They work in the pre- and post-operative care kennel block and help to look after all the dogs that come through the clinic as part of our Trap, Vaccinate, Neuter, Return (TVNR) programme.
Ahmad Farid: I was previously a team leader in the dog-culling programme that was run by Kabul Municipality, which was very upsetting for me. In 2017, I was chosen for retraining and learned humane dog handling and catching techniques*. Instead of poisoning dogs, we started to vaccinate and then neuter them. I then started as a dog handler for the ABC Centre when it opened in July 2019.
Rahmatullah: I was part of the vaccination team in the field, trying to catch dogs by hand. When the neutering programme started, I asked if I could work at the clinic as a dog handler and was accepted.
*In January 2017, Mayhew Afghanistan signed a landmark agreement with Kabul Municipality to stop the culling of dogs and instead implement a mass canine rabies vaccination programme and, subsequently, a spay and neuter programme.
Ahmad Farid: We look after the dogs from when they are first brought to the clinic to when they are returned. We ensure they are safe and care for their needs. I have different methods for handling small, medium and big dogs, and also other methods of dealing with aggressive dogs.
Rahmatullah: The most important responsibilities are to make sure dogs feel calm and relaxed when they are handled. I also take care of their needs, such as having a clean kennel, healthy food and clean water.
Ahmad Farid: Yes. I love dogs and I really prefer to work at the clinic rather than out in the field as I can handle the dogs and be close to them.
Rahmatullah: I feel very happy. I can see that I have a gift for handling dogs and understand how to behave around them.
Ahmad Farid: I have been working at the clinic for about one year and I have learned more about dog behaviours and their needs. Also, sometimes when I feel down and play with the dogs they can help me feel better too!
Rahmatullah: I now look after double the number of dogs I did when I first started at the clinic. I try my best to make sure that when transferring them from the ambulance to the operation room they are not hurt and feel safe.
Ahmad Farid: I am grateful that this programme started and prevented the culling of more dogs. In my view, the best way of controlling the dog population is neutering, and as a human that has compassion I can’t agree to killing them.
Rahmatullah: I think the neutering programme is better than culling the dogs because just killing them can’t control the dog population.
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