By Laura Rainbow
In a rare piece of good news for Qatar’s thousands of stray cats and dogs, a surge in pet foster families has been reported by one of the country’s animal welfare organisations.
When COVID-19 sunk its teeth into Qatar in March, many residents were put on unpaid leave or made redundant, some forced to return to their home countries. With that exodus came a spike in abandoned pets.
The country’s already-busy animal welfare groups were soon overwhelmed with reports of stray cats and dogs in distress. Many pets had simply been shown the door and left to fend for themselves.
But a glimmer of hope began to emerge as scores of new foster carers reached out to groups like PAWS Rescue, volunteering their homes — and hearts — to animals in need.
Explains Alison Caldwell, co-founder of PAWS: “On top of the additional animals in need, social distancing rules meant we had to try to run our shelter with no volunteers and no fundraising events. And with many flights disrupted, we had no flight buddies to accompany animals abroad for permanent rehoming.
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We are all feeling the effects of this crisis, but none more than the ones that cannot help themselves. Paws Rescue Qatar relies on donations from the kind hearted people in the community and this is more reinforced during this time. Some of the ways this is effecting us are highlighted below- We have lost flight buddies – so our dogs and cats no longer have the opportunity to start their new lives We cannot host fundraising events, nor can the community arrange gatherings to raise money on our behalf (especially the schools that support us so much) Paws World- our registered pet boarding business- has had cancellations due to people not travelling. An increased need of our support as more people are dumping their pets in ignorant fear they carry and transmit Covid-19. We still need to feed our animals, medicate them, treat and neuter them, clean and keep the retreat spotless and hygienic, keep the animals cool and safe. ALL OF THIS COSTS US OVER 50,000 QR A MONTH! Donate by PayPal, bank transfer or cash donation! We are desperate – they are desperate! PLEASE HELP US AND HELP THEM! ##pawsrescueqatar #dogstagram #puppygram #qatari #dohamums #rescue #rescuedismyfavoritebreed #rescuedogsofinstagram #westbaydoha #doha #qatar #thepearl #dohaqatar #qatarlife #dohaexpat #qatarexpat #thepearlqatar #catstagram #adopt #adoptdontshop #catsofinstagram #volunteer #shelter #adoptdontshop #rescuedog #rescuecat #petstagram #petsofinstagram #igers #qatarinstagram
“Then suddenly, in late March, we started getting a lot of calls from people — especially teachers — whose spring holiday plans had been cancelled, and who now had time on their hands to foster an animal. They would tell their friends, and it sort of snowballed.
“Now, I reckon we’ve got more than double the animals in foster homes than usual. It’s been absolutely amazing to see the community pulling together and realising they can do something to help in this crisis.”
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Due to Covid-19, we have been inundated with people who now have more time on their hands to foster some of our dogs and cats! They are providing them with invaluable experiences such as learning to behave in homes, leash work, toilet training, socialisation and of course being pampered with TLC! We are so thankful to everyone who has come forward during this hard time to help us and offer a temporary home to our dogs and cats. They are all learning skills to help them become more adoptable and many are now looking for their forever homes! Contact us if you are looking to adopt and are able to offer a life long, permanent and responsible home! #pawsrescueqatar #dogstagram #puppygram #qatari #dohamums #rescue #rescuedismyfavoritebreed #rescuedogsofinstagram #westbaydoha #doha #qatar #thepearl #dohaqatar #qatarlife #dohaexpat #qatarexpat #thepearlqatar #catstagram #adopt #adoptdontshop #catsofinstagram #volunteer #shelter #adoptdontshop #rescuedog #rescuecat #petstagram #petsofinstagram #qatarinstagram #pets
So what does fostering involve?
Fosterers take in a stray cat or dog promising to safeguard its health and happiness until a permanent home can be found. They must provide food, love and socialisation — the basic skill of living in a house with people. That gives the animal a better chance of becoming an adoptable pet and finding a forever home.
Adds Alison: “The feedback we’ve had from our new foster families has been totally heart-warming.
“If you’re locked down, lonely and isolated, a pet is suddenly a huge comfort. It’s something to curl up on the sofa with — something to give you motivation and purpose.”
Have you fostered or re-homed a pet under lockdown? Share your photos and stories with us, firstname.lastname@example.org