Sunday, March 28, 2010

Animal Friends League Meeting - Shelter Rebuild Efforts

Friday I went to the AFL Rebuild the Shelter meeting at the Movenpick at Bidaa. I was hoping to see more people, but it was still a good turnout. The Movenpick management kindly provided the meeting room for free.

I get a lot of innocent (non-pervy) questions from people commenting about, "How do I meet a westerner...waaaaaaa" Dudes - VOLUNTEER. You meet so many nice people! The entire meeting was full of blondes on Friday. It was like a buffet of white chicks. C'mon people: Even if you don't like animals, you can still go down and do manly construction work at the shelter. If you walk in with a refrigerator or an AC unit, you'll be a hero!

How many of you are dismantling your camps this week? Do you have old stuff that you need to throw away? Send it to the shelter.

Moving house and want to donate? Send stuff to the shelter.

The items that AFL needs for rebuilding can be found HERE. Donate!

Before the rebuild can happen, the tear-down needs to take place. That means they need some good, strong men (you can be weak too and fake it - not a problem).

Ayesha seems overwhelmed and I don't blame her. Poor girl probably hasn't had any sleep at all and I am praying for her. She let the volunteer coordinator, Olivia, do most of the talking. At one point, even Olivia almost started crying. The of the few things Ayesha did say was, "If you know me, you know that my greatest fear is a fire at the shelter." She must just be wrecked. If anyone out there is a grief counselor, write to Ayesha . Even the strong need good support and I think she is grieving badly.

Another thing she said is that she and the other volunteers feel awful when people ask about specific pets that they have brought in, are they ok or did they die? That would be so hard to have to go through every day. [I found Rocky (from previous posts) and his new name is "Enar" . He's fine and happy.] AFL has placed the names of the surviving pets on their website - all others have perished. It is hard to know which pet is which because when you bring them in as I did with Rocky, they immediately change the animal's name. The Man brought in Dusty who is now "Veronica". Why change the names?

The cause of the fire has been determined to be an electrical surge from the main line. Ayesha pleads with any home owner or company to have a building surge supressor (transient voltage arrestor) installed outside of the home/office for this very reason. Buildings in Kuwait are not required to have such equipment for building codes. (Most of us in Kuwait have friends who have had their home appliances ruined in Kuwait by power surges/voltage spikes.)

The new shelter will have a sprinkler system and surge suppressor installed.

AFL has repeatedly made their gratitude clear: to people who have come forward offering support; to their volunteers; to the phone calls and letters; and to the firemen in Wafra who, although some were afraid of dogs, put on their breathing gear, went into the fire, and opened all the cage doors to let the animals out to safety. Good for you, guys!!!! I just loooooooove firemen!

If you are a US organization and would like to make donations to receive a tax deduction, check HERE.

Pass it along.

Note: I have heard from friends on facebook and through comments here on the blog about people who are "animal lovers" and would "do anything for the animals" - and then have done nothing to assist in this effort. Know what? I don't want to hear from hypocrits. If you love animals, help in this effort. Put your money where your mouth is. There are only 2 rescue organizations in Kuwait: AFL and PAWS. There is an astonishing amount of animal cruelty and neglect in this little country; Some of it so bad it would make most people cry to hear about. Both PAWS and AFL work towards the same goals; however, some seem to believe that there are teams and you must side with one or the other; either you are for them or against them. It's not a contest!!! I find that disgusting and personally offensive. Strength of character is revealed through adversity. You don't have to sit on an opposite side of the fence pointing blame while doing nothing.


Deslie said...

Hi Desert Girl, I too was at the Movenpick meeting and wish I had known you were in the room. I would have liked to meet you. Thank you for keeping the AFL issue in the forefront. They are such a worthy organization. I and a couple friends volunteer their on a semi-regular basis and were out there helping with cleanup efforts on Fri before going to the public meeting. Then on Sat. I went to Royal to help out with some of the injured and traumatized animals. I met "Veronica" and if she is one and the same, she has a cute litter of pups that are 3 weeks old! By the way, I am a counselor and you are right about the grief....Ayeshah, certainly, but also the workers and volunteers that are there on a daily/weekly basis. When I first saw Ayeshah on Fri, all I could do was give her a big hug and tell her how sorry we were, and that we were there to help. The shock is quickly turning into energy and hope as the outpouring of money and resources begin to come in. I am so glad she hasn't lost the vision, the passion to make the rebuild bigger and better is certainly evident, as you know! The male live-in staff need our prayers, too, they felt so helpless being the first on the scene. When you see them, give them an encouraging smile or pat on the back. It is so easy to become attached to the animals they care for daily. I heard many stories from staff volunteers on Sat. of the night of the fire and trying to search for the animals and coax them to safety....people worked from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. trying to make sense of the chaos. They need a listening ear to work through the grief. I experienced similar when I went to offer mental health services following Hurricane Katrina in USA. People need to tell and re-tell their experience, this is part of the healing process. It is time for the community to pull money and resources together for this worthy cause. Get this shelter rebuilt before the stifling heat of summer arrives. They are doing a wonderful thing for animals, and anything anyone can do will go a long way toward recovery from this tragedy. My organization is allowing a fundraiser this week, we all need to do our part. It is very much appreciated!

Desert Girl said...

Thanks, Deslie.

I am embarassed to say that I didn't think of the 2 men who live there and how they must feel. They too looked exhausted. But really, my mind was on the way Ayesha looked - she had that far-away look in her eyes that I have seen before and I felt to sad for her.

Yes, "Veronica" (sorry whoever named her - but stupid name! Dusty was so much better) is the same with the 3 week old puppies. She needs some TLC - she's been through a lot. She was only rescued the week of the fire; brought in because she was being beaten and the family that was feeding her was afraid for her safety. She's an extremely protective mom and needs socializing. Next time, I'm bringing a pocket full of turkey bacon (that was my dad's trick for getting dogs to come around).

Thanks so much for your comment!