Monday, August 28, 2017

The angel who saves animals

These are some of Ruth's "family" at feeding time in her living room/kitchen area

Since I was 7 and received my first orange fluffy kitten, I was sold on pets and animals. As a child that young kitten followed me everywhere and was my best friend. Cats and dogs are domesticated and need us. They only give love and want to please. I have always preferred animals over many people. I have 3 cats and enjoy their tranquility and affection. Life can be crazy with stress, work, family and other things. Having a dog or cat is known to help de-stress after daily challenges. I don't think my life would be complete without helping animals in some way.

In Rocinha, there are many abandoned or homeless dogs and cats. Because of lack of education, people don't understand the importance of neutering and castrating their pets. Also because of macho culture many men think it's not right to "fix" their animals. But my question to these guys is who ends up caring for all the unwanted kittens and puppies? It's a big problem here.

I first met Ruth Silva about 8 months ago when I read a post online regarding a woman who needed help with her many animals. She was asking for help to buy medication for an animal in her care. I was looking for another project in Rocinha to help and this was perfect. I did some research and met Ruth to help her buy some cat food. Helping animals in Rocinha is important as many don't have the resources to help the homeless and abandoned animals.

Ruth lives in Dioneia with her husband and 54 cats and 7 dogs. These photos below show some of the pets in her care.

She runs an informal "shelter", out of her home for her family and the cats and dogs. She also had a childhood pet and fell in love with animals.

She always remembered having a dog or cats. She started caring for animals back in 1989. Ruth was born and raised in Rocinha and currently resides still in the house where she was born. She briefly moved out of Rocinha but always came back. She has no plans on leaving now as she is making big plans.

Where she lives in Dioneia is close to the woods and she has her 2 bedroom house and some open land next to the house. This open land they cleared and have started constructing the foundation for the building of the animals shelter.

Her goal is to within 6-8 months start building the shelter. The idea is to house the current "family" of pets she has now. She wants to build a second floor where it could serve as a pet "hotel", a place where for residents to leave their pets if the go on vacation or away. With the money she would earn with this, she could cover the costs of feeding the existing animals. I think this is a great idea. I want to see her able to create and live her dream of caring for these animals.

Her shelter would be the first of its kind in Rocinha and we really need something like this.

This photo shows the beginning foundation of what will be the animal shelter

Since January of 2017, I have helped paid for medicine, pay for vet services and bags of cat food to help her support the pets. I go to the pet store buy the food for her and then have her meet me so she can pick up the food. She has a motobike so she can transport these big bags easily.

With that many pets, I know she needs help. She is looking to creating a legal charity so should could get more help with her shelter and care. She has created a Facebook page for her project called Projeto Flor e Xavier that shows her work. I have explained to Ruth the importance of being transparent if you have a NGO. This means not only honesty but having donors able to see their contributions being put to use. It's great that when we buy a bag of cat food we know the animals are well fed. We know that her project is worthwhile in helping. Next step is for her to get her project registered by the city government.
Please go to her Facebook page and like it!

This photo is of Ruth with a receipt for the purchase of 117 bricks. I went to the construction store next to my house and I told them I wanted to spend 100 reais on bricks to help Ruth with the construction of the shelter. The construction store knows Ruth as she has bought many materials there before. So as our tours get busier, I want to be able to contribute more for her project but will still help when I can.

Anytime I give her money, she can be trusted that the money goes to her animals.

I recently met a woman who is living here in Rio who also wants to help Rita's project. She loves animals like Ruth does and I am going to set up a meeting. Maybe something can come of it.

Ruth needs help with the purchase of food for the dogs and cats. And access to a vet who can help her with reduced costs for castration and other necessities.

If you have interest to help Ruth, please contact me at
We can also organize visits if you would like to see Ruth's project.