Just imagine an influx of immigrants with no political uproar or partisan bickering—it seems improbable.
Just imagine that this influx confronted no wall, no inhumane treatment by U.S. immigration officials “just doing their jobs.”
Just imagine one more thing: these immigrants receive unconditional love and sufficient nourishment, becoming immediate members of gratified families.
These immigrants are Kuwaiti dogs left homeless on the streets of Kuwait City by wealthy residents unwilling to care for their well-bred Western European dogs. The dogs are viewed as disposable, not valued.
Last week, my youngest daughter’s family became the adoptive parents of a three-year-old Chocolate Lab flown over two weeks ago to the United States. Bess and family are overjoyed. Augie (his new name) seems very comfortable, drawing plentiful love and countless pats.
Augie is a small, 30-pound dog that will remain the same size. Though nearly 13,000 miles away from Kuwait City, he has adapted quickly, apart from a few accidents.
This immigrant has gained immediate citizenship—and acceptance.
Dogs are amazing animals. They make their owners kinder, gentler people capable of immense affection for a pet that keeps on giving the gifts of friendship and loyalty. By and large, they are neither judgmental nor petty.
In 2015 during a layover in Kuwait City, an airline attendant named Patricia Riska observed numerous dogs roaming the streets of Kuwait City, hungry, frightened and lost. She was alarmed. She began bringing one or two dogs home on each of her trips for adoption.
She then did more than that.
She and a woman in Baltimore established a non-profit rescue dog organization, Wings of Love, to bring Kuwaiti dogs to the United States for adoption by appreciative families. As of February 2020, according to an article in the Washington Post, the non-profit has brought more than 535 dogs from Kuwait, working with a woman there who rescues and cares for them on her farm.
Most of the dogs are living in Baltimore, with 30 also adopted in Washington and Virginia, according to the Post article.
We all know we live in a small world. We draw closer to our global neighbors, not only through human, but also canine relationships. We want to save lives as well as dogs abandoned in the streets of a Mideast city.
An airline attendant with a heart and a conscience saw an opportunity to give dogs a chance to find owners ready and able to embrace them and provide a nurturing environment. Two other women joined her long-distance rescue operation.
My daughter’s family is overjoyed.
Family members wondered if Augie would understand English commands. He does. I suppose that the language of dogs is universal.
Just maybe, my wife might agree to own another dog after our beloved Yellow Lab, Sandy, died more than four months ago. I doubt it.
Welcome, Augie, to our dog-loving country.
Columnist Howard Freedlander retired in 2011 as Deputy State Treasurer of the State of Maryland. Previously, he was the executive officer of the Maryland National Guard. He also served as community editor for Chesapeake Publishing, lastly at the Queen Anne’s Record-Observer. In retirement, Howard serves on the boards of several non-profits on the Eastern Shore, Annapolis and Philadelphia.