Your site introduced me, and really all of us…to Stanley – Just One Dog, and had a profound effect on so many of us at the time. Here’s one more “Just One Dog” story, inspired by Stanley’s journey.
I recently befriended a woman, Allondra Stephens, who operates a rescue (Dogs For Life) in California. She needed help transporting a shelter dog to her from one coast to the other. That dog ended up flying out, but in the process of coordinating the rescue, Allondra and I became friends. One day, while looking at her Facebook page, I saw the photos of two girls – Salukis in Qatar.
I was particularly drawn to one, Bahiya, a lovely smooth coated Saluki, who, in what I was shocked to learn was common form for racing dogs, had her ears cut off, and when her owner was ‘done’ with her, she was dumped in the desert with another Saluki, Rysha, because of the long held belief that ‘God will protect and watch over them.’
In no way is this a blanket practice among all Qataris. There are many, many people there who cherish and rescue and care beautifully for their animals. But I learned that Salukis often suffer this fate after having been used for desert racing or for hunting, and cast aside when no longer useful.
I thought, “What can I do?” Then I thought of Life With Dogs, and how sharing Stanley’s story had such far-reaching effects. So I posted Bahiya’s photo, along with that of Rysha…and I waited. I did not wait long.
Before I knew it, I had comments from the small grassroots group in Qatar that was working tirelessly to save these dogs – Birgit Marquerithe, Founder of DiD (Dogs In Doha) and it’s sister group, RSME (Rescued Salukis in the Middle East), and her day-to-day contact in Qatar, Rolga. I was told there is no quarantine between Qatar and the U.S., and that the cost to fly them to the US would not prohibitive. I took a deep breath, researched what flight costs would total, and shared.
Darla Dean (a mutual friend) immediately committed to fostering both girls, but could not afford to fly them both over. Within minutes, we had offers to sponsor trips for both girls. The vet center treating Bahiya and Rysha has done much at a greatly reduced, or in some cases, no cost, or have found staff willing to help with expenses. We had offers from people flying from Qatar to the U.S. to claim them as ‘luggage’ to keep flight costs down, and best of all – more people are coming forward with offers to foster – and even adopt these regal dogs.
My local bank has offered to help, and even do a write-up to send to their headquarters in New York. Darla is going to publish a children’s book about Bahiya’s and Rysha’s journey to a new life. And she and I are actually (crazily?) exploring other possibilities to help facilitate bringing more of these gentle souls over here, into good groups and homes. We want to help with fundraisers for the groups in Qatar, and for U.S. groups willing to take them in.
The fabulous women and men in Qatar working to help them are often faced with horrendously difficult decisions. With no foster or adoptive homes available, they face nearly insurmountable hurdles. Qatar is such a tiny country and most people there want small dogs due to limited space in cities, so DiD and RSME have been working to try to get these dogs to countries where their chances for adoption into sighthound savvy homes are much higher.
Now that the girls (affectionately nicknamed Princesses of the Mangroves) are healthy again, they are both coming over to the U.S. in June or July for the chance at a life they couldn’t find in Qatar.
I did not start the rescue or the grassroots efforts in Qatar. That was a coming together of caring people living there. But remembering Stanley gave me a little shove to take a chance and post that picture, hoping it would make a connection…between just one dog, and just one person.
Thank you for giving me the courage to take some initiative, and to make a difference. I can’t wait to see where this goes!
The rest of the story: Stanley’s Journey, pt. II
To donate to rescue efforts in Quatar, visit http://dogsindoha.weebly.com/pay-pall–bank-account.html.