It really is hard to describe my brief time spent with ‘JBad’. I guess you kind of had to be there.
The phone call came as we were leaving a coalition military base in Kabul, thankfully common sense has prevailed and a cat policy has been adopted within the confines of the fortified base. Nowzad Dogs staff come on to the base to neuter and spay the cat population and vaccinate for rabies. The cats have their own living area and feeding station, therefore completely preventing unwanted feline sightings in the mess hall. Those military personnel who draw comfort from having a cat around are safe in the knowledge that rabies is not lurking in the shadows which also appeases most of the higher command.
I knew immediately; as I listened to our head vet Dr Hadi give me the information, that I had a very unpleasant task ahead. But it was also something we could not avoid – not if we truly wanted to make a difference for the dog population of Kabul. A dog, both back legs apparently broken was crawling along the side of the most dangerous road in Kabul that separated a sprawling Afghan version of an industrial estate – the Jalalabad highway, as infamous for its nose to bumper traffic as it was the frequent Taliban suicide attacks on the many target rich bases and organisations that called the road home.
A former Royal Marine Commando of 20 years and I thought I had seen most things that other people should not have to witness. But the sight of a once proud adult male Kuchi crawling along the road heading nowhere with no hope completely broke me in two. Once upon a time he would have been the size of my Patchdog, an Afghan Kuchi rescued from Kandahar, that shares the house with myself and my girlfriend Hannah.
But whilst this frightened dog had the build of Patchdog upfront, his rear legs had wasted away to skin and bones and dragged useless behind him. He had not eaten in days. It was a slow agonising crawl.
The locals wanted to take photos of the westerners rescuing a helpless dog; we posed for pictures to keep them onside. Now was not the time for somebody to demand money for the dog.
Along with Dan, a legend of a volunteer from Texas who has spent the past week helping out at the Nowzad shelter, we fashioned a muzzle from my scarf and prepared to lift the dog into the van.
We feared the worst; a dog in pain is extremely liable to lash out and bite anybody in range. We need not have worried. It gave into us picking it up immediately, the nerve endings to its legs had long since died and the fight to survive had already ebbed.
We had actually been destined for the airport so Dan could catch his flight home. Dan hesitated not and cradled the dog’s head as we made it as comfortable as possible for the drive to the Nowzad clinic via the airport.
It was a forgone conclusion that this was a one way trip for the broken Kuchi. ‘We can’t let him go without a name’ I said to Dan.
‘JBad’ was Dan’s immediate reply – the local name given to the Jalalabad road.
And so until we dropped Dan off at the airport, ‘JBad’ gained his first ever human friend in the world. Watching this crippled beast of a dog attempt to crawl closely to Dan was heart-wrenching. At times I had to look out of the side window at the masses of mini vans and trucks heading in every direction through the congested dirt roads of Kabul least I not buckle to the very emotional sight before me.
My planned jolly farewell to Dan did not materialise as we said a subdued goodbye as I took up position cradling ‘JBad’ in the back of our van, our driver Wahid not needing to be told to watch every bump and pothole as he hastily drove us to the Nowzad clinic.
As I looked at this helpless dog the frustration and stress of not being able to do anything for him pushed its way to the surface. I felt a tear roll down my cheek.
‘Damn it JBad’ I said to him as if he could understand. ‘Thanks a lot’.
Our young staff of Afghan vets, were waiting for us as we pulled into the Nowzad compound. A tin of ‘real’ western brand dog food already opened and mashed into a bowl.
JBad tasted his first decent meal in the warmth of the clinic, surrounded by Afghans who truly cared for his wellbeing. In his broken English Wahid pointed at JBad and said ‘you fix?’
I just shook my head.
When he had finished eating I laid JBad down once more on the floor of the clinic and cradled his head. JBad knew what was coming. His big sad eyes closed for the last time. The two young Nowzad vets set to work in a calm and quiet manner.
I told JBad we were sorry but he would find comfort now. No more pain.
JBad fell asleep.
The respect shown in burying JBad was amazing. Nobody should dare generalise all Muslims as ‘dog haters’ as I watch our driver say a few quiet words to himself as we lowered JBad into his final resting place in our garden.
I could show people plenty of westerners who would not have been as caring to JBad as our staff were in those moments.
JBad is not the first Afghan dog our Nowzad clinic has had to humanely put to sleep due to untreatable injuries sustained on the streets of Kabul. And I know he won’t be the last. But JBad, although he will never know it, is going to be the beginning of a campaign to ensure we have the funds in place to care for all the other JBad dogs out here in Kabul.
The Afghan staff who cared for JBad need salaries, (working for free to promote the cause of animal welfare is but a pipe dream when life here in Afghanistan is already so hard), the drugs used to make JBad comfortable need purchasing and importing, the very room that JBad had his last meal in comfort must be rented and heated – the list is endless.
So I ask you from the bottom of my heart if you have read this article and feel anything like I do then please donate even just a £1 or $1.. the fundraising page (separate for both US and UK) supporters are below, so for the next JBad Nowzad can be there and do the same.
This year why not do a ‘JBad’ challenge – do something / anything to raise money for our vital mission here in Kabul. Details will be coming soon when I have finalised them. But basically;
I have been challenged to promote animal welfare in Afghanistan and I accept that challenge!
The Nowzad Family have organised a night of celebration to welcome Vivienne and Skenno (creators of the Nowzad Bears) to the UK from America. It will be a spectacular night with the opportunity to meet some lovely people and Pen Farthing, founder and chairman of Nowzad Dogs will also be there to give a talk on the work of the charity along with some very special Nowzad rescues!
There will be a hot and cold buffet to enjoy while rocking the night away to 60′s music performed by the fabulous Mock Rockers. On the night there will also be an auction for a special Bear created by Vivienne and Skenno alongside a raffle with lots of lovely prizes.
Tickets are now on sale at £20.00 / Under 13′s £10.00
For tickets please contact 0779287228 or email email@example.com
Entrance for the night is by ticket only so please book now to avoid disappointment.
Heal the animals you love and support Nowzad Dogs through Rob Fellows Reiki Home Study Courses.
Reiki is a gentle and natural healing therapy that can help to lower stress and can help reduce pain too …. all at the same time. Anyone who has been trained and ‘attuned’ to Reiki is able to give Reiki sessions by gently placing your hands on various parts of the animals body. Its really very simple and the Reiki will work as soon as the ‘attunement’ has been completed.
Reiki involves no pulling, pushing, prodding and no invasion of any kind. Reiki can do no harm and can be used to support all prescribed veterinary treatments and used together with other forms of complementary therapy.
Animals as well as people can respond well to Reiki and therefore you have the opportunity to help the animals you love too.
Your tutor is International Reiki Master Rob Fellows, who is based in England and provides his courses to animal lovers all over the world. Rob first qualified in Reiki in 1999 to help his springer Spaniel Joe who was suffering with arthritis. Rob gave Joe regular Reiki sessions.
Since then Rob has developed a range of Animal Reiki Home Study Courses so that anyone who wants to help their pets, like him, can do so.
“ The Nowzad Dogs team are delighted to be associated with other liked minded individuals and groups sharing our passion to promote animal welfare. We are extremely pleased to have the support of Rob Fellows in our mission to make a difference in Afghanistan for the animals with no voice but ours. Enrolling on a Home Study course run by Rob will mean you too are helping to make that much needed difference. Thank you.” Pen Farthing, Founder of Nowzad Dogs
For more information on Reiki Home Study Courses or to book your course today please click here.
Situated at Dunkeswell, near Honiton, Skydive UK Ltd are carrying on a proud tradition of sport parachuting at the airfield, which started in 1964. Affiliated to the British Parachute Association they are setting the standard for safety, ensuring that you can enjoy the most exhilarating, breathtaking, adrenalin pumping moment of your life with complete confidence.
A tandem is an easy and enjoyable way to experience the thrills of skydiving without having to learn how. The exhilarating freefall combined with the peace and tranquility of the parachute ride, makes tandem skydiving a unique and eye-opening way to raise funds for a cause you care about.
For more information please download the Nowzad Dogs Charity Skydive pack here or visit our special webpage here.
Please jump for Nowzad and help to make a difference to the strays of Afghanistan, one animal at a time.
Book your tickets now for Crufts 2014 taking place from Thursday 6th March – Sunday 9th March. The Nowzad stand will be located in Hall One, Stand 36. There will be lots of fantastic Nowzad items available to purchase, so if you are visiting Crufts please do come by and say hello! You may even catch a glimpse of Nowzad rescue Wylie as he strives to win Scruffts 2014!
Naturally Happy Dogs is an online video dog magazine providing general interest articles in video format for subscribers. Naturally Happy Dogs focus on the positive and natural aspects of dog feeding, training, lifestyle and general care to enable people to make informed choices about their dog’s health and well-being.
Naturally Happy Dogs provides new video articles every month. Users can sign up to watch each issue plus the entire video back catalogue for just £4.95 per month.
Nowzad Dogs will receive a £1.00 donation for every new subscriber throughout December and January as we are their charity of the month! Nowzad founder Pen Farthing will also be a featured video in January 2014!
Please click here for more information about Naturally Happy Dogs.