Rasha al Raisi – To many animal lovers and pet owners like me, Nada al Moosa is a superhero. She has been an active animal rescuer for years before starting Oman’s well-known — yet not official — animal charity, Omani Paws.
Her animal infatuation started in 2011 when she was forced by her daughter to adopt Romeo, their first cat. Romeo made her notice other cats around her, and she started feeding the strays in the dumpster next to her house. Then she noticed a pack of five dogs, waiting at a short distance for the cats’ leftovers. She started feeding them too for a while before they disappeared except for one that she called Doggie. Doggie took a personal liking to her and started following her everywhere. Nada neutered Doggie and decided to leave her outdoors, the way Doggie was used to. After that, Nada took personal interest in rescuing strays.
Then came Brudo. Brudo was a wadi dog rescued by a Dutch lady after being attacked by acid water. The lady asked Nada to help her feed and walk Brudo. When she approached Brudo’s cage, he wagged his tail and was happy to see her. His unexpected reaction made her cry.
Nada knew then that she had to do something to help more strays. In 2013, she met Varsha — another animal enthusiast and rescuer — and decided to start an animal rescue. The idea of the name and logo came later when she was asked by her cousin to participate in the annual function of Mummy and Me, to raise awareness of the rescue work she does. On a piece of napkin, Nada and Varsha brainstormed a name and a logo for their charity. And that was how Omani Paws was born.
Omani Paws mainly focuses on rescuing and TNR (Trap, Neuter and Release) that is followed in other countries such as India, Romania and Turkey. The main problem they face with TNR here is that they’re not professionally trained and the neutered dogs they release are shot by the police. This causes depletion of resources, as the money saved for TNR is then spent on veterinary care for the injured dogs.
Other than rescuing and TNR, Omani Paws had helped in flying 100s of wadi dogs outside of Oman, where they were adopted by loving families. Wadi dogs are also known as mutts, and they’re a mixture of breeds — mainly Saluki and Cannan, the oldest known breed in the Middle East. Wadi dogs are famous for being active, friendly and smart. Despite that, many Omanis prefer breed dogs which presents a challenge for Nada. Many of the breed dogs in Oman are produced illegally and are not conditioned to the extreme hot weather here, which makes them end up sick or dead. The Omani Paws had also sent many breed dogs to more suitable countries.
One of Nada’s many future plans is to get a legal status, even if it meant working under another charity. She also wants to focus on raising awareness about animal rights and treatment among school- children. Although animal rights are fundamental in Islam, yet many kids are raised here fearing animals and marking them as ‘dirty’ or ‘disease infested’. This can explain some cruelty acts carried out against them. Omani Paws encourage the culture of adopting strays by using the slogan: Don’t Shop, Adopt!
I end this article with the prophet’s saying that reflects Omani Paws’s philosophy: ‘Show mercy to those on earth and the One above the heavens will have mercy upon you’.
Rasha al Raisi is a certified skills trainer and the author of: The World According to Bahja. firstname.lastname@example.org