Thank You! An update from Dai

At the moment the temperature  in Iraq where we are, is plus of 40 Degrees, very little water and hardly any food is available, for a dog it’s a hard life many don’t survive the trauma of being born in such a violent desolate cruel  and inhabitable place.

The desert dogs who mainly come from European breeding stock have crossed bred over the last 100 years and  are now Heinz 57 variety, every one of them an individual, every one of them full of character and every one of them are loving trusting animals. once you have gained there trust you have a friend for life.

I work on a Rig and move from area to area, every time we set up base in the desert for around 2 to 3 weeks its becomes  like an oasis’s for the animals especially the dogs, we try and feed them, water them, and if injured and allowed to approach, help them with the medicines and treatments provided by the Worldwide Veterinary Service and you, our supporters. As the Chairman for War Paws in Iraq it gives me great pride in knowing that we have you !!!

The story I want to tell is Roses story, it’s not a unique story as unfortunately this happens out here every day.

Once we set up the rig location in  South Rumaila Iraq which is a vast open expanse of desert, degassing stations and oil facilities, the chefs in the kitchens start cooking  the evening meal, the smell travels on the wind for miles and every hound in the vicinity vectors in on the camp site, unfortunately the Site is protected for good reason by a two meter deep and 2 meter wide anti vehicle ditch, with a 2 meter high berm surrounding the site, internally after that there is an inner anti climb fence with barbwire on the top which surround the encampment, there is only one way in and one way out, and an emergency gate to evacuate the site in the event of a car bomb or other attack onto the rig.

The dogs are driven crazy by the smell of cooking, however the chefs who come from India, Nepal, Pakistan and various other places show sympathy towards these poor creatures by hurling scraps over the fence to the dominant pack who has won the right to call this area their own but only after vicious dog fights which leave various animals maimed for life, this is where it gets nasty because there is a pecking order  and the Alpha male feeds first followed by the next strongest animal until whatever remains is devoured by the weaker animals and mums who have just had a litter.

I have grown up with dogs all my life and they are my passion, so I do it slightly differently, I will get left overs from the kitchen, hoard food from breakfast lunch and dinner and once its dark leave the rig, walk not far from my Rig site about a 100 meters or so into the desert minefields depending  and whistle, all the dogs in ear shot of me make their way to me wagging their tails and some skipping for joy as they know each and every one of them will be fed, I have been doing it this way for the last 5 years, I take out a chunk of meat and with it still in my hand offer it to a dog who gently timidly takes it from my hand carefully, remember these animals are wild they have very little contact with humans and mostly not a very happy encounter when they do, but I gain there trust, even the Alpha male will except food from me and wait his turn and if anything he is gentler than most stretching his head forwards and taking the offered food into his mouth just using his bottom and top teeth as if passing food to a small puppy.

We also look after the mums with vitamins and ensure there is water available, however there are times when the pack will head off to another area and leave the puppies in a secluded spot, one day whilst out patrolling I could hear the sound of tiny little yaps and to my surprise I came across a nest of 4 puppies who used an old pipe to hide in whilst mum was away, they automatically became my burden, and when mum returned I approached her and the puppies with water and food for mum so that she could produce milk for her babies, this old girl would wag her tail chase her tail and jump back and forth when she seen me coming

I fed her away from the pups and other dogs so no predator would smell the area around her den, as other dogs would actually eat the puppies.

There were a few technical difficulties with the drilling rig so we had an extended stay in the same location which let me watch the puppies flourish over a 6 week period, there was an albino pup, a chocolate pup and one the same color as rosy, all equally beautiful and equally playful.

As the puppies  grew  mum spent more time away from them, sometimes only returning at night to let them suckle, then one day as I was doing my rounds on the rig I could smell the scent of death in the air something I grew accustomed to in Afghan after IED strikes and human flesh cooked in 55 degree heat, I recognized it straight away, and something which will be with me forever, I opened the emergency gate and made my way over the berm into the desert where the puppies were, I found one dead pup, who looked like it was trying to crawl towards our location for help and died on the way, another two were dead in the pipe, all the corpses were disintegrating a clear sign of snake strike and the fact that carrion had not taken the bodies, the only puppy alive was our Desert Rose AKA Rosy trembling with fright, crying but too scared to come to me as we tried to keep our distance from the pups so they would not get too use to humans for obvious reasons.

However rosy now  retreated into the pipe  where we could not reach her, the stench from the dead bodies of the puppies was over powering and rosy did not want to leave her brothers even though they were dead, it took a few days to gain her trust and slowly but surely she began to come around, we left water for her and all my guards would keep an eye on her at night until we could catch the poor thing, as rosy mother was nowhere to be seen and had not been anywhere near the rig in days.

So what we had was a lone survivor and an abandoned pup, one of my guards managed to catch her and bring her to me, she is living in my cabin on the rig, and if anyone finds out I will be fired as the policy is no dogs on site and there is nowhere for animals like rosy in the oilfields to go, however she is staying with me sleeping under my bed until she is fit and strong, I wanted to bring her back to the UK but one of my Iraqi guards the one who caught her has fallen in love with her character and has offered her a home on his small farm where he has two other female dogs.

She has been treated for fleas and dewormed and War Paws have promised to get her spayed and vaccinated when she gets older which is the agreement I have with the ex-Iraqi soldier who works with me as one of my guards, she walks with me at night and never leaves my side and yes I am going to find it hard tomorrow when she leaves, but I know it’s the right decision  she will have a good home with other dogs on a farm so it’s a new beginning for our Desert Rose .

War Paws end of year update 2016

2016 has just been the most amazing year for War Paws!

In May we were asked for help in rescuing an adorable pup who was named War Paws. She had been found by a former Royal Marine on the streets of Basra covered in glue and bleeding and severely dehydrated. Her Marine was determined to get her well and bring her home to Scotland and a massive response was received from a campaign to raise her funds but sadly it was not to be and little War Paws lost her fight for life at the end of May 2016. As upset as we all were to lose her it just made us more determined than ever to pull together and make a real difference for the animals of Iraq.

June 2016 brought us a request to help repatriate 3 retiring CWD’s, Bruno, Rex and Jenny. All 3 dogs had served in Iraq for many years but it was now time for them to retire and experience the joys of having their own homes and families. As a newly registered charity the rescue of 3 dogs was going to be a huge financial burden so we teamed up with the fabulous Mission K9 and Soldier Animal Companion Fund in America to make it happen. Our fabulous War Paws supporters raised enough money for us to be able to get the dogs to Amman and from there Mission K9 raised the funds to get them to America. All 3 dogs have now found loving families in the USA and are living the dream.

After months and months of jumping through hoops July 2016 saw us gain Registered Charity status in the UK and since then we have worked non stop so we can move forward and make a real difference for the welfare of animals not just in Iraq but other war torn countries and areas of civl conflict. Shortly after we became a registered charity August saw us welcome 2 new trustees to the charity, Sally and Louise. Both Sally and Louise have brought a wealth of experience from their years working with rescues from Iraq and Afghanistan.

In September 2016 we received a request from Puppy Rescue Mission in America to assist with the rescue of ‘Kevin’ who was a dog in Iraq that had been befriended by an American soldier who now wanted to take him home. We worked closely with Kevin’s soldier to get him to the kennels in Northern Iraq and once he was there War Paws and SAC Fund supporters raised the funds needed to pay for his boarding at kennels, vaccinations and flights to Amman whilst PRM fundraised for his flights from Amman to America and SPCAI helped us out with a flight escort. We had hoped that we would be able to get Kevin home in time for Christmas but sadly sometimes even the best laid plans do not go to plan and last minute flight changes meant we had to hold Kevin in Amman for a few days longer than anticipated but thankfully it was only a few days and Kevin was reunited with his soldier in America on 30 Dec 2016 just in time to join in with New Year celebrations!

Dec 2016 once again brought us a request for help from PRM who had an American soldier who had befriended a dog called Raider. Once again War Paws and SAC Fund and PRM are working together to raise his funds so we can plan to get him to America in January 2017. Raider’s fundraising effort is ongoing at the link below:

December 2016 also saw the launch of the very first Official War Paws Calendar! We still have a few copies left which can be purchased at the link below:

As 2016 draws to a close and we enter 2017 we would like to extend a huge thank you to all of our War Paws supporters, without you we would not be able to continue in our mission to improve animal welfare in Iraq. We will be working towards setting up a vaccination program for the dogs, cats and farm animals of Iraq in 2017 but we do need funds to be able to set the program up and keep it going so please help us by donating if you can and helping to spread the word about our mission.

Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Deaths in the pack

It’s with great sadness that we have to tell everyone that we have had a few of the popular puppies pass away through snake bites, road traffic accidents and a virus, we try not to put anything bad on hear however due to our social networking sites being closed down by the Iraqi government in its fight against the insurgents out hear, we have to use this blog page.

firstly poppy who is Bella’s sister has left us below is a picture of Bella and Poppy together.

Loki is now in his new home

It’s been quite some months since we last updated everyone, but it’s been incredibly busy and we know you understand it can be difficult at times to update from the desert. If you’ve been following our Facebook and Twitter pages you will know that Loki was rescued and sent to the UK for rehoming. He spent four months in quarantine at London and Essex Kents Farm, where he was looked after really well and definitely found his feet! We like to think he knew he was safe and just on his way to a new home.

Loki has now been with his new family for 5 days and he has settled in remarkably well already. Whilst he has never lived in a house before, he soon found his spot on the rug and bounds around the garden with a smile on his face!

Loki strayed from his pack as a puppy and was found living on one of our sites in Iraq, where he was fed by the guys and eventually socialised and given some training. Unfortunately, things change and he was passed to us as Warpaws to re-home him.

There are many dogs like Loki who all need help. Whilst we do re-home in special circumstances our mission remains to raise funds for a mobile veterinary clinic in the desert to vaccinate, neuter and treat the wonderful desert dogs. They have a lot to deal with – heat, little water, terrible treatment, snake bites – and we can help with that, if you can help us.

So, please donate – every penny counts, or purchase something from our shop. We equally need to raise the Warpaws profile and would hugely appreciate you spreading the word.

It’s been incredibly exciting watching Loki travel across Iraq, fly to the UK and settle with his new family. He’s been on an incredible journey and is one lucky dog.

Thank you to everyone involved in helping to get Loki to his new home.