White Rock resident is working with a Kuwait-based organization to rescue abused animals and rehome them in Canada.
Sara Patton joined Pet Passage Rescue this year after her longtime friend and former Kuwait resident Waleed Algumer told her about the deplorable conditions animals in the country were facing every day.
Shortly after, she met Nemo.
The year-old pomeranian-corgi mix was rescued from the hot, arid desert in Kuwait this summer after his owner had tired of him and wanted to get rid of him.
Prior to abandoning Nemo to what would have been a slow death, his owner had beaten him so severely he went blind. When he was found, he had cuts on his face and his paws were burnt from the sun exposure.
Now Patton and Algumer are working to find him a home, as well as other dogs who are still facing abuse and death in Kuwait.
“For me, there was so much going on in the world, whether it was Ferguson or it was Gaza, and it’s a very natural feeling to be overwhelmed. Speaking more to Waleed about the opportunity with Pet Passage, it was a way for me to do something to make my heart feel good,” Patton said.
Unfortunately, Nemo’s story is not an uncommon one, Algumer said.
“Animals have zero rights there,” said Algumer, who was born and raised in Kuwait before moving to Canada. “There is a market in Kuwait, called the Friday market. It’s horrible. They treat animals like accessories, they just breed them and keep them in cages.”
The Vancouver resident was forced into action after seeing the deplorable conditions for himself after a recent trip to Kuwait this past year. Shortly after, he enlisted Patton to join Pet Passage.
The two have been working on raising awareness and finding placements for the dogs who come from Kuwait, many of which are puppies.
“It’s a materialistic society. They’re all about showing off. So if the new breed now is the French bull dog, they all get it and then six months later, popular people get a pomeranian. So what do they do? They just get rid of it,” Algumer said, noting they then replace the dogs with the new “trendy” breed. “That’s why we have so many puppies that we are rescuing. Some of them are as young as four months.”
Pet Passage Rescue, which was co-founded by Kuwait resident Karen Orobey, connects with shelters like Kuwait Animal Rehabilitation and Education, and is working from inside that country to increase awareness about animal rights, as well, Algumer said.
“We’re trying to fix the root of the problem while saving as many as we can,” he said.
Patton added that by growing awareness a3nd gathering donations here in Canada – as all of the rescues are out-of-pocket or made possible through donations – the organization can expand their reach and even house more dogs locally.
“This community here has so much love to give. You can tell in White Rock and South Surrey there are so many opportunities here for these dogs who have come from very difficult pasts to have a new lease on life in a very loving and safe community,” Patton said.
Right now, the two are working on homing Nemo, who has grown fond of the waters near White Rock’s East Beach.
The year-old pup loves people – specifically women – and is fixed, has received shots, is easy to walk, potty trained and kennel trained.
The adoption fee for Nemo is $300, to cover expenses incurred from travelling to Canada and medical fees.
For more information on Pet Passage Rescue, Nemo or to donate, visit www.facebook.com/pet.passage.rescue