3 min. read

Mayhew International: Meet the people who are transforming the lives of street dogs in Kabul, Afghanistan

Beanie Watson (Brand Beagle EU)

Today, the people of Kabul are working with the Mayhew International team in Kabul to help create a happy and healthy future for the stray dogs across the city. As well as looking out for dogs in pain and for those showing signs of Rabies, the community are starting to trust the dogs again. Keep reading to hear more about how everyone is pulling together to create a better future for the dogs of Kabul.

Back in 2016 the government of Kabul were trying to tackle the Rabies endemic and control the dog population, through an ineffective and inhumane culling programme. After years of war and political instability, the government had limited resources and little expertise for tackling Rabies in Kabul and across Afghanistan.

Rabies is a viral disease, which can be transmitted through dog bites. Once caught it is deathly to both dog and human alike, but thankfully the disease is preventable through vaccination.

Enter Veterinary Surgeon Dr Abdul-Jalil Mohammadzai DVM or “Dr Mo” as he’s known...

Meet Dr Mo

Dr Mo runs Mayhew International’s programme in Kabul and managed to persuade the Afghani government to cease existing measures and let Mayhew International run a programme to effectively and humanely tackle rabies and overpopulation. Dr Mo grew up in Afghanistan and now splits his time between Kabul and London. After fleeing the war in Afghanistan and finding a job at Mayhew’s Centre in London 18 years ago, he wanted to help animals in his home country. Thanks to the landmark agreement he negotiated with the Afghani government the dogs are systematically vaccinated, with the goal of creating herd immunity within the city in 5 years.

The Edgard & Cooper Foundation have pledged €64,300 to fund the costs of all vaccinations from Oct 2020 until Dec 2021. The donation will also support the community programme, the helpline, and the vehicles & equipment needed to deliver the vaccination scheme.

Dog Catchers, Veterinary Volunteers and Veterinarians

Dr Mo was certainly going to need help! The charity now has a whole team in place to help run their progressive programme in the city - all of whom are local. The team includes some of those who had been part of the dog culling scheme previously run by the government: who have since been rehabilitated. Part of the programme has also been working to build up the veterinary sector in Afghanistan, and the charity also enlists veterinary students who volunteer their time to help the charity and receive training.

Community Engagement Team

Mayhew International ensure that the community understand their work and are part of the solution. The Community Engagement team visit schools, colleges and community groups to educate them about dogs’ needs, how to coexist safely with the street dogs and how to prevent dog bites. This team also meet with the district elders to make sure this invaluable information is shared widely.

The Community of Kabul, Afghanistan

After years of Rabies-related deaths, the community in Kabul feared stray dogs and some were hesitant about Mayhew’s work. The dogs were causing the death of their loved ones, so why shouldn’t they be killed? Mayhew International set up a helpline so now the community can report a dog in pain or one that is showing signs of Rabies. The Community Engagement team will then follow up and will tackle the problem.

Thankfully, things are changing. Mayhew International team continue to educate and empower the community, explaining that killing the dogs is ineffective at treating the problem and that through vaccination there’s a brighter future for their loved ones and the stray dogs of Kabul. After years of fear, there is now a growing bond between the people of Kabul and their street dogs. They are learning to trust dogs again and even loving them as part of the family.

Every purchase helps to support the Foundation and its partners. To find out more about the work of Mayhew International and how the foundation’s donation is used, visit the Edgard & Cooper Foundation’s website.

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