About Wings of Love, Kuwait
Our organization was founded by Patricia Galore-Riska. Patricia has been a flight attendant for a major international airline for more than 19 years. In late 2014, while working a trip to Kuwait, she had the opportunity to work with a flight attendant colleague named Debbie Grant who rescues exotic stray cats from Kuwait. It was on that trip that Patricia began her journey of rescuing stray dogs from Kuwait.
Like many countries worldwide, Kuwait has a very large stray dog population. The Kuwaiti culture generally does not consider dogs to be family members and people often tire of having them. When that happens, the owners simply throw them out into the street or leave them in the desert to die. Once abandoned, the dogs face more brutality, sometimes by other dogs, often by people who poison them or kill them for sport. Those dogs that escape physical harm often die from disease, dehydration, and starvation. This type of abuse of stray dogs is not unique to Kuwait; stray dogs in many countries worldwide face these same terrible fates.
During that trip to Kuwait, with Debbie Grant’s help, Patricia met a group of dedicated and tireless women who are the backbone of Wings of Love, Kuwait. The women independently rescue dogs in Kuwait from all sorts of horrific situations. Many of the dogs they save are tied to trees and posts in the sweltering desert with no food or water. Others are abandoned at the Friday Market to be sold under inhumane conditions. One dog was found trapped in a tiny birdcage; another was taped shut inside a cardboard box.
The women we work with in Kuwait show these dogs incredible compassion and provide them with medical care, training, and a place to live either in their own homes or in a doggy day care that is run by one of our rescuers. At any given time, each of the women may have as many as 30 foster dogs living in her home.
Collaborating closely with the team in Kuwait, Patricia and the team in the United States work to find foster and adoptive homes for the dogs. The dogs are flown to the United States either in cargo or they travel with Patricia or a volunteer on board the plane. Both scenarios are very expensive, as we must pay for either cargo fees for the dog or for full fare plane tickets for Patricia (or the volunteer) who has flown to Kuwait to pick up the dog. Before making their journey to the United States, each dog receives its necessary vaccinations and is microchipped. Once the dogs arrive in the United States, they either go to their adoptive homes or volunteers foster them; Wings of Love, Kuwait does not have a boarding facility for the dogs.
When Patricia is asked why she helps rescue dogs from Kuwait and not the United States, her answer for her is simple: hope. In Kuwait, there is no hope for these starving, abandoned dogs. The Kuwaiti government does little to control the stray dog population or stop the abuse. Patricia, who is originally from South America, has flown around the world and has seen stray dogs in many countries. What she has witnessed in Kuwait is unequivocally the worst.
Happy People, Happy Dogs
The best part of Patricia's rescue efforts is for her to be able to see the dogs and how happy they are after they are adopted. Many of the dogs are adopted in or around the Baltimore area, and Patricia is often able to visit her rescued dogs and receive regular updates from their adoptive families. To date, Patricia and Wings of Love, Kuwait have facilitated adoptions of more than 580