Category Archives: Iraq Animals

Basra Dog 7

The Basra 6

In March 2015 we received an email from a contractor that we had helped previously when she wanted to take her dog home from Iraq.  Her email told the story of a Brit working in Basra who had befriended 6 dogs and wanted to take them all home.  Some of the dogs had endured horrific cruelty so to leave them in Iraq was not an option.

We contacted the man who wanted to undertake this massive task and soon arrangements were underway to transport the dogs a couple at a time to Jordan where they would stay with Judith at Welcome Home Kennels.

4 of the dogs were destined to head to Dubai to the contractor and his family and 2 of them were destined for life in Ireland.

In May 2015 Tramp, Princess, Lady and Belle all flew to their new lives in Dubai.  Kaz and Shima will remain in Amman for a while longer until they are able to enter Ireland without a need for quarantine.

We received a fabulous update below from the contractor recently and the dogs are all doing wonderfully in their new homes.

The Great Escape

At 0942 on Friday 20th March 2015, Royal Jordanian flight RJ 831 lifted off from Basra airport for Amman Jordan. Secure in the hold, Princess and her surviving pup Lady, left the pain and torment that had become their life in Basra behind them. Just over 4 hours later, having cleared customs and immigration with their new guardian Jim; they arrived at their temporary home at the Welcome Home Kennels near Madaba, Jordan. Here in the cool air of the hills above the Dead Sea, they would wait on their blood test results; under the care of Judith and Nabil, with their two sons Hasan and Zaid.

Welcome Home Kennels

Welcome Home Kennels, Princess and Lady took the bottom left run, nearest the gate.

Princess and Lady

 Princess and Lady taking Stock of their new home

Princess and Lady treats

They discover some of their treats

Exactly one week later, the 3 pups Kaz, Shima and Belle made the journey in the same crate that had been used for Princess. Unfortunately for all involved, at least one of them had an embarrassing “toilet” moment en-route, which meant they were all in dire need of a bath on arrival in Jordan. This led to some comic sketch conversations between their escort, Jim and firstly security who wanted the pups out of the cage so they could x-ray it and then a customs official who wanted to charge duty on the dogs. After a few brief exchanges at security, it was agreed by all, that a minimum of 3 hands were needed to hold 3 smelly, wriggling puppies and as Jim definitely only had 2, another hand had to be sourced from elsewhere. Following a brief side conversation amongst the security team, the decision was made that a visual inspection of the cage would suffice. Onwards to customs, where we were stopped and asked for the value of the pups, as we should be paying import duty. The explanation that the pups were being rescued by a charity and only transiting through Jordan didn’t fully persuade the official; so Jim resorted to rhetorical questions along the lines of “how much would you pay for young desert dogs covered in something unmentionable, when you can simply pick up a clean one for free!” This must have done the trick, as the official walked away muttering and we were free to meet up with Judith, for the journey to the kennels. Even with the windows down, this seemed to take far longer than the week before, but eventually we arrived at the kennels where pups and travel crate were thoroughly hosed down, before the pups were reunited with Princess and Lady. After a few seconds in the run, the pups forgot all about their experiences of last few hours and had a joyful reunion with their friends. The obvious happiness all round was great to see, but poor Princess must have been thinking “Why Me!” as she once again had 4 pups jumping about vying for her attention.

Princess and Lady Happy

No, I’m not happy to see you!

Getting to know

 Getting to know each other again

With 5 dogs now safe in Jordan, that left Tramp, who we had known was easy to catch, just shout his name, wave some chicken and he’d come running to you. This assumption had proven to be correct, but unfortunately, a couple of other factors came into play, which meant we missed the first attempt at getting him to Jordan on the same flight as the 3 pups:

  • Despite his Top Dog bravado in front of the girls, Tramp is actually a bit of a wimp, and the mere sight of a needle terrifies him.
  • When we locked him in the pen we had used before, he obviously associated it with a visit from the vet and fear enabled him to somehow jump/climb out as soon as we left. He was actually seen going past before we had finished parking our car back at the office.
  • Not being stupid he figured we wanted to do something he probably wouldn’t like and so he promptly went into hiding and didn’t come out for 5 days.

Determined to get him out of Iraq despite himself, we reverted to plan B.

Stage 1 of Plan B involved the construction of an 8 foot high cage inside a secure warehouse, this was done in record time, all we needed next was an occupant. Numerous searches of the facility armed with boxes of his favourite snacks came up blank and it looked like we may need to cancel another flight until we had a stroke of luck. Leaving the office on the Tuesday night, there was the bold hero rolling about in the small patch of grass out front. Suspicious at first, when called, he danced in for a few pats then skipped away again, but eventually came close enough to be pinned; after which it was into the back of the car and then driven straight down the road and into the cage.


Prisoner 99 recaptured

Now we could book his flight. Finally on Friday 3rd April, T –day dawned and Tramp was loaded into the transit cage for the journey to the airport. He immediately confirmed he was not a good traveler and we had to stop twice in first 500 yards and clean both Tramp and the cage. Neil, one of the unsung heroes of the rescue, came into his own, doing the actual moping out, while Jim pleaded consideration for his fellow passengers and stuck firmly to the clean end of the hose. Fortunately that was the end of it and following an uneventful trip through security and customs, Tramp arrived at the kennels, around 13.00 local time, immediately started womanizing and struck up a friendship with Judith.

Tramp 1

Love at first sight

In 4th week of May, all the dogs blood test results came through and we could finally send some of them onto their final destinations. On Thursday 28th May, Tramp, Princess, Lady and Belle arrived in Dubai. Tramp is now settling into his new home and spends hours playing in the secure garden.

Tramp 3

 Hmmm, So which bush are the girls hiding behind?

Princess and the girls are settling into their new home and slowly getting to know the resident rescue cats; to date, with a lot of supervision, this has been painless on both sides! The dogs arrival have resulted in a few changes to our lifestyle and furniture layout; we are now up before dawn to stop any barking waking the neighbours and have discovered that 3 dogs playing chase can cause havoc with vases, lamps and plant pots: but everything broken to date can be replaced. Watching the dogs, especially Princess coming out of their shells and learning to trust us, makes it all worthwhile.


I hope you’re not leaving these boxes in my hall

Cool Hey, this place is cool

Bas 6 in Dubai

Cats! What Cats?

Dubai Bas 6

These cat toys are fun, but they don’t last long

 Kaz and Shima our last two pups are still in Jordon, waiting on their turn to fly to their new home in Ireland. We are hopeful that with the help of the You Caring family, we will reach our target and this will become a reality within the next month or so. They then will also be able to finally enjoy being part of a loving family.

Kaz Shima Jordan

Kaz and Shima in their kennel in Jordan


Hope, feeling better


In 2013 we had been asked by an American soldier serving in Afghanistan to rescue to his dog Yakkul.  It was very obvious that the soldier adored animals so we were not at all surprised in early 2015 to receive and email from him that explained he was now serving in Iraq and he and his team had taken on a tiny little very sick pup and now one of the team wanted to take the pup home to America.

Work started on a plan for how we were to get this gorgeous girl out of Iraq, it was not going to be easy, most of the airlines flying to Iraq had stopped the route but fortunately we were able to secure a flight to Amman in Jordan where Judith from Welcome Home Kennels was on hand to take care of Hope whilst she was prepared for the journey home.

Hope sent a month or so in kennels in Amman before she was flown home to her soldier in May 2015.

Albania Pup


In Sept 2014 we received an email from a Royal Marine serving in Albania.  He and his colleagues had been trying to take care of a young pup whom they had called Pressel and they were leaving permanently shortly after and did not want to leave him behind.

This was the first time we had received a request for a pup in Albania and time was not on our side, we had no idea if we would be able to get this pup to safety before his Marine left.

Fortunately we were able to contact an animal rescue group in Albania who were all too happy to help us.  They arranged for Pressel to receive his vaccinations in order that he could be moved to Brussels where he was met by an agent and transported directly into quarantine in the UK.

Pressel was reunited with his Marine shortly after quarantine had ended.

Trini and a Brit Soldier


In Sept 2014 we received a request for help from a British soldier on exercise in Ukraine.  She had befriended a small pup on camp and her leg was broken and she needed help to get her to the UK.  The soldier had not got long left on camp, literally a matter of days so we quickly set to work to try and find someone in Ukraine that could help.

We got lucky and found a fabulous lady called Aleksandra who was able to arrange for someone to drive several hundred km to the base to pick Trini up and take her back to Kiev to receive medical attention.

Trini stayed at the vets for some time whilst she had treatment for her leg and received all of her shots etc for entry to the UK and then finally just before Christmas 2014 we were able to get her transported to the UK.  Sadly her original owner was no longer able to take her but our very own adoptions manager who is also mom to Brin who we rescued from Afghanistan a few years ago quickly stepped up and offered Trini a loving home.

Trini now spends her days chasing Brin around and doing all the normal stuff youngsters do!

Stanley Kuwait 1

Stanley from Kuwait

In March 2015 we received an email from a friend of nowzad in Kuwait.  An American soldier had contacted her about a cat he had befriended on base and he was desperate to get him home to America.

Stanley was one of a litter of 7 kittens born on the base and he became a great source of comfort to the soldier who became his protector.  His soldier started off feeding him bits of chicken and soon the bond was unbreakable and his soldier just knew Stanley was his soul mate and he had to go home to America.

Stanley was quickly moved to safety and once he had received his medical care he was sent home to the soldiers family in America.

Cash Iraq


Cash found his way into the heart of a contractor in Iraq when he was around 3 months old in Sept 2014.

He was known as the small dark spotted orphan on the camp, his mother was gone, she had either abandoned him or had died, no one was really sure.

Cash wandered to the door of a British contractor one day, the contractor saw no harm in letting him in for a few minutes for some tuna fish and a cuddle and right there and then Cash had found himself a forever home.

Rescues from Iraq are becoming increasingly more difficult and along with his owner we had to put some pretty serious scale planning into place to get him to Jordan where he would be cared for by Judith and her family at Welcome Home Kennels in Amman.

There were a few hiccups along the way but Cash finally made it to Jordan as accompanied baggage with his owner and he was handed over to Judith and got settled at the place he would call home for the next 4 months whilst he was prepared for UK import.

The time passed quickly, Cash grew to be a beautiful friendly cat and when the day came for Judith and her family to say good bye we are sure there were tears all round.

Cash arrived in the UK in Feb 2015 and was collected by his owners girlfriend and taken straight home where he has settled in really well and is loving his life.



You may remember a rescue we did last year, a cat called Trouble from Iraq?

Well, Trouble had a brother called Tom and her owner has now decided he wants to take Tom home to live with Trouble in the US.

Tom, is almost identical to Trouble so there may be some issues telling them apart!  That said, Tom does have a limp caused by being crushed under a walkway as a kitten.

Tom arrived safely in the US in Mid July 2010 and is now settling well with his owner and sister, Trouble.

Poppy and Max

Poppy and Max

Poppy was found at the side of the road next to her 2 dead siblings in Basrah, she was very small and her mother was nowhere to be seen so if Adam and his team had not picked her up and taken her to their camp then it is likely she would have met the same fate as her siblings.

Max came along shortly after when Adam and his team saw some Iraqi Guards not treating him very well.  They sent one of their local workers to speak to the guards and after some negotiation Max was handed over to Adam.

After some TLC both dogs are now healthy but Adam’s contract will be ending soon and he desperately wants to bring Poppy and Max home to the UK.

A Facebook page has been set up for them here

A Just Giving Donation page for them is here

Please help us to get Max and Poppy home with Adam by joining the Facebook page and donating if you can.

Poppy and Max

Leg Injury


This is Dori, she has had a very rough time of things and now her owner wants to take her away from Iraq so she can have the life she deserves.  Dori had a very bad accident and was almost killed but due to her loving owners dedication she survived.  Her story is below along with some pictures (very graphic).

”Dori first came to our attention in Sep 2008 while standing next to one of the bins in the Danish Demining Group compound Basrah – she was around 8 months old at the time, Lone took her to her room, fed her a tin of tuna and the bond was established, after a quick house meeting it was decided that Ms Lone could keep her.  She was named Dori after one of the character from the Film “Finding Nemo” (she wasn’t the smartest cat on the block – bless!) 

After a happy 4 months Dori decided that it would be a good idea to jump onto the electricity transformer box inside the compound; maybe she was attracted by the hypnotic buzz and the warmth the transformer produces, they say “Curiosity Kill’s the Cat”, well it nearly did that day.  Dori managed to arc her-self between two of the electricity phases and 50,000 volts passed through her body, causing some horrific injuries.  How she survived is a mystery at least 5 other cats have met their destiny this way.  Apart from her front left hand paw (which swelled up to nearly the size of her head) she seemed fine but then the skin on her two legs started to peel off exposing muscle and tendons.  Her back right leg was the next to go; it appears the electricity passed through her body and exited through the Hock Joint (ankle in humans), the leg from the Hock Joint down was completely dead and started to decay; there was no saving the leg and it had to be removed.

Operation 1

We took advice from a UK Vet (Jasper Gale – many thanks Jasper!) on how to remove the leg, I went on R&R and bought a junior hack saw, Lone went to Denmark and managed to smuggle in some anaesthetic and suturing material and we were prepared to amputate the leg at the mid femur.  Then we found an Iraqi vet who said he would conduct the operation (after he offered to “give us a better cat, one with 4 legs” – I don’t think he grasped the pet concept!).  After clear instructions, with drawings supplied by Jasper, he performed the operation.  He took the leg off at what would be in human anatomy the shin bone; the flap of skin he folded over the stump when he closed the wound was not enough and the bone burst through the stitches.  Again, Jasper was called.  He made it clear that if the exposed bone was left, infection would set in and we would have no chance; Dori would die a slow and painful death.

Operation 2

The vet was asked to come in again and do it right!  We explained on the white board where to cut and how to do it.  I stayed with the vet for the first skin incision and all appeared to be going well, so I left to tell Lone he knows what he is doing and not to worry.  When I returned he had taken the leg off at the knee joint! What can we do, the poor little thing has now being through more trauma in her short lifetime than most people see in a lifetime.  After 2 weeks Lone and I took out the stitches (with the help of Dori) and she started her rehabilitation, again!

The Future

Dori is now completely healed physically, although she still needs the leg to be amputated properly before she develops long term mobility problems.  At least now she is pain free; it is one year today (09 Jan 10) since she ventured onto the transformer box!  With the help of Louise we hope to get Dori into Denmark with Lone; so Dori can start her new life with Lone and her other rescue cat from a Mine Action mission in Angola.  Lone promises not to work abroad again as there are too many cats that need to be saved!”

Dori’s owners, Andrew and Lone are desperate to get this little girl home.  Both of them work for the Danish Demining Group and will be leaving Iraq soon so we are aiming to try and get her out before the end of March.   For anyone wishing to know more about the humanitarian efforts of the group please visit DDG

Baby Boy Winston


This is Winston, an adorable puppy that has recently been adopted by the Royal Navy in Um Qasr.  Here is his story in his owners own words…

”Little Winston was found in Umm Qasr camp hiding by the bins, shivering and whimpering. He was taken in and washed up and emerged a very much cleaner little pup! He was alone by the bins, however outside the wall was a litter of puppies which are believed to have been drowned or shot. Now however he enjoys playing with everyone, sleeping and eating proper food. Initially he would shake because he was not used to people and so affectionately earnt the nickname ‘Shivers’. He has however been named Winston after Churchill because he is such a brave little fella”

We have agreed to help Winstons owners get him back to the UK in Feb/March next year so now the mission is on to raise the funding needed to do this.  Winston is particularly special because he comes not so long after the huge task of Rescuing Sandbag and the Gang from the same place and he too is being raised by serving members of both the UK and US Military. Please help us to get him home for these brave members of our military by donating.