David Matthews works in Iraq and has seen, first hand, the plight of the strays trying to survive in a hostile environment. Seeing the plight of a injured stray puppy, while returning to base, he vowed to go back to save it and desperately tried to make arrangements to to return. Eventually, he found a way only to find that the animal had been killed in a brutal fashion and that forged the path to his passion to make such a needless death count. He began to take care of the local strays and soon found many serving military wanting to take them home to a better life, A huge task for one man alone. A stray named Lily became a loyal companion to David and it was after finding that she too had been needlessly killed the name War Paws came to him and the charity was born. His passion and care for the animals has made this charity one that will make a real difference to the strays through programmes such as vaccination, spay and neutering and educational awareness which is so desperately needed in Iraq right now.
Louise Hastie has a formidable timeline of making a difference to so many animals lives in some of the most war torn countries in the world. With a military background, she found herself rescuing cats in Iraq shortly after completing her military service out there and became well known for her efforts despite so many obstacles. In Afghanistan she designed, and built, three shelters which housed over 100 dogs with a large area for exercise as well as a vet clinic. She ran the clinic, single handed, which oversaw countless operations saving lives of animals that had suffered extreme injuries. Louise left Afghanistan in February 2016 to start new path building shelters for animals in other countries where the suffering was immense. 2 dogs from Iraq and 5 from Afghanistan along with 3 cats from Iraq and 4 from Afghanistan now live in the UK with Louise. These animals have seen her through many difficult times and her promise to them was to bring them home. War Paws are thrilled to have her on board as her passion and expertise will enable real change and a future for the forgotten animals of war.
Sally Baldwin has always supported and rescued countless animals from llamas to toothless sheep! She has volunteered all her life for animal welfare groups and, with her dog Brin (rescued from Helmand and now recognised among the 12 animal heroes worldwide), has travelled all over the country giving talks about the animals of war, raising over £30,000 to help soldiers bring their companions home. Her efforts to save Brin soon became a worldwide campaign as she worked tirelessly to, singlehandedly, raise £4,000 to bring him home, even selling her car to top up the funds. Trinni is her other dog rescued from Ukraine. She was saved after suffering a broken leg and blood poisoning. Trinni and Brin have become inseparable and Sally’s home is never quiet. Her knowledge of rehabilitating feral dogs has enabled so many animals to settle into homes after suffering trauma. She set up and ran the adoptions programme for a charity in Afghanistan and oversaw the rehabilitation programme for the animals as they settled into their new life. In 2014 she won the ‘Inspirational Woman award’ for her talks throughout the UK on the plight of animals in times of war and continues to give talks today.
Dr Hélène Svinos
Hélène Svinos is an A+E doctor with a passion for animals that has involved her in voluntary work. Initially fundraising and fostering for local animal sanctuaries, she heard about the plight of some dogs in Afghanistan and offered her fundraising experience. Hélène was involved in setting up the evolving charity and served as a trustee for 8 years and ran the successful Crufts stall on a yearly basis. Hélène has had dogs all her life and her experience with them lead her to become an experienced trainer especially with regard to reactive dogs, running a successful flyball club as well as training classes. When a dog of hers sustained a life-changing injury at a young age Hélène didn’t give up and developed a strong interest in rehabilitation and a passion for disabled animals. Hélène lives with 3 active springer spaniels, a 2 two legged dog from Afghanistan and a paraplegic dog from Bosnia, along with 2 cats ( 1 blind and epileptic) and a house bunny. As well as her ED work Hélène works in holistic health and is a qualified canine massage therapist and canicross instructor.
Tanya has supported many charities over the years with marketing & fundraising, including a sponsored hike up Mt Kilimanjaro and has worked overseas in both Iraq and Afghanistan. After returning to the UK, she is currently residing in the East Midlands. Tanya has known and worked with Louise for over 7 years, working with her on many occasions to rescue and care for sick animals in Afghanistan. Tanya has recently offered her spare time to assist with the Marketing for War Paws and become a trustee.