Many people are unable to figure out what they want to do with their lives until they're older; sometimes, they never do. Others know at a young age what they want to become when they grow up, but it's quite uncommon to see, especially when you're barely a teenager. What were you doing when you were 10 or 11 years old?
But Ken Amante, a 10-year-old boy from Davao City, knew. For as long as he could remember, Ken loved being with animals. "I've always loved animals, even when I was young. I was fond of them even when I was small. My parents told me that before I could even talk, I was already sleeping with my dad's cat," he told HGN Pets Zone via a video conference interview. Ken even still has the poster he drew when he was just 8 years old and advocating his cause.
At such a young age, Ken was already passionate about saving animals. He dreamed of opening an animal shelter that would be a safe place for homeless dogs and cats, where they could be fed regularly and get proper medical care. However, the realities of life caught on. Ken knew he would need a lot of money to build his own animal shelter, and that it would take years for him and his family to raise it.
That didn't stop him, though, from doing what he loves. He did the best he could with the little resources he had. Recently, someone captured his acts of kindness in a photo and posted it on the Internet, and many of those who saw found it in their hearts to donate money to help Ken continue his good deed.
"We got enough money to get the dogs I was feeding off the street, feed them high-quality canned food, and provide them with veterinary care. They gained a LOT of weight, their open wounds healed, and their fur grew back. They also learned not to be scared of humans," he says in his website. Here they are after two months under Ken's care:
The overwhelming response and funds from the Internet also allowed Ken to actually make his dream a reality, and thus, Happy Animals Club shelter was born. It's the first animal shelter in Mindanao where animals are free to roam around, as they are neither tied nor kept in cages. According to its website, the "animals are treated with respect and love and afforded the best possible care, without compromise, to ensure that every animal is as happy as it can possibly be."
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
In keeping with its mission (and name), Ken goes out of his way to make sure the animals under his care are happy. He takes the animals to a park during weekends so they can run and play. Earlier this year, Ken conducted an Easter egg activity for the shelter animals, and last Christmas, he successfully conducted a feeding program for street dogs (he actually does this all the time even if he's running late for school!)
Two years into the shelter's operations, Ken is doing what he loves most -- and more importantly, his animal shelter has saved many animals and and made their lives better. As of last year, it's been home to around 30 dogs and 17 cats. He hopes that in a decade, the Happy Animals Club would have branches around the world, with lots of animals in them and lots of people adopting them. "Most people choose pedigrees because they think they are better, so they get their pets from pet stores, [but] I want people to see mongrels and pedigrees as equals," he said.
The Happy Animals Shelter Club is still accepting donations to cover animal food and veterinary care expenses via Paypal. For those who would like to adopt a pet, you can find the animals' profiles on the Happy Animals Club website. You can also read The Happy Animals Club's blog and follow them on Facebook to get updates.