a few months ago I was happily looking thru the Guardian online's Week in Wildlife, and saving the adorable animal pics to my pinterest - when I suddenly saw this image -
and my heart winced and missed a beat and a few tears fell from my eyes as I felt the hunger and sadness
and I thought to myself - I could never walk past a stray, I would help
- a stray doggie in Mexico, obviously very hungry and friend-less,
looking longingly at that bag of food
and wearing that invisible-fur-coat that strays usually wear (though personally I have never ever come across any dog wearing such a coat)
and then a little while later I came across this more heartening, but still poignant image,
though my heart winced again with this bond of mutual friendship and my eyes started to glisten
and then a couple weeks after that I saw a Who to Follow pic on twitter - of a soldier in Afghanistan carrying a stray puppy in his pouch!
- and oh my god! I was so moved to tears that they just rolled down my cheeks!
- a tiny teeny puppy being saved by a soldier on a tour of duty in Afghanistan!
and I clicked thru to their website - Nowzad Dogs - and saw this photo of another soldier on patrol over there carrying a puppy in his arms, helping, loving, befriending, and I was so touched
I had tears running down my cheeks for quite some time! (heh heh *shy blush*)
and immediately sent off some £s for them (made me feel much better!)
then after I got over that initial heartfelt wrench, of a tough soldier caring enough to rescue a stray in a war zone, and out on a patrol as well (and most probably against all military regulations), I spent some time reading all about Nowzad.
It was set up by this chap above, Royal Marine Commando Pen Farthing after he broke up a dog fight outside his compound whilst deployed there.
and one of those dogs befriended him, above, - and Pen named the dog Nowzad
(as you can see, Nowzad, like many Afghan strays, is nearly earless what with all the dog fights)
and then a few more dogs sought friendship and shelter with the soldiers, including mama doggie Tali who carried in her 6 little puppies to safety.
Pen and a couple of the other Royal Marines managed, by an incredible feat, to get most of the dogs to safety back to the UK and before he knew it, word had spread about this caring, compassionate man and what he had achieved and before long Nowzad Dogs charity was set up to repatriate the stray dogs (and cats) of Afghanistan with their soldiers.
A very noble cause - helping strays and helping serving soldiers, (many soldiers suffer from ptsd from their tours)
and because the coalition soldiers come from both sides of the pond, the dogs can find their forever homes in America, or Britain or Canada
but meanwhile, the strays are still being given a meal and safe haven back at the Nowzad shelter in Afghanistan
- like this loving mama and her little ones - safe for now
and this is the shelter where all the miracles happen
and this beautiful lady Louise makes these miracles possible as she oversees the shelter
and all the deserving precious animals that is saves,
just look at Darla and Jangly, don't they just melt your heart!
though not everyone is a puppy when they first arrive - some turn up in a very sorry way
with shocking injuries and only half of their body weight (and earless)
but with love and medical help and nourishing meals and a warm bed
miracles occur - and little hearts share in the warmth and joy
and dogs like Joe make incredible recoveries, even without proper noses or ears (bless this sweetheart, he has a heart of gold)
Joe's story is here
though sometimes precious babies do not make it thru the night, their conditions are too severe
beautiful little Pashtun is in doggy heaven now, but he was given a slice of heaven on earth before he left, as he received a flood of love at Nowzad for the very first time in his very short life
so no matter how ill the tiny chaps like Hasher (above) are,
love + heat + medical help + food + safe haven = all equals
a story to make your eyes wet again!
- this is Hasher now! saying hello again to Louise as his forever family take him in for a check-up
after being that tiny hypothermic bundle lying in front of the heat lamp
Nowzad's lease on their existing shelter is coming to an end and the land will be used for re-development so they are fundraising for a new permanent clinic.
Any donation is appreciated, no matter the size, - it all goes to saving lives
and making living with your best friend such a pleasure, no matter where in the world you come from, or are going to
the stories of the soldiers with their rescues are heartwarming! above is puppy Cadence comforting and being comforted
and you can see that puppy Otis is totally in love with his very loving, and beautiful, soldier, in Afghanistan and back in their forever home in the States!
and it's not just doggies that Nowzad help, there are stray cats too
these two sweeties are C-for and Trevor are safe with their soldier
so it is with a huge thank you to Pen Farthing, and his loving family above - Hannah, Nowzad and Tali (yes, the mama who carried her 6 puppies in to safety beside Pen and his Marines), and his love for animals, that some of Afghanistan's strays caught up in the war zone now have a safe place they can be cared for until they are reunited with their soldiers
and with everyones help,
there will be happy endings for many more earless dogs like Nowzad, and brave mothers like Tali, and Pen and his beautiful girlfriend Hannah (above) will continue this extraordinary work, saving lives and sharing love
and so my desire to never walk past a stray came true (but just not on a pavement in Mexico)
and heart melting looks from dogs, like Larry, above,
only make me smile back, knowing that I can, and do, make a difference,
- a small one, but still - like a puppy, everything starts small then becomes bigger
and like this pile of happy, content puppies at the Nowzad shelter
my Drive Safe with Baby Army Hares are now raising funds for Nowzad!
and everyone can now have an opinionated little back-seat driver hare, nattering away in your ear, as you burn rubber in your wheels
(oh! okay, only joking, ..as you cruise the streets...)
(em, okay, only joking again, ... as you head out on the highway... :)
and pointing out that hares are filled with heart and much, much more loving beasties than those pointy eared cats or earless dogs or
and even though sometimes, they might be out of sight, in their Army cams,
(now you see me, now you don't)
like those photos of hungry stray doggies - they are never out of mind -
....and perhaps one day, my once stray and ear torn rescue rabbit Wesley may get an earless, long-tailed Afghan brother....
- Thank you SO much to Melissa and Pen at Nowzad for being interested in my Army hares!
So, so pleased to be able to help!! yay!!
did I say thank you? and yay? and so pleased to help!?
- and if you are a serving soldier and have an old set of cams you don't want (UK/US any cam pattern is fine) - and send me your cams I will make you a drive safe hare for FREE
just drop me an email - old cams in the header firstname.lastname@example.org
thank you, and love to all the strays xx♥