Most pet owners would say that their beloved animals are part of the family. It’s the same for Minerva Gerodias, a mom to a 21-year-old daughter, 25 cats, and 11 dogs. The 44-year-old turned a corner of their garden into a pet cemetery for her fur babies who have passed on.
A lot of Minerva’s pets are rescues — she started adopting abandoned dogs and cats in 2009. When her first ever fur baby, a miniature pinscher, passed away, she was inspired to create a burial ground for pets in her rented home in Cebu City.
“May space doon sa nirerentahan ko na parang ginawa ko na maliit na garden. Doon ko nilibing ‘yung mini pinscher ko,” she shares in an interview with Summit Video Originals.
“Since then, sabi ko sa sarili ko na kapag bibili ako ng sarili kong bahay, dapat corner lot siya at may malaking space sa labas para mayroon akong space para sa cemetery,” Minerva adds.
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The mom stayed true to her word. To date, 37 pets, mostly rescued cats and dogs, are currently buried in her pet cemetery.
“It’s my way of thanking them for giving me unconditional love and happiness while they are with me. So, para sa akin, they also deserve a decent burial. Hindi sila dapat tinatapon lang,” she says.
“’Yung sinasabi nilang you’ll get used to it… you’ll never get used to losing a pet,” she adds.
The mom shares that her pets are a source of comfort and they helped her get through tough challenges. “In 2018, nag-struggle ako sa trabaho ko. I wasn’t happy with my job, I was diagnosed na may goiter ako,” Minerva says.
At the same time, the health of her pets started to decline. Some of them died and Minerva said it was the toughest year in terms of caring for them. “‘Yung mga aso ko, matamlay rin sila… parang [naging] sick sila because I was not happy… I think they really absorb the negative emotions that I was going through.”
But despite what she’s been through, Minerva cannot find it in her heart to stop rescuing. “’Yung sinasabi nila na, ‘A dog will love you more than he loves himself,’ totoo ‘yun. Every time I get home, mas warm pa ‘yung welcome ng mga aso ko kaysa anak ko,” she says.
Minerva hopes to inspire more people to adopt, foster, and rescue abandoned dogs and cats. She says having a pet is a huge responsibility — “It’s like having a baby” — and she hopes Pinoys can look beyond an animal’s breed when deciding to care for a pet.
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“Lahat naman ng dogs, lahat ng cats, kahit walang breed… they also deserve na i-respeto. They also deserve love sa kanilang humans,” she says.
Watch Minerva’s heartwarming video below and be reminded of your own furbabies!
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