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‘These animals are like my family’

Gulf News 2019-11-08 17:14:06

Islamabad: With limited resources but towering willpower and commitment, Saiqa Yaseen, a resident of Islamabad, is struggling to run a shelter house for injured and abandoned pets, mostly dogs, cats and a few birds.

After doing her MBA, Saiqa, who is in her 30s, decided to devote herself to animal rescue, care and shelter. Today, she is taking care of over 20 animals in her shelter home – animals which have either been abandoned by their owners or are found on roads after being hit by speeding vehicles.

Her passion for animals can be understood by the fact that she has constructed a small but secure shelter for pets on the property of her neighbor in Ghauri Town, where she lives with her mother. Saiqa pays Rs4,000 (Dh93.31) monthly rent for that facility out of her own pocket.

Presently, she has 20 cats, and nine dogs in the shelter. “Most of these animals are those that are either abandoned by their owners or are found by people who contact me and hand them over,” she told Gulf News on Thursday.

Asked why owners abandon these animals, she said there could be several reasons: These animals could be suffering from some viral disease, their owners might have to shift to some other city or even out of country and cannot afford to take them along, or due to their age, as some people don’t like to have old pets.

Saiqa calls all these animals her babies and looks after them like her own children. “I am single and these animals are my family,” she said. She said she inherited this from her mother who supports her in her endeavours. “When I was a baby, I often saw my mother feeding the sparrows and cats and tending to stray dogs etc. So, this runs in my blood.” When people leave some ailing dog or cat at my shelter house, I immediately contact vets. For the food and medicine, Saiqa looks for some donations or bears that expense too out her own limited sources.

When asked what is her source of income she said her sister sends her money from abroad to run the house as well as the animals shelter.

Saiqa also runs the Facebook page ‘Save the Strays’, on which she has posted impassioned appeals with pictures of dying and ailing dogs and cats, asking people to be kind to the animals and rescue them from pain and disease.

Sana Roger, another rescuer and animal rights activist said she and her sister Emerald Roger are also engaged in animal rescue activities in Rawalpindi. “I came across Saiqa’s Facebook page ‘Save the Strays’ and saw a post about a couple of dogs she had rescued and they were in need of treatment and she needed some donations to treat the animals. I sent her some money and requested her to keep me updated on their health and she did that. This is how we came to know each other and later we shared each other’s pages and now it is our common cause,” said Sana Roger.