#AfterYolanda: Saved twice by man's best friend
MANILA, Philippines – This year, it will be a different Christmas for Vincent.
His family didn’t expect that he would want to hold a dog again after he lost his pet and best friend, Budoy, during super typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda).
“I sat beside him, speechless. He was just with me before the typhoon. I survived. He didn’t,” said Vincent in December of 2013.
Budoy, his pet dog for 6 years, drowned after saving Vincent and his mother from the crashing waves of Haiyan. (Read about Budoy's story: #HeroesofHaiyan: A different breed of hero)
For the first four months after Budoy's death, he distanced himself from any pet. He had the saddest Christmas last year.
But, in 2014, Vincent was 'saved' again – this time, by another dog.
He named him Juan, taken from one of the country’s famous TV shows, Juan dela Cruz.
“Because, like Juan deal Cruz, he is a fighter and he is a survivor,” says Vincent. He still is a man of few words but when he’s with his new-found friend, you see a different side of him.
Juan is one of the family’s dogs and was only 4-months old when typhoon Haiyan struck. Three days after the typhoon, the family found him in one of the fallen trees - afraid and wouldn’t want to go down. For days, Juan seemed like a mad dog so the family was left with no choice but to keep him tied up.
“Vincent would just pass by him and Juan would just keep barking. It was a surprise when one day, we saw Vincent pacifying the dog’s cry,” explains Emily, Vincent's mother.
The connection was instant. It was as if Vincent was all that Juan needed to calm down. When Vincent whistles, one can see the special bond between the two. When he raises his hand, Juan would reach for it. When he sits down, Juan’s head automatically lands on Vincent’s lap. Today, Juan is free to roam around the village.
A year after Haiyan, Vincen’t family now lives in their new house. The family received shelter tool kits and materials and two piglets from World Vision.
I can't believe a year has passed. The last time I saw Vincent was November 2013. I got the chance to visit him again this week to hand him the Haiyan commemorative book which includes his story with Budoy. He kept looking at the page, perhaps remembering his first dog and best friend.
“Vincent still doesn’t talk much about Budoy but we are grateful that we can now see him playing with Juan,” says Emily.
I was never a dog lover and I don’t think I can explain how Vincent feels. One thing I am sure of though. His friendship with Juan is helping both of them heal from the scars of Haiyan. Both of them will not have a lonely Christmas this year.
And Budoy, wherever he is, will always be a reminder of a dog's love and loyalty. - Rappler.com
Joy Maluyo is a communications officer of World Vision Philippines.