All dogs go to heaven, from Egypt via Dubai to Portarlington

Alexandria strays rescued by Egyptian woman are sent to Irish shelter for help

When an Egyptian office worker sought homes for two injured street dogs Cara Rescue Dogs based in the midlands came to her aid. The dogs named Cairo and Pharaoh were moved to Ireland and are now making a recovery. Video: Bryan O'Brien


Wanted: a good home for two downtrodden dogs, preferably thousands of miles away on a different continent. It is not your average rescue appeal, but then it is unlikely to be overlooked.

From the backstreets of Alexandria, Egypt, where a dog’s life can be a little hairy, Cairo and Pharaoh survived destitution, near-fatal injuries and an often apathetic culture toward canines, only to find themselves curled up in front of a fireplace in Co Laois. That’s 2,500 miles on a flight through Dubai with two freshly secured Egyptian passports, all thanks to a passerby with a kind heart and keen eye for Irish rescue websites.

“She just couldn’t walk past them, she couldn’t – and many people did,” said Karla Mitchell of Cara Rescue Dogs, which received the peculiar re-homing request via a post on its website. Heba Shabaan was on her way to work at a local bank last June when she came across the pair of badly injured baladis – an Egyptian term for street dog.

“They were both reversed over their back ends,” Ms Mitchell said. “They were lying on a street and a car drove over them. They dragged themselves away and hid and that is where they were found. It’s a normal occurrence over there sadly.”

At first, Heba’s email was seen as a mistake, but it quickly transpired she felt the Irish rescue centre could offer the dogs more help than they would receive in Alexandria. In the meantime, Heba had them examined by a vet and housed in kennels.

“She told us that she had two very sick dogs and could we take them into our care. Then we saw where the emails came from and we said, you do realise we are in Ireland? She said: ‘Yes, I know, that’s why I want to send them to you. I follow your page and I want for these dogs what you do for your dogs’,” Karla recalled.

Both dogs are just a year old. Pharaoh has largely recovered from his injuries, unfortunately, things aren’t so straightforward for Cairo. She underwent significant and expensive surgery having suffered a broken pelvis, two broken hips and a damaged ankle, and now faces the prospect of having wheels fitted in place of her back legs which she has already become accustomed to living without.