Ever since I lost my Mom just under two years ago I have been pushing myself out of my comfort zone and into new experiences, opening up new horizons.
At first I took many little trips and thought that by doing so, meeting new people, changing scenery, I would be pushing the envelope. At the time that was all I could handle. I was physically and emotionally depleted and desperately needed distraction and even a false sense of accomplishment helped.
With time I started settling down and started looking around for a pattern for my life. For a few weeks I could not envision my future at all. I could not even decide on where to live and what to do with the rest of my life. Then one day my future was decided for me.
As usual every Monday a group of my friends met for lunch and venting. But that day was not a Monday. It was the middle of the week and one of that group of friends hosted just a few of us for a more intimate gathering. Among those invited was a neighbour of hers whom I had briefly met previously and with whom I had hit it off as we both loved dogs. When she told me that her dog had just given birth and invited me to go with her and take a look at the puppies, I innocently consented and naively went along. That one impulsive act on my parted irrevocably charted the course of my future life.
I took one look at the puppies and fell in love.
And as they say, the rest is history. But I never fully realised how far this one act will affect my life. The immediate effect was that I pledged to adopt a couple of those puppies. The far reaching effect is that nearly a year and a half later I now have eight dogs and am up to my ears involved in animal welfare.
Though this involvement came about so naturally and without my deliberately and in full consciousness making a decision, yet right now I find myself in the middle of it without even realising I had started.
My ability to express myself was what got the whole thing started. A dear neighbour of mine who has been involved in animal welfare in Egypt asked me if I could help out by writing something about this very worthy cause that is getting practically no attention whatsoever in Egypt. She then gradually started initiating me into the world of animal welfare, its challenges and its heartbreaks.
She, along with some other like-minded friends have this very ambitious plan to set up a foundation that cares for and would try to promote animal rights. It is a very ambitious dream, where people from all walks of life help towards the goal of making life tolerable for animals in Egypt.
The aim of this foundation is to tackle this problem on all fronts, not just a shelter that is overpopulated and can barely keep its head above water.
There are too many of those, and yet not enough to cope with the number of stray and abused animals. The people running these shelters are unsung heroes. They are frantically fighting against insurmountable odds, trying to rescue stray and abused animals, trying to give them medical treatment, care for them, house and feed them. Finally doing their best to get these animals adopted into loving, caring homes. All they are really able to do is just put out fires. The whole situation is overwhelming.
It is because of that, that the idea of an independent foundation dedicated to animal rights has come into being. The foundation wants to include lawyers dedicated to the cause who could knowingly lobby for the passing of laws that would uphold animal rights. Also to be included are people who could convincingly educate young and old about animal welfare. Others needed within that framework are those who could promote the strongly held belief that neutering and vaccinating strays is the solution and not shooting or poisoning them as is the current practice.
Added to that the foundation needs the people who could spread the word as well as lobby for financing this worthy cause.
I now find myself actively working towards the goals of this foundation most of my waking hours. But more than that I find that I am starting to get somewhat overwhelmed by the sheer number of stray and abused animals. Facebook with its immediacy and ability to convey in both words and pictures, has greatly impacted my conscious and subconscious mind as to make me deliberately sign off every few hours so as not to burn out.
The world of those poor defenceless creatures is such a nightmare as to make living it 24/7 a sure way into a nervous breakdown. The amount of horror and torture I have seen over the last few weeks has left me barely able to sleep without nightmares. This world is not for the weak. Yet you have to be sensitive to the suffering and to have empathy for those helpless creatures to truly dedicate your time, energy and thoughts to try to alleviate such suffering.
I am just a few weeks into that world and my respect for those who have been struggling in it for years has no end. To me, these are true heroes, unsung heroes, unrecognised heroes who work anonymously and against enormous odds to try to save lives and bring comfort to poor, helpless creatures of God. I pray for the strength to continue helping in such a worthy cause and hope my meagre efforts find resonance with kind-hearted people who could help.
God bless all those working tirelessly in this field and God protect and keep you safe all my poor fur-babies in this cruel and dangerous world.
21 January 2016