Having five or six pets in a house seems like a lot but having 80 is unbelievable! Meet Mimi, animal rescuer and activist. She has rescued and provided shelter to hundreds of animals in Kuwait, most of them abused, abandoned and lost animals. She is currently fostering 65 cats and 16 dogs – the numbers change as she gives some up for adoption and rescues others.
“It’s very hard to take care of all of them by myself, but I love animals. I started volunteering to rescue animals in 2009 with a cat, which I took to a shelter. I then joined various animal rescue groups, which trained me how to help these creatures. After my father passed away in 2012, I was alone, so I brought many animals at my house for fostering,” Mimi told Kuwait Times.
Even after cleaning the place daily, the huge number of animals leaves the place smelling foul. It was hard to pass through the house without a facemask due to the strong stench. Mimi has placed the dogs and cats in all five rooms of her house, and lives in a separate room in the yard.
She sends most of the rescued animals abroad. “Since I started this activity, I have found homes for about 100 cats and dogs in Kuwait, and have sent more than 350 dogs and cats abroad, mostly to the US. I have paid the shipping costs for 90 percent of these animals. A few times members of animal groups in the States came here to take the dogs with them, while a few times donors from Kuwait paid for sending the animals abroad,” said Mimi.
All the dogs and cats that she fosters were either rescued by her or by other people who brought them to her. “Sometimes, people bring a dog that they don’t want anymore and simply tie it to the tree in front of my house, or they fling it over the wall of the building into the yard. Some people call to tell me they have a dog that they don’t want any more after it grew up, as they only liked it when it was a puppy, and have now got bored with it,” she lamented.
“Many people have no sense of responsibility. They buy a small kitten or puppy and when it grows up, they kick it to the street. The case is worse with dogs, as people consider it an impure or unclean animal, so they start throwing rocks on it on the street. Many dogs that I have rescued were tortured by people,” Mimi said.
She has found many abused dogs in Maidan Hawally. “The most tortured dog that I fostered was beaten by people in Maidan Hawally and took a long time to recover and trust people again. We found it tied to a pole in an abandoned room. It turns out there is a gang of Arab youngsters locking up the dogs in this area. They let them roam in the streets during the day to eat from the garbage, and lock them in that abandoned room during the night. It seems they sell them for dogfighting. I tried to speak to the families of these youngsters, but they didn’t do anything,” Mimi explained.
“From the same area, I rescued another dog that was tortured. Its skin got damaged and hair is not growing in that part of its body. Also from Maidan Hawally, I got three other dogs that were beaten by the residents. They even tried to poison them, but I rescued them in the nick of time. I have sent two of them to the States already. When I brought them to my house, the dogs couldn’t believe that I let them sleep on a bed,” she added.
Every cat and dog has a story. “I was fostering an expensive dog that I received from his Kuwaiti owner who gave the dog up as he had an accident and became disabled, so he couldn’t take care of it anymore. I found it a family in the US for adoption. Also, once I found a beautiful husky tied to a pole in Shuwaikh in the heat of August. I rescued it and also sent it to the States. His owner there sends me its photos and tells me that people there always ask him from where he got this beautiful dog,” Mimi noted.
“When I rescue any animal, I directly take it to the veterinary for a checkup and treatment if needed. Also, the vet can tell the age of the animal. Once I found a dog that was around 14 years old – I sent it to the US too,” she said.
On how she manages to keep the dogs with their loud noises and how the neighbors react, Mimi explained that they only bark when a stranger enters the house, otherwise they are quiet. In addition, she has installed insulation material in the entire house to minimize noise and disturbance as much as possible. She hopes to find volunteers to help her in fostering the animals or finding good and trustworthy people to adopt them. Mimi also feels sorry for the large dogs that are at the house all the time, as she is not able to take all the dogs daily by herself for a walk. So she would appreciate it if some volunteers can at least help her take the dogs for a walk.
Cases of abandonment and abuse of animals are rising in Kuwait, so demand has increased for more rescuers. There are many groups and individuals fostering animals in Kuwait, including: Paws Kuwait, Kuwait Animal Rescue Unit, Rescue Adopt Foster, Kuwait AASP Shelter, Q8 Help, Save a Soul Kuwait, Become a Foster Guardian and others. You can find these all on Instagram if you want to help support animal rescue groups in Kuwait.
By Nawara Fattahova