Compassion – noun: A feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.
When you think of compassion, what images come to your mind? Many of us associate compassion with a kindred human spirit; to see suffering in another human being is often unbearable. But there’s a special kind of compassion that can be found deep within; compassion for the animals that share the world around us.
The Egyptian Society for Mercy to Animals (ESMA) survives on this compassion and a deeper understanding of the bonds that can be shared between man and beast. ESMA is a non-profit animal rights organization based in Cairo which began its operations in 2007 in response to the mass shootings of dogs and cats. Surviving on a group of dedicated volunteers, ESMA has helped to change the lives of many a person and animal alike.
The streets of Cairo are notorious homes to many a stray cat and dog. These animals are often forgotten victims of the rush of city-life. ESMA has taken in hundreds of critical cases in need of urgent veterinary care and compassionately helped them on the road to recovery. At this time, ESMA’s shelter is home to approximately 600 cats and dogs rescued from the streets. These animals are looking for their forever homes, and this is where you can come in.
Rescuing an animal not only means you have given them a second chance in life. The rewarding feeling that comes with rescuing an Egyptian stray lasts for years and years to come; each day, you can wake up knowing that you have truly made a difference in the life of one animal. This in stark contrast to the increasing trend of “designer dogs and cats” that is sweeping the country; where has this sentiment come from? Sadly, this is only increasing the number of animals that are left without homes as many people will take in a purebred only to later realize that they are not equipped to deal with the special needs of these dogs and cats. ESMA has seen it all.
Deputy Adoption Coordinator for ESMA Alaa Sharshar comments on the growing number of abandoned animals in Cairo, saying “In Egypt we have just experienced a Revolution. Everyone is proud to be Egyptian at the moment. Shouldn’t this mean that we should also be proud to give the Egyptian animals a kind and loving home?” Hauntingly true words spoken by this dedicated ESMA volunteer. Mr. Sharshar explains that he has overseen the adoption of a number of animals, cats and dogs being adopted within Egypt, and even some lucky cases being flown outside of the country for international adoptions. He assured me that ESMA is fully prepared for many adoption and foster home scenarios. ESMA animals are fully vet-checked and microchipped, and the animals that are old enough are safely spayed and neutered in an effort to prevent further overpopulation. Mr. Sharshar encourages people to get in touch with him directly to see what it is that you can do to help improve the life of one of Egypt’s animals.
Open your hearts and your doors to rescuing an animal, and you’ll wonder why you have not done so earlier. For more information, contact Alaa Sharshar on: 019 082 4552 or visit www.esmaegypt.org.