About six years ago, Quyen’s dog disappeared. Fearing the worst, she turned the search for her missing dog toward local slaughterhouses. 

It was during this hunt, when she discovered dozens of cats and dogs locked away in cages waiting to be butchered, that she resolved to save as many cats and dogs as she could.

Huynh Thi Nhu Quyen cares for cats and dogs at the rescue center in Cu Chi District, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Huynh Thi Nhu Quyen cares for cats and dogs at the rescue center in Cu Chi District, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

On that trip she wound up buying each and every animal from the slaughterhouse.

Now, more than six years later, she has saved nearly a thousand cats and dogs from sure demise.

Over the years, Quyen’s rescue operation ballooned in size to the point that she was forced to move her rescues out of her home and into a shelter she built on a 2,000-squre-meter rented lot on Nguyen Thi Se Street in Cu Chi District, Ho Chi Minh City.

Inside the shelter, Quyen has built bamboo beds and lofts for the 600 cats and dogs that currently call it ‘home.’ 

Huynh Thi Nhu Quyen and a volunteer give medicine to a sick dog at her rescue center in Cu Chi District, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Huynh Thi Nhu Quyen and a volunteer give medicine to a sick dog at her rescue center in Cu Chi District, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Though some of the animals at the shelter were strays, most were rescued by Quyen from abattoirs. 

At first, many of these animals were terrified of strangers, but over time they began to trust Quyen.

The shelter is primarily funded by the money she pulls in from running a noodle cart.

“I received a lot of support from my family when I first started my shelter. Other relatives thought I was insane, but I ignored them and focused on caring for the animals,” Quyen said.

“I need to find a larger location for a new rescue center because I keep rescuing more and more cats and dogs.

“Fortunately, [my current] landlord sees the good things I’m doing and no longer asks me to pay rent.”

Huynh Thi Nhu Quyen bathes a cat at her rescue center in Cu Chi District, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Huynh Thi Nhu Quyen bathes a cat at her rescue center in Cu Chi District, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Every day, volunteers from neighboring districts and provinces join Quyen and her husband to help care for the animals.

“The center is currently being renovated so that we can save more cats,” she shared.

“I hope that, in the near future, this space will not only be a place to rescue dogs and cats, but also a place for animal lovers and veterinary trainees to learn how to care for animals.”

Huynh Thi Nhu Quyen plays with the cats and dogs at her rescue center in Cu Chi District, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Huynh Thi Nhu Quyen plays with cats and dogs at her rescue center in Cu Chi District, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Huynh Thi Nhu Quyen feeds the cats and dogs at the rescue center in Cu Chi District, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Huynh Thi Nhu Quyen feeds cats and dogs at her rescue center in Cu Chi District, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Huynh Thi Nhu Quyen prepares food for the cats and dogs at her rescue center in Cu Chi District, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Huynh Thi Nhu Quyen prepares food for cats and dogs at her rescue center in Cu Chi District, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Huynh Thi Nhu Quyen and a volunteer prepare food for the rescued animals at her shelter in Cu Chi District, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Huynh Thi Nhu Quyen and a volunteer prepare food for the rescued animals at her shelter in Cu Chi District, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Huynh Thi Nhu Quyen plays with the cats at her rescue center in Cu Chi District, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Huynh Thi Nhu Quyen plays with cats at her rescue center in Cu Chi District, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Huynh Thi Nhu Quyen plays with the cats and dogs at her rescue center in Cu Chi District, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Huynh Thi Nhu Quyen plays with cats and dogs at her rescue center in Cu Chi District, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Huynh Thi Nhu Quyen and a volunteer play with the dogs at her rescue center in Cu Chi District, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Huynh Thi Nhu Quyen and a volunteer play with dogs at her rescue center in Cu Chi District, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

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