Visiting a rescue shelter is an intense experience. On the one hand you feel happy seeing all these animals having a home and people who really care about them. On the other, you cannot help feeling sad for their previous conditions; many of them were found abandoned, hurt or mistreated.

Tayra out in the desert

Did you know that there a few rescue shelters here in Qatar that are doing a truly amazing job and support animals in any way they can?

Both owners and volunteers are everyday heroes.

A few days ago I visited Paws Rescue Shelter and I did this for two reasons. Firstly, I want to start exploring other aspects of Doha and secondly, because I really want to come closer to animals and learn more about them.

Inside the kennels area

A few things about Paws

Paws is a nonprofit rescue and rehabilitate shelter. People who permanently live there support with the daily needs, whilst the support of volunteers is valuable.

There are more than 300 animals in the shelter’s care, many of them found abandoned, hurt or mistreated.

Paws offers a home to these lovely creatures and is completely dedicated to provide a safe space to all animals until they find responsible homes.

Animals are brought in the shelter in various conditions. Some of them are deeply hurt. Can you imagine the effort needed for them to heal their wounds (physical and psychological) and trust people again?

What you need to know

If you think that working at a shelter is all fun and play, you are wrong! It’s a tough job which comes along with great responsibility, besides the fun of playing with animals. All employees and volunteers are working hard, as they need to daily clean all kennels, make sure all animals get their food and water, are in charge for their treatments and vaccinations, their exercise. At the same, they receive calls for injured or abandoned animals, and they arrange whatever necessary.

Inside the kennels area

How you can help

You can help in many ways. As aforementioned, Paws is a nonprofit organization and is based on everyone’s good will and support. You can help their work by:

  • Fundraising
  • Donating necessities
  • Provide a foster home
  • Adopt
  • Help in your free time
  • Choose Paws for boarding- leave your pets there while on vacation; all earnings go to the animals’ needs
  • Spread the word (maybe your friend is interested)

You know, even small donations can improve the animals’ quality of life. Even small donations can cover the huge amounts the shelter needs to get the animals’ medicine, food and other needs.

What I saw at Paws

I saw animals in kennels treated the best way possible. Their excitement when they saw familiar faces; the volunteers they know and trust. I saw the wounds on their skin and how they managed to heal them. I saw their happiness in their eyes when we were taking them out of the kennel to run. I saw their need to play and connect with people.

Inside the kennels

What I learned at Paws

I learned that you don’t have to earn a lot of money in order to help. You can just skip a coffee or a takeaway and give this amount to the animals’ needs. I played with Tayra, a lovely Pitbull and I saw how animals reflect the emotions you put in. Put love and respect and this is what you are going to get back.

I am also aware of 2nd Chance Rescue shelter and Qatar Animal Welfare Society- they are also doing an amazing job.

Lastly and before ending this post, I would also like to shed some light on a highly discussed matter; the one of the animal Souq and all animals Souqs worldwide.

Animals in kennels

Souq Waqif is one of the most beautiful and authentic places in Doha; a wonderful mix of scents, colors and sounds and a place all travelers must visit. Nevertheless, there is one part of it that changes the scenery; the part where animals are being held in tiny kennels and sold.

And this is really sad. Many of these animals (dogs, cats, birds, rabbits and more) are violently detached from their mothers in mass-breeding facilities worldwide. Moreover, they do not receive the necessary treatment and care.

This completely explains the desperate look I saw on the little creatures when I visited this place. I saw puppies held all together in tiny kennels with no life in their eyes. They literally had no space to move. And imagine the struggle they give when being for hours under the hot sun.

You know, once upon a time, when I was around 8 years old, we were asked by our teacher to write an essay that would begin with this title: ‘I wear my magic hat and turn into……’. The best essay would win a prize!

I didn’t want to write what most kids did, ‘I turn into a princess’, or ‘I turn into a superhero’. So, I wrote this: ‘I wear my magic hat and I turn into a bird’. I then started narrating how I loved flying up in the sky and above so many countries. ‘I was feeling free’.

My essay continued like this: ‘I was flying with my friend-bird until suddenly a hunter shot and killed my co-traveler’. My last phrase was exactly this: ‘And this is when I realized the value of FREEDOM’. Yes, I wrote the word freedom in capital.

I did win the first prize (a book and pure happiness) and I will never ever forget this essay. Last time I recalled it was after seeing all these birds kept in kennels. And this is why I narrated this short story for you.

Birds are supposed to fly. Not being kept in kennels. Puppies are supposed to be fed by their mother, to play, to run, to exercise and to receive all necessary treatments. Not being trapped in tiny kennels, unable to move!

On the contrary, there is a positive side! Many vendors choose to sell animals’ accessories, toys and food. At the same time, there are vets and training spaces, that are doing an amazing job.

Animal Souqs all over the world exist because we allow them to. If we all stop visiting those places, then they will simply stop existing.

*This post is definitely NOT an ad. I visited because I wanted to, I wanted to make a story about this and raise awareness. Also, I wanted to show you something different than luxury hotels and fancy dinners. Qatar is more than this. It’s a country which is constantly developing and shows amazing progress in all fields. Doha has so many things to show; and humanity is among them.

Let’s all make the difference ?