Image Credit: Ahmad Sultan/Gulf News reader

Abu Dhabi: Growing up, I always loved dogs, or animals in general. My mum always taught me to treat them with kindness and never hurt them, because they are living things, too! I held this fact close to my heart and that is what got me into rescuing abandoned animals.

Four years ago, I found four kittens left in a bag under a staircase in Abu Dhabi. I started searching on Facebook for someone who could help. After a few hours, a kind woman got in touch and picked them up.

The next day, I was informed about a four-month-old puppy who was dumped on the streets in Abu Dhabi. A friend of mine and I took him to the vet and then dropped him at a foster. We named him Leo. He stayed there for a while, but eventually found his forever home and is now living the life he always deserved.

This is how my journey began and since then, I have saved around 75 animals. I started my own rescue group called “Paws and claws” and rescued animals for around three years. I thought it was a good idea to be able to share my rescues further and get more support for them. Later, I had to change the name to “Ahmad’s Animal Rescue” due to some issues, but my will to rescue did not end.

In the past four years, I have gotten a lot of support from friends all over the world, including the US and Europe. All of them help me with sending my rescues abroad. But, in the UAE, a lot of rescue groups, boarding centres, pet shops and pet food companies help me with my rescues.

Many people ask me how I come across the animals. Many just assume that I walk around the streets, picking the dogs and cats that I find. However, most of the animals I rescue are usually abandoned, whether by their family at a vet or just on the street. Or sometimes they are strays that can’t survive on their own.

Rescuers only focus on the pets that are in trouble, injured or are not used to living on the streets. The animals growing up on the streets would be considered for the trap–neuter–return (TNR) programme as long as they are away from harm’s way.

Being just 15 years old, I try my best to spread awareness against animal abuse at school, too.

Hayat Hamood, principal at International Academic School, said: “The school supports Sultan in what he does for animal rescue and animal welfare, because he really believes in what he does. He plays a major role in organising campaigns for raising awareness about animal-related issues.”

I currently also have rescues for adoption or fostering and they are based in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, in boarding or living at foster homes, on the lookout for a home to call their own!

All of my rescues only go to their homes when they are ready to. All of them are vaccinated, dewormed, microchiped, spayed or neutered and have undergone the necessary tests. The bills for all these treatments are settled by me, using the funds I get from my pet portraits.

Joumana and Majdi Saoed owners of an online pet store based in Dubai, have been very helpful along my journey.

They said: “We support Sultan by donating food, treats and pet supplies to his rescues. He is an inspiring person, at his age, The care he shows towards the voiceless animals is just amazing and he will always have our support.”

Becca J. W., a volunteer with Dogs in Dubai, an animal rescue group, has also been quite supportive.

She said: “It is admirable to see such a young person being so enthusiastic and responsible towards the animals in need in the UAE. Sultan is leading the way in animal welfare for the future generations.”

Dr Fadi Daoud, head vet and managing director at the Australian Veterinary Hospital in Abu Dhabi, said: “We value the work that Sultan puts forth, are impressed with his commitment and commend him for all the great work he’s done for the rescue community across the UAE.”

Rawan Ghuniam, founder of Arabian Saluki Center Of Dubai (ASCOD), said: “Sultan is a real ambitious rescuer. He is dedicated, motivated and always on his word. His relationship between people and his own rescues is based on trust and respect. We are proud of his achievements and with his way of following the right path with transparency.”

A lot of times I get asked how can someone help? I am always on the lookout for foster homes, boarding centres or pet food companies that can help my rescues in anyway. If anyone is interested to follow my journey or help these abandoned animals, please get in touch with me on Facebook, www.facebook.com/AhmedsAnimalRescue/ or my page on Instagram @Ahmedsrescue.

 

— The reader is a student based in Abu Dhabi.