Video: This woman provides safe haven to hundreds of abandoned cats and dogs in Oman

Energy Saturday 10/March/2018 23:12 PM
By: Times News Service

Muscat: In 2011, Maryam Al Balushi’s son rescued a kitten from the streets and brought it home.
For Al Balushi, who was going through a tough phase in life after her divorce, the kitten was a godsend that brought happiness and love. And she never looked back.
In fact, as of now, Al Balushi has rescued over 200 cats and dozens of dogs. “People think I am crazy because I live with 235 cats and 10 dogs. I am just trying to help the poor souls that have been abandoned by their owners or have been put in pet shops and clinics and are living in miserable conditions,” she said.
“Many a times, people have criticised me saying that I like to collect cats and dogs. I don’t like to collect animals. I am just saving some living beings who have been forced to live on their own in this critical weather. Islam is a religion of mercy and it teaches us not to be merciful just towards human beings but all living beings, including animals and plants,” she remarked.
Recalling the day she got her first kitten, Al Balushi said: “I still remember the day my son handed this black kitten to me and asked me to provide it with the same love a mother would give. I gave it a nice warm bath and noticed it sucking on my little finger. Since then, I haven’t looked back.”
Managing both a job and looking after the rescued pets at home wasn’t easy. Al Balushi had to take an early retirement, which provided her with some financial support to build a better place for all to live. “I used most of the retirement money to convert my house into an animal sanctuary, where all my cats and dogs could live happily and freely. I have separate rooms and cages installed for cats that may have contagious diseases or are not getting along with other cats and dogs,” she explained.
“People may think I am rich but bills are piled up at various vet clinics in Muscat. It costs some OMR1,800 per month to manage food and clinic expenses. Thankfully, some kind-hearted souls help me deal with the expenses, but it is still not enough,” she said.
No challenge, however, has deterred this compassionate woman, who believes education is the key to a better future. “I believe that education plays a vital role in saving all living beings. We are taught about how important and precious the life of a human being is, while not taking into consideration other living things around us,” she said.
Al Balushi also expressed concern that there was no department or ministry allocated to the welfare of animals. “I can’t be happier living in my beloved country as it has truly taken care of all the needs of its citizens and provided them with comfort. Now, my dream is to see us having an established institution that caters to the rights of animals,” she said.
Al Balushi also strongly condemned pet breeding, a trend that has been growing in the Sultanate lately.