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Chipping in for strays

May 5 - May 11, 2021
Gulf Weekly Chipping in for strays

Gulf Weekly Naman Arora
By Naman Arora

Stray dogs roaming Askar have been given a chance at a new life after being microchipped, with the goal of eventually getting them adopted by families overseas.

More than 50 dogs were microchipped in Askar by the Bahrain Animal Rescue Centre (BARC) and are now in line to enter the shelter when space opens up – and get adopted.

“We want to desperately help all dogs in Bahrain, not just the ones in the shelter, but unfortunately, the shelter only has a certain capacity,” explained Sandi Thom, chairwoman of BARC.

“So by microchipping them, we are taking responsibility and giving them a chance at another life, while they are still on the street.

“It also gets them ready to be exported, because that’s the first stage of the process. It allows us to track them, have a database of numbers and validate their existence.”

Each dog is then ‘sponsored’ by an individual to whom the microchip is registered. This individual would then help facilitate the adoption and finance the travel costs once the dog has been adopted.

Bahrain has more strays than countries like the UK, the US and Canada due to the spaying-and-neutering initiatives in those countries.

As a result, pet lovers overseas who prefer to adopt rather than buy have turned to the kingdom to find ‘fur-ever’ homes for these dogs.

“Many of these dogs already have names, very unique personalities,” Sandi said.

“If they were not approachable, we wouldn’t be able to microchip them, so we know they’re friendly and highly adoptable.”

Last year, despite the Covid-19 travel restrictions, the organisation got 200 dogs adopted by families and owners in the US, the UK and Canada.

BARC has been working with the Wild Heart Foundation in the UK and Loved At Last Dog Rescue in Canada to facilitate the travel and adoption process.

Most recently, Ace, Amigo and Arrow, three puppies from a litter of five found in Askar, were adopted by a family in the UK.

Another stray, Speedy, had to have his leg amputated after being hit by a car. But he did not lose hope. He was recently adopted overseas and is now spending his days in the English countryside.

In Bahrain, the organisation has been trying to create a network of feeders and compassionate souls to take care of strays.

Bahrain Strays recently announced that Shaikha Noora bint Hamad Al Khalifa has decided to sponsor the Catch, Neuter, Release (CNR) programme for stray dogs.

Bahrain Strays will be focusing on neutering stray female dogs and has asked animal lovers to let the organisation know, via Instagram, if they come across any such canines across the country.

“Neutering female strays is, in our opinion, the best way to contain the population growth of strays so that they do not get pregnant, even if they move to a different part of Bahrain,” explained Fathiya Al Bastaki, founder of the organisation.

To get involved with BARC, follow @bahrainanimalrescuecentre on Instagram. If you come across any dogs that may be good candidates for the CNR programme, message  @bahrainstrays on Instagram.

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