The married couple has established an animal rescue group in District 7. Dr. D’Alfonso, the director of an osteoarthritis clinic in District 7, has consistently encountered injured cats and dogs behind his facility. Their love for animals has driven them to save these unfortunate pets.
A paralyzed dog found on a sidewalk was adopted by a friend of Dr. D’Alfonso’s wife. As the treatment costs for the dog, Cherry, were high, Lyna organized a fundraiser for her. “Both my wife and I are passionate about animals and have rescued numerous pets. We understand the importance of controlling their population, which is why we invest heavily in sterilization,” said Dr. D’Alfonso.
Realizing that their finances alone couldn’t sustain long-term care for these animals, the couple came up with the idea of creating an abandoned animal care community. Consequently, Lyna established an animal rescue group called RAD7 in District 7 in 2018.
The group rescues 50-100 dogs and cats each year and consists of four main members, as well as numerous partners and volunteers. In addition to providing medical care to sick pets, the group specializes in finding adopters for abandoned animals.
Despite having full-time jobs, the members are committed to helping animals after work. “Our budget and donations from kind-hearted individuals are used for treatment, care, training, and feeding these animals. The more funding we have, the more animals we can rescue,” shared Dr. D’Alfonso.
Dr. D’Alfonso and his wife are currently looking after four sick kittens and plan to adopt two more cats. “We frequently take in pets that have been abandoned on the streets. We strive to create a safe space for them until we find new owners,” Dr. D’Alfonso explained.
Vietnamese residents are changing their pet care habits, and the population of cats and dogs is increasing, according to Dr. D’Alfonso. He hopes that pet owners will take more responsibility for cleaning up after their pets.
While animal protection centers exist in Dr. D’Alfonso’s homeland and the United States, Vietnam lacks such facilities. For Dr. D’Alfonso, saving animals is a rewarding job. “Finding a new home for a cat or dog brings me joy. It’s an emotional journey that brings happiness,” he said.
Dr. D’Alfonso aspires to expand the animal rescue group to other districts and raise awareness about animal protection among residents. The group seeks monthly sponsorships and donations from companies to enhance their animal-related initiatives, with funds going towards vaccination and feeding for poor pets. Currently, the group is caring for about 20 animals awaiting adoption or foster care.
The couple’s love for animals brought them closer to Nguyen Ngoc Huyen, a resident of District 7. Huyen joined the animal rescue group a few years ago but recently discovered that Dr. D’Alfonso and his wife live in the same apartment building. The couple takes in abandoned animals and keeps them in their home until they find new homes for them.