Today’s good people post is a little different than the usual fare. Typically, I seek out people helping other people, but today I want to focus on a couple of people helping non-human critters, for their lives are important too.
Chella Phillips lives in the Bahamas, where Hurricane Dorian left a trail of devastation this past weekend. She also runs a refuge for homeless dogs, called The Voiceless Dogs of Nassau, Bahamas. On this day, her refuge celebrated its fourth anniversary, and in that time she has taken in some 1,000 dogs and found homes for them. But on Sunday, Ms. Phillips home became an extension of the refuge.Hurricane Dorian was beginning to hit the island and there were dogs everywhere, some abandoned by owners fleeing the island, some were strays, but all were definitely in harm’s way. And that’s when Chella Phillips stepped in and did what not many people would do. She took the dogs home with her … 97 of them!No, Ms. Phillips doesn’t live in a mansion, but just an ordinary house. Here’s what she posted on her Facebook page …
“97 dogs are inside my house and 79 of them are inside my master bedroom.
It has been insane since last night …
I managed to bring some less fortunate ones and I really appreciate some of you donating for crates.. I really needed it for the scared ones and the sick ones. so Thank you!
Coincidently, today is the Fourth anniversary since the refuge opened its doors to homeless and abandoned dogs and we have cared for nearly 1,000 of them which we are very proud that we managed to give them hope so they could all be happy at last.
Please pray for the Bahamas!”
And then, on Monday she posted …
“We are alright after a stressful night were we flooded bad inside the refuge, not even 3 pumps could contain the rain from washing us inside and after an hour all 3 pumps reheated and burned down and we have been outside with buckets fighting a losing battle..
All services are down, all TVs are fried from the lightnings so no more cartoons for the sick dogs until we can purchase new ones.
Thank you for the outpouring support and heartfelt prayers from so many people that don’t even know us, my post from yesterday went viral and total strangers are reaching out to us giving us the exposure that we need so bad..
I give two thumbs up to this kind, caring woman for her dedication to these dogs who likely would not have survived the night of devastation. 👍👍
I would like you to meet Dr. Amir Khalil.
Dr. Khalil speaks quickly in a voice laced with various accents. Born in Egypt, he has lived in Vienna for the past 27 years and has a Bulgarian wife. He speaks six languages, including Coptic Egyptian. But none of that is what gave him a spot in this good people post. Dr. Khalil is a veterinarian who has dedicated much of the last 25 years of his life to rescuing animals from crisis zones in places like Iraq, Sudan’s Darfur region and Bosnia, and creating sanctuaries around the globe for the rescued animals. He has calmed traumatized bears from Syria and vaccinated thousands of stray dogs in Myanmar. The work can come at personal risk: In Kosovo, he had a pistol held to his head. In Kenya, gunmen shot up his car.
Dr. Khalil has worked for Four Paws International, a Vienna-based animal welfare charity, for 25 years. Most recently, his mission was to rescue 47 animals — including lions, wolves, baboons and ostriches — from a struggling zoo in the city of Rafah, in the Gaza Strip.This was his Khalil’s fifth assignment in Gaza, which is controlled by the militant Islamist group Hamas and blockaded by its neighbors, Israel and Egypt. He had already evacuated two other Gaza zoos in 2014 and 2016. But this rescue would be his biggest.
“We go to places where the logic doesn’t exist. The government doesn’t exist. No one cares. And where no one will believe you are coming to save animals. You see everyone escaping from a city like Mosul, going out. Thousands and thousands. And you are the only car going the other way around. You are going inside.”
Against this backdrop of conflict, Khalil brokered a deal with authorities from Jordan, Israel and Hamas so he could move into Gaza, shut down the Rafah zoo and evacuate the animals. It was no easy task. Long story short, he was challenged at the border … twice. He was threatened, told to leave, denied entry to the area where the animals were in captivity, some dying of neglect and starvation. But, he persevered and ultimately, Khalil and his rescue team crossed to safety with the animals into Israel. The story of this rescue is fascinating, but a bit long for this post, but you can read it on NPR.Since the rescue, several of the animals, including three porcupines, three pelicans, two foxes and an ostrich, have been released into the wild in Jordan. The lions, including a declawed lioness, and baboons are living in wildlife sanctuaries in Jordan and South Africa.
Sometimes Khalil wishes he could have a normal life, eat a normal dinner with his three daughters without having to worry about conflict areas, mistreated animals or being trapped in crossfire. “I am a human, I have my weaknesses,” he says. “But I come to be addicted. I am infected by my job.”
Another two thumbs-up for this remarkable man who has saved countless beautiful lives.