For some people, life has been so full of suspicion and mistrust that the only being that they can fully trust is an animal. Paulo and Angela, brother and sister, now well into their 70s, grew up outside of Valdivia, on a small farm in a peri-urban area. Their father had an apple orchard and started up a cider business which quickly became well-known in the area. At a young age, Paulo was diagnosed with a severe learning disability and never gained full-time employment. When their parents suddenly passed away, the cider business declined and the two siblings lost the farm. They were left with nothing. They then decided to move together to the city, where Angela could care for her brother. She got employment at a local flour mill where she moved up the ladder and reached the title of administrative assistant. She dedicated herself to taking care of her brother and herself and she felt that her life was once again stable.
When she was well into middle age, she was ruthlessly dismissed with no warning and no retirement income. In those days, the labour system had many loop holes and she did not have the necessary skills to defend herself. At her age, and with only lay training, she was never again able to find work to support herself and her brother and they both slipped quickly into poverty.
Now Paulo and Angela live in a run-down house in a very dangerous part of town. Angela is constantly afraid and, at night she locks herself in her bedroom just in case robbers enter her house. They both agree that Coco has become their most valuable possession and don’t know what they would do without him. “We are fully indebted to him forever.”
When we heard about this family, we were told that Coco needed veterinary attention, but that the brother and sister lived in such a precarious setting, there was no way that they would be able to pay for it. Drs. Angélica and Paula set off to see if they could lend a hand. Coco was a willing patient, perhaps a bit timid with them, but otherwise, a healthy and happy dog that was in desperate need of vaccines and treatment for his internal and external parasites.
Both Paulo and Angela were extremely happy to have company and chat with the veterinarians about the health and wellbeing of Coco. With proud composure and love in her eyes, Angela describes how she leaves Coco outside the front door every night and how Coco takes on the responsibility that it is bestowed upon him. “Coco protects us and our house 24 hours a day.” “I would be devastated if anything happened to Coco. Besides my brother, Coco is the only other being that I can trust.” For people like this, their pets are their everything. Coco serves an important role in their lives, security, protection and love.
If you would like to see us continue and expand this work in Chile, please help us by supporting our work. Until January 2nd, a generous supporter is matching all gifts up to $10,000. A gift of $50, turns into $100 and this would cover all the routine care that a dog like Coco would need, plus a little bit left over to buy a small bag of dog food.
Every dollar that you donate (up to $10,000) will be matched this holiday season!
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