Amazing Acts: Hound Haven | Waldo's Friends

Home / Rescue stories / Amazing Acts: Hound Haven

Rescue Stories

Amazing Acts: Hound Haven

Founded in December 2015 by Maxin Arcebal, Chelsea Pecson, and Addi Dela Cruz, Hound Haven was created as a rehabilitation and adoption center for retired working dogs. The 1,200-square-meter center located in Bulacan, Philippines gives retired canines the proper behavioural and physical training they need to help them adjust to their new lives as house pets. 

Waldo’s Friends spoke with Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer Addi Dela Cruz who eagerly shared the history and goals of Hound Haven.

Help out by donating to Hound Haven

With your kind assistance, Hound Haven can provide more homes for retired K-9s.

Waldo’s Friends (WF): How did Hound Haven come about?

Addi Dela Cruz

Addi Dela Cruz (ADC): The founders have always wanted to build another rescue group for abandoned and abused dogs, but we realized there are a lot of organisations who are already catering to this need.

We discovered that the average working dog works for about 8 to 15 years. More than half of their lives are dedicated in service to humans. And yet there is no standard policy on the retirement of Military Working Dogs (MWD) and Contract Working Dogs (CWD) in the Philippines. So we decided to put up Hound Haven, the first and only institutionalised organisation that caters to this kind of program and advocacy in the country.

WF: What is your personal involvement in Hound Haven?

ADC: I’m in charge of our marketing initiatives and making sure there is a constant buzz about the brand and that we continue to spread awareness about our cause. But since we’re a lean team of five, all of us are involved in operations and marketing Hound Haven.

Hound Haven team (from left to right): Rachelle Arcebal, Jerome Arcebal,
Addi Dela Cruz, Maxin Arcebal, and Chelsea Pecson (seated)

WF: What does Hound Haven hope to achieve?

ADC: Our ultimate goal is to influence public policy and replicate Robby’s Law (United States of America H.R. 5314) in the Philippines, which promotes the transfer and adoption of working dogs at the end of their service. After all, for man’s best friend, no medal could ever replace the comfort of home and the love of family.

WF: Are there any interesting stories you can share about Hound Haven?

ADC: Hound Haven’s activities and interaction area is called Shyna’s Yard. It was named after the first dog we wanted to adopt. A few months before her scheduled turnover to us from the Philippine Army, Shyna passed away.

Chika, arguably Hound Haven’s most popular K-9 resident, is not up for adoption. In 2017, we realised that we could never part with the 11-year-old Belgian Malinois, so we decided to keep her and make her our ambassador.

Shyla’s yard and Chika

WF: Is it true that Hound Haven also adopts non-working dogs?

ADC: We focus on retired working dogs, but as a tradition, we adopt at least one abandoned dog every year—those that are not necessarily working K-9s. Our first rescue was Diego in 2017 whose hind legs were deformed since birth. 

Last year, we rescued Gabby. She was very sick, full of ticks, bleeding from her own scratches, chained to a post in a dumpsite, and seemingly left there to die. Gabby is now one of our most hyperactive, adorable residents at the center. The two are named after our Philippine national heroes, Diego Silang and Gabriela Silang.

Hound Haven adoptees Diego and Gabby

WF: What has been the rescue’s most effective campaigns since its launch in 2015?

ADC: Some of our most effective campaigns are driven by news networks and other media groups that shine the light on our K-9 beneficiary. The biggest would probably be GMA Network’s I-Witness documentary feature entitled “Sundalong Aso” (“Soldiers with Paws”), which presented the state of working dogs in the Philippines and in turn promoted Hound Haven. The episode was even a finalist for Best Documentary Feature at New York Festivals in 2018. Other TV networks and news agencies in the Philippines have also featured us, including TV5, ABS-CBN, Summit Media, Manila Bulletin, and Philippine Daily Inquirer.

WF: What’s your advice to people involved in animal rescue and rehabilitation, and to others thinking of pursuing this cause?

ADC: When you feel like giving up, think about why you started in the first place. 

For those interested in getting into animal rescue, build it with people you trust. Figure out where the funding will come from. Communicating what your cause is about will be very crucial.

WF: What is the most challenging thing about running Hound Haven?

ADC: Soliciting donations. People like to share and talk about our cause on social media, but this buzz doesn’t necessarily translate to donations for us to run the center.

WF: On the flipside, what’s the best thing about it?

ADC: Changing people’s mindset and influencing their behaviour. More than getting our resident K-9s adopted, we feel that Hound Haven’s true value is in being able to make people take an active role in protecting animal rights. When they come home to their own dogs, they apply the behavioural tips that they’ve learned from the talks we hosted. When they think of getting a pet, they decide to adopt instead of shopping and supporting irresponsible animal breeding. When they see another K-9 at the mall, they realize and appreciate the value these heroes’ have in our lives

WF: How can people support Hound Haven?

ADC: They can donatesponsor a dogadopt a dog, or volunteer for our next activity. Right now we’re building the next phase of our kennels so we can welcome and care for more dogs in our facility.

Rehabilitating dogs in kennels

To get the latest updates, visit Hound Haven’s website or follow their Facebook and Instagram accounts. The center also offers young and old an opportunity to interact with the rehabilitating K-9s through field trips, team building activities, and weekend excursions.

Read more rescue stories here! Do you know of inspiring animal shelters or wildlife rehabilitation centers worth featuring? Share your suggestions with us by commenting below!

Mimi Tiu

Mimi Tiu

A freelance editor based in the Philippines, Mimi Tiu is a proud paw aunt to a family of Terriers and a Ragdoll-Persian cat. When she isn’t creating meaningful content for Waldo’s Friends, she finds pleasure in chronicling her ice cream discoveries and coming up with meticulously detailed plans for her next getaway. Follow her adventures on Instagram @nicetomitiu.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.

Checkout more rescue stories

Amazing Acts: Ninja’s Rescued Kittens

Since 2017, Lady Logarta has been single-handedly running her independent rescue in Manila, Philippines called Ninja’s Rescued Kittens. As a child, she was already feeding stray cats, bringing home abandoned kittens, and caring for them with the help of her parents who were bonafide animal lovers. Lady shares what inspired her to set up Ninja’s… Continue reading Amazing Acts: Ninja’s Rescued Kittens

Amazing Acts: Kotawafa Animal Rescue

For the past 17 years, Neet Hada has been helping stray animals—dogs, cats, donkeys, horses, goats, and birds—in Rajasthan, a state located in the northwestern part of India. He created the Kotawafa Animal Rescue all on his own in 2001, which stands for Kota (the city he is based in) and WAFA (an acronym for… Continue reading Amazing Acts: Kotawafa Animal Rescue

Amazing Acts: It Started with Sam

The founding members of It Started with Sam began as a grassroots rescue group that focused on the plight of abused and abandoned strays in the Philippines. Since their first rescue in 2013, they have rescued hundreds of abandoned dogs and cats, nursed them back to health, and found them loving homes. Help out by… Continue reading Amazing Acts: It Started with Sam