Royal Marine up for an award after rescuing war torn dogs in Afghanistan
A royal marine who has been fighting in Afghanistan is up for an award for saving abandoned and starving dogs across the country is shortlisted for the International Volunteer Award.
The 43 year old Paul ‘Pen’ Farthing setup the Nowzad Dogs Charity in Exmouth after saving dozens of staving and homeless dogs in Afghanistan in a 2006 tour even though this was against official orders.
Pen who found out about being nominated said “My volunteering role is the best thing I have ever done in my life. I love being able to actually make a difference in animal welfare and I have met some truly amazing, dedicated and supportive people along the way.”
It all started when in Afghanistan he came across a dog fighting ring and saved one of the dogs named Nowzad. He broke up the ring and Nowzad and others followed him back to his military base. Once there Pen would feed a few of the dogs from leftover military rations and also provide shelter for them. Some of the dogs he has successfully managed to safely transport with him back to England and given to other families. He has since named the charity after this first dog. The charity has gained remarkable momentum and has saved up to 400 dogs and cats and relocated them with soldiers across the UK.
With Afghanistan being a war torn country there are unfortunately few standards and rules in place for animal welfare.
In 2011 he continued his efforts in the country and setup an officially sanctioned animal rescue shelter and clinic that also does visits to local schools to educate children about the welfare of animals. The shelter was setup in the north of the country where it is considerably safer from the war torn areas. Pen has the help of 7 local Afghans and an expatriate out there.
With NATO slowly withdrawing from the country it proves a problem for Nowzad however they are trying to encourage local adoptions. This will be a challenge as the country is in poverty and also there is a strong Muslim culture against keeping dogs which are considered dirty.
The charity’s message is simple and has a strong impact;
“The life of Afghan animals is not one of comfort at the best of times; most of the day is spent hunting for scraps of food or hiding from the hot desert sun during the summer or the freezing cold of a desert winter night. There is definitely no pampered pet status in Afghanistan”
For more information you can visit www.nowzad.com where you can find out more about what they are doing and even leave a donation.
Source: Exmouth Journal