“Animals are such agreeable friends ― they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.” ― George Eliot
The staff at CI HQ is full of animal-lovers. We get giddy when our field reporters send in photos of CI kids with their pets. In fact, we even have a running collection of kids with animals. Photos in that folder date back many years!
This got us thinking. We know the joy animals bring to our lives — often, they are part of the family. Kids in impoverished countries are no different! Their families have pets for the same reasons we do: companionship, teaching kids about routines and responsibility, and protection. So we asked our field reporters to capture some heartwarming tails (sorry!) of CI kids and their pets.
Check out a few of the photos below — and make sure to come back later for more!
“My pets’ names are Coti and Coto. I have had them for 3 years. I really love them because one of my aunts gave them to me. She gave me 4 parrots, but 2 of them died, and now I have these 2. I really take care of them. I feed them and give them water, and I always put them in a shady place.”
“My pet is a little parakeet named Princesa. I love her because she was left alone after her partner died. We had two parakeets and now only Princesa. We have become very fond of her, and she wakes us up very early every morning. Princesa is part of the family.”
The Bicol region of the Philippines
“Having a pet dog is a big responsibility,” Janelle says. “But I will do what it takes to take care of Angela. I will make sure that we are going to be happy together.”
For three years now, pigeons have also been her pets. Together with her older brother, Janelle takes care of about 20 pigeons. They don’t have names, but Janelle loves them all.
“I love seeing the pigeons when they are flying. I feel like I am also flying with them. And they seem very free. I really wish that I could fly with them. That would be wonderful.”
“For me Bigote is like another brother,” Lady says. The rabbit was a gift from a friend who owned the mama bunny. When it had babies, she chose a gray one. “But now that he is bigger, he became brown,” she says. “His name means ‘moustache.’ It took a long time for me to find the name. He's been with me one year and a half.”
When Andrés, our field reporter in Quito, Ecuador, was visiting Jorge's family, he didn't immediately get to meet their pet. “I think the cat was nervous. It got out, and then we followed and found Mishu in the top of a tree,” Andrés says. “Jorge says the cat always climbs the tree when it is scared. Jorge climbed the tree to get little Mishu back to the ground. The teen explained that he found the cat behind his house four years ago. He likes Mishu because she is so soft and because Mishu is very friendly with the family.”
Quezon City, Philippines
“These are our pet ducks. They are my favorite because they keep me company, and I love running around with them. They also guard our place.”
Ankush has a sweet little Pomeranian named Lucy. She has been with him and his family for 2 years. Ankush has entered her in a few dog shows, and she has won a few awards. He loves to take Lucy for a walk, give her a bath, scrub her coat with a soft brush and talk to her. Lucy sometimes sleeps with him, and he loves cuddling her. He says he enjoys Lucy because she is a smart dog and has great intuition — when to sit, run, fetch a ball and go off to sleep.
San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Katherin owns a rabbit called Grisita for its peculiar mix of gray that dominates her fur. Her friendship with Grisita began a year ago when she received the rabbit as a gift. Since then, Grisita is Katherin's friend at home. The girl plays with her pet often and is responsible for providing her daily food, such as cabbage, which allows her to be strong and healthy. Grisita recognizes Katherin and lifts up her ears as a sign of joy when the girl enters the house.
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
“I love my pet because she is very loving. She doesn’t let the cats eat her food. She likes when you pet her, and she’ll lick and smell you. My pet’s name is Sachi, and I've had her for three years. What I like most about her is when she gets a bath and I can play with her.”
The Bicol region of the Philippines
Angelo was a sickly kid growing up, but he underwent heart surgery a couple of years ago. Now, he’s getting better. He not only credits the support he receives from his family and CI, but also the joy he gets from his underwater friends. Last year, Angelo's parents bought him an aquarium filled with gold fish, angel fish and others. “I find it so relaxing when I watch them swimming,” Angelo explains.
His mother has taken notice, as well. “I believe his pet fish are helping him heal,” says Felixberta, Angelo’s mom.
Photos and stories by CI field reporters Jesús Almendárez, Honduras; Shane Alliew, India; Patricia Calderón, Barranquilla; Marelvis Campo, Cartagena; Carmelinda Carpio, Quezon City; Patricia Huerta, Guayaquil; Erenia Mesa, Dominican Republic; Andrés Rosero, Quito; Eduardo E. Uy Jr., Bicol region.