(Bowling Green)—Thanks to a partnership between The Wood County Humane Society (WCHS) and Gulf Canine Connection, two dogs from Qatar are getting a second chance at life.
On Monday, June 19, The WCHS will welcome Bea and Toro into its shelter, after the dogs will have traveled nearly 7,000 miles and endured a 15-hour flight. Bea and Toro are just two of many dogs that experience widespread neglect and abuse in the State of Qatar, a Middle Eastern county located adjacent to Saudi Arabia to the south and the Persian Gulf to the north, east, and west.
Born in the middle of the arid terrain that comprises most of Qatar, Bea and Toro were discovered by rescue workers who are committed to assisting the many hundreds of homeless dogs of the region. Workers set up a makeshift shelter at a nearby construction site, where Bea, Toro, and other dogs are cleaned, fed, and watered for months while they await news if any group in the United States will accept them.
Because animal rescue in Qatar largely is decentralized, the fates of dogs like Bea and Toro depend on the ability of organizations like Gulf Canine Connection to identify suitable rescue partners and make arrangements for transfer.
Gulf Canine Connection was founded in 2016 by Caroline Fernandez, who lived in Doha, Qatar from 2014-2016. During her time in Qatar, Fernandez noticed widespread abuse and neglect of dogs, and says that only expatriates and a handful of natives actively helped the dogs.
After two years of rescue work in Doha, Fernandez and her family relocated back to the United States. But expatriates in Doha continued to contact her for help in placing dogs with her rescue partnership network and flight escorts continued to help.
With the work of committed rescuers in Doha, Gulf Canine Connection has been able to place 50 dogs in the Unites States from January to June 2017. Their approach is a blended one of direct adoptions and rescue partnership (11 partners in the U.S.) and the formula has been successful for the dogs. In 2017, Gulf Canine Connection began a partnership with a rescue in Turkey and has already brought over three dogs. They expect to bring over at least 6 more in 2017.
Fernandez admits that the process of preparing a dog for flight is not as complicated as it might seem. She explains that dogs are vaccinated for rabies, parvo, and distemper first, and then they are microchipped—all prerequisites to obtaining export papers. After the rabies vaccinations, dogs must wait 30 days before their flight. During this time, a team of about 5-10 volunteers in Doha foster, vet the dogs, book the dogs on the flights, and obtain the export papers.
Once the dogs are booked on the flight with a volunteer flight buddy who escorts them, the export papers are obtained. On the day of the flight, foster parents bring their dogs and are met by one or two leaders of the group who hand over the export papers and vaccine books to the flight buddy. Upon arrival in the United States, the passenger picks the dogs up from baggage and clears U.S. Customs. At the U.S. airport, rescue partner representatives are waiting for the passenger and dogs. They take the dogs out of their crates and let them stretch their legs and then transport them by car to their homes or foster homes. In total, a network of at least ten volunteers in Doha and the U.S. is required for each flight.
The WCHS, located in Bowling Green, Ohio, is a private, non-profit managed admission shelter providing care for homeless and abused pets and investigating cruelty complaints in Wood County. The organization receives no funding from The United Way, or national humane organizations, instead relying on earned revenue and the generosity of individual donors and businesses to fund our programs such as Safe Haven and food assistance programs, spay/neuter transport, and educational presentations. The WCHS provides care for hundreds of animals each year—from dogs and cats, to horses, goats, and pocket pets. All animals admitted into our adoption program are housed and cared for as long as it takes to find their fur-ever home. For more information on adopting and/or volunteering, see: