|Lê Thị Thanh Chi feeds the dogs she has adopted. — Photo vietnamnet.vn|
ĐÀ NẴNG — Two years ago, Lê Thị Thanh Chi surprised everyone when she sold her large house in the centre of Đà Nẵng City and moved to a one-storey property close to the forest and totally isolated from residential areas.
Her new, smaller home is not just for her and her husband. She also shares it with 70 dogs and 10 cats, all abandoned by their owners.
The 39-year-old adopted her first pet ten years ago when she saw a sick dog on the street late one night.
Then she rescued more, and more, and more. But her love of animals wasn't shared by her neighbours who would regularly complain about the smell and the barking. Chi decided the interests of the animals came first, so moved out to a more remote location.
“Many friends of mine did not want to visit my house," she told vietnamnet.vn.
"Sometimes I felt like I was being quarantined. Moving out from the city centre and changing my living environment were a little difficult for me at first. But I will never regret my choice.”
Seeing Chi spending too much time on looking after the pets without caring about herself, at first, her parents and husband did not support her pursuit.
She also faced pressure from unwelcoming comments from other people. But despite the negativity, she convinced her family and friends she was doing the right thing.
Now her husband is onboard, and has become a great supporter of her and an active member of the stray animal rescue team.
“Most of the dogs I rescued were abandoned by their owners because of their injuries or sickness. Some animals were about to be slaughtered,” Chi said.
She heals the wounds for slightly-injured dogs and cats and takes those more seriously wounded to vets, paying for all treatment herself or with the support of donors.
Some severe cases take three to four months to recover with treatment costing millions of đồng.
There are dogs that seem to be unable to survive, but through her caring hands, they have been successfully treated like the dog she rescued in the storm in October.
“The dog was very weak when it was found on Sơn Trà Peninsula by a fisherman," she said.
"Immediately after receiving a call from the man, I came to take to dog to the emergency centre and it was saved.”
Chi wakes up at 5am every day to sanitise the pets’ living areas and cook for them. And despite working around the clock, covered often in mud and dirt and smelling pretty awful, she never feels tired.
“That is my happiness,” she said.
From 5pm to 8pm every day, she works part-time as a shipper to earn a living and raise her “children”.
Sometimes when she is shipping, she receives a text message or a phone call asking for help and is alway ready to apologise to customers, and rescue the animals.
"Rescuing and taking care of dogs and cats are not easy, but I will continue this work until my state of health does not allow it anymore.” — VNS