang inaalagaan ko sya,” he said.

Shine at 10 years old. Every year, her family celebrated her rescue day which they called her birthday. (Photo from the owner.)

He also pointed out that, of all the ‘rescues’ he had fostered in the past, Shine was the only one who was utterly kind and gentle and never once complained no matter what condition she was in and that made it so easy for him to love her all the more “Hindi sya mahirap mahalin dahil sa sobrang bait ni Shine. Sa iilan na mga fur-babies na dumaan sakin na mababait, kay Shine po talaga ako walang masabi,” he said.

Together, Virgilio and Krizhia showered Shine with all the love, care and attention she needed to thrive.

Shine looks so happy to be with her furdaddy at his wedding last April 6. She knows she is truly a member of this family. (Photo from the owner.)

Last April 6, 2024, Virgilio and Krizhia tied the knot, with Shine proudly serving as their ring bearer. This is because Shine is truly most dear to them and that she is like a child of their own, Virgilio said. They, definitely, would not want her to miss out on this special day of their life together. They even had a gown specially made for Shine for that occasion

Shine with her furparents during their wedding. (Photo from the owner.)

“Dahil nga special sya sa akin talaga, parang anak na kasi talaga ang turing namin ni misis kay Shine. At ayun nga, matagal ko na rin sinabi na hindi pwedeng wala si Shine sa magiging kasal namin ni misis. Pinasadyaan talaga namin sya ng gown kasi nga sabi ko, sabay kami lalakad sa ceremony, “ Virgilio said.

Shine goes out for snacks with her furparents as part of the family adventure. (Photo from the owner.)

It has been 10 years since her rescue. Despite her age, Shine has aged gracefully and happily, surrounded by the love of her dedicated furparents. Her furdaddy proudly shared how much he feels Shine’s love and loyalty for them and that is why they love her just as much. And just seeing Shine happy about anything at all already takes the stress of the day off of him. That is how he lovingly declares how much he loves his little Sunshine.

Shine went to a beach in Batangas with her furparents. She even joined her furparents in a small boat. (Photo from the owner.)

“She enriched my life….. mararamdaman talaga natin ang pagiging loyal nila satin. At nawawala talaga stress ko sa tuwing kasama ko si Shine..…. basta isa lang talaga ang alam ko—– masaya ako na nakikita kong masaya ang Sunshine ko. Mahal na mahal ko talaga si Shine,” Virgilio said.

The journey from being abandoned and left for dead to a cherished member of the family is a testament to the power of love and compassion.

Shine with Lola Alicia Cabanag, Virgilio’s mother. (Photo from the owner.)

This heartwarming story serves as a reminder of our responsibility to care for all creatures, regardless of breed or background as God mandated humankind. This family’s story is a shining example of the positive impact we can have when we choose kindness and empathy towards all living beings.

Shine celebrates Christmas with Lola Alicia (Photo from the owner.)

About the Author: Mariana Burgos is a freelance artist, writer, and tutor. She has been a solo parent for 17 years now because she is the wife of Jonas Burgos, a Filipino desaparecido. She and her daughter are animal lovers and are active in advocating not only human rights but the rights of animals as well.

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