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Our Mission


How we made a difference

Our work in Afghanistan was to make a difference for all the dogs, cats and other animals with no voice but ours which started from one man’s efforts to make a difference for one dog at a time, (In a place that was back then; described as the most dangerous place on Earth); Helmand Province, Afghanistan. 

In November 2006 the men of Kilo Company of 42 Commando Royal Marines arrived in the war torn town of 'Now Zad' in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Their mission; provide stability for the local people during a period of ever decreasing security.

The Royal Marines soon realised that it wasn’t only the local people that needed their help. Many of the stray dogs that roamed the town of ‘Now Zad’ now had a guardian for the first time in their lives; in the form of Royal Marine Sergeant 'Pen' Farthing.

One Dog at a Time

Breaking up an organised dog fight that was taking place right outside their remote compound, Pen never realised that one of those fighting dogs would then befriend him.

The Royal Marine Sergeant couldn’t say no to those big sad eyes and the now former fighting dog became the Sergeant's battle buddy. The dog received his first ever name – "Nowzad".

The 'tail' of the rescue of Nowzad and his other canine buddies from the remote desert outpost of Now Zad, was published as a best-selling book One Dog at a Time, which to this day helps to promote and fund the work we do in Afghanistan.


Up until the Taliban regained power on the 15th August 2021, the Nowzad charity had reunited over 1700 soldiers with the dogs and cats that they rescued and bonded with on the front lines ofAfghanistan. The US withdrawal from Afghanistan has seen an end to our soldier companion animal rescues. 

Nowzad managed a dog and cat shelter that housed nearly 150 dogs and over 40 cats which was supported by a modern veterinary clinic staffed by a team of 24 Afghan nationals (including Afghanistan’s first female veterinarians) which delivered care and attention to animals in distress.

Our operation to evacuate from Kabul in the face of an advacing Taliban was named Operation Ark, a desperate play to safely transport 68 staff and their immediate family members, plus Nowzad founder Pen Farthing along with 68 cats and 94 dogs to the safety of the UK.
Several staff members chose to stay in Afghanistan with their families which has allowed us to continue operating the first ever donkey sanctuary in Afghanistan; a vital facility for the overburdened donkeys worked remorselessly on the streets of Kabul.

Our vital work in Afghanistan included animal welfare education to prevent the spread of rabies. All dogs and cats that passed through our clinic were either spayed or neutered and fully vaccinated against rabies.

The charity had (and we hope will continue to do so) fantastic support from animal lovers the world over, who offered their time in promoting and funding the aims of the charity. Every donation we receive is much appreciated and makes a big impact in our work for the animals with no voice but yours. Whilst we will continue with our working animal programme for the donkeys and horses of Afghanistan as the new Taliban government allows, we are now looking for a new home for our work with dogs and cats. As of writing we are still deciding on where that will be. Today you can donate to the future of Nowzad.