Giving Furry Friends a Helping Hand

By Carla Sommers

Animals can radically change the lives of people of all ages, assures long-term Kuwait resident Claudia Farkas Al Rashoud. She should know, working tirelessly for one of Kuwait’s most respected animal charities, PAWS.

Claudia explains how their new education-based programme, PAWS Book Club, has successfully arranged events where children read to abandoned animals. The animals have been saved by PAWS volunteers and are housed temporarily in the PAWS shelter, all desperately awaiting caring, ‘forever’ homes.  

Reading to animals she explains, has a visibly profound effect on young kids, especially on children with special needs. “We have seen how normally hyper active kids become calmer; their focus improves and they start to enjoy reading to their furry companion”. It seems that because the animals are non-judgmental of the children’s reading skills and happy to get some attention, it brings comfort and confidence to both sides.

Claudia has an endless –and often thankless—task, ensuring abused or abandoned animals are saved, and given the respect and dignity they deserve. She is a tireless champion of all creatures, and gives examples of how animals can comfort the elderly, help the sick feel less alone and, in the case of kids, offer children a chance to learn about caring, mutual respect, responsibility for others – all traits that, when learned young, help create better human beings.

Running regular fundraising events in schools, malls and in places like Dar Al Athar Al Islamiyyah at the Amricani Center, her team of volunteers are in a constant battle to sustain the charity and pay the mountains of vets’ bills that accumulate from saving creatures from a terrible death. One of the most tragic aspects PAWS has to deal with is the ritual abandoning of pets in the fierce summer heat as people travel or transfer to other jobs in other countries.

Adopting animals has huge benefits, when the love and care shown to a cat or dog is returned, the whole family can feel the joy. However pet owners need to remember an animal requires daily care for its entire lifetime, and care when it’s sick. Dumping animals at any time of the year is both senseless and inhumane.

 A well-cared for pet can change a house to a home, bring laughter to a family or calm a nervous child through patient reading. Thanks to the funds donated to PAWS the lives of Kuwait’s abandoned animals stand more of a chance of survival, a chance to bring comfort and years of joy to the old and young.

PAWS next fundraising event is on February 18th at the French Institute, from 11am – 4pm in Jabriya, Block 12 street 6 Villa 41. Near New English School and Hadi Hospital.

For more info and contact details see Instagram @paws_kuwait

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