One Rescue’s mission to help animals forgotten by war

War creates unimaginable devastation, trauma and heartache for humans and animals around the world. War Paws, based in the UK, was created to help make a difference to pets affected by the horrors of war. Not only do they care for and remove animals from conflict zones across the world, but the War Paws team educates the community to improve the level of animal warfare in affected communities. Going above and beyond to improve the lives of animals in every community in which they work.

War Paws: Kurdistan Animal Shelter in Erbil, Iraq

The Iraq Animal Rescue team led by War Paws works tirelessly to care for the animals in their care. The eight-person team is made up of two veterinarians, a shelter manager and five other employees who work 48-hour shifts (48 hours on, 48 hours off). On a daily basis, the small team takes care of the shelter’s animals as well as hundreds of stray dogs. Leaving the team responsible for feeding and caring for around 700 dogs every day.

How it started

War Paws Rescue Dog Sylvia Rests

When War Paws operations director Louise Hastie first visited Iraq, the rescue took place at a farm run by local women who had taken in 45 disabled animals. Although well-intentioned, the women were very ill-prepared for the care the dogs needed. Many dogs who call the shelter need regular medical care, may have missing limbs or, in the case of a German Shepherd named Sylvia, have weak back legs.

“When War Paws first became involved with the shelter at the request of the local ladies who ran it, I was horrified to see that Sylvia and her friend’s needs weren’t even close to being met. satisfied, both had horrible bedsores and more often than not they were put on wheels and left on them for hours, and since the floor of the shelter was nothing but dirt and rocks, they often spent more time on their backs after the wheels rolled over and the workers failed to do so. took care of it. That quickly changed once War Paws took over the shelter.

War Paws’ first task was to ensure that all dogs received proper medical care. They created a disabled section at the shelter where staff laid down a foam floor and moved the dogs a little closer to the staff room, creating a safe space for all the animals in their care.

Meet the War Paws Puppy, Sylvia

Amputee rescue dog ready for adoption in UK

Sylvia has healed and called the Iraq-based shelter home for the past four years. It didn’t take long for the German Shepherd to become the staff’s favorite dog. Louise describes Sylvia as “everyone’s friend. Even though she has been through hell, she is a dog who always has a smile on her face.

Even after her back leg was amputated, Sylvia never gave up. Now six years old, her back legs are still weak, but she is doing wonderfully. Louise knew the best chance of getting Sylvia adopted would be to bring her back to the UK and make her more mobile with a wheelchair. When Louise contacted Walkin’ Pets to get Sylvia a Walkin’ Wheels wheelchair and shared her incredible story, the team immediately offered to donate the cart. They even timed his arrival so that he would wait for Sylvia when she arrived in England.

Today, living in Scotland with her new adoptive mothers, Sylvia is thriving. Adoptive mum Joanna says: “He’s an incredibly easy dog ​​to care for. She uses her wheelchair all the time on her walks and we have seen improvement in her strength. She is using her back legs more and she gets so excited when we take them out. When the time comes, War Paws will look to find Sylvia a permanent home in the UK. Ideally, someone with experience with special needs dogs and understanding the commitment, in terms of time, level of care and potential expense, of caring for a dog with difficulties to move.

How to help

War Paws is a non-profit charity based in England. If you would like to adopt Sylvia or how to support the charity, please visit


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