A Syrian refugee in the Netherlands has revealed how she is helping reunite stranded pets in war-torn Syria with their owners abroad, London daily The Metro said Sunday.
Animals Syria is a non-profit foundation that helps save the lives of pets in Syria and reunites them with their owners overseas, and is run by Rawaa Kilani and her friend Irma.
Kilani said before she fled Syria in 2016, she found an injured cat, that she named Lucy, and nursed back to health.
After fleeing to the Netherlands, she was approached by a woman named Irma, who had an unusual request which inevitably led to the creation of the foundation, Animals Syria.
Irma said she wanted to adopt a paralyzed animal, and asked Kilani to let her take Lucy.
Since then, Kilani and Irma have enabled the transportation of 400 cats and 15 dogs to Europe, and another 44 dogs to the US. Animals Syria also rescued some birds, foxes, a monkey and even a donkey.
Kilani said people who are fleeing Syria are usually unable to take their pets with them, because most of them are escaping the war on boats. So, they entrust their loved ones with their pets or leave them at foster homes.
After the owners settle in their new asylums, Animals Syria helps reunite owners with their pets by organizing the medical procedures and documents required for the transportation. Kilani says the process of vaccinating, micro-chipping and preparing the paperwork might sometimes require up to four months.
Most of the work of the foundation is done by Kilani and Bashir, who is based in Syria. Two volunteers help Syria Animals by feeding strays in Syria and two of her friends provide foster homes while the trips are arranged.
The foundation even starred in a Netflix documentary, Dogs, showing how they helped a dog, Zeus, reunite with his owner in Germany.
Kilani’s foundation focuses on disabled animals now, as they have lower chances of surviving in Syria.
When they just started, most of the expenses were covered by Kilani and Irma. Now, the foundation relies on donations, which are usually small and insufficient.
Animals Syria have a Facebook page, where they post stories of rescued animals and offer links for donations.