By Martie de Castro, Kaye Santander, and Joyce Villaflor
STC Mass Comm Interns
ANIMALS are one of a kind. They bring a different level of joy to people, especially to pet owners. Like their humans, pets still need love, attention, and health care. But behind every healthy pet is a dedicated vet.
Apart from saving pets from dreaded diseases, veterinarians help pet owners understand the behavior of their pets to meet their needs. Also, they help pet owners communicate with their pets so they would understand what is going on with their animal pals, or if there is something wrong with them. Lastly, vets let other people know what the value of animals is in our environment.
SunStar Weekend talked to three young veterinarians who shared their passion and care for animals, and offered valuable insights about the special relationship between humans and animals.
Meet the Vets
Dr. Honey Pearl F. Malingin, DVM
“Animals are innocent and sensitive. Sometimes they comfort better than human beings,” Honey said.
As early as eight years old, Honey realized she wanted to be a veterinarian. Her dog and guinea pigs became her first clients. Since then, her dream of becoming one never changed and her passion for veterinary medicine grew deeper. Also, she wanted to take this course because she wanted to be different.
Dr. Malingin shared that being a veterinarian is very fulfilling because she gets to see clients who used to care less about their pets before changing after a series of consultations, monitoring, and coaching. She observed that these pet owners became more caring and loving to their pets.
“It makes me feel really happy to see how they have improved and become responsible pet owners,” she said.
On the other hand, she admits that being a veterinarian in Cebu is very challenging because not everyone understands their importance in society, but instead of getting affected by this issue, she is more eager to do better in her profession. “We need more people who can help promote animal welfare!” she said.
Currently, Dr. Malingin is working at provincial Veterinary office in the Cebu Provincial Capitol. She is more exposed in handling livestock animals such as cattle, horse, goat, pigs, and poultry. She also handles exotic animals, marine mammals, and occasionally dogs and cats.
“Being a veterinarian takes courage and passion. Being a veterinarian is a dream come true for me,” she said.
Julis Bel S. Montesclaros
A graduate of veterinary medicine from Southwestern University, Julius Bel is determined more than ever to pass the board exam and be a licensed doctor. Known to many as JB, he developed a passion in taking care of animals since he was young, which is why he took the six-year course in college.
According to him, animals are more than just pets. They are lifetime companions; family even. As a vet, they always do more than what the animals need. They provide care and treat every animal that comes to their clinic as their own.
“We are 21 doctors in one,” JB said. “We are your pet’s cardiologist, neurologist, radiation technologist, ob gynecologist, etc. You name it. We do janitorial jobs and even serve as yaya to your pets. We can go as far as sleeping with them in the cage if that’s what makes them comfortable.”
Being a vet is a commitment, and JB is more than willing to take the challenge of serving animals. They are tougher to treat since they can’t verbally communicate, but it is also a hundred folds fulfilling.
“We have been trained to save a life, not take one. When animals are brought from a moribund state, and we are able to save them and bring them back in their parents’ arms, it makes our job more rewarding,” JB said.
When asked what is his advice to those who aspire to join the profession someday, he said they must become pet parents first, those who serve animals not just for routine purposes but because they truly care for them. After all, being a vet is a relationship between the pet owner and the animal and communicating in a language only they could understand.
Dr. Wilfred John L. Salvador, DVM
Currently an associate professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine in Southwestern University as well as a veterinarian at Danasan Ecopark, Wilfred believes that animals, just like human beings, have the right to live. This statement struck him considering that there are animals meant for food.
“Your pig can be more loving and intelligent than your dogs, but ultimately, their purpose for us is something else. Somebody should be there to consider their welfare in their passing life,” he said.
Ironically, he’s never had a pet, yet it doesn’t mean that he hates having one. “It wasn’t just appealing to me. Growing in a community where farming is the primary livelihood, and realizing that Philippines had so much mouths to feed, I visualized being part of people who will attend to the issue of food security.”
He believes that food security can be a vet’s role and he wanted to make sure food animal’s welfare is safeguarded while they are living this temporary world just like anybody else. The most challenging thing he encountered as a vet would be having a bad interaction with a client who doesn’t have a clear grasp of their responsibilities in having a pet, and it ends up that the welfare of the animals is sacrificed.
“A six-year course would require some above normal amounts of commitment, that’s for sure. The person should know that there could be more lucrative and easier job than a vet’s. It is never easy that after doing everything to save a patient’s life, you get a cat scratch, dog bite, or worse a horse kick in return. It happens a lot,” he said. “Quality education takes time. This is a trite joke among vet students, for it’s very common to get extended beyond the regular six years. It took me eleven years to finish mine, though I was already working at the same time. Learning is really a continues process and it never stops.”