Sunday, September 19
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REACH OUT TO RESCUE

11 Apr 2021 By HUBERT VAZ

Little Seren, a frisky puppy, was recently rescued from a life on the streets in MSQ…Last month, she was adopted by a loving family in Muscat. One year old Lola, another puppy, was rescued from street life in Sohar last year. She went straight into a foster home and was adopted by a family in March. Malcolm, a one year old dog, was rescued with the remainder of his pack from near the airport, some of them seriously injured, until he was adopted  by a compassionate man a few weeks ago.

Given the current uncertain situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with expatriate families leaving Oman for good – often in a hurry – innocent pets are being left stranded or abandoned near residential areas or commerical establishments by their owners. While many citizens and residents in Oman feel for these animals, who often are left to suffer hunger and disease, or attacks from strays as well as road accidents, only few have been coming forward to lend a helping hand.

There are a few organisations toiling for the welfare of abandoned pets and other animals in Oman by way of providing them with medical treatment as well as foster homes. However, with the rising number of cases of abandoned pets, most animal shelters and foster homes are full to capacity. In such a scenario there is a clarion call for people in Oman to reach out to rescue as well a provide care to these hapless pets.

What can you do?

When you see an abandoned or injured pet in the streets, ignoring them and walking away is not the ideal solution. It is the duty of every citizen and resident to reach out to these animals to bring them to care giving individuals or organisations, say the animal welfare outfits in Oman which are constantly seeking donations and volunteers to join in this noble task.

As of now, a large number of individuals are providing care or foster homes to abandoned pets in their personal capacity, even taking them to veterinarian centres and paying for their treatment and food. There are also a few registered as well as unregistered groups which are also providing care in a more organised fashion. These include Omani Paws, Muscat Dog Adoption, Tiger by the Tail (Sohar), The Wave Dog and Cat Rescue, Muscat Animal Rescue Team and many more groups popularised on social media, all of which are either providing rescued animals with foster homes in Oman or making arrangements to send them to willing individuals/homes in Europe, USA, UK and other countries. One can either attempt to rescue the pet and take it to a veterinarian or call up any of these organisations to intervene to do the needful.

Visiting a veterinarian

Before you take an injured animal to a private veterinary hospital for treatment, be willing to assume financial responsibility for the animal. Good care for animals is not cheap in any country. Anyone who is committed to trying to save injured animals should discuss these issues in advance with the veterinarian. Veterinarians can also provide information/guidance about animal shelters and rescue organisations, in case you do want to hand over the pet and not take it to your own home.

Rescue organisations

Omani Paws Rescue, an all-volunteer, foster-based rescue organisation in Muscat, focused on improving the lives of stray cats and dogs in Muscat, has a diverse group of dedicated volunteers to help animals in need in many ways. They trap, neuter and release cats and dogs, rescue injured, sick or abandoned cats and dogs and provide full medical rehabilitation, vaccinations and preventatives, they foster cats and dogs, and raise awareness about the plight of the voiceless animals by encouraging adults and children to interact with them, besides arranging and assisting for import/export of companion pets.
Omani Paws calls on individuals to help by either being a volunteer or
provide financial assistance via various outlets including those at Mackenzies at The Wave, My Cupcake in Qurum, Al Qurum Vet and Capital Vet. One can also donate household items, furniture, clothing, accessories, or anything else which can go towards raising funds for the organisation, or provide a foster home or adopt an abandoned pet.

Muscat Dog Adoption says it had effected a total of 53 successful adoptions in 2020 with some of the rescued dogs going to homes abroad in the UK, USA and the Netherlands. Three were also sent to adoption groups in the US while many others were handed over to families willing to adopt pets in Oman till March 2021./

MDA says, if you are not in a position to adopt a dog why not sponsor one. It can make a great present for someone special. You can make a one-off donation or a regular donation and help to make like easier for one of our dogs. Donations are also accepted in the form of bedding (blankets and quilts), dog food (wet and dry), dog treats, collars, leads and toys. MDA volunteers regularly hold car boot sales and table top sales to raise money towards this end. Adult volunteers are also needed to help with socialising the dogs, walking them and giving them some attention.

The Wave Cat and Dog group, which started with just three volunteers, has also gone from strength to strength, and now boasts of around 55 committed volunteers. In partnership with Al Mouj Muscat, they work tirelessly managing the stray cats and dogs within the community, compassionately and humanely. 

The group calls on all pet owners at The Wave to:

Look after your own pets – ensure they are registered, neutered and chipped

Don’t feed stray cats and dogs

Don’t tamper with the feeding stations that are discretely located within the community

Don’t harm or hurt any stray, particularly those that have a collar and are tagged

Donations are also sought towards the running expenses which includes vet bills, food and lodging for the animals. The group calls on residents to support The Wave Cats & Dogs Rescue’s weekly yard sale held at Al Mouj Muscat, outside the Project Office, by buying/donating unwanted items or by donating pet food (dry and wet, tinned cat and dog food).

Guidelines for helping abandoned pets 

When you see an abandoned/lost pet that needs help to find its owner or treatment for injury/disease:

Call your local animal control facility immediately. You can report the animal, and if the owners are looking for the pet you found, ease their worries. If possible, stay until help arrives.

Cautiously approach the animal. Consider both yours and the animal’s safety. 

Try to check the animal for a collar with an ID tag. This will speed up the process of determining whether or not this pet was abandoned on purpose or accidentally lost.

If the animal is calm, or even friendly, try to lure him or her into your car. Keep the animal there until help arrives.

Reach out to your local shelter, vet clinic, or humane society. Police departments and rescue groups are also helpful resources when reporting an abandoned pet.

If you decide to keep a pet whose owner cannot be located, that’s a wonderful gesture but be prepared to hand over the pet to the genuine owner after publicising his/her presence with you in some manner. Prepare yourself and your family for the possibility of the original owner turning up and parting with the pet at some point.

If the dog/cat is injured or ill or showing signs of aggressiveness, it is better to stay near and call the authorities, so they can come and collect it. If you want to give it first aid, it is important that you know how to handle it to avoid hurting it as well as to avoid the animal hurting you in defence.

A dog tag usually carries the name of the animal and a telephone number. If the number is up to date, with a little luck the owner will answer you straight away and you may be able to tell them you have found their dog. Some modern dog tags have a QR code to provide access to all the information the owner of the dog has left for it to be located. Some pets have an implanted chip in the neck which can be scanned at veterinarian centres to get information about the owner.

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