Afghan Shelter Harbors the Animals of War

Photo Courtesy Nowzad Dogs

Photo Courtesy Nowzad Dogs

As a country burdened with poverty, war, and immense suffering, it's rare to find a beacon of hope in Afghanistan. And yet the Nowzad Animal Shelter in Kabul is just that. Former British soldier Louise Hastie operates the shelter with a team of Afghan nationals, and the group has saved thousands of animals over the last six years. All the dogs in the shelter receive extensive veterinary care, including vaccines and spay/neuters. The group's long-term goal is to curb the country's pet overpopulation problem by spaying and neutering stray dogs on the streets, as well as implement an adoption program to local Afghan families wanting to adopt a dog or cat.

One of the program's biggest missions is reuniting dogs and cats with soldiers who bonded with them on deployments. Over 400 dogs and cats have been reunited with their soldiers in the US and the UK, costing as much as $4,000 per animal. The soldiers often contribute as much as possible to this cost, and the Nowzad shelter covers the rest of the cost through donations. Hastie says that no animal in need is turned away.

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